Doing that thing you thought was impossible

If someone would’ve told my younger self I’d be a mom before 28, be living in the Wild West, and loving it, I would not have believed them.

There’s two hours until its 2019 and I’m only now quietly sitting reflecting on 2018 and all thats transpired.

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In April, my daughter Lily was born. By God’s grace I had an amazing birth, a spontaneous vaginal delivery without any medication or interventions. This insane, unbelievable adventure was one I went through with two of the closest people to me, my husband and my mom and thanks to an amazing healthcare team at the University of Utah Hospital in Salt Lake City.

I’ve been feeding my daughter breastmilk via: exclusively pumping, nursing and pumping, nursing, pumping, and bottle feeding, and back to exclusively breastfeeding with a bottle before bed. This has been the hardest battle I’ve fought in my entire life. I have never wanted something so bad for myself or for a person I love more than I’ve wanted to give the gift of breastmilk. It’s been a journey of so many ups and downs, twists and turns, tears of sadness and defeat, and pure joy and laughter. I am beyond thankful for the lactation consultants at Success With Breastfeeding out of Weber County that I am beyond speechless at this journey Lily and I have been on and am thankful for everyday I am able to exclusively nurse her. We’ve accomplished so much together!

I’ve traveled to NC where my mom lives twice, all four flights alone when Lily was three and then seven months old! Not easy, but overall all the flights went so much better than I anticipated and thankfully Delta workers and fellow passengers have greeted me with extraordinary kindness and patience.

When loneliness has reared its ugly head and sorrow and grief and hardship has weighed me down I’ve had wonderful mom-friends who’ve brought me lunch, coffee, dinner and more. They’ve listened to my endless chatter and questions and confusion and loved me the same. Some of these moms were from my church bible study, breastfeeding moms community, and MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group. They’ve been absolutely amazing and I am so thankful for their endless support and encouragement as a mom, wife, and friend. They’ve encouraged me to rest and remember that self-care is important and necessary, especially as a mom.

And Lily pie. Lily bear. Yes, we called her Lily bear before she started growing. She is sweet, funny, intelligent, bashful, playful, and sassy. She doesn’t have a schedule but she does have a routine. She loves to be held and can’t play alone for long. She’s sweet sunshine on a cloudy day and winter warmth beyond compare. She reminds me the to do list can be further out of reach and that the boxes can be left unchecked. She is a beauty beyond compare and I am beyond blessed to be her mommy,

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Bryan. A strength and patience which knows no end and a quick-witty humor that still catches me off guard. His, “I just want to hold you’s” are the only thing that make me stop spinning. His, “of course I’ll hold our beautiful daughter,” and “of course, I can change that dipey,” (diaper) get me overtime. He has worked so hard to provide for our family’s needs and desires. His hardwork, by God’s grace has been recognized and I am thankful for every opportunity he’s extended to be the amazing leader he is in our home, at work too.

My mom and brother, their love and goofiness gets me overtime. Both so different but enjoying the worry free life of staying up late, sleeping in late, skipping breakfast and loving it. An amazing grandmother with dance moves like you wouldn’t believe.

And my in-laws. Hospitality with which no one can compare. Delicious home cooked meals from her and unmatched wit and comedy from him. Explorers with no bounds and relaxing because they worked so hard in order to be able to.

This post would never end if I mentioned all of my family, so to those reading not on here… you know you mean the world to me and our relationship and further your welcoming Lily into this community has melted my heart.

These are the things/people I’m thankful for and what I’ve loved seeing from them this year.

All in all, by God’s grace I’ve done two of the hardest things I never knew I’d have the honor of doing: growing and delivering a beautiful baby girl naturally and breastfeeding her. I hope and pray I can give her the best life possible in which she knows she is loved by me, her daddy, and even more by Jesus—the one who has helped me do the thing I thought was impossible.

May 2019 bring God the glory and praise He is due for His love endures forever! And may you experience His love and joy in this next year!

Frugal guide to the best at home gel nail manicure

Thanks to my wonderful mom I've found the best product(s) for a gel nail manicure I can do at home that doesn't break the bank and isn't high maintenance!

I cannot say enough good things about Revlon's Colorstay Gel Envy products. I don't know if I should call it a kit necessarily, but there are really only two products you'll need. First, the nail polish color of your choice and second, their Colorstay Gel Envy Diamond Top Coat. I love the colors they have to offer, how quickly the nail polish and the top coat dry. I generally watch t.v. or a movie and have my nails done in less than 1.5 hours which I think isn't bad at all. Especially considering I only paid $16 total, $7.99 for the nail polish and $7.99 for the top coat, which I will get a lot of use of!

Here's how to get the best gel manicure at home in five steps (p.s. I don't even follow the first two steps overtime...I know shame on me.)

Step one: Prep your nails. Cut and file your nails. Here is a really inexpensive manicure set to get you started!

