I'm so excited that we are doing desktop backgrounds again! There's something about creating that brings me so much energy and joy. I had a lot of fun creating these 2 backgrounds for you to download and use and I hope you enjoy them!!!
When I was pregnant, people who were already mothers would often tell me that motherhood was "the best and hardest thing they'd ever done." I thought they were mainly talking about the difficulties that come with raising a child and that they said that just because they didn't want to take the time to explain. What I now realize is that there is so much that is inexplainable in becoming a mother. And each woman goes through an entirely different set of circumstances that make it challenging. I want to tell you my story from the past 3 months for many reasons. 1) In order that you who are mothers might find some sort of encouragement in relating to it in some way 2) For those of you who aren't mothers I want to be transparent in telling how my journey after giving birth has been both challenging and rewarding because many people don't. 3) I want the information from my story to be helpful and informative for anyone reading this. 4) If you're going through the same thing, for you to know you're not alone.
Rowan decided when he was in the womb that it was really comfy in there, so he wasn't going to come out. :) I'm joking of course, but I was dilated at 3cm for about a month with the doctors amazed that I wasn't moving towards labor. They even told me at one point that it seemed as if Rowan was holding onto the sides of my uterus in an effort to resist the process of meeting the world. So I was induced a week after my due date. Being induced wasn't as bad as I thought it would be - especially since I have nothing to compare it to. For starters, knowing that I was going to the hospital a few days before was nice when scheduling in-laws and family members to come from out of town! :) I went in early that morning and they started me on the meds and stuff. It took about 17 hours before I was ready to push. Rowan didn't want to leave his warm cave of happiness :) He was also a big boy, so during the 2 hours that it took to give birth to Rowan, he was turned sideways for a portion of that time and had his head pushed up on my left femoral nerve. I didn't know this at the time, but this damaged that nerve pretty severely.
Once Rowan arrived, we all celebrated and cried and ooo-ed and aww-ed over his face. And then he wouldn't eat. And so Drew and I didn't sleep. I was exhausted and frustrated at myself and I felt like a failure. Rowan was so upset every time I tried to nurse him, so we ended up pumping out colostrum and spoon feeding it to him. The problem was, I also couldn't walk. My left leg was completely numb and useless from my nerve damage which meant I was completely dependent on Drew or nurses or anyone else around to pick Rowan up, bring him to me, take me to the bathroom, and pretty much anything else that I or Rowan needed. I felt trapped and helpless. And I couldn't feed my baby. And I couldn't walk. And no one knew what was wrong. By our last day in the hospital, I felt extremely defeated. An hour before we were supposed to leave, I still couldn't walk and Rowan still wasn't eating and the neurologist still hadn't come by to check my leg out. I was so scared that something serious was wrong. Finally, the neurologist came by and reassured me with, "Wow, I've never seen this before, let me go get my textbook." Well thank you, kind sir, for helping this emotional, hormonal, new mother who hasn't slept in 4 days to feel so much more reassured that things are going to be okay... NOT.
Finally, they did some more tests on me and I was told about the femoral nerve damage and that I would most likely be able to walk normally within a week. I was so overwhelmed. Drew had to go back to work the next day and I couldn't be at home alone with Rowan when I couldn't even walk and I had to pump and feed him bottles and take care of him. So I called my sweet mother and she drove down immediately to help out. She was a lifesaver. During the day, she would do everything from bringing me food to bringing me Rowan to changing Rowan's diapers. At night when Drew would come home, he would do the same thing. And during the middle of the night, he would help me up to feed Rowan and take me to the bathroom. I was completely dependent on them for everything.
From the last day at the hospital, I also started noticing that something was off with my psychological health. I was crying constantly. Every afternoon starting around 4:00, I became extremely depressed and as the evenings went on, I would become so overwhelmed with sadness that I even felt suicidal at times. I was not myself and felt as if I couldn't control my behavior. It was frightening. Normally, when I am emotional or sad, I'm able to see the logical and rational through the cloud of emotions and sadness. I still might decide that I want to be crazy and throw a tantrum, but at least I know that I'm being ridiculous. ;) With this, I was unable to see anything except extreme hopelessness. I hated it, but I couldn't stop it either. I felt as if I was on a train I couldn't control.
