Being Vulnerable & Sharing My Story

2.04.2016

For over 5 years I've struggled with pelvic floor pain, later diagnosed as Vaginismus, and many of those years I felt extremely isolated and alone when it came to my problem. I would tell some friends and family, but I still felt alone because no one else had experienced it. The only thing someone can say is, "I'm sorry. That sucks." It's really hard to this day to hear women talk about their sex life, because I'm usually the only one who struggles with this pain.


I finally decided to write about my experience on Austin Moms Blog, and then I recorded a podcast with my friend, Jess Lively. I immediately felt liberated and terrified at the same time. Since the blog post and podcast went live almost a year ago, I've received dozens of emails from women who struggle with Vaginismus and other pelvic floor issues. Every email I receive brings tears to my eyes as these women I've never met pour out their hearts to me. They share some of the most intimate stories and secrets of their life...to a complete stranger. But we are connected, and we understand each other's struggles. I've always been an open book, but talking about such an intimate topic is tricky. I'm so glad I shared my story, because I've been able to encourage others and help them to find treatment in the form of women's physical therapy. Their emails help me to feel not so alone.

I guess what I'm trying to say in this post is...share your story. Don't be afraid to be vulnerable.

Maui, Hawaii Vacation

1.27.2016

Alex and I took a trip to Maui, Hawaii this past July to celebrate the wedding of Alex's brother, Andrew, and his new wife Sarah. We took an entire week off, and my mom and sis were kind enough to watch Turner for us.  I was 8 weeks pregnant at the time, and had just confirmed I was having twins before we left. It was a trip of a lifetime, but I don't think I'll ever go back to Hawaii. It was beautiful, but I have a lot more beachy places on my bucket list (Greece, Australia, Fiji, Brazil, Costa Rica, Turks and Caicos, and more)!

I took a TON of photos, and have been overwhelmed with what to post so I simply put it off. Here are just a few photos and memories from the trip.

We stepped on the beach for the first time and saw this...a huge sea turtle! What a way to start the trip.
Surfing was an absolute blast, even pregnant!
The beautiful backdrop to Andrew & Sara's Wedding at the Ritz Carlton.
Laughing our butts off watching the men do a traditional Hawaiian dance at the rehearsal dinner.
The beach right below our condo
Exploring the many waterfalls along the Road to Hana
Our absolute favorite waterfall we discovered on the Road to Hana. We had to do some trekking to get here, but it was worth it! The water was so refreshing.
View from our bedroom window
Loved cruising in the jeep
Scuba diving was not my favorite. My ears and head would hurt, and I got super claustrophobic/anxious when I was underwater.
Alex's #1 request for the trip was that we rented a jeep w/a removable top. Request met!
About to jump off...unfortunately I couldn't be a dare devil since I was pregnant.
An awesome beach hidden away that we randomly stumbled upon. That's the greatest part about Hawaii, you can run in to something beautiful with every turn.
I have so many more photos, but I won't overload them on you. I would love to take another kidless vacation this year for my 30th birthday, but I don't see that happening with the new babies and our budget. Maybe we can take a weekend trip somewhere local? I absolutely love adventuring and seeing the world with Alex, and it's extremely important for us to have time away from the kids to reconnect.

Do you take kid-less vacations? Any recommendations for affordable beach destinations?

Life Since The Arrival of Walt & Whitney

1.22.2016

Well, if you haven't seen my social media posts....Walt & Whitney are here! I wanted to pop in and give you a little life update. I can't wait to share their birth story with you...it's crazy! As I read over my last post before I went in to labor, it's crazy to think how life has dramatically changed since. I wanted to touch on a few topics I previously wrote about.


