2016’s Mantra…

2016 mantra

 

You heard it here first, downers. You have no place in my 2016!

Stay Gold,

Grace

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What NOT to Say to a New or Expectant Mother (as Told by a New Mother)

There’s something about pregnancy and motherhood that seemingly invites unsolicited advice from strangers about your personal life and your body. As if pregnancy and childbirth weren’t hard enough, a lot of people feel the need to remind you of what horrors lie ahead, how HUGE you look, and what you’re doing wrong. Thankfully I’ve emerged from the hormone cloud of the past few months and am learning to laugh at these things, but I definitely had my moments. Here’s a list of the biggest offenses I’ve heard over the past year.

  • “Oh just wait until they’re teething/sick/in the terrible twos…etc”

This one in particular rubs me the wrong way. Here I am, a new mom who’s (let’s be honest) already scared shitless about motherhood. I’m incredibly relieved that my baby seems happy, and she consistently sleeps for long stretches. But the second I say “Things are great!” to another parent I’m met with a look of amusement and pity. Their face is saying “oh you poor thing, you have no idea what you’re in for.” Relax, other parents. I’m not going to discount every good day I have with my smiley baby girl while waiting for her to transform into some demon spawn.

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  • “Get all the sleep you can now, you’ll never sleep again once the baby arrives!”

As if expectant moms aren’t tired enough already…Sure, the first few weeks home from the hospital were tough; I was recovering from labor and my partner had to return to work immediately after our daughter was born (not to mention I was too HUGE to sleep for the last month of pregnancy.) But after a few weeks and some luxuriously long naps with my baby on my chest (best feeling in the world, by the way) things leveled out. I know every baby is different, and some have a harder time sleeping than others, but in my personal experience, you start to get really skilled at waking up, changing/feeding/comforting baby, and falling back asleep super fast. Plus coffee. COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE.

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  • “She’s not REALLY smiling; it’s just gas.”

My daughter started smiling the day she was born, and hasn’t stopped since. There’s nothing quite like raining on a new mother’s parade by saying her baby isn’t happy, just farting.

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  • “It’s just a little morning sickness, it will pass after your first trimester.”

Man oh man. “Morning” sickness for some can be ALL DAY sickness for a poor few, and there was nothing “little” about it. For Hypermesis sufferers like myself, it can be completely debilitating and last well past your first trimester. I was losing so much weight I was ordered to modified bed rest around week 18. I finally stopped vomiting daily around 30 weeks, but was nauseous my entire pregnancy. You should ask my poor fiancée if it was “a little morning sickness”; he had to watch me vomit several times a day at all hours for months. Needless to say, I was about to slap the next person who told me to drink some ginger ale and wait for it to pass.

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  • “You’re eating _____? Aren’t you worried about ____?”

One of the worst parts of pregnancy is the list of things you cannot eat. Sushi, rare meat, cold cuts, soft cheese, unpasteurized juices…the list goes on and on. BUT there are some women who take this to another level. When I was sick with HG and losing weight rapidly, the only two things I could stomach (besides Ensure shakes) were pretzel rods and McDonald’s chicken nuggets (I know, gross.) I was at the office choking down pretzels in between pukes when a coworker walked by. She stopped when she saw me and literally WAGGED HER FINGER and said “tsk tsk, those pretzels have way too much sodium for baby! Not good!” and walked away. I would have thrown up on her right then and there if I could.

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I was all…

  • “You better live it up now, your social life will never be the same”

Well of course your social life is going to be different, but that doesn’t mean it will be nonexistent or terrible. When I got pregnant and had my baby, I experienced the biggest outpouring of love and support from friends, whom I love, but hadn’t seen in ages. Having this baby has especially helped me rekindle the strong bonds with the women in my life, and instantly made clear the people who were NOT real friends (as they disappeared without a trace as soon as I announced my pregnancy.) Sure, Saturday nights are no longer spent in crowded clubs and bars (not that I was ever much of a “club” person to begin with) and I’m awake and starting my day by 6 on Sunday mornings. But look on the bright side; you save money, you’re healthier, and you realize who your real friends are… because they’re sitting next to you on the couch watching garbage TV and getting to know your new tiny human.

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  • “Your maternity leave is going to go by so fast, you’ll be back in the office before you know it!”

It absolutely did, and I was constantly anxious and hyperaware of just how fast it was flying by. I obsessed over the number of days I had left with my baby instead of relaxing and enjoying each day to the fullest. The last week of my leave was spent crying whenever the thought of the office popped into my head and I wasted precious time feeling sorry for myself (and the rest of the working moms in America.) I know I was lucky to even get any paid leave at all, but after reading about other countries’ Maternal Rights, it’s hard not to feel frustrated and sad about leaving my baby when she needed me most. So please, spare us the reminder of how quickly we need to be back to work.

