so francis is currently recovering from covid-19, and i probably will get it any day now and we've been quarantining. for a while, i'd been meaning to make these lists so i remember all of this info, and everything that's helpful to me. so with this new free time i find myself with, i've been on a roll!
this list is written with the soon-to-be-mama in mind and for the (very) close girlfriend or sister of the soon-to-be-mama who wants to be helpful. i sincerely hope it is helpful!
(this information is coming from my own experiences. i birthed in a hospital setting and did not have a c-section, so you know where i'm coming from a little bit.)
(photos by the byes!)
i thought it might be helpful to round up all of the items/things i can think of that i've found most helpful as a new mama. i know there are dozens of great lists out there on this topic, so feel free to find this information from someone more seasoned, but if you are curious on my take right in the thick of it as a first-time mom 5 months in, here ya go! i am also compiling this list for me, since i might need to remember this stuff for the next kiddo. if you're expecting, congratulations!!, and i am honored you might want to hear what i have to say. it goes without saying, but i'm gonna say it.. this is coming from my own experiences and what works for me and my family and our rhythms and it might not work for you! take what you like and leave the rest! and remember, all a baby really needs is loving and attentive parents, milk, a place to sleep, and some diapers are helpful too :). the rest is just to make our lives easier.
(also the beautiful beautiful photos are by my friends, the byes, from two weeks after everett was born, making us look waaayy more put together than we actually are :))
(i'm going to leave out some more basic things that i have less of an opinion about, like crib sheets, clothes, toys, bottles, car seat, changing table, bibs, eating utensils/bowls, stroller, etc.)
side note: if you have the means and this is a priority (or can find a cheaper version of this), i've always thought that something like the "owlet" smart sock would be helpful for peace-of-mind when baby is sleeping. it is a sock they wear and it monitors their heart rate and oxygen levels. it's suuuper expensive and unnecessary, but it does have its perks, as one of the moms at the daycare i work at told me their owlet alerted them that their baby wasn't getting enough oxygen, so they took him to the ER and found out he had RSV!
what to skip:
that's all i could think of, friends! props to you if you've made it this far! i really hope it is helpful and not overwhelming. keep in mind that this stuff has been compiled gradually over nine+ months and with lots of help from generous friends and family. you don't need to get all of it right after you find out you're expecting or even have it all by the time the baby gets here. several things we've collected along the way after realizing a need for them. i'll have to keep you posted after the next 5 months, as i'm sure there will be a new list of helpful products for the next stage (like i just ordered little food containers, food labels, and a puree-maker). i'll be sure to circle back with a new list in a few months. i'm learning too! please please feel free to reach out to me with any questions! my most favorite thing is to be helpful and i love talkin about baby stuff. :)
making: soo. many. bottles. just constantly. pumping, washing pump parts, washing bottles, storing breastmilk, heating breastmilk... making bottles!
cooking: tonight, it was taco bowls! grocery shopping looks good on us.
drinking: wine! one glass a night this month from my fun wine advent calendar thanks to loyal reader and dear family friend, chris. it is divine! thank you, chris, what a treat! i am absolutely loving it.
reading: nothing at the moment. looking to do more audio books in the future as that's just been the best way i take in books, especially right now. thinking about getting an audible subscription. gobbling up podcasts in the meanitme, though!
wanting: to get the exact right gift for all the people on our christmas list. it's a lot of pressure, man! trying to accept that it won't be perfect.
playing: christmas music at work! it just makes me feel brighter. (did i tell you that i work at a daycare with little babies all day?!) it is a really really sweet job, and the best part is that i can be with my little son, everett, all day! what a gift! (**as a side note, in case you were wondering, i've decided that i won't be sharing any pictures of him here to protect his privacy, as anyone can access this blog in the world and that kind of freaks me out. i feel differently about instagram though, since my account is private and i know the people who are viewing).
looking: at my dear fran across from me, reading a book, and at the twinkly christmas tree and fireplace! what a sight! this is the second sunday of this little blogging tradition while fran reads and i like it a lot!
