Saturday, January 23, 2016

Stitch Fix -- January 2016

So a month off from Stitch Fix was good for me (and my wallet), I think, but I was very very excited to see that my fix was on the way this month! Maybe it's because I just KonMari'd my whole closet, but I'm kind of needing some shirts that are good quality and, you know, actually fit me.

In case you need a quick refresher (or introduction -- Hi, new peeps!) to Stitch Fix, here you go:

{about stitch fix}

Stitch Fix is an online styling/shopping service. For a $20 fee, they send you five clothing or accessory pieces that a personal stylist has chosen just for you, based on your style profile, special notes to your stylist, and even your Pinterest boards. When you receive your box, you can choose to buy as many of the items as you want, and then return what you don't want in your return bag (postage is prepaid!). Your $20 styling fee applies to anything you purchase, and if you love everything, you get a 25% discount on your entire box!

So basically, it's a ton of fun. You can choose to receive just one box (no subscription required!), or you can subscribe to receive boxes every 2-3 weeks, monthly, every other month (my currently plan), or quarterly. Basically, when you need a fix, you can get one. That sounds weird, but whatever.

Stitch Fix also offers petite and maternity options now. I was able to use the maternity styling services for a few months, which you can check out here, if you want: months 1234, and 5.

{my stitch fix - january 2016}

I actually totally forgot I had a Stitch Fix coming this month, so I didn't get a chance to update my notes to my stylist or ask for anything specific. But, if you ask me, I think it actually worked out. Take a look at what I got in this fix...

Loveappella Alonza Keyhole Back Knit Top ($54)

first impressions: I didn't get to have a sneak peek of this top, so I wasn't sure what to expect when I opened the box. But the floral print caught my eye right away. And the pretty, neutral color palette. I immediately had high hopes for this one!

on me:

thoughts: Wow. I'm pretty impressed. This shirt is soft and flattering. It's feminine and pretty but the knit fabric keeps it casual, so it's not "dressy." I don't love the keyhole back, but it isn't cut too low so it keeps the top nice and modest. I really, really love it! The price is a little high for a fairly simple shirt...but this is is probably a KEEP.

Pixley Martina Slub Knit Open Cardigan ($48)

first impressions: A black cardigan. Well, I already have a black cardigan, but it is a different style. This one is very soft!!

on me:

thoughts: Okay, here's the thing. In October, Stitch Fix sent me a navy cardigan very similar to this one. Soft, flattering, and lovely. And I sent it back, because I had a navy cardigan. WELL let me tell you, I've regretted sending that thing back more than once. My other navy cardigan actually bit the dust not long after that, and it wasn't very comfortable or dressy anyway. So now, looking at this amazing black cardigan, and thinking about the black cardigan I have but don't love...well, past experience would probably tell me to keep this beauty. For now, I'm going to say UNDECIDED.

RD Style Mirada Cowl Neck Pullover ($68)

first impressions: Weird. Don't love the color, and what is with these sleeves?

on me:

thoughts: Okay, it's not as bad as I thought it was going to be. The colors aren't my favorite, I don't dig the batwings (and I'm usually a dolman sleeve fan!), and the sleeves are tight up to just past the elbow and then they loosen up, which just...feels odd. The material is very soft and cozy; not scratchy at all. But for $70...I'm just not a huge fan. RETURN. 

Just Black Serena Flare Jean ($88)

first impressions: I've yet to buy any pants from Stitch Fix, but I've always loved what I've tried on. These jeans are probably awesome. And they have a little distressing, which I love.

on me:

(as you can see, I had a little helper jump in at this point)

thoughts: Yikes, this is tough. These jeans are well made (as are ALL the jeans Stitch Fix has ever sent me), and they're very flattering and fit super well. BUT, the distressing might be a little bit too much and ill-placed, and they're also very long. I could wear them with heels, sure...but the distressing kind of takes away from the dressy factor, and the heels would add to I'm not sure it all adds up. Sadly, these are a RETURN. 

Loveappella Edgewater Knit Top ($48)

first impressions: OOOOOHHHH gimme gimme gimme!

on me:

(toddler photobomber strikes again)

thoughts: I love this shirt. Yep, I love it. The 3/4 sleeve. The color blocking. The little stripes on the top part. The soft fabric. This shirt is mine mine mine and you'll never take it away from me. KEEP. 


So, I usually end up keeping one thing out of each box. But this time, I'm definitely keeping two, and possibly three if I keep the cardigan...which I'm leaning towards. And I'm not going to lie, I might regret sending those jeans back at some point. So really, this was a very successful box! Good on you, Stitch Fix.

{If you haven't given Stitch Fix a try, but you'd like to, maybe think about signing up through the links in this post, or right here. When you receive a box after signing up through my link, I get some Stitch Fix credit, which is cool. It's also cool if you'd rather not. So either way, you're cool.)