After a week, my leg still wasn't better like the doctors thought it would be. I felt defeated. I felt I had failed at nursing. I was so frustrated I couldn't walk and fell and hurt myself twice trying. I had no hope of my leg getting better. I felt exhausted from being a new mother. I hated my "new" body. And I couldn't picture the future being any better. Drew finally decided it was time for me to go to the doctor. After seeing how bad I was, they put me on anti-depressants and told Drew to make sure someone was with me at all times. Those first two weeks of Rowan's life were the hardest two weeks I've had to endure yet. Taking care of a newborn was difficult and exhausting, but the emotions I experienced were really what surprised me the most.
Even after almost 3 months, I still have times where I struggle with depression and feelings of hopelessness. If you're like me, you might look at yourself in the mirror sometimes and wonder if it's ever going to end. If you're ever going to be okay. If you're ever going to find rest. If you're ever going to like yourself again. If you're ever going to be happy again. And I'm here to tell you - YES! I find a great comfort in my faith, but also in knowing that every season of life is temporary. This season of life won't last forever. That means the bad won't last forever, but neither will the good. So try to enjoy the good! And be thankful that the bad will pass in time. On top of trying to think positively and surround yourself with people who love and will support you, I think for me it was very important to get medical help. I was at a point where my hormones were completely out of whack and making me unable to control my emotions. But, even after receiving medical attention, it was super important for me to start practicing thinking positive thoughts about myself, about the future, and about our family. It was also great for me to spend time snuggling Rowan and remembering what a wonderful gift we received through all of this. To remind myself that this was worth it. And to have something to love on and think about outside of my own problems.
I think for a lot of moms, it's easy to commit yourself as a failure in your own eyes. There's so much pressure to do things a certain way and we put very high expectations on how we will perform as a mom. People often don't talk about their own failures, so that makes it even easier for us to come down on ourselves when we let ourselves down. We think we're the only ones who have "failed." I know that's how I felt at least.
As far as nursing goes, Rowan ended up deciding that nursing was cool at around 5 weeks. I have no idea why except that he changed his mind. Up until that point, I was pumping and bottle feeding him breast milk and I had become okay with the idea that he might never breastfeed. We thought at first he might be tongue tied or have a high palette, but neither of those were the case. I was so sad at the thought of loosing that experience with him, but as Drew told me, "He's healthy and happy and doesn't need to nurse in order to survive." I made sure to give him plenty of snuggle time and skin to skin time with mom during those first 5 weeks. :) I think every mom has to do what's best for her baby.
Anyways, I hope this wasn't too scattered or anything. I wanted to make it as light-hearted as possible while still being real. I appreciate you allowing me to share this journey with you and I would love to hear from you about your postpartum experience. I believe there is a lot to learn from sharing our journeys with each other and hopefully this will at least give you some encouragement to know that everyone deals with hard stuff, that you aren't alone, and that we have the ability to encourage one another through the hard stuff instead of comparing or competing.
You all are awesome. Whether you're a mom or you're just starting high school or you never want kids ever. Don't ever tell yourself otherwise. You are golden :)
Jenny and I have always been a huge fans of maxi skirts so when we got to style these beautiful pieces from Brickyard Buffalo we were so excited, especially to take a little time to dress up! Since having little ones we've found ourselves rocking the sweatpants and t-shirts ALOT. It felt great wearing these cozy skirts and feeling fancy. It's been a lot of fun getting back into the swing of things with our outfits posts and now that we're doing them together, it's been especially fun to help each other style the posts and think of fun locations that aren't just in our own backyards...although there's nothing wrong with that!
What Jenny Wore: Floral Kimono - Target // Top - TJ Maxx // Dreamcatcher Necklace - Roots & Feathers // Feather Bracelet - Forever21 // Maxi Skirt - c/o Brickyard Buffalo
I absolutely love the two different ways we styled these skirts. Jenny's look is very bohemian and flowy which looks incredible with her long locks. I also love how it looks to tuck in a top and wear your maxi at more of a high waist. This is especially convenient when you're on the shorter side and have issues with maxi's being way too long. Before Soren I loved wearing scarfs in my hair and now that he's here and extremely active, I've loved them even more! It's been fun experimenting with different ways to make them work.
What Savannah Wore: Head Scarf - Thrifted // Necklace - Target // Top - Thrifted // Watch - Fossil // Maxi Skirt - c/o Brickyard Buffalo
So on top of this fun outfit post we also get to have a giveaway thanks to Brickyard Buffalo!! By the way, if you haven't checkout out their site, it's SO fun. They are a pop-up shop that features beautiful goods at a discounted price. I've personally purchased a few things for Soren over the months and we recently had some of our prints featured! -- The girls over at Brickyard Buffalo are offering one of our readers the chance to win a special surprise swag bag with $50 worth of BB goodies! How fun!! Simply enter below for your chance to win! Giveaway is open to US residents only. On winner will be selected at random and announced within the week!
