The “in between truth,” two.

I’ve had some blue days lately – actually more than I’d like to admit. I’d, therefore, like to take this time to do a little sharing for the sake of introspection. Hope that’s cool.

I’ve received such amazing feedback from friends, family, and the readership on my post about PPD and, from it, a steady flow of concern and well wishes stemming from then on. I️ feel thankful and honored to have people who care and want to see my motherhood journey, and my families growth, flourish.

Unfortunately, however, I’ve pulled back into my routine of putting on my “I’m Okay Hat” and greet every question about my mental and physical state accordingly.

“Yes, I️ feel okay” has become an automated response, even when I’m far from it, and “everything is going to be okay” is what I️ tell myself when the going gets blue. And while everything really will be okay, and actually everything is going GREAT, sometimes I️ need a little reminding of the bigger picture and of the joys of this season in life to pull me out of my funk.

This whole experience is so fascinating when you stop to think about the emotional experience at play. Im so in awe of this growing child and am falling more in love with her every day. I’m writing this while feeding her and as I️ look down at her precious little face, so innocent and content, I️ can’t help but feel uplifted and relaxed. It’s in these moments that I️ feel alive.

But the “up” can be fleeting and, lately, has become more and more rare. I️ get up from feeding my Adds and am many times washed over by indifference and apathy. I’m painted by blues and grays. I️ can go days without stepping outside and – if not intentionally prevented – enclosed in the house with the curtains drawn. Luis and I️ jokingly laugh and call Addie “la vampira” because she’s so fair and squints when we take her outside, but sometimes I’m the one who feels like the vampire. Like a serious, real-life recluse.

It even spills over into spending time with people who make me happy. I️ find myself dodging plans and coming up with excuses to not socially engage. I️ don’t mind being around people and actually feel good when I️ am, but I️ find myself more drawn to the 10 second conversation with the cashier at Target than the sit-down with a beloved friend because the depth of conversation feels increasingly overwhelming. Like, I️ realize, “how have you been?” is an easy question to answer while sitting here, but in the moment it makes me anxious and uncomfortable. But please don’t stop asking – I’ll get over this, I️ swear.

The saving grace in all of this is that I’ve consciously built a daily routine where I️ throw open the curtains first thing in the morning, sing my made up “Helping Mommy Make the Bed” song to Addie, and (with coffee in hand) run errands or go on morning walks with the Bubs to get us out of the house.

It keeps me in check and safeguards against absorbing into the couch. The sad part is that I’m not even lazy, which would make me lounge all day – I️ just know I️ can stare off into oblivion, thinking about nothing or everything at once for longer than is productive.

Perhaps I️ need to write more often because this outlet is where I️ am most truthful. The more I️ pour out, the better I️ feel every time. But then again, how often can I️ say the same thing and expect different results? We know what that’s the definition of and I refuse to fall into that trap!

So, in the realization that life is too short to dwell and with focusing on all that is good and beautiful – I️ continue on with a thankful and grateful heart.

Thank you for this time to share more than normal about my personal struggles. There’s always more amazing to come.

Almost done.

In nearing the end of grad school (less than 5 weeks left!!), I’ve gotten a lot of questions about my experience, like, knowing what I know now who I choose to do it again? and my opinion of online platforms over the traditional classroom setting.

There’s a lot of different ways to answer these questions and, tbh, my response could change from one day to the next depending on how certain parts of the class are going (i.e., group work, group members, discussion with groups…), really, anything with other people tends to put me on edge – OOPS.

group project(literally the truest meme of all time)

So, we’ll start with the easy answer: yes, I would do it again. I love the flexibility that attending an online program provides, especially as a working individual. Traditional classrooms are great for one-on-one conversations, but some people (like myself) actually thrive in the online environment because they (we) have more time to complete a formulaic response, rather than providing one-off remarks. So for me, the online program was a great addition to my education tool-belt.

I would, however, be weary about the kind of program individuals are getting themselves into when choosing to online study. With that said, I did A LOT of research before applying for Hawaii Pacific University. I searched up and down for accreditation information, reviews, and types of degrees to ensure I wasn’t throwing my money away, which can sometimes happen with online programs that aren’t reputable.  I ensured that the program was WASC accredited (something I personally wanted in a degree), that is was comparable to what was being taught on campus (both in deadlines and content), and that the platform was dependable for online use. Luckily, the program I chose met all of my criterion and BlackBoard was the platform of choice – one I had used while an undergrad at California State University, Stanislaus.

