Oh Baby

Weekly Recap: Surprise Party, Dream Job, & Baby Turns 9 Months Old

Welcome back, everyone! Glad you have you on my little corner of the internet again. Last week, it felt like nothing interesting happened. However, this week was a WHOLE other experience! I had a lot of fun and had some wonderful things happen to me!

Where to start? How about here: I GOT MY DREAM JOB!

I am now working as a professional blogger! I get to work from home and take care of my son while working part time…WRITING FOR A LIVING! I mean, come on! That’s the dream! I am so grateful that I was given this opportunity. My boss is a very kind person and I think we’re going to work well together. It’s really one of those moments where you can’t believe that something is happening to you. I’m just so grateful- I can’t stop saying that over and over again to myself. I almost didn’t apply for this job because there were so many applicants, but something inside me said I should go for it. And I’m so glad that I did!

In other news, my baby turned 9 MONTHS OLD THIS WEEK! Can you believe it? I certainly can’t! So far, getting these monthly pictures has been a breeze. This month, well…it was a different story. These were the best one we could get (still love them!)

Isn’t he just the cutest? I could just eat that little nugget up!

Also, I love how he’s like, “Holy crap, mom! It’s a bear!”

Not only did he turn nine months old, he also got his first tooth! It’s bothering him so much but we’ve found a product that really works for him. I’ll share that with you in my nine month update post for baby Flynn!

One of my favorite things that happened this week was that my husband had his 29th birthday! He says he feels old now. πŸ˜›

My husband, Zack, is a professor at a college where we live and his students and I planned a little surprise for him AT 5:00 right outside his office. We had a secret Facebook group and everything, you guys! STEALTHY!!!

Everyone dressed just like Zack, backward baseball caps and flannel shirts. It was adorable and it meant so much to Zack! You can just see it on his face!

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It was a really great moment when he realized just how many of his students were there to celebrate with him! I brought cake but I didn’t get a picture of it because I’m a bad blogger and all I could think was, “CAKE IN BELLY!!!”

The kids also made him a “Dr. Pepper Cake” since it basically runs in his veins.

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I surprised him by giving him the game “Horizon Zero Dawn” that everyone’s been talking about lately. He was really excited…in fact…guess what he’s doing right now as I type this blog…

Flynn saw him playing it earlier and wanted in the action.

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Is that not the sweetest thing you’ve ever seen?! I love my boys.

That night, I made garlic butter and herb spaghetti, brown sugar brussel sprouts, and roasted veggies. The pasta is his favorite and we always have it on his birthday!

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YUUUUM! And, honestly, so so so so so bad for you. πŸ˜› But it’s okay to indulge every once in a while, right?

Here are some other yummy/healthier foods we had to eat this week:

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I loved that skinny caramel macchiato. It was the perfect pick me up!

This week I also had a girl’s craft time with one of my besties, Morgan! She’s that adorable little redhead in the birthday pictures above! We’re in the progress of paining our Disney shoes! I’m doing snow white shoes and she’s making her shoes look like Belle! I’ll post the final picture when I finish them and link you to my Etsy store if you’re interested in purchasing some!

Morgan is such a sincere person and I’m so glad that we have become friends. She had a rough day yesterday and I’m glad that we could do some crafting to de-stress a little. Everyone send her some love! She’s such a sweetheart! ❀

I also did a little early Valentine’s day craft for Zack to put in his office.

I had a seriously wonderful week. Everything went so well and was so lovely. Like I said, I’m just so grateful!

I even got some fresh flowers this week! They make everything better, don’t they?

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Thanks for visiting my blog today! I hope you enjoyed reading this recap post as much as I enjoyed writing it! I’ll see you all on Wednesday. Oh! Make sure to follow me on social media and let me know you came from the blog! I’d love to hear from you!

Instagram & Twitter: ellenvandever

Facebook: Millennial Mama Bird

Etsy: Quirky Girl Giftshop

Ellen πŸ™‚

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A letter to anyone trying to lose weight:

I get discouraged too sometimes.

