November 2014 | Olive and Tate

Traveling Circus

We're on the road again so I just wanted to drop by and wish you and your families a fabulous Thanksgiving! 

With love,

Stephanie, Justin and Baby Gray 

Can't Live Without It

Oh holy hannah, we made it to Friday.
It was quite a week around here....lots of low level whining and fussing.
G had a grumpy week, too.

Believe it or not, we are hitting the skies again this weekend!
Justin is traveling south for work and G and I are tagging along. We'll be hotel living for a few days then heading to Atlanta for Thanksgiving with Justin's family. (If you're thinking of breaking into our house and stealing all of our wine, please be kind and take the expensive ones so we can claim it on our homeowners. The cheap shit isn't worth the effort.)

And after all of that, G and I are headed to Meg's house for 9 whole days!
Yes, I am that friend who shows up at your house with her infant (who sometimes doesn't sleep through the night) and then crashes for 9 whole days.

I can't wait to snuggle in our coordinating "thanks for letting us come visit for a millennium" pajamas that Gray sent to Meg and Liv!

| ours | his | hers |

My parents are appalled that I would ever be someone's house guest for so long but I literally cannot wait to see Meg, Liv, Ryan and some Texas sun! We have tons of work to do and even more playing to do with the babes so it will be a hell of a trip.

Anyways, my point was that over the next almost 4 weeks, I won't be home in Maine! Prepare yourselves for lots of travel posts, living with a baby in a hotel posts, decorating your home for the holidays while it's on the market posts and a few fun things I have lined up in the give away department. 

And now for today's Can't Live Without It:

I posted my Christmas Wish List this week and two of the most popular items were the C. Wonder Agate Coasters and gorgeous Alpaca Blend Throw....and guess what?

They are currently both 30% off and if purchased together, qualify for free shipping!
That makes the total for both gorgeous pieces just $116! 
(for reference, the coasters are normally $98 on their own)

I think these would be the perfect gift for your best friend (who prob has everything) or your mom (who you obviously inherited your good taste from).

I know Black Friday is coming up but I don't love Black Friday/Cyber overwhelms me and stresses me out....and honestly, Thanksgiving weekend is meant for family, not waiting in line at 2am (in my humble opinion) so I'm going to be an early bird and jump on the sales ASAP. I just had to share the C. Wonder sale with ya'll and if you order either piece let me know if you love it!

Have a fabulous weekend ya'll and I'll see you Monday from Greenville, South Carolina


New (wine) Traditions

Show of hands, who is still surprised when their husband does something sweet?

Mine is raised.

I'm not sure why, my husband can actually be very thoughtful, but I'm definitely still taken aback when he surprises me with a gesture that wasn't a direct result of me threatening his life.

With his new role, my husband will be traveling a ton. Mostly back and forth from Maine to South Carolina until we permanently move but also internationally to work on site for his company.

His first  trip took him to the wine region of France.

I was so panicked about being alone with the baby and planning my escape to my parent's that I didn't even have time to be jealous....until the text pics and instas of wine caves and vineyards started rolling in.

I mean, the kid doesn't even like wine.

I LOVE wine! 

Shouldn't I be the one shacking up in a chateau and drinking me way through Burgundy and Alsace!? 
Behold, his actual hotel:

Just as I was starting to really hate my husband (and coincidentally just after I went to Target and bought anything that might make myself and our baby feel better after a marathon day of screaming), I received this text:

without me knowing, my husband packed an empty suitcase to fill with wine and bring home to me.

Talk about speaking my love language.

Behold, the actual suitcase:
In my house, we have a little saying "pic or it didn't happen"....the claim of said wine suitcase was too much for be to believe without a pic. 

After each vineyard, fancy french dinner or countryside tour, my husband sent me a photo of the bottles of wine he selected to bring home for us....or of the glasses he consumed that lead him to his purchases. 

By the time his trip was over, 12 bottles of wine (including two bottles of bubbles!) were making their way stateside.

Sadly, we lost two in transit
RIP, friends.

but the 10 who came home to roost were lovingly displayed on the counter for me when I made it back to Maine with the babe. 

We decided that (since I have a portion control problem) we should assign each bottle of wine an occasion or milestone, mark the bottle and wait until just the right moment to open it. 

