Breaking the Silence

In this moment, I'm sitting on my porch, and it's quiet. It's Tuesday night, the sun has set, a candle is burning, my tiki lights are on, and it's quiet. It's July, but it's a cool, perfect, 69 degrees outside. I'm wearing a cozy sweatshirt, my cozy slippers, and drinking a glass of wine. It's quiet.

My oldest loves are downstairs or in bed. My littlest love has been sleeping since our evening dance party ended two hours ago. The kitchen is cleaned up. Lunch prepped for tomorrow. Laundry still needs folding. Work emails to be answered. But here I sit. Just me. In the quiet.

Quiet, you see, is not something I come by easily. Even when the sounds around me are still, the noise in my head is louder than any child ever could be. Always thinking of the next to-do, setting mental reminders to call my parents, sisters and friends; to wish so-and-so a happy birthday, don't forget to text my R+F customer, and holy shit, can you just start working out already? It's exhausting, really.

I spoke today to a group of bright-eyed interns about what I do in my job, and how I got to this point in my career. I was asked to talk about my career path and my passions. Of course, I proclaimed that writing is my passion. I quickly moved on, on to my next point, but I must have lingered long enough because when it was time for Q&A, the first question asked was, "Do you miss writing?"

Of course, I said, but it's OK because I have a blog as a creative outlet...so even though I don't get to do as much writing at work as I wish I could, I'll always have that.

Next question: What's your blog, and what do you write about?

Pause. (Why are these kids so interested in my blog?!)

I tell them the name of my blog, talk about its evolution from shitty weird thing where I had nothing to talk about and how it's cringe-inducing to go back and read most of that stuff. Then I talked about how it's now a lifestyle/mommy long and bored them with why I found it important to talk about the 'real' side of parenting and pregnancy and marriage, for example. (What's that, 22 year olds? You don't care? Sorry, I'll move on.) To recover, I threw out that I also blog about the Bachelor and Bachelorette, and that got a reaction. Back in their good graces.

As I was driving home, I got to thinking about how much I felt like a...phony, maybe? Why did I even mention my blog, I thought? It's not like I'm updating it! I'm not even blogging about the Bachelorette (even though it's the best season, ever!! Where my Tyler C. fans at?) I felt stupid for mentioning it, thinking about any one of them googling, "Raves and Revelations," and coming here to see that my last publish date was...

February 2018?!?! But...that's A YEAR AND A HALF AGO. Like...what? I mean, life has been busy but no one, certainly not me, is THAT BUSY.

So here I sit. I have a million other things I think I should be doing, but I couldn't resist the quiet, or my pineapple lights, the cool air, or the feeling that I want to sit down and write. Something I haven't felt in a long time.

Honestly, I think what's happened is that, as I often do, I put too much pressure on myself. Nothing new, either...typical feelings, like fear to write openly about how I feel about x, y or z; is this blog worthy? or will anyone care? Things like that.

But here's the good news: In the past 1.5 years since I've written a word that I feel "worthy" of publishing, I've hitched a ride to the self-development train. I've learned a lot about fears and feeling inadequate and holding yourself back, and why that is no way to live your life (thank you, Rachel Hollis).

So, I hope this is the first post of many more to come, on a much more regular basis, and without so much worry and thought devoted to if whatever I want to talk about is right or wrong, or if anyone gives a shit, or if there is a typo.

But if its not, and these are the last words I write for another 1.5 years, know that tonight, I came here and during the mere 30 minutes it took me to write down these thoughts, I was surrounded by things I love, like candles, lights, wine, sweatshirts, summer nights and motivation. It was quiet.

And I broke the silence.
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Connor: Months 1, 2, 3

I heard about second child syndrome before I had one (you know, where the second child doesn't get all the same love, attention and fanfare that the first child did?), but didn't believe it. I'm a second child after all, and haven't experienced such a thing!



It exists.

Case in point: My monthly updates, which I did religiously for Liam, both while in utero and out, have ceased to exist. #momfail.

But, my philosophy in life has always been better late than never, so here's some highlights of Connor over the past few months. In short: He's perfection.


