Two Babies

Paityn’s eyes light up when she excitedly observes she and Hudson are laying together in bed or are both in my exhausted arms. “Two babies!”

The transition to having “two babies” was a rough one the first month. Struggle bus galore. Paityn seemed to be concerned that we would leave one night just like all of the visitor’s did after Hudson was born. She started needing reassurance anytime we’d be in the car driving that she was coming too.

“Dadda, coming? Momma, coming? Paityn, coming? Baby, coming?”
“Yes Paityn,” we’d tell her, “you’ll always come with us.”

For weeks Landon laid next to her crib holding her hand through the slots, soothing her hurting and worried heart till she fell asleep. Breastfeeding Hudson often made her jealous. I offered every time she tried to push Huddie off that she could go next, Hudson just had to go first. She took me up on the offer once, and bit me within 5 seconds. Turns out a good latch isn’t forever.

Let’s also not forget the pink eye that kept sweeping through our house that month.

And then something magical happened at the 4 week mark. We got our sweet Paityn back. Sighs of relief happened. I was never concerned that we’d ruined her life. But it was hard to see her not herself.

But everything went back to normal; minus my huge pregnant belly and with a chubby little newborn in our lives now.

The girls started sleeping in till 11am some mornings. Paityn took up nursing her doll while I nursed Hudson, or started using the free time to get into a little mischief. We fell into a routine. I learned the habits that made our days go smoothly, and joyfully even most days. Suddenly our texts to Landon were cheerful updates, the sweatpants and unwashed hair days were fewer and further between, and that peaceful motherhood confidence set back in.

I will clarify, it’s strongest when both girls are sleeping. ;)

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The Sling Diaries | Health

[[ Thoughts on health as my second entry for the Sling Diaries Project with Sakura Bloom. You can find my previous entries in the tag above, and the other sweet mom’s posts/entries from our VI volume here ]]

14webPaityn and I sit cross-legged on the floor in the morning, bowls in our laps eating breakfast as we sleepily wake up. “I’m happy” she tells me, convinced that happy is the opposite of tired. The bowls contain greek yogurt with bran cereal sprinkled on top because I’m trying to be more mindful of my macros and nutrition again. So this is me trying to be better about hitting my protein and fiber goal. Because let’s be honest, carbs and fats are easy peasy. You’ll never catch me saying, “oh geez, this sure is hard to eat x amount of fats or carbs today!”

But protein and fiber are a struggle every time. And while I’m in the awkward stages of postpartum, both aesthetically and functionally, turns out hitting those numbers make life easier. So I’ll add a few fiji apples and bag of light popcorn to my day later, resolving to find ways to branch out with fiber sources tomorrow.

This postpartum journey is completely different from last time. I’m kinder and more patient with myself this go-round.

After I had Paityn, every day was a celebration. I had no idea what to expect from my body, so when the numbers dropped week after week I literally could not believe it. The message I had seen from the media and family alike is that the body is never the same after becoming a mom. That you’ll love your children and that it’ll all be worth it, but that you’ll never be the same.

I am not the same as I was before children.
I am hands down, a million times better off.

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6webExperiencing birth twice gave me a confidence in myself that would’ve taken years to find. It’s like I hopped on the fast track to all the peaceful vibes. And I give birth all of the credit. Looking back, and if we’re being completely honest, pregnancy sucks. I tried to lean into it both times, and celebrate all the sweet moments. But it was those two births that offered me all the healing. Gone were all of the years of loathing this vessel I’d been given.

It gave me a fresh start.

With this fresh start I’ve discovered a sense of balance like you wouldn’t believe. And I’m not talking on the surface, day in the life of a nutrition nerd balance. The amount of chocolate that goes down in my life might stress some of you out for example. I mean the true-to-the-core balance.

A few nights a week Landon and the girls go to the track with me and cheer me on/play on social media while I jog 8 laps. My first postpartum run a few weeks ago I discovered this was my base, so I made a rule that I’d always do at least what I did that first day.

