Friday, January 29, 2016

Friday!

Happy Friday! 

-ONE-
Brandon has been traveling for work all week to the frozen tundra that is the Northeast and has missed the absolutely gorgeous, spring-like weather that North Texas has bestowed upon us most of this week. We have been in the mid-60's almost all week and are expected to get up to the mid-70's this weekend! 

All of that to say, we've been enjoying being outside and trying to busy ourselves while Daddy has been away. ;) But let me tell y'all, it has been A WEEK. Walker is definitely in the midst of the Terrible Twos and it's been a battle of the wills around here. We're talking getting out of bed, screaming at his door to sleep in our bed {which he's never done} and kicking his door. That happened Monday-Wednesday morning, and I was just at my wit's end. If I wasn't pregnant, I'd be consuming all the wine! Ha! 

BUT: Our trip to the Fort Worth Zoo on Monday was a perfect way to kick of the week by ourselves, and we're planning to celebrate our OFFICIAL {as of 12:03 a.m.} two-year-old tonight by eating at his favorite restaurant, Chick-fil-A! 



-TWO-
So the dress I blogged about two weeks ago? A total bust. It had a weird hemline and just didn't look good on me at all. I swear, these "pregnant" models wearing their fake bellies…ugh. ANYWAY, y'all have been so beyond helpful in the whole "finding-a-dress-for-Easter-and-my-brother-in-law's-wedding" department by reminding me of sites like ASOS Maternity and Pink Blush Maternity, so I've been doing some looking around on those sites. 

I'm currently pretty sold on this one for my brother-in-law's black-tie wedding: 


And perhaps this one for Easter: 


-THREE-
I posted two videos on Snapchat of Walker playing with some toys earlier this week and got messages from some of y'all asking what they were. I'm always happy to share toy{s} we love around here, and both of them just happened to be Melissa & Doug, which we adore!

The first is the Melissa & Doug Cutting Fruit Set. Santa brought this for Walker this year, and I must say, he loves it…especially when I give it to him to play with while I'm cooking dinner. It really makes him feel like he's "helping" me! It's wooden pretend fruit that's Velcro-d together, and kiddos use the pretend wooden knife to "cut" it apart. Genius!


The second is the Melissa & Doug Beginner Band Set. Another Santa find, Walker loves to "make muse-ikkkk" with these instruments. {And my Mom gifted him with a little Mickey Mouse Karaoke Machine for his birthday, and he loves to use his "my-ter-pho" -- AKA: microphone -- to accompany his music.} 



Follow me on Snapchat: brittwhit87!

-FOUR-
Walker and I had lunch with Liz on Thursday after my doctor's appointment, and she made me laugh when she told me I was always her "go-to" makeup/hair product person when we worked together! I told her about my new favorites: NYX #529 lipstick and Urban Decay Makeup Setting Spray. If y'all haven't tried those, you must! They're my favorites! 

And just because I love them both to pieces, here's a picture of Walker and Liz at lunch. {Or "Yiz," as Walker calls her.} 



-FIVE-
I saw this article that Real Simple tweeted out earlier this week, and I wanted to give it all the praise hand emojis. Are any of y'all habitually early like me? I had a choir teacher in high school who always said, "If you're early, you're on time; if you're on time, you're late; and if you're late, don't bother showing up." I still repeat that to myself to this day!

And speaking of Twitter, it's my favorite thing on Monday nights during "The Bachelor." The commentary literally makes me giggle! This Monday was no exception, especially during Olivia's "talent." Y'all, that girl is nuts. She totally reminds me of Amy Dunne in "Gone Girl"…like she's just going to kill you at any minute for taking "her man!" Ha! 


Linking up with:

April + the Five on Friday girls




Andrea + the Friday Favorites girls


Katie + the High Five for Friday girls 

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Thoughts for Thursday: Walker is TWO!

At midnight, my baby will be two. Well, three minutes after midnight on January 29…a time and date I don't think I could ever forget. Walker was supposed to be here on January 28, but he showed what I now know as his wild spirit and tendency to do things exactly as he wants to do them. 

Oh, my precious boy. Tears are streaming down my face as I write this and watch you sleeping on the monitor. 

When I was up with you at 2 a.m. in the wee days of your life, never did I think that making it to your second birthday would come so soon. As I typically do, I only saw the small picture and the day that was in front of me right then. I was, as all mothers are, inundated with tiny diapers, burp cloths, swaddles and pacifiers. As it's often quoted, "The days are long, but the years are short." I never believed that until I had you. It has already flown by.

But here we are. You're two. For some reason it feels so big to me. Perhaps it's the fact that you can do so much for yourself already and I can already see your sheer and utter dependency on me waning. But then I hear that phrase I think I hear 40+ times a day: "Mommy help?" and just knowing that you need -- and want -- me and only me is the most comforting feeling in the world. 