Also, the courses I was taking online where the exact classes being taught on campus, meaning I had to keep up with all the students who were physically in the classroom. This kept me on track and accountable. Other online programs give you requirements at the beginning of the semester and virtually say “get all of this done by the end of the semester and we’ll call it good.” That scenario had too much leeway for me to get distracted and not complete work – especially with Addie being all cute and growing up over here and what not.

In fact, most of the students in my online classes chose to take the computer-based course solely because it fit better with their schedules, not because they were located off-island. So, in all reality, they were on the beach sipping Mai Tais or something while I was over here changing diapers and drinking… coffee! This also meant that I was many times the only person in class who wasn’t on “Hawaii Time” (i.e., Hawaii Standard Time), so I was always three hours ahead of those in my classes and had a perceived bit of extra time to complete assignments!

As for the class platform, HPU (like most accredited universities), uses BlackBoard like I mentioned above. Since I’d already used this tool, I easily was able to communicate and turn in assignments online. It’s actually really user-friendly and I never had problems with services being down, so two thumbs-up for that! I would definitely recommend choosing a program that uses BlackBoard because of this reliability.

Finally, the content of program was a JOY. Now, this is where feelings about graduate programs will differ for everybody, but my advice is that if you don’t love it – don’t do it! Before deciding to complete my Master’s degree at HPU, I had applied to and enrolled at Arizona State University. The school is great, the program offerings are enormous, and I was really happy with the format of the classes, but unfortunately the program I was in just wasn’t tickling my fancy. I decided early on that it wasn’t for me and I want to say dis-enrolling and finding a different, more Emily-suited program was the best decision I have made for myself in a long time. I was embarrassed at first because it felt like I had failed because I was pulling out of the program, but looking back I see that this was a FABULOUS decision. Higher education is such an investment and there is really no reason to pursue something that you’re not INVESTED in!

So, any who, back to my current program: I have thoroughly enjoyed my area of study. Organizational Change and Development is a passion and pairs so nicely with my undergraduate degree in Communication Studies: Organizational Communication. I have had no qualms with 90% of the assignments and expectations of my program. The remaining 10% comes in when, you guessed it, I’m expected to complete GROUP WORK (cue dramatic, yet woeful music).

Now, I don’t think I’m the only person to say that working in a group to write a paper or complete a research project is LIKE THE WORST… but it’s even WORSE than WORSE when people are entitled, very obviously think they’re the smartest person in the (digital) room, and insist on doing things their way EVERY STEP OF THE WAY.

But, hey, even thought I didn’t LOVE working with *more than my fair share* of ridiculous individuals in the Master’s program, it was a true representation of working with people in real life, right? I mean, you’re going to find those people everywhere – and you HAVE to learn to work with them. Either that, or you let them under your skin and you literally LOSE IT on a daily basis.

That’s no fun.

That’s how you end up in jail.

For assault.

From throwing a sharpened pencil in someone’s eye.

While it was open.

“Accidentally.”

GP

So, as I sit here having just submitted my Capstone Project that marks the *almost* end of my two year-long program, I’m excited to say I’m almost a MASTER! And since I haven’t publically presented my research yet, I will share the title here: Quality Relationships in the Workplace: A Determinant of Climate? 

And… in case you couldn’t guess, it is! 

Quality relationships are SO IMPORTANT and are something I’m immensely passionate about. Now I’m not talking about being BFFs with everyone and kumbaya-ing around the water cooler. I’m referencing the ways in which leaders engage and manage staff to create a safe, structured, and productive work environment. In turn, this creates a positive organizational climate and more effective work groups! For more – read my paper 🙂

So… if you have other graduate school questions, let me know! I’m definitely not an expert, but I’ve been through it so I can, at  the very least, point you in the right direction!

Until Next Time

 

 

Adventure is out there.

The last few weeks have been a whirlwind. The beginning of October seems like light-years in the past while Thanksgiving and Christmas are sneaking up on us and I’m not quite ready.

My closest friends are always the first to make fun of me at this time of year because I “holiday hop” over Halloween and Thanksgiving and go straight to Christmas. Decorating, music, and festivities are usually in full swing by November 1st in the Ruiz Household… but this year, we’re taking the holidays as they come, and I’m desperately trying not to get ahead of myself.

Since my last post, some pretty cool stuff has happened. To start, I’ll begin by bragging on my girl. Addie just turned three months old and, I swear, the milestone turned her into a whole new baby.

Here’s the condensed list of the things she miraculously learned to do overnight:

  • She climbed a tree
  • Scraped her knee
  • Her dress, it got a tear
  • She waltzed on her way to mass
  • Then whistled on the stair

Haha! Jk, jk… I’m a trickster, I know.