wasting: food sometimes. ugh, every time we go grocery shopping, i look through the fridge for any foods that have gone bad, and i did have to dump a few things yesterday. i hate doin that.
wishing: for this month to slow down a bit! i really love this time of year, between thanksgiving and christmas, and it always flies. this year we pretty much have something planned every weekend before christmas, so i know i'll blink and it'll be january.
enjoying: dark chocolate peanut butter cups from trader joe's, dang it. also, christmas lights around our neighborhood! i love the christmas light tradition since this time of year is so dark.
liking: how our community group from church is going. i was just so refreshed & built up by it and by our discussion this past week on ephesians 2. really liking the new people who have joined and all they bring to the table!
waiting: longing, hoping... for a full night of sleep. ha! it's been four months and counting since my last full night of sleep, all the way through. i'm not complaining, per se (ha), but i am looking forward to that. somebody tell everett this is all i want for christmas! :)
wondering: about how to develop a sustainable, healthy "rule of life" surrounding technology for my family. (intrigued by and planning to read andy crouch's the tech-wise family). trying to learn from people smarter and wiser than me. also wondering about how to parent everett well in our world today. a world that feels different than the world i grew up in.
loving: being a mom. it just really is my deepest heart's desire for my life come true and everett is so perfect. i can't get over this situation. sometimes i just think about how i'm a mom, everett's mom, and it blows me a way. i'm also totally loving how loved our boy is by our families. it really is the highest high to experience other people who are just as crazy about your kid as you are.
hoping: to give the best of me and the best of my love to the little babies i work with. to show them tenderness, respect, fun, and adoration and to reflect the goodness of Jesus to their tiny little hearts and also to my coworkers.
marveling: at the truffle cream-filled gnocchi from trader joe's that we had for dinner one night last week (obviously tj's has been good to me lately, hah). oh my gosh, you guys. i don't know if i've had anything better. i also just feel very strongly about gnocchi, so. it had a small chance of failing.
needing: to cut out sugar in a major way in the new year.
smelling: a christmas pine candle, oo la la!
wearing: not sweats every day like i was wearing when i was pregnant and working from home, and i love it! unpopular opinion perhaps, but i love jeans! i will gladly wash my clothes twice as often as i might've in the past because of drool and baby spit-up because it represents so much to me... a job where i feel productive and helpful and where i get to be with my kid all day. getting out of the loneliness of working from home and how healthy it feels to have in-person coworkers again..
following: the intentional parents podcast and just soaking in their wisdom. it is so good, you guys, i can't recommend it enough!
noticing: how at home i feel at our church. as i sat outside the main sanctuary today to try to get a sleepy/fussy everett to fall asleep, i was struck by how comfortable, safe, and at home i felt there. very thankful for that. thankful for my church family. for being known and knowing. for seeing the elders care for and serve dear friends who are hurting.
knowing: that francis has my back, that he's my partner in parenting, in waking up in the middle of the night, in finances, in life, is a really good feeling. God gave me a very good man, friends. he's just my best friend and is such a delight to me.
feeling: very thankful. feeling the mark of God's undeserved goodness on my life everywhere i turn. feeling like i want to get better at noticing and caring for other people.
bookmarking: art ideas on pinterest.
opening: (well, trying.. very slowly..) to open my closed fists to God when it comes to everett. never have i worried more or been so protective or fearful of bad things happening than i have since becoming a mom. trying to trust God with everett's life, with his health, well-being, protection, etc. it's hard, but i'm trying to release some of that control to God.
