Five on Friday

Happy Friday! It has been A WEEK and mama is TIRED! Merritt has suddenly decided she is going to party all night every night so I’m running on fumes and more iced Starbucks than I’d like to admit. SO ready for a relaxing weekend, but first let’s re-cap this week!

MISS MERRITT | As I mentioned last time, Merritt was baptized on Sunday, January 29th. She was so good during the service and her first time at church in general! It filled my heart to have all her grandparents, great-grandparents, and many other family members attend  church and support her on that special day. After the service, we celebrated with a soup buffet fellowship meal and a special cake for M. I may or may not have had a piece of that cake for breakfast Monday (and Tuesday) morning!Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

PHOTO OF THE WEEK | Winter decided to make another appearance in southwest Virginia after some unusually warm weather the week prior. Just a little dusting of snow, but I’m a sucker for silos. I reckon Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow yesterday and we’re in for another few weeks of winter – YAY! #sarcasm

PURCHASE OF THE WEEK | My baby is in a stage where she doesn’t want to be held unless she’s also standing up. She fusses until we hold her straight up and she stiffens her legs and stands like a big girl (and I sob on the inside!). We decided it might be time to switch out the Kick and Play (which she still loves)  with a new toy but I didn’t want to invest too much money in case she isn’t a fan, so I purchased this little guy from Amazon. It should be here Monday (thanks, Prime!) I will keep you posted on how she likes it!

GOOD INTENTIONS | So last week I mentioned that I downloaded the Sweat with Kayla app and was going to try it out because I was determined to lose the last of my baby weight? Yeah….ABOUT THAT…I didn’t even open the app this week so I completely wasted by 7-day free trial, but such is life with a new babe. I’m sure I’ll get back into a fitness routine when she goes to college. And while we’re visiting the topic of good intentions – I sometimes like to pretend I have it all together and create a meal plan for the week copy a meal plan from Pinterest, get all the groceries, then proceed to eat frozen pizza. I did manage to make two of the five dinners (Slow Cooker Creamy Ranch Pork Chops / Creamy Kale Sausage and Roasted Red Pepper Pasta) so that counts for something, right? This meme is me. I am this meme.572913e8ba68d3bf956690ba7f61a4bf

WEEKEND PLANS | I like to imagine that I’m going to catch up on some much-needed rest, but let’s be honest – that’s not going to happen! We have friends from out of town coming home for the weekend so we’re visiting with them Saturday evening, and I’m sure we will watch the Super Bowl at my in-laws Sunday night. My FIL is making fried chicken (THE BEST!) and I’ll probably bring an appetizer. What is your go-to Super Bowl recipe and who are you pulling for, or are you just watching for the commercials? We’re Redskins fans but we’re pulling for the Falcons!

Leaving yall with a throwback pic of Merritt in her “tutus and touchdowns” onesie that she outgrew way too fast! She’s going to love football just like her mama and daddy! Thank you for reading and have a wonderful weekend!

Five on Friday

PHOTO OF THE WEEK | I snapped this Tuesday morning before heading to the sitter’s. Kindly ignore our dead front lawn and focus on that rainbow! It was much appreciated after several days of gross, rainy weather. This picture reminds me of why I love my tiny but absolutely beautiful community. 

PURCHASE OF THE WEEK | Technically these were purchased last week, but they showed up in my mailbox earlier this week. I was once totally againt LuLaRoe, but after buying a pair of leggings from my cousin Hannah’s online party I’m hooked. I saw this fun pair on Instagram and started hunting for them all over Facebook. Hannah actually ended up finding them for me! This is not a pair I would wear out in public(okay, *maybe* I would wear them to yoga), but they were just too fun to pass up!

MISS MERRITT | You’d never guess this smiling babe woke up with a little fever this morning. This was the first time she’s ran a fever so of course I was on the phone with the pediatrician’s office at 6AM! She had no other symptoms of sickness, and  we agreed that she should stay with me today so I could monitor the situation. Thankfully her temperature was back within a normal range by the afternoon! 

