Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Closing Time

Well if you've been following my blog for awhile, you know that in Ollie's newborn days - and even beyond - I talked about breastfeeding a lot.  And I'm going to do it one more time - for the last time. Yes, the last time.  Because we're done.  We've actually been done for a couple of weeks now.  It's been bittersweet, but it was time.

I can't help but think of the Semisonic song, Closing Time, a little bit.  "Closing Time, turn off all the lights over every boy and every girl.  Closing Time, one last call for alcohol so finish your whiskey or beer."  I am the one who basically decided to cut this last tie.  I am the one who said last call for milk. I would have kept going longer, but I think Ollie was more than ready and honestly, I was tired.  We were still nursing three times a day in January.  We cut that back to twice a day in February and then only once a day in the beginning of March, at bedtime.  And I could tell that while part of him still wanted it a little bit, he didn't really truly seem to need it that badly.  So after we had him stay the night with my in-laws (where he actually slept through the night for the first time, which was a major catalyst in this decision) I decided we'd try giving up that last feed.  And he did great.  It was unceremonious (well it was for Ollie.  More on how it was for me in a bit).  We just gave him a bottle one night at bedtime instead of breast.  That was it.

It's funny.  I wouldn't say I had to be drug kicking and screaming into breastfeeding, but it wasn't something I was super excited about.  I agreed to do it because I knew it would save us money and would be convenient.  I also knew it would be good for him.  I kept saying my loose goal was to get to six months and that if we could go an entire year it would be fantastic.  This was all before he was born.  And then he was born and he took to it so, so well.  And I fell in love.  I never thought I would love breastfeeding so much.  But it just came so naturally to us.  And yes it did save us money and it was super easy because I always had food at the ready for him and yes it did help me lose weight. But it was so much more than that.  It was a special relationship that only I could have with him.  

I originally thought we'd wean around his first birthday even though he wasn't really showing signs of being ready.  He was doing great with solid foods already at that point, but I just kind of figured, I can't nurse this kid forever so we'll try to go with a gentle weaning process.  And then two things happened.  First he was diagnosed with a mild cow's milk allergy and then both he and I suffered a bout of Norovirus.  While he was sick, breastmilk was the only thing he could tolerate.  But the problem with me having also been taken down by that bug was that there was a 24 hour period where I could not nurse him at all, I couldn't even get out of bed.  And then I didn't eat much for close to 48 hours.  My milk actually started drying up.  And I panicked.  Not only was it the only thing he could handle while sick, this was not the way I wanted our nursing relationship to end.  Thankfully because he really only wanted to nurse at that time he helped me re-lactate pretty quickly.  That was back in December.  

We just decided to slowly start the weaning process again after we were all healthy and back to normal.  He loves his almond milk that we chose as a cow's milk alternative, so that was no problem. He has a healthy appetite and eats pretty much all food you put in front of him.  So really at this point the nursing was more of a connection to me.  It was a very hard decision and Nate and I talked a lot about it.  First I stopped pumping (hallelujah, that was ONLY part of breastfeeding I didn't enjoy) and then as I said earlier, we slowly started dropping one session every so many weeks.  Soon we were down to only doing it at night and for awhile he seemed to still really enjoy and want it.  Then one night he was super squirmy and not really wanting to latch for long and I realized he was also maybe saying it was time for last call.  He was telling me "Closing Time, you don't have to go home, but you can't stay here."  And so I put him to bed and sat down with Nate to watch TV and was pretty quiet for most of the evening. He always knows when something is wrong so he finally asked what was up and I pretty much had a complete emotional breakdown and explained that I thought it was time to be done.  Truth be told, while I didn't want to be done at the same time, I WAS done.  My body was tired.  I was tired.  I wanted my body to be my own again.  And of course, you feel mom guilt over that.  Nate and I talked and he let me cry and he told me what a wonderful job I had done all this time and that I shouldn't feel bad.  If it's time, it's time.  The next night we just did a bottle at bedtime and as I said above, it was pretty uneventful, it's like it was just the way it had always been.  He didn't cry, he didn't seem to miss it. 