But in all seriousness…. If you didn’t get that whimsical reference, I’m going to need you to stop here, brush up on your classic musical library, and then we can be friends again.

Assuming that song is now sufficiently stuck in your head, I know it is in mine, let’s try again with Adeline’s list of accomplishments:

  • She rolled over for the first time
  • She clasps her hands together in front of her chest (almost clapping!)
  • She burps unassisted when we sit her up
  • She is extremely aware
  • Her head control is out of this world
  • And she’s getting cuter and cuter everyday… but you could’ve already guessed that!

While all of these fabulous things are happening and we couldn’t be happier, she’s having some bouts with colic that are almost as hard on us as they are on her. Pobrecita. Some of the worst nights we’ve had as of late occurred while we were on vacation in Boston. It was definitely sad times, McGee.

Speaking of Boston: me, my mom, and Luis got our happy butts on that cross-country flight with Addie in toe and made it through an extensive day of travel with absolutely no tears. It was pretty darn miraculous, if I do say so myself. I definitely thought Luis would have shed at least a few tears.

In preparation for the flight we made some goodie bags for our fellow travelers that were stuffed with ear plugs, a few treats, and a note from Addie. She asked that they be patient with her if she got fussy, but luckily she was great and no one had to use their plugs because of her.

Goodie Bag

Boston, itself, was a beautiful city! We enjoyed the views, the historical landmarks we could get to with our limited time, and got to visit Harvard (which was my personal favorite!). I was in my final 20 hours of training for barre certification while there, so I didn’t get as much site-seeing done as I would have liked, but I can officially say I’ve taken the accredited (and proctored) barre exam to become an instructor and am now just waiting on the results. Yaay!

Boston

This, the Union Oyster House, is the oldest restaurant in the United States! It’s been continually in business since it’s establishment in 1826!

Harvard 3

Here is me, my mom, and Addie standing in front of the infamous gates of Harvard. They say you should only pass through them twice in your lifetime: once when you’re entering the University as a freshman and second as you’re leaving as a graduate. As you can see, we didn’t walk through.

Salem

We also made our way up to Salem, MA. With it being October, and all, we thought it would be the perfect opportunity to visit this WITCHY town!

Barreee

And then there I am with my training group right before we took the exam to get certified by Exhale to teach barre ❤

Speaking of barre… if you’ve never tried it out and you’re interested in taking your first class at Barre Defined in Turlock, create a client profile here, schedule yourself for a class, and then use promo code: EMILYGUEST during checkout for 20% off!

As for things that are upcoming, I can’t wait to share that I am involved in a new project that has got me FULL of excitement! Luis and I and two of our friends (Michelle and Andre) are starting a Disney movie podcast called The Walt Vault. We’ve had the idea for this podcast for over a year and are excited to see it finally come to life! We’ve recorded our first episode and it’s set to release in JUST TWO DAYS on all of your favorite podcast networks including iTunes, Google Play, and online on our website. You can also find us on Instagram and Twitter @thewaltvaultpod

There you’ll find updates on what our latest episodes have to offer and will be able to interact with us as we record new content. Our first episode, coming out just in time for Halloween, is our take on the 90’s classic Hocus Pocus. We can’t wait for you to take a listen and hope you LOVE it. If you do, feel free to subscribe and rate us so other Disney movie lovers can find us and listen too!

walt-vaulttt.png

Until Next Time

I haven’t forgotten.

My last day of work for Stanislaus County was this last week and woo-wee that feels a little weird. I mean, I haven’t been to work since mid-June so it’s not physically weird that I’m not on the job, but the idea of not having a full-time, paid position is a little hard to wrap my mind around. But you know what? I’m excited. I’m blessed. I’m super grateful. And for the first time in a long time – I’m not worried.

I’m finally starting to feel secure in being a mom and every time I look at Adeline I’m reminded that because I’ve been given the opportunity to stay home, there’s nowhere else I could possibly be! That’s pretty dang reassuring in itself, and anytime I’m feeling overwhelmed I try to remind myself that everything works itself out. I mean, it does, doesn’t it?!

Tummy Time

But speaking of being overwhelmed… or, at least, moderate-whelmed. I’m currently wrapping up my Master’s capstone project (i.e., thesis-in-a-semester) and my second to last class EVER. Thank the Lord! Group projects are sucking out my soul, because… that’s what they were invented for. I’ll just say they’re doing that job a little too well, if you know what I mean. I’m also working through petitioning to graduate, so, it’s gets real! REAL QUICK! This program is almost done and I can’t wait.