i felt nervous to spend time with God tonight. i don't really know why, but i also do. when i told francis that i wanted to spend time with God but was kind of dragging my feet, he brought up my blog! he said he read some of it today for old time's sake and thought that maybe i'd like to blog again as a different way to connect with God (what a man! he knows me). so here i am in this space that's super familiar to me and now unfamiliar at the same time, blowing off the dust and settling in to a really cozy chair in my happy little house- christmas tree twinkling and fireplace dancing- to jot down some of the raw thoughts on my mind. i can't promise blogging again will stick or that i'll even update the "about" tab, but here we go anyway. back to what i had loved for so long... writing, sharing, processing, celebrating, pondering... and blogging :)
so maybe i'll start by circling back to why i felt a little nervous to spend time with God tonight. to just be super transparent with you, i think my life right now has a big lack in discipline. actually, i know it does. discipline in what or how much i eat, exercise, media consumption, Bible reading, prayer, shopping at target :/... kinda you name it, it's all a bit unruly. social justice issues and the heartbreak of the world around me have also caused me to feel pretty numb and honestly, discouraged, burnt out and tired. it feels like there's so much not right that i can't keep up, nor do i know how to start to help certain devastations i hear about, so i've just numbed out. all of this isn't great info about me, i know, i'm just being honest. i could give you excuses about all of this, and some of them anyone would say are valid, but the truth is, you make time for and prioritize what you actually care about. you just do. and what it looks like i care about is the cozy, the easy, the tasty, and the fun. so when you're a follower of Jesus and have basically told Him with your lifestyle that you care about these things above all else, it makes spending time with Him a little less likely and a little more uncomfortable. it is very difficult for me to not have any kind of discipline in areas i know God wants me to have discipline in and still spend time with Him, talk to Him, etc., like everything's fine. it feels hypocritical. feels like i'm choosing to ignore what He wants for me. feels like i'm giving God the scraps of my day or the leftovers of my heart when his rightful place is first in my day, first in my heart.
i also felt nervous because i've been second guessing who God is and what He is like. when your Bible-reading and prayer disciplines are not there the way you might like them to be, it is so very easy to start to forget who God is and what He is like and become informed about God, about the world, about yourself, your identity, from whatever you're taking in that isn't the Bible (social media *ahem*). i've had a case of that and questions have crept into my mind... is He really good? is God kind? what does He think about me? is He upset with me? how does He speak/how do i relate with Him? is He going to take everett or francis away from me to teach me a lesson or test me? it sometimes feels like i don't even know who God is, which then distrust can creep in. when you feel like you don't know someone, you can't rely on them to always act in a certain way. this feels like where i've been lately. and isn't this the way of the enemy? right from the very beginning, the first tactic the evil one used was to get adam and eve to second guess what He actually said (gen 3:1) and to bring about distrust in His goodness, motives, and character (gen 3:1-5). i know it, and yet here i am, just like the israelites in the new testament... forgetting, turning, wandering. i guess that's why God instructed them to remember His commands by "tying them as symbols on (their) hands and binding them on (their) foreheads" (deut 6:4-9). because we forget. i am no different from them. i am worshipping the calf like it delivered me even though i just saw God do it (exodus 32). i freaking need a list of what is true about God, about His character, to be tattooed to my forehead. basically (tl;dr version)... i feel like i don't even know who God is sometimes and that can make it feel difficult to know how to approach Him. i don't want God to fit into a box of who i think He should be, because then i become God, not Him, but i do want some version of that!
i know this is a slightly abrupt ending, but i'm tired. i'm so tired, you guys. and those are my thoughts right now. told you it was raw! i don't really have a nice neat bow on all of this. but you know, i think francis was right.. blogging is good for me and i'd like to come back. we'll see! thanks for reading.
hey there, dear faithful and true reader whom i love so much!
i took a break for a hot second there and at this point, this is nothing new for me. there have been a few times i've wanted to write but i just didn't because, ugh, where do i even start? but i'm feelin like writing and sharing today, and instagram has just become too intimidating for me these days and truthfully does not feel like a safe place to share and learn together, and not really a place to so comprehensively be able to share, so how bout my good ole blog, huh? where i believe you, reader, know me and my heart and you've always offered me grace.
so, here's some more unsolicited political thoughts (but i guess if you went to my blog, maybe you solicited them? ;))
so there's an election this week... in case you didn't know, ha.