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Trying New Things...Lately

I know it's been a while since I posted anything in my "trying new things" series...but I get a break for birthing a child, right? And then another one for adjusting to life with said child? And then another one to catch up on some sleep? And another for the holidays? And then maybe a final one, just for good measure?

Yeah, I totally do.

But I've missed these posts, and I want to start having them regularly again. So, no time like the present, eh, Pacha? Here are some things I've tried out lately...

Thermos Funtainer Bottles

As much as I tried to be super prepared for the older girls to start school a few months ago, there are some things that I, as a newbie school mom, just didn't think about. One of these things was water bottles. Both Maddy's Kindergarten teacher and Charly's preschool teacher requested that they take a water bottle to school with them each day. I started my search at Target (because Target), and was lucky enough to find these right off the bat.

These are the perfect kids water bottles, I swear. They keep the water cold for several hours (advertised up to 12, I'd say more like 8). They open easily: just push that silver button on the top and it pops right open. There's a nice flow of liquid through the straw. They don't leak! And they come in tons of different styles with different characters on the outside, which my kids love (especially since I don't buy them too many "daily use" things with characters on them, as a matter of personal preference). 

So, if you know a kid that might love a water bottle of their very own, try these out!

Having had four children now, I think I have at least a little credibility when it comes to baby products and whether or not they are "worth it," and let me tell you, this thing is worth it.

It comes in different variations and patterns, all at different price points and such, but I got this one pictured above for about $40. 

So why do I love it? Well, Amelia sleeps in it, so there's that. For the first couple months, we were able to keep this right next to our bed so she was within arm's reach. It lets her sleep at an incline, which I think has helped with some of the tummy troubles she's had. It has a vibrating feature, but Amelia doesn't seem to prefer it on or off. Oh, and it doesn't play music (am I the only one that is super annoyed by the music products like this usually play? It drives me nuts!). It's also very portable: it folds easily, and it's extremely lightweight, so I can carry it up and down stairs, move it from room to room, and take it to Grandma's house without any fuss. I'd say I prefer it over a swing because of this portability.

If you've got a baby on the way, or need a gift for someone who does, look no further, because this is perfect. 

My skin is a tricky little devil. When I was younger, it was on the more oily side, and I'd have breakouts fairly often. As I got older, it became truly "combination," with dry patches on my cheeks and forehead. Last winter though, I noticed that there was a general tightness in my face that I wasn't used to, and it wasn't going away. I was a little weirded out by it, to be honest, until I finally realized: my skin was dry!

I always do waaaay too much research before buying skin care and beauty products, so I was very familiar with the Murad name and was planning on trying their stuff out once my normal cleanser ran out, but with the sudden skin change, I went for it right away. And I'll tell you what -- I'm a believer.

This gives my skin a really healthy look and feel. It's fixed all the dryness but hasn't overcompensated and made my skin oily. It supposedly helps with aging, which I'm starting to think about. A tiny drop of it foams up a lot and goes a long way, so the bottle lasts forever. It's basically a really high quality product without a (huge) sticker shock. Even if my skin changes its mind again and decides to not be dry anymore, I think I'll be sticking with Murad cleansers. They've got tons of different options for all different kinds of skin, and they're all very highly rated.


It's cool to just have an entire store on this list, right?

I first discovered Soma when my sister declared her love for their nursing bras. Since I was in the market for nursing bras, I stopped into a store to get fitted and try them out. And holy cow, guys, these make my sad Target nursing bras look like...sad Target nursing bras. This is the style I ended up with. They fit well, are supportive and comfortable, are easy to clip and unclip, and have lasted through constant wear and countless washes without stretching out, tearing, or losing their shape (all problems I've had with other nursing bras). Make sure to buy two, because they're 1 for $46 or 2 for $60, and you know, math and stuff.

I also treated myself to a couple other things from Soma that I've ended up loving. Their Embraceable Cool Nights pajama collection is level-WOW soft and comfy. It's like a silky smooth knit fabric, and it is amazing.

I also treated myself to this robe, which is also made from that Embraceable Cool Nights fabric, and honestly might be my very most favorite thing in my closet. Hahahahahaha...haha....but seriously. I bought it right before Amelia was born. I wore it in the hospital and all around my house right after her arrival, and it was the perfect comfy cozy postpartum friend.

Soma's got plenty of other things (swimwear, loungewear, shapewear, underwear...pretty much all the "wears") that I haven't yet tried, but I honestly LOVE the things I do have and recommend them any chance I get (like right now!).

And there's a little glimpse at some things I've tried lately. Any insight? Questions? Concerns? Recommendations? Feedback? Limericks? Everyone loves a good limerick.

(P.S. None of these links are sponsored links or affiliate links. They're links.)

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Peace On Earth

And in despair I bowed my head
"There is no peace on Earth," I said
"For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on Earth, good will to men."