Edited with Polarr Photo Editor

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  • “Woah, are you sure you’re not having twins?!”

No, you asshole. Do NOT comment on a pregnant woman’s size (even if she IS having twins) unless you want to a) see her break down in tears, b) get slapped, or c) have a death wish. I know you think you’re joking, but when I was pregnant I was an emotional WACK JOB. All it took was a weird look to send me spiraling into hysteria. We are constantly aware of our hippo size, so save yourself the chaos and just tell us we’re “glowing.” Even if we look like this:

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  • “You’re just being sensitive because you’re hormonal”

OH IS THAT RIGHT? YOU WANT TO SAY THAT A LITTLE CLOSER, FRIEND? “Hormonal” may as well be a curse word when arguing with a pregnant woman. Like yeah, we KNOW we’re hormonal, but we’re also busy CREATING A HUMAN LIFE IN OUR BODIES. Forgive us if we’re quick to cry or get frustrated, and try to understand that it’s nothing personal if we get upset. Chances are we’ll be laughing again 5 minutes after a breakdown. P.S. Pregnant women can use being hormonal as an excuse for being irrational; non-pregnant people should not hold it against them or call them out on it. Just one of those pesky double standards, ya mean?

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  • “You ARE breastfeeding, right?”

First of all, regardless of if a woman is breastfeeding or not, this is a very PERSONAL question. In my case, I breastfed my daughter for the three months I was on maternity leave, but my supply completely VANISHED after returning to work for a mere few days (Thanks, America.) Stress can dry up your supply REAL quick. I tried everything to get it back; pumping for hours, eating oatmeal for every meal, taking Fenugreek supplements, meditating…you name it, I tried it. So when people make this assumption, I feel pressured and judged when I tell them my daughter drinks formula. The assumption that every woman can breastfeed exclusively for a year or more makes those of us who can no longer produce feel guilty about “depriving” our babies of the best thing for them. Instead, I like to focus on my thriving and happy baby girl, who doesn’t like me ANY less for nourishing her in the best way I can.

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  • “So, when is baby number 2 happening?”

I can’t help but laugh when people ask me this. Not because it’s funny, but because I am so completely consumed with my first (4 month old) baby, and I’m still emotionally and physically recovering from my pregnancy that ANOTHER baby is the furthest thing from my mind. Sure, there may be other babies down the line, but I’m going to enjoy this one for now. It helps being in my mid-20s, as my clock won’t start “ticking” for a while yet. Which leads me to…

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  • “You have a baby? But you’re just a baby yourself!”

I understand the women of my generation, and the generation preceding mine, are waiting to get married and have their children later in life. As a 25-year-old (engaged, but still unwed) mother, I do face challenges that older, more financially secure and established mothers may not. But young mothers should not be underestimated – the love we have for our babies is just as fierce and consuming as any other mother’s. We may have to hustle a little harder, and we may have to get a little more creative, but we are just as capable of raising happy and healthy kids as our fellow 30-something mothers are.
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Phew! Man, it felt REAL good to get that out. Pregnancy and new-motherhood is a whole new world for many of us. It doesn’t help that people universally feel the need to give you their advice and opinion on what’s happening in your own body, especially if you didn’t ask for it.

 I feel so lucky and am so grateful to the women in my life who gave me the support and comfort I needed through out a really tough pregnancy, and I’ve experienced a really beautiful beginning of motherhood because of them. They withheld judgment and spoke from their own experiences. They took my hands, dried my tears, and told me to give myself a break; “You’re doing your very best, which is the very best thing for that baby.” THOSE are the voices you need to listen to and cherish. Pregnancy and motherhood are strengthening experiences that have helped me understand what is truly important in my life as a mother and a partner. My skin is thicker and my head is held higher, because as annoying or hurtful as some people may be, the only thing that truly matters is your love for your child and your respect for yourself.

END RANT!

Keep these things in mind when you next encounter a new or expectant Mom; we wouldn’t want you to get hurt 😉

 

Stay Gold,

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Grace

Hey 2016! You’re looking bright!

What a year it has been, am I right? In 2015 I moved in with C, announced our pregnancy, got engaged, and had the most beautiful baby girl, Harper. I also experienced some pretty low points (HG left me pretty non-functioning for 6 months, and my grandfather passed in December after a long illness.) I’d say, without a doubt, 2015 was the best, scariest, most challenging, and happiest year of my life. It’s safe to say I experienced nearly every emotion on the spectrum, and I would do it all over again if I could.