I’m also in the process of getting certified to teach barre. Whoop-whoop! I just finished the first 20 hours of in-studio training of the required 40 before I take the proctored test in less than two weeks (eek!).

Training

Oh, and MOST IMPORTNATLY… I’m doing this full time milk production, baby loving thing. It consists of lots of sudsy baths, more messes than I can keep up with, and the BEST kisses you could possibly ask for. So, there’s that, too!

It’s funny though. Every time I turn around the laundry needs to be done again and I’m behind on dusting, let alone homework that’s due. But in those moments I have to think about priorities – will I get that homework done? Yes. But would I rather spend that initial time with Addie? HECK YES.

So, as I sit here writing this with Addie cooing next to me – I’ll have to cut it short because she’s growing up too fast (cue the tears).

Until Next Time

Daddy and Addie.

In honor of my husband’s birthday week and my overwhelmed heart that bursts for his amazing dad-ness and husbandry, I’d like to dedicate this post as a special “Daddy and Addie” segment on “Wife Life” and Beyond.

I’ve talked quite a bit in previous posts about how much I love Luis and my appreciation for his contributions to our life, so I won’t drone on. I will, however, point out that in going through and choosing the pictures I share below, I realized JUST HOW MUCH of a wonderful soul Luis is, inside and out. Not just towards me and Addie, but regarding everyone he interacts with – his students, his classmates, his extended family, and beyond. Talk about being thankful to have someone like this to rub off on me, especially when I’m feeling extraordinarily prickly!

Even more impressive to me is that Luis doesn’t get to spend as many moments with Adeline as I do because he is hard at work every day providing for us in more ways that we could count. He does, however, make the most of the time that he is here, doing as much as he can to love on and take care of both me and our girl. He says he’s just trying to “do his part,” but little does he know he’s doing a million times more. 

So, before we start with the water works (I just finished applying my non-waterproof mascara), let’s hop to it.

Here’s the entirety of my two favorites from the last two months.


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Until Next Time

Recipe: banana bread.

I don’t claim to be a great cook or baker, but there are a few things that I make pretty well. Trust me when I say that most of the creations that come out of my kitchen are spectacularly mediocre, but here in the Recipe posts on “Wife Life” and Beyond I will share with you the ones that are a little more fantastic – recipes that are actually a home run every time.

Note: Being a millennial (or at least a by-product of a family who doesn’t traditionally measure ANYTHING), I had quite a few questions when getting into my own kitchen for the first time – which was literally when I got married. No, my parents didn’t ban me from the kitchen growing up, I just didn’t have an interest in cooking or baking until it was my job to, ya know, keep my husband alive. I think that was in our vows somewhere.

Back to the good stuff: I had no idea there were different measuring cups for liquid and dry ingredients… I’ve been using the liquid/wet ingredient measuring cup for everything since getting married. It’s cool. Nothing has crashed and burned, yet. But before you laugh at me too hard, I’m just going to point out that Luis JUST learned that “fl oz” is not “Florida ounces.” So… on to today’s recipe.

BANANA BREAD

My most significant tried-and-true recipe is for banana bread. The original source of this baby is far gone, lost on some Pinterest board long forgotten, and has since been much altered by yours truly. I can’t say it’s because I’m a genius baker – more like I can’t leave anything alone. So, here’s the anti-nuts, no fluff, but always delicious recipe that makes the hubby and my tummy happy every time (plus my commentary because it wouldn’t be my recipe without it):

Ingredients

  • 2 to 3 very ripe bananas, peeled (like… peel should be falling off kind of ripe)
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar (1/2 cup for less sweet or 1 cup for more sweet) – the original recipe called for regular sugar but I actually prefer brown sugar here the best, but either works
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Butter/spray a 4×8-inch pan (that’s the bread pan, ya’ll… not the square one).
  3. In a mixing bowl, mash bananas with a fork until completely smooth. Stir melted butter into mashed bananas. When Luis is around while I’m making this recipe he insists on doing this part with the bottom of a drinking glass, smooshing the bananas to smithereens mortar-and-pestle-style, because he obviously likes to make things harder than they need to be.
  4. Mix in baking soda and salt. Stir in the sugar, beaten egg, and vanilla extract. Mix in the flour.
  5. Pour the batter into your pan. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit or until you can stick a toothpick (or whatever tester-y thing you use) in and remove it without stuff coming back out. Do that in the center – obviously. Now, I can’t fool proof this one for you – you have to know how your oven bakes. Mine, for instance, always needs the full amount of time. Because of that, I put my concoction in for 60 minutes and don’t have to check it anymore – I know it’s perfect once the timer goes off.
  6. Remove from oven and let cool. Most people would then remove the bread from the pan to slice and serve… but I’m lazy and just slice it in the pan. So, you do you.
  7. EAT!

