Monday, October 31, 2016

starting anew: my new blog

Hello, everyone! I wanted to pop in and let you all know about something that I'm super excited about! I just launched my new blog, Basically Beautiful. I really wanted to get back into blogging, but I wanted to be able to throw myself into it, focus, and take blogging more seriously. Something I've become interested in over the past couple of years is the ideas of intentional living and minimalism, and so that is what I'm concentrating on over there. There will be lots of outfit and lifestyle posts, some home decor inspiration, and the occasional DIY. If that's something you're interested in, I'd love for you to head over and check it out! I won't be blogging over here any more, and I'll miss it, but I'm also excited to be beginning a new chapter in blogging.


Friday, August 26, 2016

Adelaide's Birth Story

This post is a little late in coming; over two months, to be exact! But now that I finally have a few spare minutes to sit down and actually write a go ahead and grab a cup of tea before you start reading, because this is going to be a long one!

Miss Adelaide Imogen was born at 10:00 AM on June 16th, 2016, measuring 20 inches long and weighing in at 7 pounds and 7.7 ounces.

It was one of the very rare occasions when a baby is born on its due date, and I was so thankful to have it over with. Since the day my Doctor declared that I had hit term and it was safe for the baby to come, I was anxious for labor. The baby dropped when I was about 28 weeks, her head had been fully engaged for some time, and I was 1.5 centimeter dilated for several weeks before my due date...both my OB and the midwife were certain she would be an early baby. Every time I went in for an appointment, they said they would likely see me again in just a couple more days. Both my husband and I were so nervous--every time I had Braxton Hicks contractions that seemed to keep going and grow regular, I double checked the hospital bag and made sure everything was ready to go. There was one night when the contractions were five-six minutes apart for two hours, and I was so sure that I was in labor. I decided to try going to sleep and see what happened, and they went away.

 Finally, the day before I was due, my husband and I took a long walk to see if we could jumpstart labor. We walked a couple miles around the neighborhood. We actually went further than I usually liked to, since my body became exhausted so quickly with all the extra weight up front! I had contractions, and a lot of them, but I didn't think anything of it since that was a normal occurrence after a long walk. We went home and I made dinner before we headed to choir practice. I noticed I was unusually grumpy during choir, but I chalked it up to lack of sleep and the heat inside the choirloft. And I'd never cared for people touching my bump, but I actually grew angry when one of the women came over to rub my stomach after practice.

We stopped at the store on the drive home, and I noticed the contractions were a little sharper now, and definitely coming every six or seven minutes. It was about 10:30 that I finally announced to Josh that I was pretty sure I was having real contractions, but I wanted wait a little while before heading to the hospital. We got ready for bed like normal and laid down to watch some Battlestar Galactica. Two episodes in and it started to feel like I was having terrible period cramps. Finally at midnight the contractions were coming every four to five minutes and even though I felt like it was still pretty early, we decided to head to the hospital.