On other evenings he and I make use of the daycare at our gym and lift weights. I dream of having boulder shoulders and impressive biceps, but know that it takes time. So we go back and forth on sets, laughing about our faces during certain lifts and pushing each other and help with form on others.

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Nightly we visit our little raised bed garden in a community garden, water the soil, and watch our seeds turn into plants.

Adding these things to our day takes a bit of extra effort. It requires turning off HGTV and dreaming about owning a tiny house and making a concerted effort to live in the present. There’s nothing Landon and I can do about our hardwood floor, large window and tall ceiling tiny home dreams, but there are things that we can do daily for our health. And those little things add so much joy to our day, and to our relationship.
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Running a few miles, lifting weights, upping my fiber and protein, learning about square foot gardening, reading the scriptures and cutting out caffeine. These are the little things that have added so much joy and balance to my life. The process of pregnancy and birth taught me volumes about learning to listen to my body/soul and what it’s quietly begging for. At the end of the day I wholeheartedly believe that we all know a few things that we can do to better our health. We just need to turn off the insistent and ever-changing flow of health news for a second, and listen.

dress by Sonnet James, Sling by Sakura Bloom in Sencha, photos by Landon Faulkner Photography

Favorite Baby Products

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The field of baby products is constantly changing, as are my favorite products. But I’m of the mindset that this phase of being a mother to a little one is short, so I’m all for trying-all-the-things!

With Paityn I used babyli.st as our baby registry instead of a large box store because of the ease of adding products from any online store, including Easy. With Hudson I used it as a way to stay organized for personal use, and to share with you guys what my favorite things are if you were shopping as well. This is not sponsored in any way, I really just love this site.

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I’ve added the link to my menu and hope that we can talk baby products + this can be a place where you can ask questions about anything you see listed as my favorite. I love the fluid nature of the page — prices are constantly update, I can rearrange/organize, and change notes if they’re confusing or need clarification.

Of course at the end of the day, many of the products are just nice things to have to make motherhood sweet. All you really truly need for a baby is a place for it to sleep, your body to feed and cuddle, a way to contain and dispose of waste, and a proper carseat. And love.

 



 

Take Two

A game of lost and found happened quickly (without me realizing it) with my motivation for earning my degree.

I enrolled for the two online classes this winter, oh so very pregnant and learning about Paityn in her new phase of life as a toddler. I passed one and didn’t the other. It wasn’t because they were very difficult! Whether it was the lack of a teacher in life to please, like I’ve claimed; or the awkward possibility that I expected it to be easy, and when it wasn’t, I fell back on the excuse that being a mother is important and that being a mother is enough.

Yes, yes it is! But arguing the merits of motherhood has nothing to do with me falling behind on reading for an English class.

At the end of the day that was an excuse. I quietly swept the idea of going back to school under the rug, and moved on. I figured it would “make more sense down the road”. Even more awkwardly, what that really meant was, I was figuring it would be easier down the road.

This role of being a mom isn’t going anywhere. It’s never going to get easier. Gaining an education wasn’t meant to be easy.

But it is a very personal journey.

So again, I’m following the pounding in my heart again that begs to be listened to. To give this another go. To make going back to school make sense, despite our frequently-moving-ways.

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Nursing in Public

“But truly, women are amazing. Think about it this way: a woman can grow a baby inside her body. Then a woman can deliver the baby through her body. Then, by some miracle, a woman can feed a baby with her body. When you compare that to the male’s contribution to life, it’s kind of embarrassing, really.” ― Jim GaffiganDad Is Fat

I didn’t set out to be someone who had strong feelings and opinions about nursing. It happened gradually over the past few years.

The wheels started turning during my first few months with Paityn. I remember lamenting to my mom the need to use a cover while nursing my child, wishing that it could be no biggie to nurse freely wherever whenever.

And then I began to learn that it is. Or that it should be.

There are still situations now where I draw the line and need a cover. The list usually includes being with people who aren’t complete strangers, church services (as backwards as that sounds when you think about it) or situations where I can’t relax.

