What I'm Reading in Europe

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

It's been awhile since I've done a post on what I'm reading. This is because, well, I haven't been. :) Oopsies. One of my favorite things ever was when I asked y'all for book & blog recommendations. Anytime I post something that causes a lot of reader interaction it makes blogging SO much more fun. I love it. Writing this post actually brought my attention back to all of those wonderful comments. I am truly so blessed by blogging. The unexpected events surrounding Beau's birth kept me from replying to those comments, and I am really sad about that. Just know that if you left one I LOVED it!!! XO

While we're away, I'm hoping to get back into my reading groove. I always read TONS when traveling, no matter the type of trip. Reading on trains, planes, and in automobiles! Here's what I'll be reading on the trip, baby in one arm, iPad with kindle app in the other. :)

What are y'all reading this month? :)

What My Son Taught Me: Self Perception

Monday, July 25, 2016

Towards the end of pregnancy, I was so ready to meet my sweet baby, but also so ready to no longer feel so large. Just being honest. :) During the majority of my pregnancy I stayed pretty positive. Sometimes the scale was discouraging, as it was weird to watch such steady weight gain, but for the most part eating healthy and staying active really helped me feel great, physically.

One of the first things I did when Beau was born and was getting checked out was feel what my tummy felt like. I didn't know what to expect at all. It was so strange how my belly went from big and firm to small and squishy in seconds! Over the next two weeks I wasn't at all worried about my body, just about my precious son, as he was still in the hospital. I will say that I was mostly encouraged. I was surprised at how quickly I felt like myself. One night after a long day at the hospital, I decided to try on clothes to see what fit. This could have been very dangerous. I was surprised to see that at a week postpartum, the majority of my clothes fit. When I zipped into normal jeans that night it felt so surreal. I am not someone with a naturally fast metabolism, so I 100% credit this quick milestone to staying active during pregnancy, especially towards the end. At that point, I still weighed about 15 pounds above my pre-baby weight. It's so interesting how differently I'm carrying postpartum weight from normal weight. It draws my attention to how very specifically our bodies are made. I truly cannot wrap my mind around how specifically the Lord designed us.

I'm stuck on around 10 pounds to loose and have been hanging out there for several weeks. I'm a human being, so that feels discouraging at times, but I feel like I've learned so much about my relationship with my body since having Beau. Mostly, I've had two big epiphanies.

Every pound gained was to grow the love of my life.

When we took maternity photos, I was pleased with the quality, but critiqued myself. I only saw the differences from my pre-baby body and my 35 week pregnant self. After meeting Beau, those images became infinitely more precious and beautiful to me, because it was Beau in that big old belly. I've also feel like I can now see my pre pregnancy self through clear eyes. I know now that I was healthy and happy and in great shape for the body God made me with. I'm grateful for gaining that perspective shift.

You'll hear me reflect on my journey to lose the baby weight and pursue fitness in the future, but it's not because of any shame. I am proud of what my body did and know that with discipline comes freedom. Pursuing a healthy lifestyle postpartum only means that my body will be stronger to give Beau a full life, and to hopefully have healthy pregnancies in the future.

My thoughts about Beau revealed the lack of truth I believed about myself. 

As soon as Beau was born, his first two weeks were filled with doctors describing Beau's imperfections. He was immediately described to me as having dysmorphic features. The doctors pointed out that they thought he had weird feet, a strange hairline, and what bothered me the most was hearing over and over that his nose, mouth, and chin were too small. I cried so many tears and repeated that God made him perfectly. I love that tiny chin with every ounce of my heart. Every time I look at Beau I see absolute perfection. He was made in the image of God and each thing about him was to make him uniquely himself. I realized that I never give myself this same courtesy. When I look at myself I see all the things that are different than someone else or should be changed. I don't tell myself that God made MY features perfectly. Realizing how harsh I am on myself, and truthfully, others, has been humbling and convicting. 

I have had a hard time typing out the following thoughts, I can't articulate well what I've felt about this. Let's give it a try! When I look at Beau, I see the most adorable boy in the world. I I realized that when preparing to meet Beau, I never thought he would be as cute as I believe him to be. Let me explain. Beau is made out of me. And Ben too, but I couldn't imagine that someone made out of me would be more than average. You may think he is, which is fine, but I find him extraordinary. As shameful as it is to say, I never expected to view him the way I do. I imagined to see a reflection of myself, and to love my baby, but I realized after his birth that I subconsciously expected to see the negatives of myself in him. I never would have said that or thought that exactly, but I realized that I never thought I could find my son to be as handsome as I do because of my negative thoughts about myself. How wrong is that? Somewhere along my days I started believing so many lies. So many lies at such a young age. Seeing Beau and finding him to be so precious made me realize that change had to happen in how I view myself. I don't need to walk around thinking that I'm the hottest thing in town.. but I do need to be confident that I was created to be exactly who I am.