MAMA STUFF | At three months postpartum, I have seven pounds to lose before I’m back to what I weighted at my first prenatal appointment. Ultimately, however,a loss of about 30 lbs is what I need to be in a healthier place. I downloaded the Sweat with Kayla app and am anxious to go through the free trial period to see if it’s something I can manage! If you’ve tried the BBG, I would love to hear about it!

WEEKEND PLANS | It’s a very special weekend for us because we are having Merritt baptized on Sunday! Infant baptism is encouraged by the United Methodist Church, and it is a way for Jesse and I to confirm our intentions to raise her in a Christian environment and encourage her to have her own personal relationship with Christ. We met with our pastor a few weeks ago to discuss everything, and I think it’s especially sweet that the same pastor that married us will be the one to baptize our precious girl! Plus, I can’t lie – I am so looking forward to seeing her in this darling dress and bonnet.

Heart Thoughts

When I started to write this post I couldn’t quite find the words for what I really wanted to say. Then I read my morning devotional, and there they were. DUH. Seek answers from the Lord, and he will provide them Every. Single. Time.

I am subscribed to this daily devotional that shows up in my email each morning. I often feel like a particular one was written just for me, and today is one of those times. I needed to read those words, and i needed to read them at the very moment in which i did.

“The hope of glory, Jesus Christ, is not in us just to hang out. He is in us to be worked out into the world. ”

What started as a sweet comment from a friend on an instagram post (thanks, Diana!) has worked its way into my soul and become a great desire to share my heart. She casually mentioned that I should start blogging again once Merritt was born. While I loved the idea, I kept putting it off because i couldn’t think of a “name” for said blog, I didn’t have a domain purchased, I hadn’t created the perfect design for it, etc., but if you look for excuses, excuses will abound. After reading my devotional this morning, I decided I don’t want my ideas, my dreams, my passions, to just hang out in my head, waiting until all is “perfect” before sharing them with you. “Perfect” is never going to happen! Having Merritt has made me more aware than ever how quickly our earthly time passes, and while I long for the day that we are all called Home, I also want to take full advantage of the now.

I’m not certain how I will use this space just yet, or rather how God will use me in this space, but I  hope you will join me and we can find out together!

 

Five Baby Products I Love!

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As a first-time mama, I was pretty clueless when it came to registering for baby. I turned to Pinterest for the majority of my research and checked off all the “must-have” products. I received an overwhelming number of wonderful gifts and made a lot of neat purchases myself, but over the past month these are the items that I have used every day without fail.

  1. HALO Bassinest Swivel Sleeper Bassinet: This was a gift from Jesse’s parents. I love that it allows Merritt to sleep right beside me without actually being in the bed.  We have the most basic model and love it, but I would definitely opt for the fancier version next time!
  2. Zip-up Footed Sleepers: These little guys are the current go-to for Merritt’s wardrobe. They are so convenient for the eight hundred diaper changes throughout the day, plus they’re easy to remove if she happens to have a blow out. Ain’t nobody got time to struggle with two-piece outfits when you’re just snuggling at the house all day! We have tried several different brands  – Carters, Garanimals, Gerber, Walmart-exclusive, Target-exclusive, etc. – they’re all great!
  3. Fisher-Price Deluxe Newborn Auto Rock ‘n Play Sleeper with Smart Connect: An  A+ gift from a sweet family friend who told us this was a lifesaver when she had a newborn. Merritt LOVES this thing! It plays music, vibrates, and rocks at a high or low speed. I have to give a big shout out to Fisher-Price and their excellent customer service, because the gifted model was actually broken and we had no gift receipt and had already tossed the packaging before realizing that it was damaged. I contacted Fisher-Price and they didn’t hesitate to send us a brand new model.
  4. Boppy Nursing Pillow and Positioner:  I will admit that I am already spoiled by my Boppy! I wish I could take it with me everywhere, because it makes nursing so much easier! I also use it to prop Merritt up in a sitting position and for tummy time.
  5. WubbaNub Infant Pacifier: If you choose to give your baby a pacifier, this one is the best! Merritt loves the paci itself and the little toy attachment can rest on her chest so she doesn’t lose the paci as often. Plus, she sometimes falls asleep hugging the toy and it’s the CUTEST thing ever! She has the giraffe pictured, but she just might get the cat and the cow for Christmas.