When we got there, we found out I was already at 5 centimeters, a lot farther along than I'd thought. My OB was on call till 7, and he was pretty sure I would deliver by then. Up until that point, the contractions hurt, but it was a familiar pain, so I was able to deal with it for the few moments it lasted every few minutes. Then I started feeling them in my back and all of a sudden I could barely take it anymore. Nothing relieved the back pain...I sat in the jacuzzi for an hour or so, bounced on the birthing ball, swayed back and forth while clutching at Josh, and it got steadily more horrible. Finally, at 4:30, the contractions were coming every two to three minutes, and I asked for an epidural.
I was worried I wouldn't be able to remain still during the epidural, especially since the nurse warned us it would take a little while to get set up and have it administered. But the anesthesiologist was absolutely wonderful at her job and got it in in-between the contractions. And the relief was almost immediate. I stopped feeling the contractions almost completely. It was the most wonderful thing. Josh and I were actually able to get a little sleep, and I snoozed till about 7, when I was at about 8 centimeters. My Doctor was no longer on call, but I was introduced to a wonderful midwife who was all set to deliver for me. She noted that the epidural was working just a little too well, and told the nurses to turn it off around 9. We talked a little bit about how everything would go once it became time to push, and I was feeling pretty confident that everything would go just fine. At this point, I had terrible heartburn from being on my back for so long, and I finally gave in and asked for some medication.
At 9:30, one of the nurses encouraged me to start pushing. The epidural had been turned off, but I still wasn't feeling legs were numb and heavy, which was the strangest feeling. And once I started pushing, everything went really quickly. They rushed the midwife in, and she talked me through the process, telling me when to start pushing, when to stop, when to do little pushes, when to do big ones. Josh helped hold my legs to my chest. I remember giggling because the midwife kept telling him to watch and every time he looked down he said something like, "It's just so weird!" Finally, just after 10, the midwife had me do one big push, and I felt and saw the baby slide out. Usually I'm super squeamish, but witnessing this was so surreal, and at that point, I just felt a wave of relief. 
The nurse wrapped my baby in a blanket and brought her to me and I burst into tears. I had carried this child inside me for over nine months and now I was holding her in my arms. I just felt so blessed. The midwife insisted that we needed to take pictures, and even though I was a tearful mess, I am so happy that we captured these first emotional moments of us as a family. I will also commend her on getting the placenta out and stitching me up (I had a nice tear when her shoulder popped out) while I was distracted. I barely even noticed the stitches going in. She also took special precautions because of my genetic predisposition to Factor 9 (a mild form of hemophilia). And the wonderful nurses brought me sandwiches (with deli meat! After being forced to cut it from my diet for the past 9 months, that was pretty exciting) and yogurt. 

The nurses labeled this a textbook birth and a textbook baby. And of course the big fear going into labor is that something is going to go wrong, but everything went smoothly...we are so thankful to God for a good labor and for blessing us with our beautiful, healthy baby girl. We stayed at the hospital overnight and headed home the next afternoon. I was so happy to be able to go home to my own bed and be able to sleep without being interrupted by the constant stream of doctors and nurses. Josh had come down with something a couple of days before I went into labor, and I think all the stress and lack of sleep caused it to become worse at the hospital...he was miserable the whole time, poor guy. Being able to go home was a huge relief for all of us. 

I was blessed with a wonderful birth experience, and if you're in the area, I would definitely recommend St. Francis in Federal Way. They have such a great staff and I was really happy with everyone that worked with us there. 

Thursday, June 2, 2016

38 week update

These pictures were taken about a month ago, I think when I was 32 weeks? It was important for me to have at least a few posed pictures of my bump to commemorate this time. I had also just gone through my second bout of self-pity--sitting on my bedroom floor surrounded by piles of clothes that no longer fit and crying and then feeling silly that I was crying because it's frankly ridiculous--and so a maternity photoshoot where I had an excuse to play dress-up and remind myself of my love for this bump was definitely in order. So one unseasonably warm day, my sister and I snapped a series of photos in a couple different outfits--one a typical everyday outfit, and one that was a little more fancy (it's actually her bridesmaid's dress from my wedding...which is maybe a bit odd, but I love how it flatters my bump!). I was sweaty and grumpy by the time we finished (I don't think heat ever made me this grumpy before I was pregnant!), but it was fun, and I'm really happy with the pictures we got.
It's hard to believe that I'm already 38 weeks, that I've just hit term. I'm so close, and everything is feeling so much more real. She's positioned head-down, ready for birth, and really...could come at any time now. It really sunk in for Josh yesterday, and I think it was the first time I've seen him nervous throughout my whole pregnancy. Right now, I'm oddly calm about the whole thing, and feeling more ready than I thought I would at this point...mostly I'm just excited and feel so ready to be done, and have her in my arms. With each flurry of Braxton Hicks (which have gotten more fun lately, and by fun I mean not, haha) I wonder if this might be it, but nothing yet. So we continue to play the waiting game. My mother in law and my dad are convinced that she's going to come at least a week late since she's the first baby, but I'm really hoping that since I dropped so early, and dropped a bit more over the last week, that's an indicator she will at least be a little closer to on time than that. 
 However, as I reflect on my pregnancy, other than the stress I was under for the entire first half, I have been so very blessed to have a relatively "easy" complications, hardly any morning sickness, hardly any of the symptoms I was especially dreading. There was about a month during my second trimester that work was especially awful because of joint pain--I could hardly walk at the end of my shifts! But that got better, and there was a lovely space of time where I felt amazing and energetic and I felt I could really enjoy being pregnant. Now that time has kind of passed and the joint pain has returned along with raging heartburn (which I whined about, since I'd never experienced it before), and I feel really pregnant and just ready to be done. I wound up leaving work about two weeks earlier than I had initially decided, due to those and other factors, which made me feel a bit guilty, but at the same time, it was definitely the right decision. I feel her moving almost all the time, which is honestly one of the things I think I'll miss the most about being pregnant. It's so bewildering to think that the thing squirming inside me is a little human, and it just puts me in awe of how miraculous and beautiful this whole process is.