That’s it! Seven easy steps and lots of extra wordiness from me! Enjoy ❤

Banana Bread

The latest.

Emily & Addie

We’re growing like weeds, ya’ll.

While Luis and I are not physically growing taller or wider (thank the Lord), our hearts are growing at least two sizes each and every day – cue a gif from the end of How the Grinch Stole Christmas… then multiply that by, like, a bajillion.

Addie, on the other hand, is a true weed – getting all big and strong and making her momma proud with each new day. Really, with each new moment. I swear I wake up in the morning like, “Ummm… excuse me. I just fed you a few hours ago and I’m sure you gained three pounds and grew at least a few more inches.” Seriously. This stuff is crazy.

She’s holding her head up like a champ during tummy time (which she totally hates) and will put pressure into her feet while being held up. I like to pretend like she’s standing… then I get over that real quick because if she’s standing at nearly two months we are ALL in trouble.

My girl is sleeping and eating and sleeping and eating – growing – and sleeping and eating and we couldn’t be happier. By all accounts she’s as healthy as a horse, but I would say much more beautiful – even though horses are quite majestic.

Speaking of majestic – her dang hair is literally growing exponentially and I don’t think anyone who’s met her has NOT commented on it. Everywhere we go people will see the car seat (which is many times shaded by the Car Seat Canopy) and say “awwwww, a baby!” and then we uncover it and they’re like, “OMG! I’m jealous of that head of hair! She looks just like her dad!” …. yeah, yeah.

I would just like to point out that:

I

have

hair,

too.

There, I said it.

Hair

It’s cool. It’s cool. I’m not butt hurt or anything.

But back to Adds: She likes the attention. She already knows she’s the cutest girl on the block. She’s constantly smiling at strangers or, at the very least, giving them a little side-eye that gets a laugh out of ’em and that’s good enough for me.

Side Eye

I’ve gotten quite a few questions about how she’s doing with colic (i.e., gas, for those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of experiencing it yet). Our girl has had some bouts and definitely cried *real* tears (I didn’t realize newborns don’t emit real tears early on), but she always comes out on the other side a happier baby – mostly because she got to toot out what ailed her. But hey, who can blame her? I think we’ve been extremely lucky because most blogs and research reports say bouts can last anywhere from minutes to hours and (again, THANK the Lord) we’ve experienced only the former, with 30-ish minutes being our longest encounter.

Lots of people have shared that colic can be linked to what mom eats, but – with me being me – I jumped on the trusted, never wrong or biased internet with help from my mom and Luis and found multiple studies that show no causal link between food consumption and baby’s gas. You’ll just as soon read 75 more, however, that say everything from salad (and virtually every other green out there) to coffee will effect baby’s retention of gas. Of course, getting the much needed vitamins and nutrients are extremely important through mom’s diet (regardless of if you’re breastfeeding or not), but I’m just going to throw out there that without coffee I can be an unmanageable hell beast, so we’re keeping coffee as a life essential. Priorities, people.

As for sleeping – Miss Adeline has been a trooper at night. Early on we set an alarm for feeding every 2-4 hours and would wake her up to ensure she was eating on schedule. Now we let her regulate – and boy, does she – waking up every 4 hours like clockwork. On nights where she had a colicky episode during the day, especially if it was after the 5 or 6 o’clock hour, she’ll sleep even longer. There’s been times where she’s literally slept for 7-8 hours! We’ve woken up like “HELLLLOOOOO OVER THERE!!” and she just smiles back from her bassinet with no tears and even a little giggle.

SIKE! she cries back *very loudly* with something that sounds like: “I’m hungry! Where’s breakfast?!”

But, it’s all the same in a mother’s eyes, right?

I think she just tires herself out and then has to sleep it off like a bad hangover, but with gas and milk instead of booz. It’s cool, I remember those days.

Sleeping

Gotta thank Louie for his sneaky camera skills on this one.

And then there’s her waking hours.

Let. Me. Just. Say. I could not be anymore IN LOVE (insert heart eyes emoji) with my baby girl when she’s awake. I mean, she’s cute and all when she’s sleepy and cuddly, but when she wakes up and (now that she’s making eye contact) looks at me… man! There’s nothing better.