No matter how hard I stare at Kale, it never turns into a doughnut.

How disappointing.

Sometimes, when Shuan T. tells me to, “Keep going! You’re looking great!”, I want to yell back, “My legs are jello now! I don’t look great- I look like I’m melting! Stop smiling at me!”. Instead, I do the “cize bounce” until my legs fall off and I curl up into a sweaty ball on the floor while my husband tries to hand me water. In no way is it glamorous and it shouldn’t be.

Now that it’s been a few days of my new healthier lifestyle, and I’m not completely starving anymore, I can look at this situation a little more clearly. Here’s what I’ve learned:

If I look at exercise as “Therapy” instead of “Torture”(because that’s what it feels like- a little dramatic, I know) then it starts to become a time for me to focus not on the pain but on the bettering of myself. Instead of it being something I HAVE to do, it’s something that I am starting to like doing because I enjoy the feeling of persistence, consistency, and, of course, the feeling I get when the number on the scale goes down.

I won’t lie though, it’s still hard. When they say that it’s not about getting your body in shape, it’s about getting your mind in shape-well…they really aren’t lying.

And getting your mind into shape- ESSENTIALLY, changing you OWN mind- is one of the hardest things to do.

Here’s when it pays off:

The numbers go down. Not just the scale numbers, the measured inches off your body too! But that comes with a big price: You’ll want to binge on sour patch kids until the cows come home, but you have a fruit salad instead. And you know what? It was actually delicious…but it wasn’t sour patch kids and it never will be.

I try to look at things from a humorous perspective sometimes in order to keep myself going. If I’m being really honest, I’ve stopped and full on cried in the middle of a workout before because I was just too uncomfortable to deal with it anymore. And that’s ok. We’re not robots and sometimes our mind needs a break.

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Here’s what I’ve learned about eating healthier food. I literally have to make my husband take the unhealthy food to his office instead of keeping it here.

Poptarts? No way.

Chef Boyardee? Not happening.

Little poop cakes that I made? Let them eat poop!

I have learned that I am basically an animal when it comes to snacking. That’s what really gets me…

Breakfast:

Whole wheat toast and hard boiled eggs

Lunch:

Garden salad

Dinner:

Grilled veg and quinoa

Snacks:

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…but really though…its a problem…

There’s a quote that says, “Don’t focus on losing weight, focus on being healthy”, which I think is a great message. However, can’t I focus on both? I think so. I don’t think it’s a crime to want to feel better in your body and want to be healthier in the meantime. People say not to look at the scale, but I think as long as you’re not stuck to it all the time, it can be a really motivating factor in weight loss!

Everything is moderation people. Everything in moderation.

Here’s what it boils down to:

Diet and exercise can suck sometimes, but they are also a way to make ourselves better and that is a beautiful thing. I can’t control the world around me but I can control what goes in my body and how I take care of it at the same time. I will never stop wanting cupcakes- i’ve just accepted this as fact. There will be no existence where I walk by a cupcake store and don’t want to eat them all. The good news is, I can have one cupcake- but one- that’s all. And a lot of the time, I really shouldn’t even be having the cupcake so I won’t. Portion control is also a beautiful thing because it teaches you how much you really need in order to feel your BEST! And doesn’t everyone just want to feel their best all the time? I know, for me, I am constantly searching for things that make me feel happy and grateful, and I already have a lot of that in my life. Going on this healthier lifestyle has made me realize that I don’t have to be perfect- with anything that I do. Because imperfection is such an awesome and unique kind of thing- it makes you who you are.

There will be times in your healthy journey where you want to throw in the towel…not just throw it in but dip it in chocolate sauce and eat it. There will be times when you take a day off from working out simply because your brain/mind needs a break from it all. There will be times you eat that slice of pizza but don’t have dessert because of it.

There will be times when you hate the process. There will be times you want to scream and won’t know why you’re doing this to yourself.

In those moments, remember why you started and remember that you’re stronger than you think you are. Have the cupcake if you must, but spend some extra time in the gym because of it. And don’t give yourself too much of a hard time because of it- you’re a human being and you’ll get a little better every day.