i've actually enjoyed having several in-person conversations with family and friends where i straight up ask them who they're gonna vote for and enjoy bringing up controversial political topics to learn. for me, i'm genuinely curious and kind of like having that taboo conversation. maybe because francis and i just do not fit either category and we both see the good and bad of both parties? (this is something i just learned about francis... we are both very similar when it comes to our political views. this isn't needed, i wouldn't mind if he had different political thoughts because i'm so in the middle, but it's kinda cool!). i just refuse to put another human down for not voting for either person and i've seen this done so much on both sides! like you're not educated or you're not kind or good or whatever if you don't vote for someone. are you kidding me?
i voted absentee this year and for the first time, i went through each candidate on the ballot and researched who they are and what they stand for and voted based on the ones i felt i most aligned with. last time i voted, i kind of just circled every candidate that fit the party i thought i identified with and i didn't know anything about them or what they do. this year, i circled names from both parties actually, and i felt good about how i made my choices. i would encourage you to also look up the candidates on your ballot before you vote, if you have not already done so.
anyway. i think it all comes down to hope and we all need to be careful about believing that voting for whomever will solve all our problems and suddenly everything will be fixed in our country. because honestly, life is hard, covid is still gonna be a thing, racism is a deeply-rooted and systemic issue that cannot be fixed and healed from overnight or with the right candidate (though one thing i will say is i think it matters a lot how our president talks about people who are different from him). don't get me wrong: vote and don't check out! please be involved, care, and do your research (maybe if we all do this time, next time we won't be stuck with two candidates who, in my opinion, are so hard to vote for). just please don't put all your eggs in that certain candidate's basket, okay?
this morning i overheard a guy say "if trump doesn't win, i'm going to need to go to the psychiatrist every day." i think his eggs are all in that basket. i think he needs to think about what he just said. the problem is, we're all thinking that the problems are "out there" or with the other party, and choosing the right party will make everything right again. we fail to reflect on what is broken within our own hearts that is contributing to all the brokenness "out there" that needs to be fixed and put right so desperately. do not forget that, as Christians, we belong to a different kingdom, and that kingdom is run by Someone really worthy of our devotion, respect, trust. Someone who is ultimately just, ultimately good, ultimately respectable. He matters most. let Him be on your minds when you cast your ballot and take a deep breath, okay? then spend your energy with God focusing on how you can fix brokenness in your heart.. biases and bitterness and jealousy and insatiability and whatever else is gripped around your heart like it's gripped around mine and become the best neighbor, community member, friend, family member you can be. let's do that.
p.s. if you're looking to hear my specific political thoughts or want to share yours with me or just wrestle through politics with me, i kind of love those conversations and i can be a very safe place for you- whichever side you fall on! (people i love, respect, and admire are on both sides!) just wanted to throw that out there.
be back soon! (lol, i really shouldn't make this promise)
my birthday was special and different. francis cooked a lovely breakfast and we had my family over in the morning. **i'm a little hesitant to say that here because lots of folks are not seeing anybody. for my family and i, we made the decision that seeing just each other is okay with us because we are all remaining at home the rest of the time and not really going out. i totally have respect for the seriousness of the pandemic and for all the safety measures that we all need to take.** my fam came over and gifted me with lovely cards and thoughtful presents, and francis put candles in cinnamon rolls for me to blow out. :) we took a walk around our neighborhood with paige & dave, and then francis and i walked to minneapolis! there is a wonderful walk/bike path right next to our apartment that you can take straight to minneapolis, about 6 miles. francis had booked us a hotel in minneapolis that was still open for when we got there because i LOVE hotels! (we brought backpacks with our stuff). in the words of kevin malone, our dogs were barkin by the time we got there, ha (i definitely wore the wrong shoes). we got take-out from my favorite restaurant which was conveniently a short walk from the hotel :), and ate it while watching the parent trap on TV (isn't that fun about hotels, just watching stuff on TV?). it was such a fun birthday, even if i couldn't have a gathering with friends. francis and my family made it so special and many dear friends of mine also made me feel loved. plus! the next morning when we walked back home, starting in the quietness of the city, we stopped at caribou for my free birthday drink and my dear friend ariel (shout out!) had also gifted me with a little coffee drink money, so francis got somethin too. it was all really fun and i'm so grateful.