She could totally pass for a Disney princess because she’s beautiful, of course, but her eyes literally take up half her face when she’s alert. Ever noticed that about the princesses? Their eyes are obnoxiously large. Just another beauty goal none of us can obtain, but then there’s my almost-two-month-old rocking trends that I’ll never pin down in my life time. Perfect sized eyes, long-ole eye lashes, and the best Jamie Lee Curtis pixie cut you’ve ever seen (literally, my most beloved hair style of all time) even after a sweaty nap. Talk about unfair!

The woes of motherhood, I know.

Speaking of woes – let’s just talk about how WOEFUL it is that I get to spend so much amazing time with this nugget while Luis has to go to work. I mean, of course we have to work, but I realize just how #blessed I am that I am getting to spend these wonderful moments with our daughter. I suppose that’s what makes the moments shared between Luis and Addie so much more beautiful, though.

When he gets home and sees her his face lights up like I’ve never seen before. I didn’t think I could see him so in love with someone other than me (that sounds bad, I know, but it’s true). When I watch him with Adeline my heart melts. Literally. All over the floor. He’s such a good dad. Gah! Ya’ll have to get yourself one of these if you don’t have one already. Marriage is much better than it looks societally and in the media, I promise!

Lastly, let’s recap on some of my favorite pictures from this week:

And there ya have it, folks!

Until next time ❤

 

Transition time.

It’s that time again – back to school.

For many people that means sending little ones off to new classrooms or, for my teacher-friends, readjusting their summer brains for another school year. While this is still true, this particular “back to school” period marks my last “first day” of grad school… thank the Lord! In less than four months I’ll be the proud recipient of a shiny new Master’s Degree and then it’ll officially be time to decide what being a grown up looks like in the future. However, I’ll procrastinate on that, I’m sure, so we’ll hold off on that discussion until a later date.

Being a momma has kept me busy up until this point and, as you can see, there’s no need to miss going to work because there’s a new boss in town telling me all about what needs to be done and when!

Boss Lady

She’s definitely the cutest boss I’ve ever had, so I guess I can’t complain.

Alas, back to grad school. In true higher education fashion, this semester is going to be a BEAST with three courses (aka, a full load) AND the completion of my capstone project (which might as well be a thesis jammed into one semester). So, with that said, if I’m like CRYING or *Cracked Out Fox* from now until Christmas, don’t worry too much. It’ll pass. Me and Addie can just throw tantrums together. It’s totally acceptable, right?

*Cracked Out Fox: I realize Luis and I use this phrase a lot and that people may not know what we’re talking about. Here, take a look:

Cracked out fox

Anywho, like I said, the next few months will be interesting enough with graduate school but also exciting because along with learning more about motherhood with my presh baby I will be going through the certification process to become a barre instructor. WHOOP!

I’ve shared multiple times that my obsession for barre runs deep, but now that I’ll be teaching AND attending classes (and working the front desk in between), I’ll try to keep the updates at a minimum… JUST KIDDING! If you haven’t read up on the fun of what barre is, or how attending classes POSITIVELY affected my pregnancy, click here for more info!

So, I’m super excited to take on this new adventure for many reasons. Here’s just a few:

(1) I love teaching group fitness! For those of you who don’t know, I used to choreograph musicals at my alma mater. I taught high schoolers with all levels of experience – from those who had never moved before in their life (like, you wondered if they’d even walked… they were THAT uncoordinated) to those who had years of dance and musical theatre experience. I loved teaching THEM ALL. The uncoordinated ones were actually my favorite because their improvement was amazing to watch, along with their confidence and dedication! From the first day of auditions during retreat where they stumbled around to the final performance months later, they proved that with a little courage and a LOT of practice, we can all tackle new opportunities SUCCESSFULLY! But, alas, since the lovely music director at the school retired I have not taught any type of dance or fitness and I find I TRULY miss it! Teaching barre classes will hopefully fill that void.

(2) I’m not the type to sit at home. Especially while I’m on maternity leave and transitioning into extended leave, there is NO WAY I can stay home every day, even if I’m doing small errands here and there to “get out of the house.” Now, hear me out. I LOVE being a mom and can’t believe how amazing the opportunity to stay home this long with Adeline has been, but there’s just no way I can be hobby-less. Also, continuing to have purpose outside of the home AND engage in adult conversations daily is actually really important. You wouldn’t imagine how the idea of your sig other coming home is THAT much more exciting when you’ve only talked to a baby all day. With that being said, I really appreciate having other amazing people in my life, moms specifically, who are going through similar situations and have been willing to share. Lynn who writes over at Venturing Mama just shared a post on her experience of moving to Texas and how the transition from having worked full time for many years to now being a stay at home momma has been on her. Her account definitely rings true for me and I agree that staying busy and finding people with common likes and activities makes the whole experience better, more manageable, and fulfilling! Personally, having always been the type to have a project or activity going on to keep me motivated and creative, I believe that teaching barre classes paired with the opportunity to tone up and stay fit will DEFINITELY equal a recipe for success (not to mention will be super FUN)!