Hello again, friends! In case you missed it last week, Coffee Talk Weekly is one of the many new post series we'll be doing here on the blog. It's a way for us to share fun, interesting facts about ourselves and give you a little update on what's going on in our lives! Each week, we'll highlight a different fact about ourselves or answer a fun question with this week being all about our favorite apps right now!
SAVANNAH'S FAVORITE APPS
ThisLife - I thought I took a lot of photos before having Soren and then he came along and we have more photos and video clips then we know what to do with! I've been using ThisLife to upload and organize all of our photos for Soren. I love that they also have an app so I can easily view them on my phone and share them with others. If you update from their free version you can also use it to store video clips, which is awesome! ThisLife is associated with Shutterfly so you can easily print the photos from your library! Price of app: Free
Magic Hour - Magic Hour is one of those super simple apps that I've found myself using over and over again. We take so many photos for Maiedae and I love knowing the best time of day to take my photos. This app tells you what time the sun will rise and set in your area and your magic hour window. So helpful! Price of app: Free
Honest Baby - I'm a huge fan of The Honest Company and I love their app. Not only can you control your bundle orders and manage your account from this app but you can also use it to record when baby sleeps, eats, and has messy diapers, as well as their growth and milestones! I used this all the time when Soren was first born. The interface is beautiful and so easy to use. Love it!! Price of app: Free
A LITTLE UPDATE ON LIFE...
I've always considered myself an "extroverted-introvert". I don't really get energy from being alone, but I'm good to be alone now and then. I truly enjoy it sometimes! At the same time I don't get energy from being in a crowd of people. My battery life runs out pretty quickly, like an old cell phone. ;) I DO, however, get a lot of energy from being around "my people". I could spend 24/7 with my closest friends and family and feel amazing. Ever since having Soren, I've craved people time even more. At the beginning of every week I think about my week, where I'm going, who I get to see, and what days it will be just Soren and I...I get so excited when I get three days in a row with friends or family. ;) - This week I'm getting extra time with friends that live further away so I'm very excited. I'm definitely planning a trip to the "Snoball Cafe" near where we live!
In other news, I'm itching to make some more progress on our home. We've done a lot since moving in almost a year ago (what?!) but we still have A LOT left. This year we are focusing on painting most of the rooms on the main floor, ripping up the linoleum and tiling the kitchen and building a dining room table. Hooray! I can't wait to show you the progress!
CHECK THIS OUT
1. This butterfly light pendant is pretty spectacular. It reminds me of my room in middle school.
2. Love this Creamy Chicken Quinoa & Broccoli Casserole recipe. I'm going to have to make this soon for Jon!
3. Speaking of recipes, these cookies look SO yummy and definitely bring out the little kid in me. ;)
JENNY'S FAVORITE APPS
Yummly - This is by far one of my favorite apps! Basically, you can use Yummly to find recipes, add those recipes to your shopping list, find recipes based off your shopping list, collect recipes in your "yums", find recipes related to what you've added to your "yums", and share all of this with others! Not only is it an app, but you can also access it on your computer - and it looks as amazing there as on your phone. The recipes have gorgeous photos and are so delicious, you might be like me and end up with a pile of drool all over your phone. Price of app: Free
Secret Starbucks Menu - Okay, not all of my favorite apps are food related, but this one just happens to be, too. This is a secret menu for Starbucks that has all sorts of drinks you can order that aren't on the menu and it tells you how you would order those drinks at Starbucks. You can also submit your own recipes that you've created so others can enjoy! Price of app: $0.99
Ink Cards - I absolutely love this app! You can send the most beautiful cards to whoever you want straight from your phone! It actually sends a physical card to their address and the card options are gorgeous. Each card can be customized with your photos and a personal message. The cards arrive in your recipients mailbox in 3-7 days in the U.S. and cards only cost $1.99. It's so wonderful to be able to order a beautiful looking card from home and have someone else mail it for you instead of going out to buy one and mail it yourself. Plus, cards usually cost a lot more at the store than $1.99. Price of app: Free
A LITTLE UPDATE ON LIFE...