I have to say that I am just in love with this idea. 
We're huge travelers and we always struggle with just the right souvenir to bring home - you know, one that isn't tacky/cheap/meaningless once we shake off the vacation goggles and have to find a home for it in our house. 

To make the deal even sweeter, because my husband worked so hard to pick just the right bottles, he's now super invested in the fancy wine drinking! He told me which bottles we should let age and which were ok to drink that night (love language, there you are again) and helped me pick which occasions were just the right level of momentous for each vintage. 

Don't get me wrong, mama is still slugging back grocery store clearance wine during the witching hour on a Tuesday night but I honestly can't wait until we purchase our new house in South Carolina and get to open our first tagged French Red. And Gray, when you go to kindergarten, mama and daddy are celebrating by day drinking the second fanciest bottle of French Champagne we've got. 

Hope you're cool with riding in car pool on day one! 

linking up with Annie for Thoughts on Thursday

My Holiday Wish List: All That Glitters

All That Glitters

Oh, Christmas Lists.

I'm actually a really lucky girl and my husband has great taste (don't tell him I said that, he'll never let me forget it!). He always surprises me with amazing gifts so I never make a list - but I couldn't resist putting together a little something this year, just in case Santa needed a little (glittery) inspiration.

While a stocking full of my fave polish would be fun, I think a little alone time would even be better! Santa, this mama needs a minute to relax, so toss a mani/pedi gift certificate my way and I promise I'll be a nice mommy until New Year's Eve.

A girl can never go wrong with this bottle of bubbly. In this house, we don't need an excuse to pop the cork, a large pizza and a bottle of my champs on a random Friday night is my new favorite date night in.

I'm obsessed with this throw.
Bonus Points: it can be monogrammed
Double Bonus Points: it's less than $75

Let's face it: since becoming a mom, I need all the help I can get to pull myself together.
This sweet touch of gold lace helps cover my 3rd day hair and jazzes up my "top knot".

I asked for this necklace from my SIL who was lucky enough to draw my name in the annual gift exchange. I can't wait to layer it with my current every day gold bar.

Ok, a girl can dream.
I don't need this and we aren't anywhere near getting an upgrade but I lust over the gold iPhone 6 Plus. I do a ton of work on my phone daily and would love the extra screen space....and let's be honest, I need it to see all of my endless Insta posts.

I currently rock this diaper bag, and have been honest about my love/hate relationship with it. If I had my way, I'd just ditch the Kate and adopt Sarah Grace. The cross body strap? Yes, please!

I mean, you can never have too many pairs of this signature flat.
Enough said.

My watch arm needs a little fleshing out it the arm party department and while these babies are tough to catch in stock, I think they'd fit the bill. One would carry the coordinates of our babe's birth city and the other the Roman Numerals of our wedding date.

These earrings float my boat.
I have a pair in turquoise and obviously need this pearly pair to add to my collection.

Knowing that we're moving has me dreaming of decorating a new house....and since I have no idea what that knew house might look like, this set seems like a safe bet! They would look gorgeous in my current living room and I have a feeling they could live just about anywhere (and how great would they look with the throw?!).

And last but not least, this necklace has been on my must have list for months.
I think it's time she found a home in my jewelry box.

I'm linking up with the gorgeous mama to be Elise and her crew for their annual Favorite Things link up party!

Thanks for hosting, ya'll!

Post Baby Body: The Bra Fitting

Hey party animals!
 I hope you have your game faces on because today is about to get wild.
I'm tickled to be co-hosting the Thoughts for Thursday Link Up with Annie, Natalie and Laura - and let me just say, if this is your first time here, I really do apologize for what you're about to see. 

Thoughts for Thursday

First, let's set the mood, shall we?

Many of you read my Ode to My Pre-Baby Boobs  and are well aware that I miss my favorite body parts like whoa. So what's a girl to do? A lift will have to wait until the baby factory is closed for good so, for now, I need a solution to harness these pups on a day to day basis. 

A bra fitting is in order.

Meet Caroline.

We've been friends since the 7th grade, lived together in our early twenties and married best friends who we originally met in a bar on a girls night. Sadly, watching a stranger feel up my toplessness with a measuring tape doesn't crack the top 10 of our most awkward situations together so she was roped in to coming along and documenting the experience.

Here is my advice when tackling a somewhat personal experience that you plan to blog:

Dink wine.

So, first we hit a bottle of Riesling and then we hit Nordstrom. 