And when you’re your best self, you’ll look back on this moment, smile, and take a huge bite of something really delicious because you’re one wild and crazy guy or gal.

Ellen πŸ™‚

When PPD sneaks up on you

I’ll be honest with you…

I didn’t even know that I HAD postpartum depression. I know what you’re thinking, “How could you NOT know?”. The truth is, I honestly remember being, overall, generally very happy.

After all, my husband was home for the Summer without having to go to work (he’s a professor and gets the summers off for the most part), I had a brand new beautiful baby boy, I was on maternity leave for several months, and I was letting myself eat anything that I wanted since I just went through…ya know…a big life changing surgery.

Basically, other than being drop dead tired, I was living the dream. I remember thinking, “Wow! I’m really surprised I wasn’t affected by PPD. I thought for sure I would have some sort of issue but its really not been a problem at all.”

My was I wrong.

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So, how does a grown woman go about 8 months without realizing what she was actually going through? Because PPD is a sneaky, conniving, little, bitch, ladies.

I recently spoke to my sister and she confirmed my suspicions. She thought I might be suffering without realizing it, but let’s be honest, anyone going through that needs to realize it for themselves or they won’t change anything. So, let’s get real…

When Flynn was first born, I couldn’t be any more in love (and I still am!), but I genuinely thought he hated me. I mean I literally thought this little guy who had barely been on this Earth more than a couple of months loved my husband and hated me. Now that I look back on that, it makes me really sad. How could it have not dawned on me that feeling that way was my mind crying out that something was wrong?

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To carry something that you’ve grown yourself around for 9 months and watch your body change is an amazing and extremely hard thing to do.Β  Pregnancy, while beautiful and life changing, is HARD you guys…like…harder than you expect.

For the first few months I was so sick and in one of the worst depressions I’ve ever been in. Maybe that’s another blog post though. Let me know if you’d like to hear about the first trimester from my perspective.

MY point being…

You spend all that time growing and keeping something safe inside you and then the big day comes. You meet your sweet baby and everything feels just right. And then, it happens, PPD comes along and makes you think the thing you worked so hard to have despises you and that they don’t need you. And, you know what? It’s not fair at all that I felt like that.

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I know someone who thought about physically harming herself after giving birth. I also know someone else who had thoughts of hurting others too. I feel extremely lucky that mine never got so bad. However, any kind of emotional distress you’re going through that rocks you to your very core…needs to be addressed. That’s why i’m writing this blog- as a warning and a reminder from your friendly neighborhood blogging girl.

Are you listening???

LOOK FOR THE SIGNS OF POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION BEFORE IT GETS OUT OF CONTROL!Β None of us have to feel this way! PPD can be helped in so many ways.

I remember lying in bed and hearing Flynn start to cry- and I wanted to cry because it was two in the morning and that meant it was time to try breast pumping again. My husband would bring our boy close and feed him his bottle while I tried pumping; one of the most painful/exhausting/ and alienating things that I have ever done. Plus, I was barely producing so all of it felt like it was for nothing.

I’d watch Zack feeding Flynn and I’d feel my boobs getting more and more sore and I wanted to burst into tears…and sometimes I did.Β  But again and again, I told myself it wasn’t PPD. I thought it was sleep deprivation and that was the end of it. All the while I thought about how I wasn’t helping Flynn and Zack was doing everything. I couldn’t help it. No matter how much I told myself, “You just went through a HUGE surgery. You need to take it easy. The dishes can be done later. You’ll get your body back in time.” I always felt like I wasn’t providing enough to my family (and sometimes I still struggle with this thought).

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Now that Flynn is sleeping through the night and I’m a bit more rested, I can see that sleep deprivation was only one factor in what was going on.

Before I make this blog into a super bummer of a post, I’ll sum it up here.

PPD is not something you have to go through by yourself. Speak up and don’t be ashamed. No one deserves to feel like that and there are plenty of others who will understand what you’re going through.