I'll be blunt: this has been me. 

Christmas has been missing for me this year. I'm sitting here, writing this by the light of our Christmas tree, which part of me, somewhere, knows is one of my favorite lights in the whole world...but it's missing. Something is missing.

I haven't listened to nearly enough Christmas music this year (perhaps that's part of the problem?), but this song has been in my head this morning, and it's made me finally realize what is missing. 

Peace. Peace is missing. 

As I write that, something about the great and simple truth of it just makes me want to burst into tears. And then I hold back and don't let myself, because that would be disrupting any peace I do have...wouldn't it?

The thing is, I don't think I'm missing peace the way that most people miss it at Christmastime. My shopping has been totally under control. I haven't spent too much, or stressed too much, or been caught up in crowds and lines and this sale and that deal. I've cut myself slack in a lot of ways (digital Christmas cards, anyone?) and haven't pushed myself unrealistically. I've got plenty keeping me busy, but don't necessarily feel hustled or bustled. 

No, the peace that I'm looking for is something deeper than that, something more than a quiet night at home with "It's a Wonderful Life" can provide. 

I've been looking for peace from anxiety. Peace from bad news. Peace from bad people. Peace from intrusive thoughts. Peace from this horrible feeling that the world is a scary place and oh my gosh I have to raise children here. 

"'There is no peace on Earth,' I said."

I know that sounds depressing, and maybe even a little dramatic. But it's what I'm facing and feeling right now. 

And I want to be done with it. 

I don't want this to be the forgotten Christmas -- the year that I just went through the motions without the feelings, the year that I listened to hardly any Christmas music, the year that I never baked cookies, the year that I sat in the glow of a Christmas tree and didn't feel my heart swell. 

Is it even possible, at this point -- two days before Christmas -- to fix it? Well, I'm going to try.

I just read this article and have a thought or two that I'd love to share.

I love the idea of focusing on the baby in the manger. That is a peaceful moment. That baby would grow up to do great things, and to experience terrible things. His life would be full of joy, but also full of sorrow. He would have friends and know love, but he would also feel more alone than any of us can possibly imagine. Those things are scary. They are stressful. They reflect evil in the world that just shouldn't be there.

But, as the article says, we can and should "not be too concerned or overwhelmed with what is coming in His life or in yours. Instead, take a peaceful moment to contemplate perhaps the most serene moment in the history of the world -- when all of heaven rejoiced with the message 'Glory to God in the highest, and on Earth peace, good will toward men.'"

It's realizing that this manger scene was a moment of peace in a world full of turmoil that helps me to realize something else: there is peace on Earth. Maybe not all-encompassing, and maybe not all the time, but it's there. Peace exists. Peaceful moments happen. They happen when we feel love -- love for others, love for God, and God's love for us. And no matter what else is going on in our lives, whatever sadness or tragedy or trial or worry we may experience, we can feel that love.

And the other thing that hit me from this article was the scripture quoted at the end: "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." --John 14:27

"Not as the world giveth...." What kind of peace does the world give? Sometimes, I think that that is the peace I mistakenly look for. The world could, in an ideal situation, give us outer peace. We could technically avoid wars and crime and terrorism. We try to punish bad people and prevent bad things from happening. The world does its very best to create that peace, and I long for it. I wish the world was safe, and happy, and peaceful.

But, although Christ could create peace in that way, if He wanted's not the kind of peace He's talking about. He's not talking about making the problems and the bad things of the world go away. He's talking about having peace even with those problems among us. He's talking about having faith in God's plan and in God's timing. Christ's peace exists within us, and it can be there no matter what.

So in my search for peace this Christmas, I want to focus on the things I know that can bring me peace, no matter what.

I know that I am loved.
I know that I am here for a purpose.
I know that I can do hard things, with help.
I know that every problem, every worry, every struggle, will work out in the end -- with effort, with repentance, and with faith.
I know that my Savior lives, and that He showed me the way to live.
I know that I can find peace on Earth.

I hope that you all have an amazing Christmas. I hope that you're loving the lights and the treats and the songs and the movies. I hope that you give and get the best presents ever. And I hope that peace finds its way into your heart, and into mine.

Merry Christmas!

Then pealed the bells, more loud and deep
"God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail
With peace on Earth, good will to men."

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Stitch Fix -- November 2015

Hey, I got another Stitch Fix!

As you might recall, Stitch Fix is currently on probation for me. I actually ended up keeping absolutely nothing from my last box (sad, I know). It was the first time it's happened, but it kind of scars you for life. Like, did I really pay $20 to have a box dropped off at my doorstep so I could just return the contents of the box to the post office 3 days later? Yep, I did that.

So this month's box was crucial to Stitch Fix's continuing presence in my life.