(extra advice that I did not take myself: do your hair and apply makeup, even if your baby is screaming in your ear as you wrangle your mascara wand)

I was wearing maybe the worst possible outfit for a bra fitting - a silk shirt dress and boots - so first I had to find a pair of jeans and a tee so that I didn't have to do the entire fitting in my underpants. 

Side Note: do not attempt to find jeans in Nordstrom if you are barely 4 months postpartum. I actually laid my hands on a pair of size 24 jeans. Are you kidding me? Is that a real size? I had to scrounge to find a pair of jeans that could be wrangled above my knees and then off we went to find the perfect sales associate to determine which of my boobs is bigger than the other.

I will give Caroline credit, she spotted Sherry from across the intimates section (while I was mocking a size J bra) and demanded that she be our girl. Thankfully, Sherry had a hell of a sense of humor and didn't mind being photographed, seeing my stretch marks or hugging me when it was all over. 

Sherry rounded us up in a fitting room (with terrible yellowy lighting) and demanded to know the following:

how long ago had I given birth (exactly 4 months and 1 day ago)
was I nursing (nope)
did I know that I would probably be keeping my new boobs until a massive weight loss (um, no)

After the Boob Inquisition, she whipped out a yellow measuring tape and said "UP!" gesturing with both hands that it was time for to show her the goods.

Off came my dress, on squeezed the borrowed jeans and out came my ladies in all of their glory.

Oh yeah, my old bra was such the wrong size there was no need to measure my boobs while they were strapped into it because the measurements would be wildly incorrect.

 Naked measuring was our only option. 

I have to admit that I'm not modest at all and, frankly, I thought the entire situation was hilarious, so I didn't bat an eye at the nudity potion of the afternoon. 

Sherry asked what size bra I was wearing. 

I flipped the tag of my Victoria's Secret bra over and said "36 B"

And she laughed at me.

She said, "do you want my guess??"

"UH, yeah!" screamed Caroline (she really doesn't have an inside voice).

and then Sherry said (are you ready?).....

36 DDD

I died. 

Right there in Nordstrom.

Caroline laughed so hard she fell off of the stool she was using as a photographer's perch and my mouth fell open so far I could have stuffed my old bra into it.

After a couple of rounds with fit bras, Sherry determined that she was a bit too generous in her initial guess and declared that I am officially a 36 DD. 

She brought me just the bras that I requested for my day to day life - a nude t-shirt style bra, a nude comfy bra with a bit of lace and, because I'm thoughtful, I asked for a black one for my husband's sake.

Ya'll, Sherry had to show me where my boobs were supposed to sit when wearing a bra. I had honestly forgotten how high they were supposed to be! At one point, she even put me in a bra that made cleavage! And not the armpit kind, the real kind.

In case your are hesitant to go for a bra fitting, I will say that I never felt pressured or that she was trying to make a sale - there were many bras that Sherry herself would lasso onto me and then immediately unhook because she didn't like the cup shape or style on me or my girls. 

In all, I purchased three new bras (for a total of $206 - not cheap, but honestly, I let things get so bad that I had to start my bra wardrobe from scratch) all perfectly fitted by Sherry to my shape and body. Each strap was adjusted appropriately (the straps shouldn't be the same length because no one is symmetrical - I told Sherry that I used to be symmetrical and she told me that I was delusional) and the cup shape of each was selected just for my new post baby ta tas. 

(yes, those are my best dance moves. try not to be jealous)

I was so pleased with how my shape looked after my boobs were hoisted above my belly button that I asked if I could wear one of my new bras home. As Sherry swiped my credit card, I asked her what I should do with my old bra. 

She told me most people toss them in her trash can.

And I had to agree, that seemed appropriate. 

 So long, weird, oddly shaped post baby boobs!

And hello mom bras that don't give me red shoulder welts.

(don't mind me, I just brought sexy back. ya'll are welcome!)

Thanks again to Annie (who is now probably regretting her decision) for inviting me to co-host today's link up!  

A Village, and then some.

So, obviously, I am not feeling like I am my most fabulous self this week.
The sleep deprivation leaves me short tempered, easily frustrated and less than wonder-mama like. And don't get me started on the under eye bags and chipped mani. And you know what, if I'm being honest, I have to admit that I sometimes miss just being plain old me. The me who is a relatively good wife and a sometimes really great blogger and a supportive friend and a lover of alone time. Lack of sleep and my tiny infant tyrant have taken over my rational brain and my ability to process anything beyond basic survival. Seriously, if my kid's schedule wasn't in a handy app on my phone, I would most likely forget to feed him (until he purple cried, of course). 