If we’re being completely honest I cover for my comfort. It’s difficult to let milk physically flow while being stressed out trying to maintain eye contact with someone, all the while wondering if the extra skin they’re seeing while I nurse coverless measures up to their standard of beauty.

IMG_0721IMG_0731 Why am I not concerned about the rest of the people in any given room? Because I know they’re going to be ok.

I believe that by nursing in public I share the message that my breast’s primary function, their intended purpose according to my Faith’s doctrine, is to nourish this child of mine.

Yes they are an erogenous zone. But so is the mouth, neck and earlobe. And you’re not going to judge me for showing those three. Yes the world has sexualized the breast.

But that is the world. And I believe in a better reality.

So I nurse.

And sometimes you guys, breastfeeding becomes a beautiful moment and I want to bottle up all of those emotions and take all the photos of their milk drunk faces. And other times it’s a routine moment because my daughter is hungry, and she needs to eat.

I nurse because the World Health Organization repeats over and over again that it is what our babies need. Every single one of them. In every single country.

My Faith recommends nursing for at least 12 months, and the World Health Organization urges to stick with it for 2 years and beyond. I set a goal that I knew I could do this time: of 18 months.

I stopped early last time, convinced that my melon sized chest would surely shrink down the way the rest of my body had. I had beauty ideals for myself that breastfeeding wasn’t meeting.

But nursing isn’t about physical beauty. So I’ve learned to be comfortable in this body. And if this is the cup size that my body knows to grow into to feed our daughters, then so be it.

I will be comfortable in this body.

I will be comfortable nursing my child when she needs to eat. I will learn to continue to accept that it won’t always be at an ideal time, but that I can relax wherever I am, and allow the milk to flow. Because she needs that from me.

IMG_0718So if I’m out to dinner, I won’t hide in a bathroom stall. If I’m attending church services I won’t hide in a side room missing special ordinances and messages. If you choose to step out to nurse — whether for your comfort or your child’s specific needs — I support you, and am so grateful for any building that provides a space for mothers. But I’m staying in the pew, trying to act nonchalant with Hudson under the cover trusting that it’ll get easier.

If I’m attending an event I won’t fearfully pump ahead of time to avoid having to nurse when she gets hungry. But I may ask you or Landon to sit close next to me to help me relax and remind me that it’s ok, and to talk with me.

I’m human, and I need to learn to trust the setting before being vulnerable.

I’ll nourish this child, and you nourish your child. We’re raising the next generation.

And I’d like for this to be a world where the focus on the body is spiritual. That my girls know their bodies are made by the ultimate Creator. And that we’ve had enough sexualization of the female body from past generations. We’re ready for a new reality.



This post is a collaboration with Cover Me Ponchos. Instead of telling you about the cute evening that we had taking these photos I wanted to share thoughts that have been on my heart the past week. I hope you don’t mind. Mint Poncho c/o Cover Me Ponchos.

This guy.

Is steady making progress growing his hair out
Finds a trail marathon to be a beautiful way to spend Saturday morning (3rd in his age group this past weekend!)
and fancies the idea of a romantic vacation together in Patagonia or Banff over any tropical island.

Can talk plans for a little home together to my heart’s content,
and will take “the long way” on our way to water our garden each night to scope out sweet homes in the area.

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Somehow happily cooks dinner on the nightly. I’d probably go crazy y’all.
Watches our babes at the track while I slowly run a handful of laps
and is always down for a chocolate run at 9pm.

Two babies and a wedding anniversary in a few short days.
How has it only been 4 years??
How do I love him so much more now?

Life is good with this guy around.

Love Where You Live Series: Zion National Park

A Love Where You Live series was inspired by two thoughts —

kicking the mindset of wishing for a better day/week/life somewhere tropical to the curb
+ all of the places that I regretted not visiting when we moved away from utah for california in 2012

I hoping to inspire you in some little way to love where you live, wherever that may be, through this series. If you happen to live or plan to visit Utah I hope these posts will be helpful as you look for adventures to do on your own! So get your national park pass and let’s do this.