This post feels like I'm completely bearing my soul to the world. I'm choosing vulnerability and honesty about the dark parts of my heart hoping that they will encourage and uplift others. Please be kind in responses about these thoughts. :) 

BRITISH BELLE: My Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Haul

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Every blog under the sun is sharing their Nordstrom Anniversary Sale picks, but I couldn't resist joining in. Recently I read on someone's about page that they share what they share with their friends on their blog. I've been texting my besties about this sale all week! So here ya go.. We've shopped this sale for years, specifically for Ben. We bought his wedding suit at the #Nsale in 2012. I drug him to the mall last week to make him try on jeans. Any other married gals have a hard time getting their husbands to replace old favorites even when they have long surpassed their lifespan? Haha!

Note: The sale opens to non Nordstrom card holders tomorrow! We have the debit specifically to get into this sale early.

I realized that this week my posts have basically just been lists.. womp womp! Normal content resumes tomorrow! ;)

For Victoria: 

Maybe this is weird to share, but I'm going to anyway. My bestie Kayla found this bra  through another blog and so a few weeks ago we went to check it out after seeing hundreds or glowing reviews. For someone who just had a baby and needed a new bra as a treat yourself, this one has been FANTASTIC. I probably won't buy another style or brand ever again.

My number one recommendation for this sale is to snag a Barefoot Dreams sweater. I have one from last year and it's just the coziest ever. It's just like having a blanket on all the time. :) Even on sale they aren't chump change, but my cost per wear is already rather low. I purchased several for gifts to have on hand! (I love this one, have this one, and am curious about this one)

I haven't tried this on, but I thought it was really cute. Anything with a bow I can't resist!

I haven't tried these on yet, but apparently they are really highly rated and the idea of wearing them in the winter with a cozy sweater is super appealing. I'm really interested to see if I like them, and will keep y'all posted.

By some miracle I actually got a pair of these jeans a few weeks ago during Anthropologie's extra 30% off sale. There was one pair, in my size, and they fit like a glove!

I think this vest would be really cute for the fall and winter, especially in warmer places like right here in Texas! (while I was getting this link, I found this and kind of regretted not getting it.. yikes!)

I had high hopes for this poncho.. but it wasn't flattering or even that cute. The material was too thin to justify the price.

I ordered this comfy flannel, in a different color way right away. I'm really excited about it, flannels are so nice to reach for during the fall!

I feel like I'm always on the search for a great solid tee shirt, and I've head this one is nice. The $15 price tag is appealing, too!

I'm really excited these cozy jammies, because I love these ones I got in the winter so much. I also liked these.

This Ugg Cape sweater is my favorite sale purchase! I tried to branch out of my comfort zone and got it in black! If capes aren't your style, the non cape, slightly more expensive version is here.

I think this robe would make an incredible gift. Truthfully Ben would love it... HAHA!!

I have used the makeup brush included in this kit for years (for foundation) but was intrigued by the brush cleaning mat that comes with it. Maybe it would help me actually clean my brushes regularly. Is anyone else guilty of forgetting? Eek!

For Ben: 

Ordered this for my friend's husband in maroon, Gig em! :)

I try to avoid ironing as much as possible so we picked up another one of these for Ben. Tip: Don't throw any non iron shirts in the dryer, it takes away the magical non iron powers and brings the wrinkles back! :)

Because Ben buys new shirts literally every four years, we like to spend a few more pennies on the basic items. We got him this basic tee in black! He also really liked these polos, even though the sizes are weird and I have no idea what the numbers mean. We guessed, haha!

Y'all. Anything with ears. This bodysuit for the winter and this little cardigan are the sweetest!

The softest ever jams!

I won't lie, while I'm outfit planning for our trip I kind of wish Beau had one of these Patagonia jackets. Who knew they made them this small? The price tag for 3-6 months just doesn't seem worth it to me though, although I think it might be for a bigger child that would wear it daily!

I really pondered if we should go ahead and get a big boy carseat because this one is always highly recommended and because of the $100 off. Ultimately I decided to wait, but if your babe closer to switching it might be worth a look!

Another item I considered was this carseat cover

It seems random to me that this is included in the sale, but it's adorable! I can't wait until Beau loves specific toys. (girl version here)

I love this and would probably order it if it sat on a tabletop. I can't tell in the details but it looks like it's specifically a wall frame. We just don't have a spot for it in the nursery but if I could rest it on Beau's bookshelf I'd order instantly!