I really love these five products and wouldn’t want to go through the newborn stage without them!

 

 

Merritt’s First Month

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How is it possible that our baby is already a whole month old? Although we celebrated her first month of life with an emergency trip to the pediatrician, an antibiotic prescription, and a shot four weeks earlier than expected (story for another day), the past month with our daughter has been magical.

Merritt weighs a whopping 8 pounds, 4 ounces! It’s hard for me to believe that many women birth their babies at the weight that my baby is now! She has graduated from preemie diapers and clothing to newborn diapers and nb/0-3m clothing! Her head is still too little for most of her bows but it’s growing every day!

Her eyes are still a deep blue/green color, but I think we are going to have another brown-eyed girl in the family soon enough! Her eyelashes are getting longer and longer! I get up close and stare at them while she sleeps (#creepymom). Her face has narrowed a bit like daddy’s!

We made it through our first month of EBF! It gets easier every day and we are becoming quite the nursing team. She eats every 3ish hours during the day and wakes one to two times to nurse during the night as well. I’m going to miss nursing her during the day when I go back to work. I am already pumping and Jesse has been giving her bottles occasionally. At the suggestion of the pediatrician, we introduced the pacifier at 2 weeks and it has really helped soothe her when she is extra fussy. We haven’t experienced any confusion so I hope we’re in the clear!

She loves to nap on my chest or in her Rock n Play with a lullaby on. When she’s not sleeping, our girl is a wiggle worm! She no longer likes to be swaddled and easily breaks out if we try to wrap her up. She enjoys laying on her back and kicking her legs and flapping her arms like a little bird!

Daddy loves showing her off whenever possible so we have been out and about quite a bit! In her first month Merritt has been to Mimi and Papa’s several times, caught a Tech game at Jimmy & Liz’s, participated in trivia night at the coffee shop, strolled through the park with mommy and daddy, survived her first trip to wally world, shopped ’til she dropped in Christiansburg, and dreamed about her first taste of queso at the mexican restaurant!

A few other firsts included:

  • first bath in her pink tub! She loves the water just like mama!
  • first Halloween! “Aunt” Erika made her a “wicked cute” onesie and we celebrated by sitting at home and hiding from the trick-or-treaters! Ha!
  • first blowout diaper…and ruined onesie!

It wasn’t always easy and at times it was downright HARD. There were days where I felt like a huge failure and I cried more than I’d like to admit, but our good days and all these sweet firsts will be remembered long after I’ve forgotten about the sleepless nights and my new mama fears.

It is such a joy to watch our girl grow. Thank you, Lord, for choosing us to be her parents!

 

Merritt’s Birth Story

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Merritt Elizabeth Cockram | October 23, 2016 | 6 lbs, 21 in long

Merritt Elizabeth is finally here! She wasted no time, arriving two days before her due date after only 13.5 hours of labor (I will thank her for that one day).

Early in my pregnancy I decided against creating a specific birth plan and instead just prayed for a safe labor and delivery and a healthy baby. That’s all I wanted, and I am so happy to report that those prayers were answered!

My first sign that labor was near came on Wednesday, October 19, when I started to lose my mucus plug. I had my 39-week prenatal appointment the next day, and my Dr. and I agreed that since I hadn’t experienced any other signs that I didn’t need to be checked for progress. I went about the rest of my week as usual, fully expecting that I would make it to my appointment the following week and deliver that weekend. Spoiler alert: I was wrong!