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The first stop for our series this summer led us to Zion National Park, in Southern Utah. I spent my freshman year of college a few minutes west of the park but managed to only go once that entire year. Landon and I had been once, the first year we were married, but when the weather showed it as the only stop on our bucket list not getting rain or snow this past weekend we didn’t mind.

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Once Landon got home from work Friday evening — we packed a few bags, through a tent and sleeping bags in the car (changed a headlight or two) and headed south to Cedar City for the night. Normally I’d be all for staying the night a little closer to the park, and camping it up, but we grabbed a hotel room off of Priceline and cuddled up for the night: three of us in the bed and Paityn on the floor in her sleeping bag, because she saw Landon pack it in the car and wasn’t so keen on having to wait till the next night to sleep in it.

In the morning we got ready for the day, grabbed breakfast together still at the hotel then headed off to find sunscreen and groceries. I was optimistic and looking forward to getting some sun on my arms and having sandal tan lines by the end of the weekend. Turns out we spent the morning with our jackets + hoods on… but it was nice to not have to worry about protecting little Hudson from the sun for our first real adventure together. I’m a silver lining kinda girl. 
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Though 90% of the time when you hear about Zion National Park, you’re hearing about a stretch on the south end of the park — there’s a lot more to explore than that. Landon talked me into switching it up and scoping out the Kolab Canyon/north-west side of Zion’s that morning. And oh that husband of mine has the best ideas sometimes. Even when I don’t recognize it at first haha.

We checked in at the visitor’s center to show them our pass then had our jaws hit the floor as we began to drive through the Canyons. You guys, Southern Utah is gorgeous. That red rock just makes my heart giddy.

I’m not going to lie — everything took longer this trip than I expected. We found an area/trail that we wanted to explore, parked and then Hudson had to nurse. And then Paityn needed a diaper change. And then Hudson needed her diaper changed. And then a storm blew in so we changed her into warmer clothes. But I tried to not stress, figuring at 5 weeks postpartum I could pat myself on the back for whatever happened that day. We ended up taking the Lee Pass Trailhead which was easy peezy for the bit that we did. Beautiful views of the canyons without much work (:

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Around noon or so, give or take an hour, we were on the shuttle (having driven the rest of the way down to Springvale) headed to the Visitor’s Center. Not wanting to do a play by play for the rest of the day, here are things that worked (or didn’t work for us) —

  • Get there early if you can! (haha) The parking lots inside of the park fill up quickly. Have no fear — they’ve planned for this and have street parking starting in Springvale with frequent stops to get you into the park. But this does add time which can be a bugger if you’re wanting to be on a trail
  • Have a plan. Map out a few hikes you’d like to do — Landon and I loved Angel’s Landing and Riverside Walk continued with the Narrows day hike last time we’d been but didn’t feel up for either with two littles. The first has sketchier footings at the top and the second includes a decent amount of wading through water through the Narrows.
  • There are plenty of simple trails to do with kids so we chose the shorter Emerald Pool Trail and grabbed lunch at the Zion’s Lodge stop and ate that $13 burger combo out on the large field of grass while letting Paityn run around.
  • Skip having to grab overpriced burgers or slices of pizza in the canyon if you can. See above mistake haha. But that’s just me! I’m always thinking in terms of — this could’ve been sushi.
  • Stop and take in the views, don’t let the rush of people doing their own thing throw you off. Take those extra moments, tell your significant other to wait just one more second for you. Take a billion pictures, or just enjoy it camera free. You can’t go wrong.

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All in all it was a beautiful weekend. Southern Utah completely has my heart, and I’m looking forward to spending all summer exploring the red rock parts of this state. Hike wise I’m realizing now we really only got two in this weekend — but I must not have noticed at the time because that wasn’t why we were really there. I wasn’t there for a workout or to work off lunch; we were there to take in the beautiful scenes of the area and to spend time with the girls. Mission freaking accomplished.

Bonus: Paityn picked up the words “hike” and “tent” and has asked to do it again all day today. Oh we love that girl.