Stats
Despite being born 4 weeks early, Connor has been a big boy since day one. He weighed 7lbs, 4 oz at birth and was 20 inches long. At one month, he weighed 9lbs, 8oz and was 21 inches long. At two months, he clocked in at 13.66 lbs and 23.25 inches long, and at 3 months, 14.69lbs and 24 inches long. He's a super chunk with cheeks for days, and I could eat him up!





Eyes & Hair
Still developing, but there is a good chance they'll be brown. For now, they are looking hazelish, and are big and beautiful! His left eye has had a blocked tear duct since birth that I'm hoping clears up soon!


His hair is brown and really starting to grow more and more. He wasn't born with as much hair as Liam, or as dark. After losing some hair, it's starting to fill in more! I'm worried about flat head!

Likes
  • His hands, especially his fist. He frequently shoves the whole thing into his mouth
  • Kicking, especially on his piano mat
  • Talking...he'll sit and coo forever. 
  • Jumping and standing on our legs, or any hard surface.
  • Bathtime
  • Eating
  • Snuggles...he is my snuggly boy
  • Butt pats
  • Sticking his tongue out 
  • Smiling and playing with his brother


Disikes
Honestly, like Liam, Connor is super chill and there's not much he doesn't like. If I had so say anything, it's being overstimulated or overtired, and tummy time. Definitely doesn't like that.


Sleeping
Like a rockstar, praise the Lord! We recently moved Connor from sleeping in a rock 'n play next to our bed to sleeping in his crib in his own room. He sleeps 11-12 hours a night, usually going down between 7-8pm and waking up usually 6-7am. He takes 3 solid naps during the day, and sometimes has a little catnap in the early evening. As we approach 4 months, I'm DREADING the sleep regression and hoping it never comes! (knock on wood)


Eating
I'm still nursing and pumping exclusively, which is working great so far! He eats about every 3-4 hours still, 4-6oz when taking a bottle, and about 30 minutes when nursing. Chow hound!

Milestones
  • Incredible head/neck and leg strength. He can hold his his head pretty steady, but still gets wobbly from time to time. We're still working on lifting his head up when he's on his belly, but he does a good job when he's on our chests and holding his head up.
  • He can "stand" on our legs for long periods of time. 
  • Grasping and gripping toys
  • Tracking with his eyes
  • Smiling and cooing
  • Sitting up with support (like a bumbo or sit me up, and sometimes a little pillow behind the head
  • Sleeping all night



Connor is such an easy baby. I love watching him grow and engage. He's the perfect addition to our family and I love him so much!




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2017: Year in Review

Happy 2018! I hope everyone is recovering from what I lovingly refer to as the "holiday hangover." You know - where everyone is off-schedule, overstimulated, overtired, over-gifted and just generally ready things to go back to normal? I know I am.

Not that I don't LOVE the holidays - I do, I really do. But this year, for the first time, as ready as I was for them to come and be enjoyed, I was also ready to say goodbye to them. We spent our holidays in Iowa with our families, and while being home is always a joy, it's not without challenges—especially with two kiddos. We had an amazing time, but are happy to be back in Chicago, organizing our new (unnecessary) loot, cleaning out the old and getting back to a routine.


It goes without saying, blogging was not a priority for me in 2017. I started the year with the best of intentions (I always do), but pretty much, we went on vacation in February, came home, found out we were pregnant, and then everything that followed was mass chaos. I'm a sucker for a New Year though, so while 2017 was a year of ever-present ups and downs, both personally and for the world, I wanted to take a minute to reflect on the past year and share a little about what I hope for in 2018.

I started 2017 on a great foot with a promotion at my full-time marketing job. In this role this past year, I became a manager for the first time, and leading my small staff (of one) taught me more about management in 12 months than most people experience in a career! Suffice to say, I learned so much about what it means to be a leader, good manager AND good employee. I found areas where I needed to improve and I'm ready to focus on those in 2018 now that I have a new team when I return back to work.

2017 also started with the inauguration of a new president, Donald Trump. I try to keep my blog a place of love and light, so I'm not going to waste my breath on the setbacks that have occured under his "leadership" this year. I will simply say I do not support Donald Trump and don't believe he has our country's best interests at heart. I truly hope 2018 sees Trump's impeachment, because in addition to being unqualified and unfit to lead our country, the man is just a vile human being who should not represent our great country.