I’m SO PROUD to say that I am now seeing an amazing therapist who gives me homework each week I see her. I’m changing my outlook on life and I am becoming a much happier person for it. I truly think everyone could benefit from seeing a therapist. No matter how good your life is, you know you still have your stuff.

Self care is important…and don’t you forget that!

Ellen πŸ™‚

Baby Flynn’s 8 Month Update!

You guys…my baby is 8 MONTHS OLD!!! How and when did that happen?

When he was first born, he was so tiny.

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“What are these people doing to me?”

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“Ugh, not this again.”

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“Woah…shiny!”

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“Yeah…I know I’m a stud. Just like my dad.”

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“Did someone say Baba?”

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“Daddy is SOOOO funny!”

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“I don’t know if you guys realized but…IT’S COLD!”

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“I am a sweet angel…now change my diaper!”

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Flynn loves:

-Green beans

-Saying “Dada”

-Giving Mommy sloppy kisses

-Bath time!

-Playing with his Christmas presents

-Laughing at Willow

Flynn,

you are our heart and soul. We love you so much, little nugget. You’ve changed our lives. Really, you have. When I get to snuggle you in your rocking chair at night and at each naptime, I get to smell your sweet baby head and take you in. You’re the definition of perfect.

We love you sweet baby Flynn!

-Mommy

Dear Flynn: A letter from mom.

Flynn,

I remember the day I had you so clearly. The night before, we went and got Hibachi and i’m pretty sure I ate my weight in fried rice since I knew I wouldn’t be eating for a while. It was a good thing too because you didn’t want to come out of there!

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“Nope…it’ll still be a while.” was like the anthem of that night.

I stayed up all night with contractions and watched the Food Network while your dad slept on the most uncomfortable pull out couch in the history of existence. In retrospect, watching the Food Network while hungry was probably not the best idea.

They gave me some medicine to help me sleep and when I woke up they made me get on my side because something was wrong. They couldn’t find your heartbeat. It was one of the scariest moments of my life.

Suddenly, they were tossing your dad some scrubs and wheeling me passed him and into another room to have an emergency C-Section.

I knew I was in good hands and I was strangely calm. While doctors whizzed around my head, I watched and smiled, knowing i’d be meeting you soon and you’d be happy and healthy. I just knew you’d be. And guess what? You were!

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Dad has some really awesomely gross pictures of you coming out of me. You can choose for yourself if you want to see them or not. I’m guessing not…:P

I remember hearing your first cry- it was beautiful and loud. Your dad got choked up, looked at me, and said, “He’s here”. I can literally see that moment as if it’s happening before my eyes. “He’s here”- two of my most favorite words now.

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Dad snapped some photos while they were looking you over and came and showed me what you looked like. I couldn’t believe how cute you were (are)! I look back at pictures now and I can’t believe you’re so tiny. Not the big boy who’s currently laying on the rug and playing with a package of boogie wipes. Side note: When did you get SO big?! And why are you playing with those Boogie Wipes when there are like 5 Billion toys behind you?

You changed my heart- right then and right there. Not just spiritually but also in the way that made me forget all the worry and fear of becoming a mother. Suddenly, I was given this amazing responsibility and a little person to make my heart grow bigger and bigger everyday. And hopefully, I can make yours do the same.

I fall in love with you more and more each day, kid. You have no idea.

Our doctor started talking to me about Bing Crosby to keep me entertained while he took care of everything left to do. Random…but it worked and I was grateful. Plus, I have random knowledge of Bing and that seemed to impress Dr. Davis so that was pretty cool. F.Y.I.: He was a pretty terrible person…Bing Crosby…not Dr. Davis. He was a BOSS!

Dad was reading me everyone’s well wishes while we waited to hold you. Facebook and our phones were BLOWING UP!!! You popular little guy you.

They wheeled us back into other room and we tried breast feeding…you weren’t a fan. Eh…what can you do?

Everyone came and visited us. Your uncle (and the guy you were named after), Taylor, was the first one in the door. We were so happy and so in love. Everyone was. And we still are.