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2016 will certainly be a year of change and firsts. Raising a baby, planning a wedding, a life, a future for my family…you know, pretty light hearted stuff 😉 One of my resolutions is to make time to work within this space and document our journey, so look out for more frequent posts! I can’t wait to share another year of up’s and down’s and adorable photos of Harper and C.

Stay Gold!

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Grace

Bye Bye Babymoon :(

Apologies for no updates here – I’ve been trying to soak up as much time with my little dumpling as I can. Here are a couple of my favorite photos of our fall maternity leave adventures. Unfortunately I return to work a week from today 😦 but that means my posts will become a little more frequent as I get back to my usual routine. I also have a big project in the works, so stay tuned for updates!

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IMG_8748Stay Gold,

Grace

Edited with Polarr Photo Editor

Maternity Leave! (Photo Post)

Things at our house have been very different these past two weeks since bringing our newest family member home. There have been a lot of naps and loads of laundry, but I’m lucky enough to have 12 weeks of Maternity Leave to get settled with our new tiny human. Entries may be a bit shorter these next few weeks while my brain gets used to sleep deprivation, but I have plenty of photos to make up for it (which is much more fun anyway 😉
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Naps on Naps on Naps

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Stay Gold,

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Grace

Week 39 – 40: Meet Harper Amelia!

On Friday, August 21st at 12:10 pm, we welcomed our family’s newest (and cutest) member; Harper Amelia McCabe. After 13 hours of labor and only 10 pushes, she came into the world at 6 lbs 14 oz and 19 inches long. We’re very tired but extremely happy and very much in awe of this beautiful and healthy little girl. We’ve had an amazing few days of introducing this little lady to family and friends. My brain is a little too fried for words at the moment, but I’ll let these photos do the talking 🙂

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We love Kayma

We love Kayma

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Stay Gold,

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Grace (and Harper)

Week 36: I Said Yes!!!

Man oh man! What an amazing whirlwind life has been lately. This past Friday, Christopher and I got engaged!!!! Everything was perfect. He made the dinner he made for me on our first date, brought me a HUGE bouquet of flowers, and finished with a very special dessert that ended with his proposal.

First date dinner: Steak, bacon mashed potatoes, carrots

First date dinner: Steak, bacon mashed potatoes, carrots. And those FLOWERS!

I would have taken a photo of the cake, but I ate it too fast :)

I would have taken a photo of the cake, but I ate it too fast 🙂

It was a perfect proposal, in the home we made together, right before we meet our baby girl. Of course I cried a million happy tears before texting my family the good news.

Chris went on my (not so secret) wedding Pinterest board and found the exact ring I wanted, and even went through the same custom jeweler to have it made for me 🙂 Here’s a better look

my brilliant cut and super slim white gold band.

my brilliant cut and super slim white gold band.

I don’t even know if it’s possible to feel much luckier. Life has never been so sweet 🙂

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I’m so lucky to call this guy mine, you guys. He’s the funniest, smartest, most caring person I know, and he’s about to become the best doting dad in the world. I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life laughing with you, Christopher.

Stay Gold,

image1Grace

Week 35: Treat yo’ Self

So with the final countdown underway, I’ve really been trying to focus on keeping myself calm, cool, and collected…well as best as a woman who is 8 months pregnant possibly can. Let’s just say I’ve been spending a LOT of time in the bathtub. I know I need to make this quiet alone time count before Harper’s arrival, so I’ve been making the most of it with some indulgences.

Here’s a quick list of my home-spa must haves! Click on any of the links to get your own 🙂

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Urban Outfitters candle in Moon Sparkle: I’m going nuts for this one right now, as it smells EXACTLY like the old Plumeria scent from Bath and Body Works that was my favorite as a kid. $28.

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Calgon Bath Salts in Mint Green Tea: I’m obsessed with this heavenly smelling and pain relieving salt. I’ve had a super sore back as of late, so this stuff is a definite must. $5.

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Darphin Hydrating Kiwi Mask: So this is liquid relaxation for faces. This ultra soothing mask goes on cold and leaves your skin feeling brand new. It’s on the pricey end, but luckily I scored it as a work perk 😉 $50

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Nook Glowlight: As some of you may know, I am a big reader. I knew I’d be spending a lot more time at home later in my pregnancy and I tend to feel like my brain is melting if I watch too much TV, so I started looking into e-readers. I knew I didn’t want all the bells and whistles of a tablet (Pinterest calls to me) so this Glowlight from Barnes and Noble (recommended by my Mom) is perfect for me. It has a backlight that isn’t too bright so it doesn’t bug Chris when he’s trying to sleep 🙂 I scored mine on ebay for only $55!