I made my peace with it after that night.  I had my one emotional outburst and I was pretty much ok after that and ready to move on.  I was willing to (mantra and word of the year alert) let it go and embrace this next part of the parenting journey.  That's not to say I won't miss it at times or be sad about it, especially knowing I'll not likely have this experience again (if you're new here, we've made a pretty solid decision to be one and done having kids and I recently had an IUD inserted - sorry if that's TMI).  But I am also pretty happy with where we are now.  This kid is learning new things every day and is just such a joy that I don't find myself dwelling in the past too much at all.  And even the song Closing Time has an uplifting ending.  "Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end."  Recently Ollie has learned to say I love you.  When I leave his room at night I hear this sweet little voice say "I ove oo."  My heart soars.

Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end.

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Monday, March 30, 2015

MN Bloggers Favorite Things 2015

Happy Monday!  I'm just off of a very full, but very fun weekend.  I had the chance to spend time with a bunch of my favorite Minnesota bloggers (a couple of them I was lucky enough to even see twice!) and my heart is always so full and my spirit is always so refreshed after spending time with these lovely people.  Saturday I had the chance to participate in the Minnesota Bloggers Favorite Things Party and it was so much fun!  

We gathered together at J. Arthur's Coffee in Roseville, MN and very appropriately they gave us the Minnesota Room!

The awesome Lauren from Our Crazy Ever After was kind enough to organize and set this whole shindig up with the help of Megan from Mr. C and Me and they did a great job.  The idea at a favorite things party is everyone brings three of their favorite things (we kept the price limit to $5-$7) and then we draw names and everyone gets to choose someone else's favorite thing to go home with!  I totally forgot to take a picture of the favorite thing I brought, but it's on the table below here - I found the cutest mint polka dot coffee mugs at World Market and I stuck an individual pack of one of my favorite coffees that they have, Vanilla Bean.  

It was so fun to get to meet a bunch of new bloggers - before we drew names, we went around and everyone got up and introduced themselves and their blog and then explained what their favorite thing was.  Lauren said this was one of the biggest turnouts that they've had and I believe this was the third favorite things party.  I am so excited about the goodies I brought home with me.  I chose lipstick that one of the gals makes herself - it's awesome, it was a "surprise" color and I think is supposed to be like a mood ring, changes color with your mood.  It's been mostly peachy on me so far, but I really like it!  I also chose some awesome truffles from Trader Joes, they sound absolutely amazing.  And finally, one of the gals has a daughter named Bailey and she said that she's her favorite thing, so she brought little bottles of Baileys liquor along with a pen and a Reeses Egg.  I can relate to that since Ollie is definitely one of my favorite things, not to mention, I love Baileys!  Yum!

And naturally, we're bloggers, you put us alone in a room together and of course the cameras are going to come out.  Some selfies, some large group shots.  First I grabbed a selfie with Sara from Writing With Bangles and Jen from Wonderfully Unkempt.  These two ladies are two of the sweetest people and I just can't put into words how much I've really come to appreciate their friendship this last year. (#youjustgetme).

These next two pictures were stolen.  I took this next one from Megan Bird.  We were definitely missing Nora (but California does seem to agree with her so far!).  It's a shame we're not photogenic at all.  Or pretty.  

And this last one is a group shot of everyone.  I wish I had had more time to get around and talk to more people, but it was a really big group!  We were smart enough to pass around a sheet to have everyone write down all their social media info, so I'm just going to have to try to get to know some more of these lovely ladies online and hope that we all meet up in person again soon!