Does everyone know what Stitch Fix is? In case you don't, allow me to explain:

{about stitch fix}

Stitch Fix is an online styling/shopping service. For a $20 fee, they send you five clothing or accessory pieces that a personal stylist has chosen just for you, based on your style profile, special notes to your stylist, and even your Pinterest boards. When you receive your box, you can choose to buy as many of the items as you want, and then return what you don't want in your return bag (postage is prepaid!). Your $20 styling fee applies to anything you purchase, and if you love everything, you get a 25% discount on your entire box!

So basically, it's a ton of fun. You can choose to receive just one box (no subscription required!), or you can subscribe to receive boxes every 2-3 weeks, monthly, every other month, or quarterly. Basically, when you need a fix, you can get one. That sounds weird, but whatever.

Stitch Fix also offers petite and maternity options now. I was able to use the maternity styling services for a few months, which you can check out here, if you want: months 1234, and 5.

{my stitch fix - november 2015}

In my note to my stylist this month, I tried to express my desire for flattering tops that will hide my new mama pooch and allow ample room for my new I actually changed my sizing options to make extra sure I would get pieces that fit well. I also asked for a blazer, since that's a wardrobe staple I've been lacking for a while, meaning forever. I actually requested a specific one that I had pinned. So let's see how they did, shall we?

Market & Spruce Bernadette Lace Overlay Raglan Top ($58)

first impressions: Cute colors (navy and teal), and I like the lace overlay. Seems like a cute, casual top that's dressed up a bit by the lace.

on me:

thoughts: I love the idea of this shirt, but it didn't translate to real life as well as I would have liked. The biggest problem with it is probably the fit: it's too short and doesn't hit at a flattering spot. RETURN.

 Market & Spruce Lawford Knit Top  ($58)

first impressions: Stripes! Leather detail! Button sleeves! So cute!

on me:

thoughts: I was so torn on this one! I LOVE the style of it, but something about the fit wasn't great. The v-neck was a tad too low. The length was a tad too short. And something about the stripes on the shoulders and sleeves just makes me look really wide up there, if that makes any sense. IF this had been a tunic length, I probably would have kept it. As it is, RETURN. 

Mavi Freida Skinny Jean ($98)

first impressions: Don't love the wash. Odd color. But I do need another pair of good fitting jeans right now. 

on me:

thoughts: Something about the wash makes me not love these jeans. They almost look like a pant, rather than a jean. Also, these are super soft and stretchy, but the don't fit well. They are too big in the waist, and gap in the back. They're also too long and bunch up at the bottom. Sorry, pants! RETURN. 

41Hawthorn Lizzy Colorblock Striped Sweater ($68)

first impressions: Pricey. But SO cute. I actually had this exact sweater pinned! I love the different color stripes on the sleeves. 

on me:

thoughts: Yay! I love this sweater! It's super soft and comfortable, and a great length. And I love the stripes. It is pricey, but I honestly have a shortage of cute, comfy sweaters. I'm keeping it! KEEP. 

41 Hawthorn Benson 3/4 Ruched Sleeve Blazer ($78)

first impressions: The blazer I wanted! Excited to try it

on me:

thoughts: Very nice, indeed. I like the 3/4 sleeves with the ruching. I like the navy color. But I don't like the fabric: it looks a little too dressy. And the shoulders are a little too padded for my liking as well. Bummer, dude. RETURN.


Well, that sweater is definitely a win. I love it and will wear it a ton. I was disappointed in the other tops, since I really liked the style but not the fit. 

So what's my decision on Stitch Fix after this box? I'm still not totally sure. It's hard to give up, since I've gotten some of my favorite pieces from them. The prices hurt a bit, but I was definitely expecting that, and I've honestly cut back on buying other things to make up for it.

For now, I've decided that I'm just cutting back on Stitch Fix. I'll get a box every other month instead of every month, so I won't get my next fix until January. I think that'll be a good way to still add nicer pieces to my closet without overdoing it.

{If you'd like to try Stitch Fix, consider signing up through the links in this post, or right here. When you receive a box after signing up through my link, I get some Stitch Fix credit, so I'd be forever grateful!)

Monday, October 5, 2015

All the usual questions

It seems like various stages in life come with a set of questions that you can plan on being asked by just about everyone.

Single: Are you dating anyone?

Engaged: How's the wedding planning?

Newlywed: How's married life?

Married 6 months or more: Are you guys planning on having kids (unspoken: any time soon)?

Pregnant: When are you due? Boy or girl? How are you feeling?

Very pregnant: Are you still pregnant?!

The newborn stage is no different. I feel like I answer the same questions over and over. Not that this is a bad thing. I mean, I ask the same questions over and over to other people, so it all evens out.

But I thought I'd go ahead and answer a bunch of these questions for you in one fell swoop, just in case any of you are dying to know what life is like with Miss Amelia in our lives.

Is she a good baby?