Preparation: 
  • Well, my bag was semi-packed when I went in to labor, but honestly I didn't wear anything in my bag except a pair of leggings and a nursing robe on my ride home. I brushed my teeth every day and took 1 shower but that was about it when it came to using my toiletries. I ended up wearing hospital robes the entire time because I didn't want to get my personal clothes dirty. I only had a few visitors, and I honestly didn't care what I looked liked.
  •  I've been using my Earth Mama Angel Baby products like crazy...thank you bottom spray and nipple balm for making me feel a bit better.
Anxiety:
  • I decided to put the babies in their Rock n' Plays the first night home in their room, but honestly I felt like they were way too small to be in them. The next night I put them in a MamaRoo and RockaRoo which has been much better. I've turned them on a few times at night, but during the day they nap in them (without movement) between feedings. They sleep for longer stretches during the day (3-3 1/2 hours) than at night...of course.
  •  Breastfeeding: Oh goodness....I will write a whole post dedicated to this, but I lasted a week. It honestly wasn't a tough decision to stop, because I was miserable. I've decided to pump instead, and I've had to supplement with formula when I don't make enough for each feeding. I'm pumping about 4 oz. every 3 hours, and the babies eat 2-3 oz. every 3 hours. 
  • Turner loved meeting the babies, and has been super sweet. He pretends like he is a baby tiger or cat every time he is around them and rubs his face on their foreheads. I don't blame him, because the babies' faces are so stinkin' soft! My in-laws were in town the day after the babies were born and offered to take Turner home with them to Dallas for a week. At first I was hesitant, because I didn't want him to think we were shipping him off or abandoning him. But the first night we came home from the hospital was crazy. Turner was super hyper and all over the place, and I immediately knew that it would be an easier first week at home adjusting to the babies if Turner wasn't home (sounds mean, but it's true).  He has a blast with his grandparents anyway, so I know he is well taken care of and getting much more attention than we would be able to give him right now. 
  • Alex and I have been doing really good together at home, even though we both have cabin fever. He's been a huge supporter when I've broken down multiple times, and given me multiple back massages when I'm so tight from breastfeeding. At night, I find myself clinging to him (I'm always the big spoon...and now I don't have a belly keeping me away). He's been able to sleep at night thanks to my mom getting up with me during the night to help with feedings, and then will watch the babies more during the day so my Mom and I can nap.
Random:
  • My mom has been with me since the babies were born, and her help is more than I could ask for. I'm so thankful for her support, help, and comfort.  I think most women find comfort in their mother's being there for them after the birth of a child. Thinking about her leaving terrifies me. She will be staying with me for another 2 weeks, and I'm extremely grateful for her taking the time off of work to be with me and the babies.
  • I'll be sharing the twin's birth story on my friend's podcast, The Birth Hour, next week and will let you know once it's live. 
  • Alex and I actually got to go on a date when the babies were a week old. We wanted to try out the new HopDoddy location in Round Rock, and my Mom didn't really want to go and said she would stay with one of the babies. We took Walt because he had just eaten....poor Whitney got left behind on our first outing. Walt slept through the entire dinner (the advantage of newborns).
  • I've taken a bath almost every night and done by hair while my Mom is here. I don't go many places other than the doctor, but it's nice to feel normal. When I was getting dressed to go out with Alex, I thought my body was smaller than it was and tried to put on some non-maternity jeans. Big mistake. I've dropped 25lbs., but my body is still not back to it's pre-baby form (obviously and that's OK). I forget how much my hips shift. I'll be wearing lots of leggings and my maternity jeans for quite a while.  
  • I've received so many messages from friends and family and even strangers on Instagram about helping with the babies. I am beyond grateful for everyone's support and kinds words. I was having a few rough days ago, and I posted a photo to IG about my struggle as a new mom and experiencing the baby blues. I received an outpour of encouragement, and it definitely helped brighten my spirits!
Leaving the hospital

At Home Feature: 5 Tips for Styling Shelves

1.20.2016

I recently collaborated with At Home in styling my built-in shelves located in my living room. I was so tired of staring at my decor, but I was stuck in a rut trying to decide what to do with them. The decor hadn't changed since we moved in over 2 years ago. I went with a neutral color scheme so that it would be versatile all year round, and I'm so happy with the final look. Check out my 5 tips for styling shelves on At Home's blog HERE!

Top 5 Favorite Maternity Outfits

1.13.2016

During this pregnancy I have found much cuter maternity clothing than I did with Turner over 3 years ago. I've picked a few of my favorite outfits to share with you mostly based on comfort!

1.) I love this Texas Tuxedo look (sorry, I don't call it a Canadian Tuxedo. My Dad sports this look everyday), because I would wear this non-maternity. I'm a jean lover, so these maternity rockstar jeans from Old Navy were life savers when it came to recreating my distressed skinnies. I do have to admit that they were a tad uncomfortable when they would sag (the side panel is comfy but tends to fall off my frame).

Top/Jeans: Old Navy. Hat: Cotton On. Boots: Justin (Thrifted). Hat: Cotton On.



2.) I bought this skirt a few years ago knowing that I would wear it for maternity since it was a size too big. I love the pop of color, and it's super flowy and comfy. It's always nice to find skirts that look flattering over the bump, especially when you're in the stage of "kind of showing". It helps people to see that it's not a beer gut!

Top: Old Navy (Non-Maternity). Skirt: Boutique in Fredericksburg (Non-Maternity). Sandals: Gap.
3.) This flannel top from PinkBlush Maternity was comfy, covered my bum, and I loved the neutral color. It was so easy to throw on with leggings and add my over the knee boots. P.S. You NEED some over-the-knee boots! I rotated dresses + leggings and tunics + leggings A LOT, but the boots added that extra flair and made me feel very dressed up. Thankfully I didn't have swelling in my feet, so I was able to wear all my boots and shoes throughout my pregnancy.

Top: PinkBlush Maternity. Leggings: Motherhood Maternity. Boots: Aldo
4.) I bought these jeans at Cotton On on a whim about halfway through my pregnancy, and they have been life savers! They have a drawstring waist band (size 6), and have continued to fit my belly throughout the ENTIRE pregnancy. My maternity jeans don't even fit at this point (36 weeks). My go to for comfy tees has always been Gap, and their maternity tees don't disappoint. This top is only $14.99 right now!

Top: Gap. Vest: Belk. Jeans: Cotton On (Non-Maternity). Shoes: Converse
5.) This non-maternity Cotton On t-shirt dress has been my favorite dress to throw on with a pair of leggings and riding boots. I'm a huge fan of under the belly leggings and jeans. I bought a 2 pack of leggings from Motherhood Maternity (blue & black), and have worn them over and over again with tops and dresses.

Dress: Cotton On (Similar). Leggings: Motherhood Maternity. Boots: Nine West. Scarf: ASOS. Coat: Nordstrom

These days I'm mostly living in sweatpants, and I'm excited to get back to my normal clothes. I will definitely be selling all of my maternity outfits, just not sure where. Any ideas of where I can get the most bang for my buck? Instagram Sale? ThredUp?

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