Step two: Push back your cuticles

Step three: Wash and dry your hands

Step four: Apply two light coats of the nail polish. I generally wait 20-30 minutes before I apply the second coat and then apply the...

Step five: Apply the diamond top coat and let it dry. That generally takes 20-30 minutes as well.

Here is a link to one of their kits if you're interested! I like this one because it costs less than buying the individual nail polish and the diamond top coat!

They have so many gorgeous colors! I have two go to's for winter/spring which are a dark grey and a cross between a blush and a nude tone (my husband loves this one so I use it the most!)

Scroll down to see all they have to offer! I hope you're able to enjoy having the best looking nails around...all from the comfort of your own home!

 

 

Our First Married Valentine's Day

Bryan and I's first married Valentine's Day was special and also low key which I really enjoyed- probably because I was starting to feel under the weather (at the time I didn't know I was coming down with the flu at 32 weeks pregnant!!) 

Bryan and I each had to work, but he got home earlier than expected. We ended up going to a really good Mexican restaurant in town and yes- he totallyyyy spoiled me. We've been in the habit of splitting a meal- which honestly has worked out really well lately. How!? Good question, its a miracle...kidding...since he's slimming down and I'm well, eating as much as Lily and I need it works! I digress, on Valentine's Day we each ended up getting our own meal and splitting a delicious dessert. I know, so spoiled.

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We got each other really cute cards. The dollar store has cards as low as .50 cents and cute bags for presents too! Bryan got me flowers and Lily the cutest onesie in Spanish, which translates to, "Little but fierce!" It's adorable, he snagged it at Target, the brand is Cat and Jack! Ummm....can you say, best children's brand ever!?

I got him, well, us this really swanky recipe journal which was a steal at my local TJ Maxx! I found it right after the new year began and decided to hold onto it for Valentine's Day. Luckily, with lots of effort I was able to hide it from him until then, phew, had a few close calls!

The official title of the recipe journal is: The Keepsake Kitchen Diary by Lily and Val. The photo below is linked to Amazon!

I love this diary because it has room for 150 recipes, little pockets for notes, and is well organized! It has six sections: starters, soups/salads, main courses, side dishes, desserts, and a miscellaneous section. It's beautifully illustrated and has a little section to write any memories associated with your fun dinner making activities. 

I think the funniest part about our first married Valentine's Day was technically speaking neither of us gave the other a present for just them which made us feel like we were getting old, haha. Oh well, we were both just really happy to go out just the two of us and chat about our first eight months of marriage and about how excited about our little adventure (baby Lily) coming in about 10 weeks!

We had a lovely Valentine's Day! Ohhh and my in-loves gave us tickets to an escape room activity to use before Lily comes, we can't way to go!

What did you and your loved one(s) do on Valentine's Day!?

Why I never pay full price at Loft (or their affiliated stores)

     I am a Loft Inc. gal at heart. I worked at a Loft store while in college and boy oh boy was it hard trying not to shop for myself especially when I received their wonderful 50 % off employee discount. There was always some piece or accessory I wanted, but I digress!

    Loft and their affiliated stores, Ann Taylor and Lou and Grey have absolutely wonderful sales! Unless its a fashion emergency, you've got the cash and you wanna treat yo' self would I ever recommend buying something at full price. They generally have 30- 40% off everything in the store and also have an amazing sales/final sale rack to keep you busy scouting for what you're looking for! I'm not one to sign up for e-mails but I genuinely feel theirs are the best to receive because of their continual in store and also, amazing online sales. 

     I'll keep it real ladies, there were (and still are) months where my budget for splurging on myself (for wanted) not needed clothing purchases was $25 and I could come out like a bandit with 2-3 amazing pieces!

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OG price: $69.50    Bev the bandit: $6.50

 

    I'd been wanting to buy something small for my mom and literally had $10.02 on a Loft gift card balance. In case you didn't know you can use that gift card at Ann Taylor and Lou and Grey stores and online-wahoo! One of my favorite bloggers posted about this super cute Lou and Grey Poncho Hoodie. I didn't run to snag one because I'm over trying and buying non-maternity pieces. I am so glad I stumbled across this because even though they didn't have it in my size they had it in another which I think will work for my mom. Sshhh don't tell her I just bought it for her for Valentine's Day. 

Here is a quick view of the poncho hoodie- last I checked it was available in size M/L, check out their size chart for more info. This could be a great early-on time gift for a loved one for Valentine's Day! My order is set to arrive to my mom by February 13th!

**P.s. I don't know what it is, but I've got all the feels (lovey dovey) feels after seeing my Lily girl's face this week at the anatomy scan. I am so overwhelmed with love for our little girl I haven't met yet. That got me thinking about how special mine and my mom's relationship is and it just made me want to do something special for my momma this Valentine's Day!**

I hope you're able to share the love to those babes closest to you this Valentine's Day! Do you have any fun and exciting plans in the works? I'd love to hear about them!