Overall it was a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon!  I can't say it enough how much I love blogging and the community that comes from it!  The internet can be used for good!
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Friday, March 27, 2015

Gift of Thrift Giveaway and Swap Recap

I'm SO excited about today's post!  The Thrift Style Thursday gals and I have something very special to share!  But before we get to that, I'd like to recap what brought this all about to begin with!

A few weeks ago, Martyna from Spoolish had a great idea - a swap!  All of us that take part in Thrift Style Thursday each week were paired up with another member and then we exchanged size information and what not and then shopped for the person we were paired up with!  Too fun right? We then sent our goodies to our partner and finally today are sharing our items on all of our blogs!

I was excited and lucky enough to be paired up with fellow MN blogger Zhenya of Being Zhenya. We ended up meeting for coffee to exchange our goodies and we had a great time!  And of course, we were good little bloggers and got a quick picture together.

I'm looking forward to seeing Zhenya again at a blogger get together this weekend!  Anyway, she did a great job picking goodies for me!  I had mentioned I wanted some items to transition to spring and she found some good ones.  Without further ado, here they are!

I love this pink sweater and the fact that it's kind of open weave - it'll go great over a t-shirt, camisole or tank top.  I love that it can be easily dressed up with my pixie pants here or that it could also be dressed down with jeans.  The blue belt she gave me also adds some nice definition to it!

This beautiful yellow dress is awesome and it looks great with the lovely yellow and gold scarf she found for me as well!  I think with this cardigan of mine this will make a nice look for Easter!

These earrings are so fun, the picture quality isn't great here, but they're fun silver leaves.  Thankfully Oliver is getting less and less grabby about my jewelry so I should be able to start rocking stuff like this again, at the very least I can wear them on a date night!

These next two items I thought were so sweet - she made them both!  This beautiful blue infinity scarf is so warm and cozy and I have already worn it several times as winter hangs on.  I look forward to wearing it next winter too!  The other item is this cute sweatshirt/cardigan - she crocheted on some fun patches.  It's a nice casual shirt that is super warm and cozy and I love it!

The last item is a little more difficult to see - I wore it on one of my Pinned It Spinned It days and covered it up a bit with a jacket - but it's an awesome tan tunic from H&M (which I always love finding at the thrift store!) - it's a great color and I can see so many style options for it.  It's lightweight too and I think will transition quite well to spring!

I can't thank Zhenya enough!  I think she did a wonderful job!  It was like Christmas getting to enjoy all these items, sort of like opening a gift.  And speaking of gifts....I am proud to announce the Gift of Thrift Giveaway!

We all had so much fun shopping for each other that we want to do that for one of YOU! And your chances of winning are pretty darn good - we'll be selecting FOUR lovely ladies to be styled by our Swap Partners.  And by the way to all my MN gals - if one of you are selected, Zhenya and I will personally take you shopping with us and dress you up.  So you know, that could be a lot of fun!  We have had a lot of support and great feedback from Thrift Style Thursday, so this is a way we want to give back to all of you.  Use the Rafflecopter link below and good luck!! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Thrift Style Thursday - Winter Blues

When Andrea of Little Did You Know chose "Winter Blues" for our Thrift Style Thursday this week I was originally thinking "oh come on, it's the end of March, it's spring!" Um, wait a minute, did I forget I live in Minnesota?  This theme is perfect for this week, we totally got hit with a relapse of winter, so yes, suffering the winter blues just a little bit!  Especially after we had snow twice this week.  Blah.

I had a little trouble coming up with an entirely blue thrifted outfit.  I just don't seem to own a lot of blue clothing at all.  So, some of my items are thrifted, but some are hand me downs which is still kind of thrifty right?

I also went with a skirt even if it was cold and wintery because I just needed a change.  I love my pixie pants and colored jeans, but it's getting old wearing them all the time!  I also added a pop of color to my outfit with a fun new bag.  I have professed my love of the Stella and Dot How Does She Do It Bag that I own in pewter.  Well, I found this fun colorful version on ThredUp for a bit of a steal, so I treated myself - I had credit from having sold a couple of my own bags there, so I kind of just made an exchange I guess!