Generally, yes. I've only heard her earnestly cry once in her not quite six weeks of life. Most of the time, if she's unhappy, she just squirms and grunts and lets out a little squawk every few seconds. She really, really loves to eat. So much so that she sometimes overeats and spits up large amounts of milk all over the place. So there's that.

I think she might have some tummy troubles that weren't there with my other kids, and I have no idea how to handle them. It's nothing serious, because she's gaining weight and growing well, but I feel like it just makes her uncomfortable. I've tried gas drops and gripe water; neither had too much of an impact. It seems better now than it did even a couple weeks ago, so hopefully we'll keep moving in that direction.

Oh, and she won't take a binky! It blows my mind. All my other kids have loved the binky. But Amelia is basically offended by it. I think of this every time I try to give it to her:

What's life like with four kids?

Not too bad. Busy, but not too bad. I feel like a lot of the busy-ness is more because of my older kids having different activities and such, rather than because of adding another one to the mix.

I do feel like it's a little unreal at times. It's almost like the concept of having four kids freaks me out even more than the reality of it. Like sometimes I step back and think "I have four kids?!" and just wonder when the heck this happened.

How are the other kids with the baby?

Really good. Maddy is so good with her, and so helpful. Charly, though, is truly obsessed. She wants to be hugging and kissing Amelia all the time. She talks baby talk to her and is just thrilled when Amelia seems to respond to something. The other night I walked in on Charly talking to the baby in her rocker. She was saying "I'll always take care of you, Millie," and it kind of melted my heart.

And Parker...doesn't really care. He's pretty oblivious. He is fascinated with the "baby's food," though, and always wants to "help" feed her. As you can imagine, that never really works out.

Are you getting any sleep?

Ah, the million dollar question. I know a lot of new moms get really bugged by this question, because "NO I'M NOT GETTING ANY SLEEP THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR REMINDING ME," but I honestly don't really mind it. I mean, sleep deprivation is an infamous side effect of having a newborn, so it makes sense that people would ask.

As for my answer...well...I'm getting some. Amelia seems to sleep for the longest stretch of time in the late afternoon, and then she wakes up all well rested at about 6 or 7. At night, we'll usually get 3-4 hours in between feedings. It's not terrible, and it's pretty typical for a newborn, but it does start to weigh on you after a while. Those little chunks of sleep are just not the same as nice, long stretches. It's frustrating, sure, but I keep reminding myself that it'll pass soon enough.

{the snuggles make up for the bags under my eyes, right?}

How are you?

It's funny, but this simple question is the toughest to answer. And every time someone asks me, I find myself taking a little internal inventory. More often than not, what comes out of my mouth is "We're doing well," or "Hanging in there!" But the truth might be a little more complicated.

I'm physically spent. I've had a cold for over three weeks now. I'm eating sporadically at best, and consuming quite a lot of caffeine (oops). Sleep...well, see above. I still get weird aches and pains that I'm attributing to childbirth. I've got weight to lose (obviously) but I'm not too worried about that yet.

Mentally, I'm hanging in there. I'm certainly busier than I've ever been, with work, kids' activities, housework, and breastfeeding on my plate (breastfeeding is time consuming, people!). Sometimes I feel like I'm just barely scraping by with the bare minimum on everything. It feels good to be able to stay on top of the most urgent things, but at the same time, I can't help but wish my time was under control a little more, so I could pay attention to the "important, but not urgent" tasks. Sometimes I feel like I'm doggy paddling through my tasks (especially at work), but hey, it's better than drowning.

Emotionally, I'm kind of all over the place. I love my little newborn but it breaks my heart to see her getting so big, so fast. I'm dealing with some anxiety about keeping track of four kids, which has also developed into anxiety about other, sillier things. I'm having to deal with not having a lot of time to myself, which can have a pretty negative impact on a raging introvert such as myself. So it's a bit of a roller coaster.

But honestly, I'm okay. Some days are better than others, but that's true for us all, right? I've got an amazing teammate in Dallin, that's for sure. I'm lucky to have him. And I'm lucky to have my faith. I'm trying to make it a point to rely on that faith and to focus on the little things that make life good.

Oh, and to all of you who have helped, visited, texted, given gifts, brought meals, thought about us, or thought about thinking about us, thank you. We are blessed to be surrounded by good people who care about us!

And of course and as always, thanks for reading.

Stitch Fix -- October 2015

Another month, another Stitch Fix!

Does everyone know what Stitch Fix is? Just in case you haven't heard, here's how it works:

{about stitch fix}

Stitch Fix is an online styling/shopping service. For a $20 fee, they send you five clothing or accessory pieces that a personal stylist has chosen just for you, based on your style profile, special notes to your stylist, and even your Pinterest boards. When you receive your box, you can choose to buy as many of the items as you want, and then return what you don't want in your return bag (postage is prepaid!). Your $20 styling fee applies to anything you purchase, and if you love everything, you get a 25% discount on your entire box!