We watched our sister get married in the beautiful Punta Cana. It was a joy to spend a full week with family in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, and to see Liam enjoy the sun and sand. (Oh the sand...it was not meant for toddlers.)

We found out we were expecting our second baby and that said baby was a BOY! My pregnancy was less than ideal, as the first half was spent feeling sick and the second half was spent largely in the hospital due to complications.  Those tough months of pregnancy taught me a lot—about faith over fear, about family, about patience and about my own strength. I've since regained my own health and for that, I'm endlessly grateful.



 

And yet, despite those challenging 9 months, I can't complain for even a moment because now we have a beautiful, healthy boy to show for it, and I know that is more than so many others have. Our newest,  amazing blessing, Connor Leo, was born on October 5, 2017.


His arrival has rocked our world. With your second child, you think you have an idea of what's to come, but...I'd beg to differ. Sure, the actual "what do we do with a baby" aspect feels easier and less overwhelming. But you don't think about all of the other elements that a second baby brings. Because it's not just about caring for another baby. Now it's about caring for a baby, while also caring for your first born and helping him or her adjust to these major changes. It's learning how to parent not just one but two little people. Newsflash: IT'S NOT EASY.

In 2017, Bryan and I have faced more parenting challenges than I think we ever imagined. Not only have we dealt with Liam during his "terrible twos" and his entrance to being a "threenager" — we've also had to deal with challenges of helping him adjust during some major life changes, such as moving, moving into a big boy room, potty training, dealing with some big feelings surrounding me being in the hospital, and of course, becoming a big brother. Adjusting to life as parents of two boys has been hard...really hard. Gone is the luxury of one of being able to give the other a bit of a break. Now it's basically man-to-man defense, and half the time it feels like we are just waving hello across the room as we each deal with one respective child. But, this too shall pass, we will continue to learn and enjoy (most) of this crazy life we lead as parents!


We spent months and months (and months) in 2017 looking tirelessly for our perfect new home. When we found out we were expecting, we stepped up our game and finally found our perfect new home to fit our growing family, and which checked off most of our "want" boxes. We moved in July and it truly is the best of all worlds for our family, in terms of space, location, price, etc. I know we will be happy here for many years to come.


We traveled, which is our favorite thing to do, not only to the Dominican Republic, but to Montreal, Canada to celebrate our six year wedding anniversary. And when we couldn't travel anymore, we made the most of the summer with visitors, street festivals, and a $6 shark pool on our new rooftop deck.


We closed out the year with our three favorite holidays: Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas.


 We were able to travel to Iowa to see family for Thanksgiving and Christmas, while we rang in the New Year and celebrated Halloween here in Chicago at our new home.



Our home was sick for much of 2017, whether it was Liam battling a cold (which I swear has been non-stop since the fall, me being in the hospital, or Bryan's bout with the stomach flu. And, sadly, we lost a few dear members of our family.

It was year of major highs and major lows, so my hope is that we appreciate each of those highs and lows for what they taught us. So what do I hope for in 2018? Fewer life changes, for one thing!


This year, I hope to be more intentional with my life. One of my friends posted something the other day that resonated with me so much - she said that JOY in our lives comes from the Journey Of Yes. In other words, say yes. To everything, and especially to things that scare you. And instead of saying NO, how about, not right now?

Rather than make resolutions, I decided I want to have a focus word for the year. A theme to carry me through each and every decision I make. I've been thinking long and hard, and my word for is 2018 is: IMPACT. 


As people, we tend to spend a lot of time watering the weeds so speak. Worrying about and wasting energy on things that are not within our control and/or that simply do not matter. I know I'm guilty of this. By being more intentional and positive, I hope to have a bigger impact on all aspects of my life, from my health and well-being to parenting, relationships, giving back, business...all.of.it.


I hope to IMPACT other people with my stories and words here on my blog.
I hope to IMPACT the lives of others as I grow and lead my Rodan + Fields team and find like-minded people who strive to be successful and want more.
I hope to IMPACT my children in a positive way, as they teach me how to be a better mom.
I hope to IMPACT client's businesses at my full-time job, as well as lead my team to make a bigger, better IMPACT through our work and to my company.
I hope to IMPACT my personal well-being through being kinder to my body, mind and spirit.

You get the picture.

How was your 2017? What are you looking forward to this year?
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