Hope this helps if you're shopping the Nordstrom sale! :) Now y'all will know where all my sweaters are from come fall! Haha!

What I Actually Used in my Hospital Bag

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Thinking back to the first few days of Beau's life makes my heart soar. I'm so grateful for that. Our sweet boy was in the NICU until he was 15 days old, but he only got admitted when we were supposed to be having normal discharge from the hospital, so we got to have a "normal" experience the first few days. It sounds crazy but I loved every second. I loved the little sleep, I loved figuring out Beau's little personality, I loved the visitors, I loved our favorite nurse, Amy... God was really gracious to protect that first little bit of time. I read about eight thousand hospital bag packing lists before we actually packed ours.

Some things were helpful, some were not. I'd suggest finding out what medicines your hospital will have available for you. I brought my own $12 witch hazel pads based on a recommendation and they are literally on my closet shelf never having been touched because the hospital gave us a big container. I packed makeup thinking that after I showered I'd like to put a little bit on, but I didn't. I might, second time around.. but I just kind of never got to it because of the flow of visitors after my first postpartum shower. I'm sharing this list in hopes that it will help out some new mamas, and also so that I remember my thoughts in the future!

for mama:
a pretty robe (I wore this one)
nursing tank x 2 (I read that a tank is better than a bra because if someone is helping you with nursing you can have your vulnerable midsection covered, I brought these)
loose gray pants
my favorite black leggings
a comfy cardigan
a long, loose tank
toiletry items (Note: our hospital was cleaned constantly and the shower felt more like a hotel than anything, so my shower shoes weren't needed)
belly bandit (I swear this helped my midsection go down quicker than it would have, and even if it didn't.. it gave me the back support that I really needed and kept me comfortable, I used this one)
our own pillows (For us, this was so so nice! We used our monogrammed pillow cases so that they wouldn't get confused with the hospital linens.)
a quilt for Ben
our nice camera
multiple apple charging cords, including a 6 foot one (If there's one thing you take away from this list, it's that you need a 6 foot cord!)
A going home outfit

for baby:

For our experience, it was best to keep it simple. Our hospital had everything else covered for us. We just kept Beau in diapers and swaddles when we were in the postpartum room.

a sweet hat or another personal detail (that little blue Beau Bear hat is now one of my most prized possessions)
going home outfit with shoes
page for footprint keepsake

Hope this helps! :)

British Belle: My Current Makeup Routine

Monday, July 18, 2016

One of my takeaways from my experience being a reader bride model for Southern Weddings V8 last year was this: I LOVED my makeup look! I like trying new products and finding quality things that can be used quickly to give me a little bit of extra pep in my step. The quickly part is especially important now that baby boy is here. :)

I don't know what products specifically were used on me that day, but I realized recently that I'd finally started into a routine that created a really similar look. One that made me look like myself, natural but groomed. I've realized I'm not someone that needs to have crazy contour or anything of that nature.. just a little bit of blush, eyebrow pencil and neutral eyeshadow over a light foundation with a whole lotta mascara! :)

Here's what I've been loving lately to create this look: 
Note: All the links are to Nordstrom, because of free shipping! 

Setting Spray

Ps. If you're thinking to yourself, "Oh! I don't need a setting spray!" Let me show you this photo.

Literally just had a baby and seconds later my blush and highlight are in tact. I 1000% credit that to my setting spray! I started using it not too long ago and I'm clearly a believer. 

Friday No. 40

Friday, July 15, 2016

No. 1
Last week I started the Kayla Itsines #bbg program. It's been super intimidating to me but I decided to go for it and start the program.

I used the Sweat with Kayla app, even though I have the pdf of the program.. I just imagined the app would be easier. I struggled so much but pushed myself through the workout. On my last set of commando exercises I was literally eyes closed trying to struggle through. When I finished I realized that I had gotten confused and done the whole workout TWICE. WHAT? Mom brain in action. I knew the workout was supposed to be 28 minutes, but I learned a lesson about my negative self perception that day.. I thought I was taking longer and having a harder time because I was so out of shape and just couldn't do what others could. I literally did an hour worth of #bbg and i truly thought it was like 35 minutes. I figure if I can survive that I can survive anything. :) My friend Sarah sent me this snap when I told her what happened and I love it!! Ps my snapchat is BonjourVictoria I've discovered in my small amount of days of motherhood that taking care of yourself is necessary and worth it.. speaking of! I found my new favorite beauty product randomly this week. I'll be sharing more about my mama makeup routine soon!