well, i found out that my job will continue to be remote until august, so that's somethin. in august we were planning to move to a new building anyway, so they are just having us continue to work from home until then, and some of us might even work from home after that. i actually really enjoy working from home and it works well with me. but i know some of my coworkers who also have kiddos at home are struggling with balancing everything, which would be super tough.
a quarantine birthday, while a bummer, is also a gift because it's easy to feel isolated right now, and having that boost of love and encouragement really felt good. i don't know, man, some days i'm doing really well and other days i can't fall asleep because i'm so sad and i convince myself that i don't have friends. anybody else experience that? one of the happy things that has come out of this pandemic is i've seen a lot of people express grace over social media. people will say things like "however you're feeling is okay" and "you don't have to be super productive every day, just do what you can" and "you can't hold yourself to the same standards as the way things used to be." it's just nice.
one of the things my mom got be for my birthday is the most lovely lilac body wash from bath & body works, and i know it's a little thing, but it smells so good.
francis and i have now been married for a year! wowza! it feels really good to have a year under our belts. and what a sweet sweet, growing, year it has been. lots i could say, but i'll maybe save it because this post is getting long. spent too much time talkin about my dang birthday, ha.
speaking of marriage, something i've noticed in my heart and something a friend i talked to is also experiencing, is this idea of a "life timeline." anyone know what i mean? it feels like pressure from ourselves and the culture around us to get married at a certain age, buy a house at a certain age, have a kid by a certain time, etc. i have a feeling my friend and i are not alone in this. most of the time, none of our lives ever end up the way we thought they would and hardly ever within the timeline we imagined, so why is it so hard to let go of the timelines and stop comparing our lives with each other? i think this is good stuff to think about because it causes us to look at the root of what we really, truly, want out of our lives. gosh, i have lots more to say.
and i will continue this thought in the next post! didn't think there was so much to say, but i'll have to come back with the rest. hope you and yours are doing well! love you guys! it means a lot to me to have you here.
p.s. if you're looking for something to lift your spirits, watch some good news HERE :)
good morning there, friend! how are ya?
what are you thinking right now? how is your life being impacted by these crazy times? are you doing okay?
it's weird, isn't it?? i hope you're doing okay. i think it helps to take things a day at a time.
i'm just in this surreal headspace. it's all just too surreal. like, really, restaurants are closed? i'm not advised to leave my apartment and church and small group and all the things are cancelled? i can't go to the gym? what even is a routine anymore? and will i ever wear jeans again? ;)
i am thankful for God's incredible provision for francis and i during this time. we are both very thankful to be able to continue working and be healthy. we definitely recognize that many families are suffering without incomes because of all of this, businesses are suffering, many are sick and scared, and scary things like domestic abuse is way up because people are left at home with their abusers. it's kind of overwhelming. i was praying yesterday about this virus' impact, and i didn't know what to say. "God, heal everybody and make this go away." can i say that? is that something He'll do? is that naive? praying about this actually stressed me out a bit. i don't know where to start, and i still struggle with what to ask of God. i've found myself asking God to make things a lot less devastating than they are projected to be, and to provide all of our daily "bread and water" (basic needs). maybe i need to pray bigger. guys, i don't know.
here are the things i know are true:
. there are lots of people helping. good things are still happening. communities are helping each other out, kiddos are writing positive chalk messages on sidewalks, churches are donating money and services to those in need. families are ordering take-out from restaurants just to help them stay afloat, schools are bringing meals to kids' homes throughout the week, i heard of a coffee shop in minneapolis whose landlord is offering them a free month of rent, medical professionals are working tirelessly and sacrificially. good things are happening, and i believe God's finger is in all of them- big and small. we are created in God's image and any inclination towards love and service in our hearts is because God made us like Him.
. this will not last forever. i'm not sure what 'normal' will look like after all of this, but there will be a time where we can all hug each other again and go out without fear.
. Jesus is still LORD. God has not stopped being God. and He is trustworthy in all things.
^^ fran & i saw this on a walk around our neighborhood. ^^
happy march 5th.
here is a recap of our month over here. actually a really great month. who knew?! i think largely it was so great because of the mild temps and so many sunny days! it does wonders for my spirits.