As a side note: admitting my day to day failures/flubbs/missteps here on the blog is really a scary thing for me, but I think putting all of this out there might make some of you feel like you're not the worst ever, so try to hang in there with me, if only to feel better about how you handled your day.

Anyway, I pride myself on really having it all together. I think self sufficiency is an extremely admirable quality and tend to be less than gracious when I feel that someone is struggling to handle their business on their own. But I reached a point yesterday where I just had to reach out to my village. 

Behold, the actual text exchange between me and our dear friend Jaime:

(Macie is our dog, and the kick was loving) 

In all honesty, G was being a real doll. 
He was smiling and giggling and kicking away on his play mat, but the previous night had taken the life out of me. We had a baby with tummy troubles, a dog with the exact opposite tummy troubles that required multiple clean ups at all hours of the night and an early morning home inspection through our relocation company (which was, of course, during "nap time"). And then Justin's car wouldn't start. We were exhausted, overwhelmed and stressed. We snapped at each other and at our dog and baby - all needlessly and unprovoked. I wasn't being my best self and knew I needed to step away to clear my mind. For perhaps the first time in my life, I reached out and admitted that I needed help. 

Being a mom is slowly making me a better human. It has nothing to do with my capacity to love or my reserve of patience, but instead with my ability to humble myself and ask for help so that I can do better - be better. The moment Jaime walked in my door, I made a break for it. I took my one mama hour and went to Target. Not to wander the aisles and spend on myself but to buy dog food, baby rice cereal and dinner for my husband (and, obviously, wine for myself). I would have loved a pedicure, but settled for a red Starbucks cup and a shopping cart sans a car seat. 

Just one hour.

One hour and this photo and I was a better girl. A better me. 

Don't get me wrong, I didn't come home and bake brownies or steam clean my hardwoods, but I was grateful to see my baby and had a plan for dinner. 

And some days, that's all a girl could ask for. 

P.S. My village is lead by these two, who kept me afloat while my husband was working in Europe for 8 days. 

They never ask for credit or tell me not to bring my screaming baby to them at 5:30 in the morning.
I am nominating them for grandparent sainthood. 

A Birth Story

I have to admit that my birth story is really rather uneventful.
We handled things as we usually do, making inappropriate jokes and pain pills instead of wine. 
I like to think that I earned my easy-ish delivery after my ridiculous pregnancy, but in all reality, I owe it to an amazing doctor and the worlds best spinal block.

I was in pre-term labor from 34 weeks until 36 weeks. 
I was hospitalized for 5 days and then on bed rest for 10 days in order to keep my bun cooking. I swallowed handfuls of drugs - some fun, some definitely not - and was in complete and total pain thanks to the extreme Frank Breach position that my babe loved to wallow around in.

With his head wedged under my left rib cage and his heels running upping down my right rib cage, we knew that our babe was going to have to be delivered by C Section. At 36 weeks I stopped taking the meds and waited for the labor to begin again. Because my kid likes to give me crap, he decided to stop all of his pre term labor shenanigans the second he was cleared to make his appearance. I promise to never let him forget that.

I spent two weeks waiting around, thinking every twinge was pre term labor, begging my doctor to induce me, taking whatever pain pills they would give me and crying a lot. It was ugly.
At 12:30 am the day I hit 38 weeks I woke up to shuffle to the bathroom for my 98th trip of the day. 
As I was trying to lasso my undies back up my legs without being able to see them, I felt and heard a loud pop. Gross. 

And then it happened. My water broke. Just like in the move "Coneheads". If you are too young to get that reference, then I really don't know what to say.
I sat there, grateful that I wasn't in bed or Target (the only two places I had been in the last two weeks) and waited for the situation to subside. I stood up, hustled to my bedside table to grab my phone and then back to the bathroom to call the doctor. I would spend the next 10 minutes or so debating how to get back to my bedroom and wake up my husband without leaking fluid on our new runner. 