Walker, you are such a sweet, precious little boy with a wild spirit. So much of you reminds me of myself, and as much as I hate to admit it, I secretly love it. You know exactly what you want, when you want it, and how you want it. You're determined, headstrong and a typical first child -- and I pray you never, ever lose those qualities. On the same, yet completely different, vein, you're so loving and affectionate and never miss an opportunity to tell us that you love us. 

Walker, you opened my eyes to a love I never knew existed the day they rested you on my chest at 12:03 a.m. on January 29, 2014. I was so in awe of you that all I could do was whisper, "Happy Birthday" over and over again. And you know what, my sweet one? I'm still in awe of you today. 

I never want to miss an opportunity to tell you that I love you and that I'll always be here for you. I promise to always be your biggest cheerleader, your #1 fan, your confidant and your Mommy. 

Your Daddy and I love you to the moon and back again, little one. Happy 2nd Birthday. 

And because I need an excuse to cry some more, here's a little montage of my favorite pictures of you from your first two years of life: 































Linking up with Annie and Natalie

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

What's Hap-pinning Wednesday: Valentine Gift Ideas for Little Ones

Happy Wednesday! Can you believe Valentine's Day is a little over two weeks away? Brandon and I have never really been big Valentine's Day celebrators. We cook a nice meal at home, watch a cheesy romantic comedy on TV and exchange cards. 

But now that we have a toddler {and a baby on the way}, we like carrying on the tradition that my parents did for my siblings and me in getting Walker a few small, inexpensive gifts for Valentine's Day. I get way more excited about the holidays now that I have a kiddo! 

I've already purchased Walker's little Valentine's Day gift from us, but I wanted to share some cute gift ideas for the little ones with y'all today if you haven't already purchased something for the sweet child {or children} in your life: 



one || two || three || four 

five || six || seven || eight 

nine || ten|| eleven || twelve 


I can't wait to read what's been "Hap-pinning" with y'all lately! 

Linking up with Jenn and Jessi

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

How to Help a Mom With a Newborn (Revisited)

Right after Walker was born, I wrote the first edition of this post, which you can find here. I'm going to do quite a bit of regurgitating on it, so if you don't want to click over, it's all below, with some new stuff added in for the second go-round and a note to the new mamas. ;)


How to Help a Mom With a Newborn (Revisited):
These are those things that I honestly didn't really "get" until Walker was born, so I wanted to share them with you in hopes of making your lives a little easier. Having a newborn -- a baby in general -- is so daunting {at least it was for me}, and I hope this helps you prepare for your sweet baby {or babies!} and will aid those who will be visiting you once he or she is born. 

But before I get to the nitty-gritty, let me preface this by saying something to the mamas: Having a new baby is absolutely wonderful and it's 100 percent understood that people will want to come from near and far to visit said baby, especially for your first baby. People are excited, especially your family and close friends! My Dad gave me the best advice when he was leaving our house right after Walker was born: "People only come to see the baby because they love you and care about you. So, let them come. Don't worry about how your house looks; they don't care. They just want to come see the baby out of love and respect for you." 

So here we go: 

How to Help a New Mom {and Dad}: Visiting

1. See what time(s) work for them for you to stop by. 
Would they prefer you visit at the hospital or at home? If at the hospital, check to see if the hospital has visitation hours. Our hospital had "serenity hour" from 2-4 p.m. each day, so no visitors were allowed. {And try to do your research online before calling or texting the new parents asking for this information. They're so tired/over the moon/hormonal that the last thing they want or need to do is ask a nurse who needs to confirm the hours with her supervisor and then text you back with those said hours. It seems menial, but it will mean a lot to them that you tried to do your research.} 

If the new parents want you to visit them at home, check to see what time(s) work best for the new family. Most new moms will be exhausted and trying to get the baby on a sleeping and/or feeding schedule -- or busy juggling another child, too -- so check with her first to see what time is best. When we first got home, Walker would eat every two hours, so we'd have people stop by right after he finished eating, if at all possible. No visitors like to come and the mom is back in the bedroom feeding the baby!

And I know this sounds silly, but as soon as you walk into that hospital room or the home, wash your hands before anyone has to ask you or tell you to. Trust me, when you're a new mom, that "Mama Bear" instinct comes out and you just want to scream at someone who doesn't wash their hands before picking up your fresh-outta-the-oven baby. 

Also, don't stay long. I'm not saying you have to stay for 10 minutes, but don't park your rear on their couch and expect to watch the first half of a football game, either. Hold the baby, ask what you can do, visit with the parents, ask them how they are -- and let me be frank, don't ask them how they're sleeping -- and then wrap up your visit. There is nothing worse to a new mom than wanting to nap but feeling like she has to entertain. And for the love of all things holy, do not ring the dang doorbell! 