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I mean, anyone down for WINE + BARRE?! … That’s what I thought.

(3) I believe in strengthening yourself, mentally AND physically. Every time I walk into the barre studio I feel this total self-empowerment vibe. There’s definitely a sense that the women are expecting me to put in my 100% effort, not because they want perfection, but because they care about me being the best version of myself, as an individual and as a client. They want me to be healthy, just like I want to be healthy. They want me to be strong, just like I want to be strong. They want me to feel confident and beautiful – regardless of my weight, my stature, my background, my baggage. I mean, who doesn’t want to be in a place like that? Somewhere that makes you happy AND healthy?! Just saying! It’s a win-win.

So, needless to say, I’m excited and can’t wait to start.

I invite you to come take a class, or just stop by for a visit to see me CRYING over school, *Cracked out Fox-ing* over being a first time mom, and/or pretending to have my life together! It’ll be fun and entertaining, I promise!

Now, before ending, I won’t pretend like you came here for anything other than exclusive baby pics, so HERE fiends: (yes, I said “fiends,” not “friends”)

1 AddiePondering what she’ll be when she grows up.

3 AddieModeling fresh out of the shower.

4 AddieAnd, finally… deciding on sleeping in her crib for the first time (in which she decided AGAINST).

**Update! As of 8/21 at 3:00 pm, Addie HAS napped in her crib! ** We are so proud!

Until next time ❤

 

 

One month in.

One of the most heartwarming things I’ve witnessed as a parent thus far has been watching my husband interact with our newborn. He is gentle and calm. He is loving and patient. He is also hilarious when half awake and changing her diaper in the middle of the night after having decided to watch just a few more episodes of The Arrow instead of falling asleep with the baby and I hours earlier…

These moments are priceless – the whole Mr. Miyagi vibe he channels during the day is eclipsed by more candid thoughts about what caring for a newborn is all about.

For the record, I transcribed the following WORD-FOR-WORD while listening to him change Addie’s diaper the other night. He was standing up and wiping her booty while I was sitting, muffling my giggles, and waiting for him to finish so I could swaddle her. He kept looking over his shoulder like, “why are you laughing?!” and all I could think was “oh, you just wait...”

Luis, in speaking to Adeline:

“Girl, why you doing twisties?”
“Unless you’re putting on your own diaper, don’t touch it.”
“Aw man. I got crap on my knuckles.”
“Don’t point that at me!” (in reference to her butt)
“Are you laughing at me?”

Luis, in speaking to me:

“I think she’s laughing at me.”
“Come over here and put that cream stuff on her.”
“Does this butthole come with an off switch?”
“I better not have gotten s*** in my ear. I mean, I shouldn’t have put my ear that close to the war zone, but honestly…”

… And once diaper duty is over:

“Gosh, I love this little nugget.”

It’s the small moments like these that make me love our little family more than I could ever dream of.

Who would have thought that being half-asleep and watching your sig other get pooped on would evoke such emotions? Well.. I am a little off-color sometimes so that might be part of it, but seriously, this stuff has been the best.

Other noteworthy moments from this week included:

  • Watching Adeline throw up on Luis three times in a row (once down his back, once down his chest, and the other… well.. the third time was on me, so that wasn’t as funny)
  • Dressing Adds in Luis’ favorite Football Club gear (yes, “football” as in “soccer,” for those non-international fans)
  • Discovering that if you sing “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” from the Mulan soundtrack (which apparently came out in 1998, subsequently making me feel EXTREMELY old), Addie will go right to sleep
  • Watching the babes do a half-roll over with minimal assistance
  • Laughing at all the faces she makes when doing, well, everything (she obviously got the dramatic facial expressions from me!)
  • Getting Adds’ first piece of mail. Her birth certificate and social security card make her all official (as if being born wasn’t official enough)

LFC Mitten

This is her in *one* of her now MANY Liverpool FC outfits.

Interestingly enough, even though this has been a fabulous week, we actually had one of the hardest experiences of (what I’m thinking was) colic where Addie just COULDN’T sleep for an almost 24 hour period. It was at this time where Luis and I took a serious look at our attempt at *kumbaya* parenting and decided that laughing at the more stressful parts of parenthood was going to be our approach because you can either LAUGH or CRY, but you have to get through it regardless. Choosing this more “go with the flow” approach has made our time together (and with Adeline) much more enjoyable and, in fact, has brought Luis and I closer together… Plus! It has aided us in some serious late night laugh sessions due to pure sleep-deprived delirium. As much as I wish we could’ve gotten some more sleep in the last week, I wouldn’t change any of these moments for the world!