By the time I decided that a towel and a shuffle were my only method of moving from one room to the other, I had a grip on the situation. I will say that I never panicked - instead I was so damn relieved that I had a labor symptom that was a sure fire way to get that baby out of me that I was completely calm. It most certainly helped that I knew my doctor's on call schedule and knew he was working, we knew the hospital like the back of our hand and knew half of the nurses on staff.
I woke Justin up by saying, "do you want to go meet baby Gray?" and he smiled and rolled out of bed. No stress, no fuss, just lots of amniotic fluid. 

We made it to the hospital around 1am (I won't lie, I stopped to put on make up. I knew it was my last shot for a while) where we signed some papers, leaked some more fluid in registration and made our way to L&D. Believe it or not, our doctor made it to our hospital room about 10 minutes later, scrubbed up and ready to go. I got gowned up, a new IV right in the sore spot from the previous run to l&d and experienced a few other medical procedures that were less than fun. 

Please note how high my weird bump is. That would be my unborn baby trying to break my ribs from the inside. He's sweet like that.

Justin and I were so calm through the whole prep process and looking back, I have to say how impressed I am that we handled it so well. We had a few scares that required racing my hospital bed into a delivery room so this all seemed slow and easy. 

 I was wheeled into the OR, was given the best spinal block to ever be administered and joked my way through my C Section. I know it's hard to believe, but massive abdominal surgery was the least pain I had been in for months. 

And, just like that, our babe was delivered at 2:41 am, a quick 2 hours after my water broke.

He was blonde, blue eyed and had bright pink skin - cleared by NICU and screaming just seconds after delivery.

He clocked in at 8lbs 6oz a full two weeks early and had the craziest breech baby legs of all time. 

We did have a scare with his blood sugars after he was born but the pediatricians and nurses were patient, kind and attentive. Luckily, I was on the operating table getting put back together during most of the drama so I was unaware - Justin was put to the test pretty early in his parenting career and passed with flying colors, authorizing the medical team to do exactly what I would have wanted them to do to keep our son healthy.

 After an extended stay in the new born nursery, baby Gray was finally brought to me for the first time just as I was being cleared to leave the surgical unit. I will never forget the moment Justin wheeled our son into that weird little OR recovery room and handed him to me. 

I look at the picture below and can remember exactly what I was thinking at the time..... 

I had really started to panic that the baby and Justin hadn't been brought into my reovery area yet. I could move my legs and toes again and knew that it had been at least an hour since the baby was born. The nurses would occasionally say something like "oh, the baby needed a teensy bit a formula and so your husband is feeding him" to explain their absence but it wasn't until hours later that I learned that he had suffered two massive blood sugar crashes and the doctors had in fact sent Justin on an errand to move our stuff to clear him out of the nursery so they could attend to Gray. 

I also remember thinking how damn tired I was. 

And I had no idea how round my face was. Hello, fluid retention. 

 My husband awed me from the moment he held our baby for the first time. He was confident and capable with our boy. Until that moment, he had never held a baby so small and he was the first to change a diaper, learn the umbilical cord care and handle bottle feedings. While I wanted to snuggle my baby, I couldn't resist the magic that was unfolding in front of me. Watching the two people you love most in the world fall in love with each other is something that can never be topped. 

We had so many sweet friends come visit the baby on his first day of life. I honestly can't believe that we had only lived in Maine for one year at the time and had such a rag tag team of crazies who loved our babe from the start. 

 I think the way I told Meg that I had given birth might be one of my favorites of the day. 
We were together the day before getting mani/pedis, shopping, gossiping and working and were supposed to meet the morning I had the baby for coffee. Around 7am I sent her a picture of the baby's face. No words, no phone call, nothing. She was in my hospital room 2 hours later, champagne in hand, demanding to cuddle my boy. She still cuddles him extra hard when she sees him, and he lets her. I think he knows that she was the first friend to love on him. 

 On his second day of life, my babe met my parents who flew in for a 4 hour visit from Virginia. I have never been so happy to see them in my life. 

And clearly, there is no love like grandparent love.

I bought this going home outfit when I was 13 weeks pregnant. 

We had just announced to the world that we were expecting and I just knew with everything inside of me that he was going to be a boy. 

I dreamed of the moment that I would get to put him in it. 

My wish for our son is that he finds what makes him happy in this world and chases it with enthusiasm and passion. 

My wish for my husband and myself is that we support him with equal enthusiasm and passion as he lives his most fulfilled life. 

And now I need an Ativan. 
The end.