On a personal note, the best thing we did was not have any visitors the day we came home from the hospital. We were all three so tired, and it was just nice to be able to come home, unpack our bags and start laundry, have a home-cooked meal by my mom, and love on our baby. We let people know that outright and told them we'd love for them to visit us the next day. 

2. Text Instead of Calling
Speaking of seeing what times work, it was easier for us if people would text us instead of calling us. It was so much easier to return a text than answer the phone and have a full conversation {#firstworldproblems, I know}. Plus, if Walker was screaming, the poor person on the other end of the phone wasn't privy to that. And, the phone ringing didn't wake the baby.

3. Don't Come Empty-Handed 
My Mom always taught me to bring a full meal to a new mom: a main course, a side or two and dessert. Yes, it's tough for you to make all of that, but trust me: the family will appreciate it more than you know!

When you have a new baby, you barely have time to microwave soup, much less get in the kitchen and fix supper! Also, if you can't or don't cook, ask the family what they would like from a local restaurant and bring that to them. Whether it's home-cooked or pizza from a restaurant, trust me -- the new family will appreciate it. {Just make sure it's not too spicy if the new mom is breastfeeding.} 

We were so blessed that my mom was here at first and made us very yummy, homemade meals that were conducive to me breastfeeding: meatloaf, mashed potatoes, peas and rolls, for example. {Nothing too spicy!} Then, we had friends and family make and/or bring us meals when my mom and dad left. My grandparents were awesome and brought us a ton of frozen meals, and I made and froze meals before Walker was born. My aunt brought us salads we wanted from a local salad place, my best friend sent us a pizza, and my nephew's mom brought us Olive Garden. And it was all equally appreciated! 

On this same vein, we had someone bring us raw chicken breasts and tell us they didn't have time to cook, but that we could grill them and add them to a salad. I wish I was joking.  I barely had time to brush my teeth, much less go outside in January and grill some chicken breasts and then find the ingredients for a dang salad. Don't be that person. If you honestly don't have the time, just don't worry about it. Send the family a food gift card in the mail; that will mean so much more to them than a random, off-the-wall "treat" like raw chicken breasts. 

How to Help a New Mom {and Dad}: Helping Around the House

4. Ask What You Can Do to Help Around the House 
Everyone tells a new mom to "nap when the baby naps." And that's all well and good at first…until she sees her overflowing laundry hamper or piles of dishes in the sink! Then -- at least for me -- baby's nap time turned into laundry hour. So, if you're close enough family or friends with the new family, ask what you can do to help around their house. 

Most new moms will be too proud to let you help, but insist! Whether it's unloading the dishwasher, folding a load of laundry, walking their dog, checking their mail or just taking a bag of trash from the kitchen to the garage, the family will appreciate it so much. A direct quote from my husband: "Even the smallest chore is a great help." 

My mom and mother-in-law were very helpful in that regard, even running to the grocery store to pick up a few things we were out of (e.g. milk, yogurt, laundry detergent). 

5. Offer to Watch the Baby
If you're close enough to the new family, offer to watch the baby for an hour or two while the new mom and/or dad go to dinner, the grocery store or run a few errands. No matter how in love the new parents are with their sweet bundle of joy, they still will want a tiny little break -- even if they do talk about their baby the whole time! 

My grandparents and aunt were so helpful with this: my grandparents watched Walker while Brandon and I went to dinner on Valentine's Day; my aunt watched him while we went to sushi; my mother-in-law while I got a manicure and pedicure; and my aunt again while we attended a family funeral. It was comforting to know that we could get out for an hour {typically right after I fed him} and we had family who loved on him while we were out. 

6. Offer to Hold or Feed the Baby  
If you have time, offer to hold or feed the baby while the new mom takes a shower or a short nap or uses two hands to eat. This was beyond helpful for me, because sometimes you have to decide whether to sleep, eat, fold laundry or shower…and sometimes showering sadly takes the back burner. Also, if you offer to hold the baby while the mom showers, she can take a nice, hot, longer-than-five-minutes-with-the-baby-sitting-in-the-bouncer-screaming-outside-the-shower shower. {And maybe even shave her legs! Gasp!} 

My mom and mother-in-law would take Walker right after I fed him and would order me to go take a nap. Even if it was just an hour, it was wonderful to not have to keep one ear open and just rest in pure silence. I also had friends who would bring over lunch or dinner and tell me to eat while they held the baby. It was so nice to be able to use two hands to eat and actually enjoy my food, and that meant so much to me! 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

And now, here's my little note to the mamas: 

New Mom, 

I'm going to be really up front with you. I'm about to have another baby in four short months, so I'm talking to myself here, too. You ready? People are going to want to come see your baby. LET THEM. People are going to want to help you. LET THEM. Your mother-in-law is going to drive you crazy. IT'S GOING TO BE OKAY. 