It's been a crazy week in the Highsmith house! :) Rowan has been eating like a crazy man... I think he might be ready for more than just milk. He's such a big boy! We were able to go out to eat this weekend and, afterwards, we checked out an awesome hobby store that I'm sure Rowan will love when he gets older. I told Drew we might have to find an alternative route around the hobby store when Rowan gets old enough in order to avoid a tantrum. ;) There's also a Chuck E. Cheese next door to it, so there's that.
We launched some new prints today for the shop and I loved working on those this weekend! It's so much fun to think of new ideas and create them. I really enjoyed several of ya'lls suggestions and used a few of them on the new prints - so thanks!! :D
I've been working on a post about my Postpartum Journey that is going to post this Wednesday and it's been really interesting writing it. I've suffered with a lot of depression since having Rowan and it's been a challenge to stay positive through all of it. It's weird to be so happy to have a beautiful baby and yet so NOT myself and so very very emotional and sad and hopeless. It's felt like I'm in a fog and I can't get myself out of it. Of course, you'll hear more of my story on Wednesday so I won't share everything. But yeah... I'm an emotional mess. Poor Drew - he's had to put up with a hormonal pregnant woman, a newborn baby, and a crazy depressed postpartum wife this past year. I hope to give him a break soon ;)
CHECK THIS OUT
1. Brenny posted a gorgeous print that you can download on her blog. Love seeing other artists' work!
2. I don't have a FitBit Flex yet, but everyone I know is getting one and I absolutely love this beautiful Tory Burch Metal Hinged Bracelet that you can put your FitBit in and make it look a little more gorgeous and chic.
3. Such an adorable idea to decorate for either little ones or for a summer party!
Shortly after becoming a mom, I learned that the trick of packing a bag to go out was an essential art to master. One of those things that you quickly learn through trial and error and something that also evolves as your baby grows. Savannah and I both have our "go-to" items that we always have with us and we wanted to share with you our top 10 combined diaper bag picks.
- Scarf // Michael Stars
I love having a nice scarf on hand at all times in case I need to nurse Rowan in public or in a quiet room at my in-laws. I've found a long, lightweight scarf works so much better than a blanket because I can wrap it around my neck and it stays in place much easier. This scarf from Michael Stars, as well as another I have from Target, are the perfect length and extremely breathable.
- Burp Cloths // Embry Goods
The Embry Goods burp cloths are a must-have because Rowan is constantly drooling or spitting up. He is a voracious eater and whenever he eats, he almost always chokes himself trying to swallow too much at once. So I carry these burp cloths in multiples at all times. I absolutely love how absorbent they are and the patterns are adorable!
- Pacifier // Bright Starts
I love a pacifier with a little cozy animal that Rowan can hold onto :) It makes keeping up with his pacifier easier for both him and I. As he is learning to hold onto things, I can see where this pacifier is going to be a lifesaver for us both. This one from Bright Starts is great because the animal is removable so it's easy to wash and Rowan really seems to like the shape of the pacifier itself.
- Healing Balm // The Honest Co.
Rowan hasn't shown any signs of sensitive skin so far, but he does occasionally like to spit up and lay his face in it during tummy time... haha. Whenever he does this, I try to catch it and wipe it off immediately. However, several times after he has done this, a little rash has shown up on the affected area and I've loved how this healing balm lotion helps to not only keep his skin soft, but it also makes his little rash go away quickly.
- Bottle // Kiinde
After Rowan was born, for some reason he just wouldn't latch on to eat. We tried and tried, but he kept refusing. So, I pumped every 2 hours and stored my milk and bottle fed it to him. During this time, I used the Kiinde system and it was a lifesaver! I could pump my milk into the bag, store it, heat it up, and feed it to him while keeping the milk in the same bag. It was so easy and made the difficulties that we were experiencing a little easier to bear. I also loved how the nipple on the bottle is an "active latch" nipple - meaning they are designed to teach and reward deep, wide, natural latching. By requiring suction and massaging of the nipple, they discourage "lazy latching", and help to ease the transition between bottle and breast. Thankfully, Rowan learned to latch at about 5 weeks old and has been nursing ever since. Occasionally, though, whenever we want to go out on a date or Drew is watching Rowan while I work, he still loves his Kiinde bottle. And it's nice to have it on hand if we are going out together just in case :)
- Foaming Hand Sanitizer // Babyganics
I can't tell you how many time we've had a "poop crisis" with Soren in the middle of traveling or running errands and have been more than relieved at having a little sanitizer on hand. I love the Babyganics sanitizer because it absolutely doesn't have a strong scent and is free of alcohol. We also have a big one of these that we keep at home and love that we can travel easily with this size. We recently purchased a huge bottle to use as a refill.