So basically, it's a ton of fun. You can choose to receive just one box (no subscription required!), or you can subscribe to receive boxes every 2-3 weeks, monthly, every other month, or quarterly. Basically, when you need a fix, you can get one. That sounds weird, but whatever.

Stitch Fix also offers petite and maternity options now, which I've taken advantage of for the past several months. Check them out, if you want: months 1234, and 5.

{my stitch fix - october 2015}

I'm not gonna lie: I've been struggling with my wardrobe a bit lately. I'm literally a milk-making machine, so I'm quite a bit bigger (ahem) up top (ahem) than much of my clothing allows for. I've also got a lovely little tummy pooch that I'm trying to have patience with...but not too much patience. So I'm kind of in a weird, transitional spot. Let's see if any of my pieces from this month accommodate that. 

Fun2Fun Vimmy Front Pocket Top ($48)

first impressions: I like the pattern, and I like the Fall-ish colors. And it's a button down, which gets two thumbs up from this nursing mama. Crossing my fingers for this one.

on me:

thoughts: Well, dang. I really do love the shirt, but the fit just isn't quite right. A little too small up top, and a tiny bit too short. It's also not one that I would find occasion to wear very often; it's not stretchy or breathable, so it would be strictly "date night" and I just can't justify it. RETURN.

 Market & Spruce Sawyer Space Dye Dolman Sleeve Knit Top  ($58)

first impressions: I know "space dye" is kind of a thing right now, but I'm just not sure I love it. I do love a good maroon, though!

on me:

thoughts: Man, oh man, if only I liked this print! I might even like it if the color was a little more muted, but as it is, the "space dye-ness" of it is a little too in-your-face. But it's a shame, because it's super comfy and fits well! RETURN. 

Loveappella Lany Envelope Back Knit Top ($48)

first impressions: Peek-a-boo stripes? 3/4 sleeve? Long, soft, flowy shirt? I think I'm in love.

on me:

thoughts: SO TORN. The "envelope" back is extreme and (in my humble opinion) kind of weird. I don't think it would make me self conscious enough to not wear the shirt, but I don't love it. I DO love everything else about it though. I'm sure I would wear it often. UNDECIDED. 

41Hawthorn Abrianna Longsleeve Knit Cardigan ($48)

first impressions: Nice, but pretty basic. I do have a navy cardigan already, but mine has buttons and this one is open, so this one has a little more "dress-up" potential.

on me:

thoughts: This thing is soft! And flattering! Ugh, it's really nice. I'm tempted, but I'm so not sure because of the other cardigan I have! UNDECIDED. 

Pixley Kathy Striped Fit and Flare Dress ($68)

first impressions: This is going to be too short. Way too short.

on me:

Nope. Not happening.

thoughts: Not only was the dress too short, but it was also way too small up top. This could totally be cute on someone...but not on me. RETURN.


This is probably my third box in a row that has been very, very "close." For the past few boxes, the style has been on point, but the fit just doesn't make the grade. Unfortunately, this one was probably the least successful of the three, since there isn't really a clear "keep."

And also unfortunately, it makes me wonder a little bit if my Stitch Fix days are numbered. I have loved getting these boxes so much, but I don't want to keep getting them if they're not sending things I'm crazy about! Perhaps I'm just too picky for Stitch Fix. 

I'll give it another month, for sure, but I think Stitch Fix is effectively on probation. 

{If you'd like to try Stitch Fix, consider signing up through the links in this post, or right here. These links give me a little credit with Stitch Fix, so we'll be best friends. Not that we aren't already. Crap, this just got awkward.}

Friday, September 11, 2015

Amelia's Birth Story, Part 2: The Short Wait

{Part 1 here}

So there I was, almost entirely positive that I was finally in labor. These contractions were different. They were down low in my hips. They were achy and painful rather than just tight. And I'd had more than one of them! I was pretty sure that this was happening, and I was thrilled.

Dallin responded with a "Great!" and he got up right away. I decided to get in the shower, because (1) I really needed a shower, and (2) I wanted to make sure that the contractions weren't going away, even with a change in position or whatever. And Dallin, who we had already decided would be in charge of logistics when "the time came," started working out the plans for our other kids. He called his sister, who would take Maddy and Parker, sent out some work emails telling people he wouldn't be in that day, and started getting the kids up and ready.

The thing you have to understand is this: I was pretty sure, at this point, that we had time. And not just time -- hours. During my labor with Parker, I had contractions like these for hours at home. I was honestly planning on having time to get ready, helping get Maddy and Charly off to school (probably with a tearful goodbye because let's face it, everything was making me cry those days), and heading off to the hospital once everything was under control. I mean, we weren't exactly taking our time or anything, but we were definitely not rushing at this point. My contractions were still fairly spread out, and mostly manageable: only every third or fourth one was particularly painful. I was sure that we had time.