Monday, April 18, 2016

the year of change

The past two and a half years have brimmed with changes. Changes to me as a person as well as those big, scary, and wonderful life-altering changes. Two and a half years ago I started talking to the man I was destined to fall in love with, and fell head over heels. I had never dreamed that being in love could be such a wonderful thing, that I could have such strong feelings for one person, that I could need that presence in my life so much. I've said it again and again, but Josh has been such a positive force in my life. He drew me out of my shell, encouraged me to do things I wouldn't have ordinarily done, and it's been healthy for me.

 In that first year, we went to Disneyland with his family, took weekly hikes, and had lengthy discussions  about our future together.

 In the second year, we got engaged. There was never a moment that I doubted my decision. I knew God had brought us together. Our relationship grew over the trials that came during the months of wedding planning--the seeming inescapable drama and stress. I graduated college and began working part time.

In the beginning of the third year, on January 16th, we were married, and despite all the trials and nerves, the day was so full of joy. I moved in with Josh, into the basement that we currently rent from his brother and sister-in-law, and we started building our home together.

Now, to backtrack, there was another big change in the second year. We made a mistake, and I became pregnant...the one thing I had always promised myself I would never let happen to me, that I felt I was strong enough to guard against, happened.  I was just over four months pregnant and barely starting to show when we were married. And for those four months I struggled with guilt and disappointment in myself in conjunction with the surge of hormones that came with the pregnancy. I hit a low point, and if not for constant streams of support from Josh and a few close friends, I don't know where I would be.

Those low feelings have since, for the most part, been replaced with excitement. To be completely honest, there are still those off days where I curl up in Josh's arms and just cry, because it's still tough (and I'm really hormonal), but in the end, what it all comes down to is that our baby, however she happened, is a blessing and a miracle. I can't wait to meet her shower her with love and kisses...feeling her wriggle around inside me is both the strangest and most wonderful thing. One of my favorite things so far has been having Josh feel her kick, and seeing just that joy on his face...oh my, it melts my heart. Josh and I have begun having long discussions about parenting and our hopes and dreams for our family, and what we are most excited for. One thing we are most looking forward to is experiencing things with her, and sharing our favorite things with her. 

So, this year brings with it even more changes. I am a wife, and soon to be (in less than two months!!) the mother of what I'm sure will be the most beautiful little baby. I look forward to sharing my experiences with you. ❤️

(And just as a quick footnote, these announcement photos caused quite a controversy among some people when I posted them on Facebook, because they misunderstood the purpose of them...It's difficult for me to explain why these pictures are so special to me, but to me they are symbolic of us moving past darker times and looking to the future with joy rather than remorse. Above all, baby is a blessing, and I don't want to think of her as anything but. )

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

that one dress that makes me feel like a princess {+ giveaway!}

//dress: c/o mint julep boutique / sandals: claire's (super old)//

So there are a few glorious times where I come across the rare dress that makes me feel like a princess, while still being casual enough for wear off the red carpet. This is one of them. I tried this dress on and immediately fell in love with it. The fabric is so light and floaty and the most perfect shade of blue, with the little feminine details at the waist and hem that help to really make it. I wasn't sure about the slit in the front, but after trying on the dress for myself, I decided I really liked it. And my favorite thing about it is that it can just be put on by itself and look doesn't need a bunch of accessories.  