No. 2

Our sweet friends in Mississippi are EXPECTING AND ADOPTING! It has been so amazing to watch the Lord's faithfulness play out in the lives of Tyler and Nicole. We are praying expectantly for God to bring home Baby Cole #1 this fall, and I encourage you to read Nicole's announcement post. She addresses several things about adoption and infertility that I believe people need to be educated on. It's a wonderful read. Nicole shared the news of her pregnancy with me while Beau was still in the NICU.. it was news that brought me happy tears in a time of sadness and overwhelm. It was sweet how the Lord used their exciting news in so many ways, one of which to encourage me!

No. 3
Two of my best friends share a birthday week so there's been lots of celebrations around here! We first celebrated Susannah's birthday with going to see The Secret Life of Pets and going to dinner. Truthfully I didn't really enjoy this movie. I enjoyed the experience but the movie was surprisingly dark for children.. I wouldn't recommend taking your sweet babies, honestly! I might just be a little overprotective though! ;) 

For Kayla's birthday, we surprised her in the morning with breakfast and presents, and then had the ultimate girls day! Shopping, lunch, and blowouts at Drybar! :) Then we met up with Kayla's family and the husbands of the group for dinner in Dallas. It was a long day away from my little bear, but it was so sweet to celebrate Kayla with such good friends. I think it's so vital to cling to your close friendships even in different and new seasons of life, I wouldn't trade the super fun day for anything!

No. 4

Speaking of my little bear, because y'all haven't heard enough about him lately! ;) Strangely enough, Beau loves having his photo taken. I think he likes the noise of the camera shutter, but it makes for lots of wonderful photo shoots during the day! I took some two month photos of Beau in his chair and thought I would share this outtake. I guess this is what will happen when you're propping a tiny infant up on a pillow!

No. 5

I shared this on Instagram a few weeks ago, but just realized I never recorded it here! Someone commented on Beau's newborn photos that my dress looked a lot like what Kate Middleton wore when leaving the hospital with Charlotte. Planning this is totally something I would do but I never realized or thought about it, haha! I LOVE that I accidentally matched my style icon for the photos that will always be such treasures to us!

All of my Friday posts can be found here.

Baby Beau: Two Months

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

2 Month as of 7/11/16

Weight: 10 lbs 6 oz
Height: 21 inches

Wearing 0-3 months, depending on the brand some clothes are still rather roomy!

My sweet boy is a champion sleeper! He started sleeping through the night at around 6 weeks old. We're so proud of him and this consistency has made all the difference for us!

Beau is settling into his schedule and doing so well with the eat, play, sleep rhythm during the day. The exact hours of everything change based on how well he sleeps at night, but before his bedtime at 9pm we give him a bath, and one of us reads the next chapter of the Jesus Storybook Bible to him while the other feeds him.

Praise the Lord Beau is healthy and thriving! NICU life feels lifetimes away and I'm grateful.

Beau's grown out of crying when we bathe him and is now really enjoying it! He cries when his little tummy hurts or when he's really hungry.

the little rattle elephant on his playmat
being told "hello"
being read books, especially The Very Hungry Caterpillar
the sound of the camera when I take his photo
listening to "Under the Sea"

Nose Frieda is still the absolute worst for him

This month we had first smile & first time to sleep through the night! We are so grateful to get to watch our sweet boy grow up. I am so struck by the reality that I only get to experience each day with him one time, it's caused me to be very present during those times with him.

Places You’ve Gone:
Beau went on his first vacation! We took a family road trip to the Texas Hill Country. Beau went to Comfort, Fredericksburg, San Antonio, and lots of places in between.

Beau & Mama's Two Month Favorites

Solly Baby Wrap- This has been such a game changer when on the go with Beau, especially at busy places.

Amazon Prime + Target Red Card- I'm still adjusting to keeping up with a lot of new information about different things, so when I remember something we need it is SO nice to be able to order q-tips, or whatever with free shipping and not have to think about it again.

Water Wipes + Honest Wipes- We've tried lots of different wipes and these are by far our favorites, especially water wipes!

Oxyclean Stain Remover Spray- This may seem like an odd thing to put on a baby favorites list, but it does a great job getting spit up stains out! I haven't used it on Beau's clothes, nothing has really stayed on his.. but my sweet boy threw up over his mama's new dress from Anthro and something had to be done. I washed and dried the dress once and the stains remained so I panicked. The oxy spray came to the rescue and I was so relieved!

The Jesus Storybook Bible- We've settled into our new routine so much more this month, and one of the favorite parts of our day is reading a story together as a family. This bible is so rich in truth.

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