So I got in the shower. Again, I didn't take my time, but I didn't necessarily hurry. I was in there for about 10 minutes, and I probably had 3 contractions during it. At 6:04, I sent a text to my mom, telling her I was in labor and was getting dressed to go to the hospital.

As I started getting ready, I started feeling like maybe we should expedite things a little bit, and in retrospect, my actions reflected that. I threw on an easy dress instead of hunting for still-fitting pants (hard to find those days). I started blow drying my hair, but stopped after my bangs. I put makeup on (yep, you guys, I'm that shallow), but only powder and mascara. I probably spent about 12 minutes getting ready...which sounds very specific, but as it turns out, every minute counted. The kids were in and out of the room, obviously a little curious as to why I would stop moving or talking every 3-4 minutes. Once the moaning started, they even seemed a little scared (poor traumatized children!), but we kept things moving.

At some point, I told Dallin we were going to need to go sooner than we thought. He called his sister and told her to head over now. (By the way, Dallin was seriously a rock star, you guys. He got the kids up and dressed, made all the arrangements for them, got the bag together, supported me, and stayed calm and collected through everything. I love him. For reals.)

So at this point, it's about 6:18, and I'm feeling these contractions. Again, only every third or fourth one is truly PAINFUL with a capital PAINFUL (yes, the whole thing should be capitalized). I was still, honestly, not freaked out. Yes, I was definitely in labor. Yes, it was definitely time to go to the hospital. Yes, I'd be getting that epidural asap, thank you very much. But I was still thinking I'd labor for a while at the hospital before the baby came. I still felt like we had time.

A few more minutes of that, and Dallin's sister (Danielle) came. He also called our neighbor to come get Charly, who goes to the same preschool as our neighbor's little boy. I came downstairs to help Danielle get everything together for Maddy's school, and to help get her lunch ready. While pulling things out of the pantry, I had a bad contraction. I groaned through it, and Danielle assured me she could take care of the lunch.

Not even a minute later, another contraction hit. But this one was different. This one scared the crap out of me. Because when it hit, I wanted to push.

I was standing in my kitchen, with my daughter and my sister-in-law, and I had a super sudden, strong urge to birth a baby. Right there.

Hashtag not okay.

"AAAAGH Dallin we have to GOOOO!" was basically what came out of my mouth.

He came running down the stairs, handed me the keys, and told me to wait until the contraction was over and then go get in the car. He'd get the bag and would be right there.

So the contraction ended and I hurried out to the car. I made to the driveway when another contraction came. I leaned on the car for support and couldn't help yelling. (Sorry, neighbors!) But holy crap, it hurt. What the heck?! When did this happen?! It ended, and I got in the car.

Another one hit, and my body pushed. I grabbed onto the handle inside the car...

(Side note: I just tried to look up if that handle has an actual name, and apparently in many circles it is called the "Oh sh**" handle, which was definitely appropriate for this current moment, and definitely appropriate for the moment during the car ride a bit later.... when I actually said those words. Yep, I did. Side note over.)

...and braced myself. I saw our neighbor running into our house to pick up Charly; she gave me a thumbs up on the way in and I have no idea what I did back. Probably grimaced, but possibly flipped her off? (I kid, I didn't flip her off...right, Megan?)

After approximately an eternity, Dallin came running out of the house with the suitcase. He threw it in the trunk, jumped in, and sped off.

We had just turned off the street when I felt a weird "pop" and a solid gush of fluid.

"Dallin, my water just broke!"

Now, my water breaking is no joke. When my water broke with Maddy, I was fully dilated and about to start pushing. My water didn't break with Parker until he was freaking BORN. So, suffice it to say, my water breaking was a big, big deal.

Dallin sped on. Another contraction. A TON of pressure.

"Dallin, she's coming! She's coming!" I was yelling. I'm not going to lie: I was freaking out. How the heck was this happening to me? I was going to have a baby in the car?! No! I don't have babies in cars! I get epidurals in hospitals and then sit around bored for hours waiting to be fully dilated so my doctor can tell me when to push! That's how I give birth! Not in a Yaris!

"Should I pull over?" he asked.
"NO! GO!"

And he went. Man, he went. He flew down the main street out of our neighborhood, passing someone (note: there was no passing lane), and not stopping before turning onto the main road. I had another contraction. More pressure. This baby wanted OUT.

Dallin called the hospital to let them know we were coming. If he's telling the story, he'll tell you that the receptionist that answered sounded like a young "dude" who was super bored with his job ("Banner Gateway, where can I direct your call?") and when he finally got on the line with maternity, he yelled "My wife is in labor. We're coming in hot!" which would have been hilarious if I hadn't been trying to, you know, not give birth.

Also after-the-fact hilarious was that at some point during that drive, he told me that I was making his dream come true (referring to the "justified" speeding, because he was booking it). In the moment, I thought up some witty response about this dream about to become a nightmare, but didn't have a chance to actually say it out loud because another contraction hit.