Needless to say...I highly recommend checking out Mint Julep Boutique. They have an adorable selection of clothes at reasonable prices. And they were great to work with, so patient with me as I took forever to get this review up--I'm still not used to being so busy! I will likely be shopping there in the future...for picking up more sweet dresses like this! 

AND, Mint Julep Boutique is also sponsoring a giveaway for a $25 gift card to their online shop, so you can have a chance to give them a try. :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

the comfiest romper

//romper: forever 21 / striped crop top, shoes: charlotte russe//

This summer has truly flown by. I am amazed that it's already the end of August--where has the time gone? And overall, it's been a really good summer. Too hot, busy, and stressful, but still good. Wedding planning is in full swing--we are getting married on January 16th, and it seems so far away, but at the same time, it's coming up really quickly. So far I have found the perfect dress within my budget, thanks to my wonderful bridesmaid, who scoured the used dress sites to find the designer dress of my dreamsWe found and reserved a beautiful, 100-year-old venue with hardwood floors and swoon-worthy vintage details. We had beautiful engagement photos taken by a friend (so here's the question--are you guys interested in seeing the day-of-engagement photos AND the official engagement photos?I don't want to overwhelm you with too many posts on our engagement!), which we used to make our Save the Dates. Other bits of planning for decorations and things are coming together as well. And finally, we booked our hotel in Disney World (ahhh!!). I am so unbelievably excited. :) I can't wait to share more about planning and things! I will probably do a series of posts after the wedding about the planning process, if you all are interested. 

Anyway, this little romper that I picked up at Forever 21 last year is still my favorite thing. It's made out of the comfiest jersey fabric, and looks almost like a dress, but it's actually shorts, which I absolutely love. And with a little crop top underneath, it's just perfect and effortless. Also, these shoes from Charlotte Russe are my go-to summer heels. They're comfy enough for walking around in, and they're great for dressing up an outfit. 

Talk to ya'll soon!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

so i did a thing... {k couture review}

//dress: c/o k couture / shoes: charlotte russe//

So yes, I did a thing. I've wanted red hair ever since I first read Anne of Green Gables (well, either that or Diana Barry's hair), and I've been talking about dying it for about a year or so now. So at the end of last month, on an impulse, I bought a box of dye and dyed it the next morning. And I love it. And so does Josh...thank goodness--I was worried he'd hate it. I already asked him if he wants me to keep it for the wedding, and his answer was an unequivocal "YES." Hehe. 


This dress was sent to me by K Couture so I could review their "design a dress" tool. K Couture is a family-owned business in Arizona, which is also where all their dresses are made. They offer custom formal wear (perfect for weddings!) in a variety of shades and reasonable prices. They have a wide selection of styles to choose from, including more conservative choices. They also have the option to design your own dress, by choosing your desired fabric, neckline, sleeve, waistline, and length, in addition to color. The "design a dress" tool is super easy to use, and I liked all the options they offered. The only thing I wish is that there were a few more options for skirt shape and length--I'd love to see something like a circle skirt! Ooh, and if there were an option to add pockets. That would be perfection.

The quality of this dress is great, and oh my, that shade of emerald green is just gorgeous. The sash style lends a bit of retro quality, which I also love. The only thing with the sash was that it was too thick to tie into a bow, so I simply knotted it--which I actually really like the look of. I also should have sized up. The skirt is a bit too tight in the hips, which causes it to pull across my stomach to show off an awkward bulge--so I would definitely recommend paying close attention to the sizing when ordering. So I wish it fit better, but In every other way, I love this dress. It's simple, but so elegant and classy. 

K Couture is also offering ya'll a 10% off coupon. Just enter the code Dress10 at checkout. :) 

Anyway, talk to ya'll soon!