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Comfy Cotton Robe: I got this to put into my hospital bag, but it has been so practical when it comes to weekend mornings when I don’t feel like squeezing myself into clothes quite yet. $25

+ Lots of caffeine free Iced Green Tea with honey ❤

Lana Del Rey: May be sad to some, but definitely soothing to me.

Creating a peaceful and happy environment for Harper to grow and arrive in has been a top priority of mine, and I’ve honestly never felt so comfortable and at peace with so many huge life changes occurring. I highly recommend taking some time for yourself this week just to focus on feeling well and calm; it is so important (pregnant or not!)

Now get yourself in the tub and TREAT YO SELF.

Stay Gold,

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Grace

Week 33: Our New Home!

What a whirlwind these past few weeks have been! Moving while in your third trimester of pregnancy is NOT wise (just ask poor Chris, who has had to do 99% of the work.) Slowly but surely, we’ve been making this lovely Bucktown bungalow our own. It’s a first floor unit on a tree-lined street in a neighborhood full of young parents with puppies and babies (I’d say it’s a pretty solid fit.) It has two bedrooms, a home office, and a backyard for Scout. It’s down the street from our beloved watering hole, The Corner Bar, and blocks away from the Blue Line and Harper’s future daycare center. Chris saw the For Rent sign about an hour after it was taped to the door, and the next day it was ours ❤

It needed a little updating and style which is usually my forte, but with my dwindling energy levels, searing back pain, and ever-growing belly, my drive to design has been minimal, to say the least. Luckily, Chris loves working around the house and making a space feel like home.

Here are some before and after photos of our progress!

Before: Living Room/Dining Room

Before: Living Room/Dining Room

Before: Living Room/Dining Room

Before: Living Room/Dining Room

AFTER!

After: Living Room

After: Living Room

So this place was definitely in need of a clean slate. Chris painted the whole place a light blue/white which helped brighten things up (I mean, that red wall had to go ASAP.) Being the handyman he is, Chris also installed new drop lighting where the dirty old track and hanging fixture used to be. If there’s one thing Chris and I agree upon the most, it’s the presence of BRIGHT lighting (definitely crucial in surviving Chicago winter weather).

After: Dining Room

After: Dining Room

The kitchen was a similar story. But after a coat of paint and some brighter lighting (Chris also installed track lighting under the cabinets) our kitchen is as sunny as can be 🙂

Before: Kitchen

Before: Kitchen

AFTER

After: Kitchen

After: Kitchen

We also bought this nifty island to create more storage and seating. Target!

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Bathroom – Not much happening here. Just spiffed it up a bit!

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AFTER

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The bedrooms are super tiny, so I don’t have much in terms of before photos, but here’s what we’re working with so far! Both our bedroom and the nursery are still works in progress!

Here’s our bedroom, we’re waiting on our bed, so I got pinterest-y with a makeshift headboard 🙂

Bedroom mock headboard

Bedroom mock headboard

Here’s Miss Harper’s Room (also work in progress)

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Leetle Roooom

Leetle Roooom

I can’t wait for our little human to enjoy all her clothes and toys I keep taking out just to stare at. Her wardrobe is definitely the most extensive in the house already.

And finally the office! It’s always been important to me to have a space where I can focus and create. My creation station, if you will 😉 I will be working from home a lot in the coming weeks as we wait for Harper to arrive, so a home office was an awesome plus when we viewed this apartment. Chris built me a desk with a file cabinet and tons of space. We still have to paint the desk top, get a monitor, and add a blotter, but you get the idea.

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I’m a big fan of color (clearly) and knick knacks. An office is the ideal place to showcase do-dads that didn’t quite fit anywhere else in the apartment.

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So there you have it! Our new home. It’s so crazy to think that this is the home we’ll bring Harper home to. Where she’ll crawl/walk/talk for the first time. Now, I’ve got to sign off before I start crying. Again.

Stay Gold 🙂

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Week 30: Long time no blog!

Sorry about the lack of love here! With moving, my baby shower, and The Stanley Cup Final (Go Blackhawks!) we’ve been busier than ever. Forgive this brief post, but take it with the promise of a new, photo-filled entry all about our new apartment and my family baby shower coming up in the next couple days ❤ In the meantime, here’s baby Harper Ford McCabe chillin in my belly.

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Stay Gold (Go Hawks)

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Grace