It took everything in me to stay calm (and it didn't really work). It also took everything in me to NOT PUSH. I was literally grasping the "Oh sh**" handle, and saying "Don't push, Katie. Don't push, Katie. DON'T PUSH!" I could feel every contraction coming on. I could feel the baby putting insane pressure on my pelvis. This was totally, unbelievably, happening.

Getting to the hospital was something of a blur. I know we had to make a left turn to get into the parking lot, and Dallin had to honk and maneuver his way around a bit to pass people and run a red arrow to get in there. He zoomed up to the entrance and there was a triage nurse waiting with a wheelchair.

"Can you get out of the car?"

I could. They got me on there and literally ran me inside, asking questions along the way:

"Have your membranes ruptured?"

"How many weeks are you?"
Over 41!

"What were you dilated to at your last appointment?"
Yesterday I was 4 cm, 90% effaced!

I was yelling. Another contraction. I had to push. I heard her call on her walkie:

"I need an L and D room!"
She obviously didn't quite get the response she wanted, because then she said "No, just what room is clean?!"

We made it to the room. We'd somehow picked up some more nurses along the way, and the first nurse was relaying all the info I'd given her to them.

Someone asked, "Can you get on the bed?"

In retrospect, I'm kind of like, come on, I'd made it that far; of course I was getting on the bed and not giving birth in a wheelchair right next to the bed. Please.

So with a good amount of help, I got on the bed. Pretty sure I was still yelling.

Dress up, undies off. Another contraction. A bad one.

"I have to push!"
"Yep, you're baby's coming!"

At this point, in the span of about 20 seconds, I remember having three distinct thoughts:

(1) I am so relieved to be in a hospital, on a bed, with medical professionals present. This is going to be okay.

(2) I don't have a birth roar. Do I need a birth roar? Isn't that like, a requirement for women giving birth without meds? I guess we'll just see what comes out.

(3) RING OF FIRE?! Crap, that's about to happen.

And it did happen. Right about then.

"Slow down!" they yelled. "Just breathe through it."

I don't know how I did, but I did. I stopped yelling and I breathed (so much for the birth roar). This was happening. I could do it. Even if I couldn't do it, I was doing it.

"Head's out! Take a look!"

And there she was. One more little push, and there was the rest of her.

She was so big! And so clean, and so pink. She had a ton of hair and she cried right away.

I looked at Dallin. He was crying. I think I was in too much shock to cry, but I was saying "Oh my gosh!" over and over.

They handed me my beautiful baby girl, saying we needed to be skin-to-skin right away since the warmer in the room wasn't, well, warm.

We had to piece together what time to put as the time she was born, because no one had been watching the clock. Based on when Dallin had called, our best guess was 6:36 AM. 

I was still in my dress. My hair was still wet from my shower. Yet there I was, holding my sweet baby, just about an hour after my very first contraction. 

It was odd, doing everything backwards. We still had to be admitted, so we had to answer all the usual questions...just while already holding the new baby. I had to change into a hospital gown. My doctor got there and took care of all the gross stuff. I had to have an IV put in because I'd had moderate postpartum hemorrhaging with Parker, so they got me started on pitocin. They actually gave me a couple shots in my leg, and I remember thinking "If I'd had that epidural, I wouldn't have felt those." Not that those little pokes were painful after, you know,'s just a funny thought. 

I've had many people ask "what it was like" to give birth unmedicated. Honestly, it's mostly a huge blur, which makes it seem like it wasn't that bad. I'm sure it probably would have seemed a lot worse if I'd been laboring for hours. As it was, the absolute worst part was the fear that I would give birth in the car, and the effort (physical and mental) that it took to NOT push. It was terrifying and just downright hard. While I know now that everything was completely fine and that the baby was perfectly healthy and would have been even if she HAD been born in the car... that doesn't change the fact that it was incredibly scary in the moment. What if something had been wrong? We'd have been mostly helpless until we got to the hospital. But once we got there, once I felt safe pushing, it was (dare I say it?) not nearly as bad as I thought it would be. It was just so fast! And it was nice to be able to move my legs and walk on my own so soon after she was born. Natural recovery beats epidural recovery, for sure.

Once we were all checked in, and Amelia had been weighed and measured (8 lbs 15 oz, 21.25 inches long -- my biggest baby yet!), the rest of the hospital stay was pretty standard. Visitors, vitals checks, tracking the feedings and the diaper changes. Everything went very smoothly, and we were able to leave the next day. 

Well, I guess that's about it! This was definitely not the birth I had planned...but apparently that's just how Amelia rolls. I've got a feeling she's going to keep us on our toes. 

And while her arrival gave me one of the craziest experiences of my life, I wouldn't trade it for the world. 

Thanks for reading!