Jesse & I went to dinner with his parents on the night of the 22nd. I felt some tightening in my abdomen while we were eating but didn’t think much of it because it wasn’t painful. I assumed it was Braxton Hicks contractions since I hadn’t experienced those thus far in my pregnancy. We came home after dinner, started some baby laundry, and settled in to watch the Cubs game. By 9pm the contractions had become slightly painful and were coming more frequently. They were much more painful by 11:00 so I downloaded an app to start timing them and they were about 13 minutes apart. I timed them for the next hour and they got closer and closer together. By 1am, I met the 5-1-1 criteria (5 minutes apart, 1 minute long, for 1 hour) to call the hospital, but I could barely talk so Jesse called and let a nurse know what was going on and she told him that I could head that way and be checked!

Jesse did a great job of gathering our hospital bags and getting me into the car. The ride to the hospital was one of the most miserable experiences, but Jesse was so supportive and helpful through each of my contractions. When we arrived at the hospital I was taken to triage. I changed into a gown and got hooked up to monitors for me and baby. We looked great so the nurse checked my cervix – I was 100% effaced but only 3cm dilated. I was disappointed because they typically don’t admit until you’re at 4cm, but the nurse graciously decided to keep me the triage room a little longer to see if I could make enough progress to be admitted.

Around 3am I had a really intense contraction that caused me to be sick. I remembered our birthing class instructor saying that getting sick is a tell-tale sign that you’re in active labor . The nurse checked me again and even though I still hadn’t progressed to a 4 they went ahead and admitted me – the only time in my life I’ve been thankful for vomit!

We got settled into our delivery suite around 3:30am. I was offered an epidural and I immediately accepted. I told myself that I would labor medication-free for as long as I could stand it, and I had reached my limit. They also gave me a small dose of IV pain medicine while I waited on the anesthesiologist. I’m so glad they did, too,because it took almost 2 hours to get my epidural! Sometime during that two hours I was checked again and had progressed to a 5.

My epidural was administered at 5:15am and afterwards I was finally able to rest a bit even though I couldn’t fall sleep for anything. Our family began arriving around 8:00am. By 9:00 I was dilated to a 7. My nurse offered to have my doctor break my water because my sac was bulging, and she said it could speed the labor process by up to an hour. I didn’t hesitate to say yes! After she broke my water I laid on each side for 30 minutes with the peanut ball. My doctor came in at 10am, checked me, and gave me the good news that I was finally fully dilated! She said the monitor showed that my contractions had spaced out a bit so I could just labor down for the next hour and we would monitor my contractions.

Literally 5 minutes later, my team came back and said my contractions had jumped to one minute apart so it was time to push! They quickly prepared the room for delivery, we said goodbye to our family, and got ready to have a baby! Jesse and my doctor and nurse gave me so much encouragement as I pushed and before I knew it she was crowning and then she was here! Jesse did take one peek as she crowned to confirm that she didn’t have red hair (his most irrational fear throughout my pregnancy LOL), and I was able to reach down and feel her head. I only had to push for 15-20 minutes and I am so thankful that I didn’t have to go any longer because it was honestly so difficult to do when I couldn’t feel anything.

They immediately placed her on my chest and we were able to have skin-to-skin time. I was in shock because she was so tiny! Because of my gestational diabetes (more on that later), I was expecting a much larger child!  Jesse cut her umbilical cord, the nurses checked her vitals, cleaned her, and took her official measurements, and my doctor repaired the small tear I received. We were able to spend around two hours with just her and our team. Our hospital placed a big emphasis on this bonding time and it was so, so special. We cuddled and nursed and just existed in awe of our perfect daughter.

After that sweet time as a new family of three, our guests came back to meet her. There were many tears as I watched our parents and friends love her so well. We are blessed with the best support system!

The rest of our hospital stay was spent learning how to care for our sweet babe, starting the healing process for this mama, and visiting with our people. We were discharged on Merritt’s due date, October 25th!

Only now do I understand what people mean when they say that you don’t know a love like this until your child is born, and I completely get why every parent believes their child is the most perfect being that ever lived. God’s love for us has never been more apparent and I pray that I can show Merritt that love every day.