With that being said, get ready to hear all about what happens when Luis goes back to work (the school year is starting up again, ya’ll) and Addie and I start this whole routine over on our own. I know it’ll be interesting and full of learning experiences! Oddly enough, I’m actually kind of excited even though we’ll both miss Louie during the day. Routine, however, will be a much needed friend now that Adeline is nearing one month old (CUE THE TEARS… I’m not ready!). WAH!

So, more to come soon, but until then – here’s some cuteness to hold you over.

Flamingo

When your water breaks.

Multiple people have asked me about what going into labor was like and how I knew it was happening, so I thought I’d take some time to share what my water breaking experience was like.

I didn’t think this would be a *thing* for me because apparently only 8% of women have their water break before feeling contractions that signal something is happening down there (at least that’s what they led me to believe on Pinterest). I also wasn’t holding my breath for Adeline to be born on her due date because they say only 5% of first time mothers give birth on that given day. So, when I woke up at 5:00 am on Addie’s due date with some wetness in my undercarriage area, and very well knowing I hadn’t peed myself, I questioned my initial reaction of: “maybe this is it.”

I kept touching the bed to see if I was imagining things or if I really had leaked some water. I went to the bathroom when I couldn’t decide and, low and behold, there was something going on. I went back into the bedroom, getting ready to say something witty to Luis, like “YOU READY TO HAVE THIS BABY?!” but then I began to doubt that my water had actually broke again. How anti-climactic would that have been… waking him up like BAM, HERE’S A BABY and then it being a false alarm?! So I went back to patting the sheets to see if they were wet, which finally ended up waking Luis anyways.

As we said our usual “good mornings” I felt some additional (this time, undeniable) leakage. It was like an uncontrollable PLOP right into the thick of things and Luis could tell by my face some action was occurring. I could tell he was excited.

Is it happening?” he asked.

All I could do was nod and waddle back into the bathroom (I’m sure you can see the developing trend). While I was investigating (again), Luis patted the bed like I had done and agreed we should start getting ready to head to the hospital.

Interestingly enough, having had our bags packed in anticipation for weeks, I wasn’t too worried about rushing in. I decided I wanted to take a shower, eat breakfast, and put on my full-face of makeup before leaving the house – I mean, I didn’t know when I’d get the chance to do all of those things in order again! So, we took our time getting ready and called my mom to tell her we’d be heading out soon.

em & lou 2Us leaving the house for the last time without Adeline in our arms (cuz she was still in da belly)!

We got to the hospital at 7:15 am and were admitted into triage immediately. It took us QUITE a bit of time to figure out how to do the simple things they asked of us like putting on the hospital gown and peeing in a cup (yes, I needed help with both). You can’t blame us, though. Luis and I were jittery and giggling – a silly combination of excitement and nervousness that continued to grow until 10:10 pm that night when we finally met our baby girl.

Em & LouYou can see here (timestamp 8:23 am) that we were slowly getting ready for how our lives would inevitably change for the better in a few *short* hours.

I look back on that day and am actually grateful that labor was 15 hours long instead of short and sweet. Like I said in a previous post, most of it was fun and games (i.e., walking in the halls, talking and joking, and spending time with our immediate family). Had we rushed through it, I may not have remembered things like insisting on changing into my “nice shaking” barre socks after having been instructed to wear the awful yellow heathen atrocities (the hospital’s version of “sticky socks”) throughout the corridors. Not only was I visually offending myself with these ridiculous-wannabe-socks, they were like 45 sizes too big so I kept almost tripping myself.

Nice Shaking

These socks became a perfect joke because after getting the epidural I ACTUALLY WAS shaking and then they really were fitting for the occasion.

Also, had we rushed through the labor and delivery process I probably wouldn’t remember that our lovely nurse Danielle made Addie her first beanie to wear once she was delivered. Yes, the one she is repping in the picture below is the cuteness she gave us and DAMN, did she look cute in it!

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Seriously, it doesn’t get much cuter than that.

So, in the grand scheme of things, going into labor wasn’t that bad. REAL LABOR, on the other hand, is a totally different story… and we’ll save that one for another time.

Maybe in the next post we’ll move on to another favorite topic: “When your milk comes in.” That one always gets some laughs… at my expense. lol.

Until next time! ❤