People -- especially your family and close friends -- are going to want to come see that new baby because they love you and are so excited about your new addition. They will say some off-the-wall things. They will sit in your recliner with your baby and watch HGTV while you fold laundry. They will offer their unsolicited advice. They will tell you their horror birth stories and ask you how many stitches you have. But just smile, nod, and let them visit you. Why? Because them visiting you means they love you. 

That's not to say that you can't -- and shouldn't -- have rules and boundaries. Make it clear up front your wishes, but don't be demanding or rude. There is no free pass for rudeness. Period. You are going to be tired, you are going to be hormonal, you are going to not remember the last time you brushed your teeth. But, as we say down South, don't be ugly -- in what you say or what you do. If you don't want visitors between 2-4 p.m., make that known in a nice way. If you don't want people ringing the doorbell, put a sign out front. If you simply don't want visitors at all, well, I can't help you there. 

If people want to help you, let them. They're not going to fold your laundry the way you do. But remind yourself that the laundry's getting done and be thankful you have clean Granny Panties to wear tomorrow. They're not going to load your dishwasher the way you do. But remind yourself that the dishwasher is unloaded and be thankful you didn't have to reach into that high cabinet to put away the serving bowl. They're not going to brush your toddler daughter's hair the way you do, but remind yourself that her hair is being brushed and her hair isn't in her eyes. 

I'm a proud person myself who likes for it to appear that I have all my stuff together. It's hard for me to let my guard down and let someone help me. But let them help you. Let them take your toddler to the park for an hour so you can nap. Let them bring you lunch and hold your baby while you eat. Let them bring you donuts for tomorrow morning's breakfast. Because guess what? In about a month, the "new" is going to wear off and you're going to want someone to be there to do all of those things. 

I don't say this to be harsh. I say this to be real. People love you, they're excited for you, and all they want is to help you because they love you and care about you. They know you're tired. They know your boobs hurt in ways you didn't even think were humanly possible. They know you just want to guzzle that bottle of wine because you haven't had any in 10 months. They know. They may have forgotten or need a gentle reminder, but they know. So be sweet. Be loving. Be gracious. In a few short months, you'll be wishing it were polite to call and say, "Hey! Want to come hold my kid while I eat now?" ;) 

New Mom, I get it. It's rough. But let me encourage you: You got this. You just carried, birthed and are being super mom to a tiny human whose every moment of life depends on you. You're a rockstar. The baby will sleep again. Your boobs will stop hurting. You will sleep again, too {albeit not until 9 a.m., but you get the picture}. You got this. 

Sincerely, 

A Mom Who Has Been There -- and is about to be there again 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

I hope these things have been or will be helpful to you! Are there any things I've left off? Did any of these help you, too? 

Monday, January 25, 2016

Weekending

Happy Monday! I hope those of you snowed in are enjoying some rest, TV binge-watching and yummy drinks! ;) 

We didn't have any snow, but we had some pretty chilly January weather this weekend. Speaking of weekend, here's how we spent our lazy one: 

-FRIDAY-
Walker and I ran some errands during the day, then decided on a whim to make some homemade sugar cookies since it was so cold and windy outside. Love my sweet kitchen helper, who deemed our cookies "dee-yish-issss!" 




We kept it super low-key and had leftovers for dinner, and Brandon and I watched "The Intern" when Walker went to bed. It was a cute little movie! I love Anne Hathaway and of course pretty much anything Robert DeNiro does. 

-SATURDAY-
Brandon made pancakes for breakfast, and our almost-two-year-old downed 3.5 of them. THREE POINT FIVE. That's more than I can eat! Ha! 


We were so lazy all morning and afternoon, which was amazing after our crazy birthday party weekend last weekend! I did a bunch of cleaning and laundry, ironed some clothes and watched "Grace of Monaco" with Nicole Kidman while Walker and Brandon napped. All I have to say about that movie is: "Eh." 

That afternoon, Brandon had to take his phone to the Apple Store, so we did some shopping and eating out while we waited on his repair. It was some fun, much-needed family time with just the three of us! 

Trying to keep Walker entertained in the Apple Store

Brandon and Walker reading books in Barnes & Noble

Lots of laughs during dinner at Taco Diner

All bundled up after dinner

-SUNDAY-
I have absolutely no pictures from Sunday -- that's how laid back and low-key we were. We went to church; then came home and I made homemade oven-"fried" chicken, smashed potatoes and peas; and then we all napped and watched football on TV. It was such a glorious day doing absolutely nothing! 

I hope y'all have a great week! I can't wait to read about your weekends! 

Linking up with Biana and Meghan