Blazer - American Eagle (thrifted), Shirt - Ann Taylor (hand me down)
Skirt and tights - Old Navy, Boots - Target
Bag - Stella and Dot (via ThredUp)

So anyway, maybe not my best attempt, but I sure did what I could with a limited blue wardrobe!  I am so ready for pastels and spring colors, I just hope the weather outside starts to cooperate more!

Make sure to check out the other Thrift Style Thursday gals and how they styled their winter blues! And come back tomorrow for an exciting giveaway from the TST team!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Truth or Dare

The Let Your Blog Shine writing prompt this week is Truth or Dare - so here are some truths or dares that Brittany from Country Chic came up with for us and my brave responses!

Truth - What is the most embarrassing TV show you like? 
I guess for awhile the answer was Glee - I was a pretty big "Gleek" for a long time.  This whole last season was pretty abysmal but I did watch it to the end and I guess the finale was all right, I think Parks and Rec and Parenthood did a better job of the "look into the future" thing, but maybe that's just me.  Besides that I don't know that I like much for embarrassing TV.  We don't have cable so I'm not really able to get sucked into the reality stuff all that much, though I will admit we did watch quite a bit of the show Amish Mafia when it was first on the air a couple of years ago.  I still can't believe that's a thing!

Dare - Show Us Your Prom Photo
I have one scanned into my computer that I can share.  Get ready to see Nate and Beth look like babies. This particular picture is from our junior prom and we were 17.  Ready?

Truth - When was the last time you peed in a pool?
Does a river count?  Because when you go tubing down a river for two hours drinking beer, pee is going to happen.  And we went tubing last summer.  So there you go.

Dare - Post a photo of yourself when you first wake up.
Oof.  I did it.  Yep.  It's rough, but this is what I look like at 6:00 in the morning.  No edits, no filters, this is real life!

Truth - What is your favorite thing about the opposite gender?
I was extremely attracted to Nate's eyes when I was first finding myself interested in him.  And well, I like his behind.  Let's just say that.

Dare - Show us all the contents of your purse.
Here's a current shot of what is in my purse.  I did a "what's in my bag post" back in September and the contents haven't really changed much since then!

Truth - What is the worst thing you ever cooked or baked?
I haven't done much of either of these things lately so it's actually kind of hared to remember right now.  I know that there were a couple of times that I burned some pork tenderloin I was making for pork tenderloin sandwiches that we couldn't even salvage and had to just throw away.  And I would say my Super Bowl dessert this year was decent, it turned out fine, but it was almost so hurt your teeth sweet that I actually don't count it as one of my hits.

Dare - Show us a photo of your goofiest face.
I don't know if this one is super goofy, I actually took it by mistake the other night when I was wrestling on the floor with Ollie, I had it out because I thought he was going to lay on the floor with me and I was going to take a selfie (cause that's what we do) but then he ran off and I still hit the button.  Man, this post is getting real today!

Truth - What is the stupidest thing you have done because someone dared you to do it?
There is photographic evidence that I will not share here of me licking spilled beer off of a table on my 21st birthday.  Not my finest moment, but we all do dumb things when we get drunk right?

Truth - If your life was a movie, who would you want to play you?
I think I'd have to go with either Emma Stone or Anna Kendrick on that one.  I love how spunky and sassy they are, they actually both remind me of me when I was in my 20's and bonus, Anna Kendrick can sing, and I sing too.

And on that note, there was a bonus credit entry we could do today and post a video of us singing - and that is something I have wanted to do for you all for quite some time now, but I had zero time to make a video (or at the very least, to make one that I like enough to post!), so sadly, that dare will not be happening today.  Hopefully someday soon!

Otherwise, there you go.  I've either frightened you all horribly today or endeared myself to you all the more. At the very least, I'm keeping it real, right?
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