Your little eyes looked up at me and I breathed you in. I’ll never forget kissing the wrinkles on your fore-head when you scowled. It still makes me smile when I think about it- and I do- daily.

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Our nurses kept saying, “He’s the most beautiful baby!”- They were right…even if I might be just a little biased.

But seriously, you’re a carbon copy of your daddy, so of course you’re a cutie!

I just had to pause writing this so I could take you to rock you to sleep for a little nap. I was thinking about everything I wanted to say to you:

  • You cuddled up against me is something I cherish. I look forward to these moments when we can sit a snuggle together.
  • You smell like Dreft baby detergent (and that smells like magic).
  • Your little soft fingers curled around mine and it made my heart melt.
  • I just love you more than you’ll ever know, nugget.
  • You just farted…and it was epic.

I digress…

Later, when you were in the nursery, dad and I got served a CRAZY amazing meal! They had steak, mashed potatoes, mozzarella sticks, chicken wings, chocolate desserts…and so much more!

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You came to join us after a while and we were so thrilled to see you!

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We stayed in the hospital a few days until it was FINALLY time to head home. If you’re reading this as an adult and don’t know what your going home hat is…then we have FAILED as parents!!!

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We just had the best (and most exhausting) time when we all got home. Family had left meals for us and cleaned up. It was just a time where you, your daddy, your dog Willow, and I could be together and just enjoy our time.

Since dad is a teacher, he got the Summer off. It took a whole year to get pregnant with you. Were you waiting so dad could spend your first few months at the house? Sometime I wonder…smart kid.

It was the most beautiful time in my life so far. The Summer air lofted around us each day, the trees blew a cool breeze as we sipped sweet tea on the porch, and you sat in your swing in the living room and rocked back and forth while we watched you with anticipation of what you were going to do next. Beautiful- like a long book that you never want to end.

I’ll be honest, there were some days where I wasn’t sure if I was good enough to be your mother. How could someone who still feels a little like a kid herself be a mom to this little sweet baby boy? Was I cut out for such a job? Was I worthy of this amazing blessing?

Sometimes I still wonder how I got so lucky, but ultimately, I know our hearts were meant for each other. You’re my little love in life…your daddy is my big love. πŸ˜›

You are my son, my whole world, and my best little buddy. I hope you grow up loving life and living it to its fullest.

I promise to let you be a little boy and get dirty sometimes.

I promise to let you be a little wild if you want to be, but I also promise to reign you in when needed.

I promise to always protect you.

I promise we’re gonna make this life of yours one heck of a fun time!

And finally, I promise to remember these times with you as if they were happening in real time. Because these are the most precious moments we are going to have together, and they deserved to be bundled up and locked in a box for safe keeping.

This is why mommy started this blog, to share with you one day and to help other “Millennial” mom’s live out these precious moments (that sometimes aren’t so precious).

Just know this Flynn, mom and dad, we have your back.

Before I end this letter to you, I wanted to write some things down to share with you and so that I can remember them:

  • You always suck on your two fingers to soothe yourself- my little self soother!
  • You LOVE bath time!
  • You got three tool boxes for Christmas- you’re so much like your dad already!
  • You are the spitting image of daddy
  • DIMPLES FOR DAYYYYYZZZZ!!!
  • You give me wet sloppy kisses
  • You think the curtains in your room are hilarious
  • We live next to a horse stable and we see them when we leave and come home each day.
  • Willow makes you laugh.
  • Your crib is your happy place.
  • Mom calls you “Flynnie The Pooh”.

oh…and also…marry you best friend one day. It’s amazing. Trust me.

My prediction for you:

  • You’re going to be JUST like dad!

And I couldn’t be happier about it…more of the man that I love!

So, kid, that’s it. A letter from your mom. Above all else, I want you to know how loved you are. There are family members up here constantly to see you and we love it! I want you to feel love every second of you life.

My beautiful baby boy, you are everything i’ve ever wished or dreamed for. You are my heart. You are our greatest adventure.

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