^^ these are pictures of me that francis took one morning for no apparent reason when we were making the bed. i don't know why i've included them to be honest. i guess they're kinda funny and they show me in life at this point in time. please ignore our messy messy closet.
^ our valentine's day was low-key and nice. i baked a cake because i wanted to, found some heart-shaped pasta at aldi, and francis brought home some flowers for me! we also exchanged cards and made each other tear up and it was wonderful.
^^ the weekend of february 14th, we met up with all of francis' family but two in wisconsin dells for the weekend, celebrating francis' mom's 60th birthday! francis and i did the lazy river at the mount olympus waterpark a million times, i got some sweet sweet time with our nieces and nephew (including my little niece, ivy, calling me "ducky"...she's never called me anything before, guys! :)), and lots of games and rest. also, this restaurant in the above photo was amazing! called "the grateful shed" and filled with food trucks and 90s music. i tried my first poke bowl there, weirdly enough. i've learned something about myself recently.. when food comes in "bowl" format, i'm far more likely to order it, enjoy it, choose it. ...burrito bowl, burger bowl, you know. it's all good. plus, i love using chopsticks, so it really was a win. (p.s. the pic is missing francis' sister, theresa, and our bro-in-law, ben who were there for the weekend, but had already left at this point).
on our way out of the dells, francis and i spotted this upside-down museum and spontaneously spent $5 each to walk through it. i'm the target audience for weird stuff like this. pay money to look at furniture put on the ceiling?! yes!
waste of money in the end, but such a fun concept.
^^^ pictured above: francis so cute, making me eggs one mornin before church :), the beautiful, fragrant flower guy i bought from aldi that i loved watching bloom, and my sisters and i pictured on paige & dave's move-in day to their new, beautiful house in saint paul!
^^ my wonderful, very special daddio celebrated his 54th birthday on the 25th! and, like, his fifth consecutive year celebrating in mexico. i love to make fun of him for that. i love that diva so much! ;) i'm excited to celebrate as a family tomorrow!
also, on the 28th, my dear grandma turned 85!! holy cow, i'm so lucky! she is sharp and active and lovely and such an important person to all of us. i'm so grateful to have her! and isn't she radiant.
^^ please enjoy this picture of francis on the top of a huge mound of snow-dirt. i also climbed it, but far less gracefully. i had dirt all over my hands after climbing it, let's just say. we took a pleasant walk that day, leap day. francis flood is my favorite person and i could do anything in his company and be totally content.
thank you for caring about my life, friends. i'd like to update you on deeper stuff i'm thinking about too sometime soon. thoughts or prayers, leave me a message, please! i'd love to hear from you.
and a sunny march to us all!
i know i'm running the risk of sounding like an ad, but i don't care. this is my blog. ;)
it's been so fun to try hello fresh this past month (especially because it's the winter and cooking can be fun when it's cold and dark out all the time and you don't have any plans on weeknights). you get a crazy deal on your first orders and i wholeheartedly recommend it. we signed up for a month (and have actually kept going because we like it so much), and every wednesday we're delivered the recipes and all the ingredients needed for 3 meals (two servings with each). both francis and i have gotten to cook new foods, and you get to pick all of your meals online ahead of time. there are some really fun ones and i've loved trying them out! plus, there are vegetarian options if that's your jam.
okay, psa over. enjoy these fun lil pics of our creations. and please let me know if you try it!
i was lying on my couch on sunday before we left for our annual "super-date" (where we ditch the superbowl festivities everyone else is doing because who cares, and go out for a date... it's like a holiday, honestly. no one is out!) and this sun just really caught my eye! do you know how RARE sun is these days?! (chances are, you probably do). i had to snap a pic because i knew i'd need it next time we get a long stretch of no sun. i love the sun and this lil apartment i share with my fran. the sun just makes everything better.
happy february! so far, i have no complaints. it's already way better than january, weather-wise.
"aslan, aslan. dear aslan,” sobbed lucy. “at last.”
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