- Diapers // The Honest Co.
Not only are Honest diapers WAY cute (we just love the little skull and giraffe patterns) but they are also eco-friendly and plant-based. Which is awesome! It's no secret that I'm a huge fan of The Honest Co. We currently get diaper and essential bundles delivered to us regularly and love it. I can't lie, I love how they look packed in my diaper bag. I'm all about natural, awesome products that look great, too. Can I get an amen?!
- Natural Wooden Teething Ring // Alexandra Rose
I purchased this teething ring on Brickyard Buffalo a couple months ago and Soren loves it. I'm always sure to pack a few toys for him to keep busy while we travel. One of my favorite things about this teething ring is that you can remove the fabric and wrap it around a frozen teether to make it easier to baby to hold.
- Glam Bag // Ipsy
Ipsy is a monthly subscription service for beauty products. I've been a subscriber for over a year now and always look forward to receiving their package in the mail. One of my favorite things about Ipsy is that they always include a zippered pouch. I'm always using these cute pouches as organizers in my diaper bag. I'll use one for mommy stuff, one for baby, one for snacks...they are perfect!
- Coconut Oil // Skinny & Co.
When traveling, I always find it easier to pack multi-use products. Coconut oil is one of those things that can be useful in SO many ways. I love having this handy for Soren's sensitive skin.
I'm excited to let you know that a few of our prints are for sale over on Brickyard Buffalo at a discounted price! If you've never visited Brickyard Buffalo, you should definitely go check them out. They are an online pop-up market that showcases individual companies and their freshest items and I have found many a gem on their site. The thing is, the items are only up for sale for a couple of days and limited quantities are available. So be sure to grab yours before they sell out!!!
Georgia is HOT, so Jon and I are constantly finding ways to stay cool and keep little Soren comfortable. On top of the heat, Soren is starting the teething process, so his gums are sore. Poor buddy! I'm SO glad we don't have to teethe as adults. That is both relieving and horrifying.
I wanted to find a way to create popsicles for Soren so he could stay cool and numb is gums. I came across these adorable Munchkin Fresh Food Freezer Pops and knew they would be perfect. The ring at the bottom makes it easy for Soren to hold and I love that it creates smaller sized popsicles that's easier for baby to enjoy and doesn't make as much of a mess!
Since Soren isn't eating a huge variety of foods...so far we've tried pureed avocado, carrots, sweet potatoes, and green beans. I wanted to try something simple and something I knew he would love. I easily created two different flavors. The first is made 100% from breast-milk so you can call those "boob-sicles", "milk-sicles", or something else clever. ;) What's great about this is that you can choose to use breast-milk or easily make this with formula. It's a familiar flavor for baby with a chilly twist. ;) For the second flavor I mixed together breast-milk and pureed avocado to create a creamy avocado popsicle! Here is the step-by-step for what I did:
CREAMY AVOCADO "MILK-SICLE"
1. Mix 2 ounces of breast-milk or formula with 2 tablespoons of fresh avocado in a blender until finely pureed and a "soupy" consistency.
2. Pour contents into your popsicle maker.
3. Let it freeze for at least 4 hours.
4. Give to baby to enjoy!
Super easy right?? So you can make these using JUST milk or mix in some of your little one's favorite foods. I think next time we might try a sweet potato "Milk-Sicle". Yum!
As soon as they were ready, I gave one to Soren to try. He devoured it in minutes!! He absolutely loved it. He went from fussy to completely content and focused on his new treat. This kid is serious about food! :)
So I know it's been a while since either Savannah or I have done outfit photos. We are a little rusty, but had a lot of fun getting back into the swing of things. For this look, we wanted to show typical outfits we might wear during the week when we need to go out with the babies. These looks are comfortable, easy for nursing, and keep us feeling chic without much effort. We both typically wear our hair up during the day while working since it's better out of reach for little hands. :) Savannah likes to tie hers up with a hair scarf or pin it in a bun and I like to pull mine back in a braid or into a twisted chignon sort of do.
Jenny is wearing: Pants - Target // Deerskin Moccasins - Minnetonka // Lace Top - Forever21 // Lace Kimono - TJMaxx // Georgia Necklace - Oh So Antsy
Rowan is wearing: It's a Brave New World Shirt - BabyGap // Striped Shorts - Carter's // Shoes - Carter's