Juliet’s Newborn Pictures

There’s something so fun about taking dressing up babies and taking pictures of them. Even more so when it’s your own! Thankfully, I get all the time I want to take an extended photo shoot of my baby daughter.

Here’s what we’ve worked on so far. Juliet was about a week old when we took these. Hard to believe its been two weeks now since she joined our family!

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Our Juliet Hope

The probability of giving birth on your due date is just under 4%. Of the current moms my age at my church, I know of three births in the last two years that landed on due dates. My last child is one of those punctual children.

I never announce the name I picked for my child until they arrive in the world. Partly to make sure they are the right gender (we didn’t find out for my first) and partly to make sure they fit their name.

My husband actually chose our newest daughter’s first name…Juliet, or Jules. Even in the womb, she seemed to be feminine and dainty compared to Maggie. The name just fit her, even before I officially met her. I even decorated her room with pinks and flowers, basically the opposite of what I did with Maggie’s nursery.

Hope. We (I) knew we wanted to continue with the theme we had set with Maggie’s middle name of Grace – reminding us of God’s grace. I struggled a lot with choosing the right middle name. But as we drew closer to meeting her, I got a peace about the word “hope”. Especially in the time in our world where there’s so much suffering and fear, we could use the reminder of the hope of Jesus’ return and completion of His beautiful kingdom.

Now, her birth story…

Her birth day arrived with much anticipation. Funnily enough, the day before she came, I was exhausted from trying whatever I could to start labor the whole week. I fell asleep around 10:30 Saturday night without even thinking about my due date the next day.

At 1:30 am,  I woke up to my water breaking and jumping out of bed because I had forgotten that I had put on a waterproof mattress cover. I woke Bear up and told him my water had broken. We sprang into action and I took a shower to clean up before heading  to the hospital. We chatted excitedly about finally meeting our new baby girl.

I woke my mom to tell her the news and fought the urge to snuggle with Maggie for one last time before her new sister arrived. I didn’t dare wake her up when we were trying to get out of the house quickly.

We got to the hospital around 2:30 and got checked in pretty soon afterwards. Apparently the week prior had been very popular for having babies because there  were no recovery rooms available until late Sunday afternoon! We arrived just in time to get the largest room with a jacuzzi tub in it. An answer to prayer since I chose to not use pitocin this time around. The doctors and nurses I had were awesome and were great advocates for my rights and desires in my delivery.

Since my water broke, I had more of a deadline than a normal delivery. I was granted six hours to progress from 4.5 cm. I was desperate to not need pitocin, so I did everything I could to get labor moving quickly. I walked the halls, bounced on the birthing ball, and relaxed in the tub for hours. Thankfully, my contractions began to come stronger and more consistent. By 7:30 (the end of my 6 hours), I had gotten to a six! My body was doing exactly what God designed it to do.

The next couple hours were filled with intense contractions and not even the tub would help. I honestly felt like giving up. I only labored for roughly 7 hours, but once they came, my contractions progressed quickly. At 9:15, I must have been getting really loud in an effort to manage the pain because all of a sudden, two nurses and two doctors were in the room asking to check my dilation.

I fully expected to only be at an 8. I was ready to ask for an epidural if that was the case. I was losing focus and having a hard time mentally staying on top of my contractions. Of course, I was having such a hard time because I was fully dilated and ready to push.

The doctor told me to hold on while he gets everything ready “just in case”. It was a good thing he did, because two pushes later, our Juliet came into the world with a healthy set of lungs.

We loved her before we knew her, but knowing her is so much sweeter. She has blessed our family and we never knew how much she would add to our dynamic. It’s difficult to remember life before her and we can’t get over how our love has been multiplied.

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Juliet Hope

Born on Sunday, August 27th 2017 at 9:29 am

7.8 lbs and 20.5 inches long

Portland Trip Pt. 2

  • Oregon Zoo
    • Be prepared for crowds. We went on a day when apparently all the schools had a field trip there. Kids were literally climbing over Maggie’s stroller and pushing her aside to get pictures on their iPads.
    • The best zoo I’ve ever been to. Hands down. We never saw the same exhibit twice on our way through. Very well designed and most of the fun creatures to see were active.
    • It was lightly raining the day we went, but there are lots of indoor areas and we toughed it out like Portlanders have to do all the time.

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Seriously the only pic I took at the zoo. But isn’t it a good one?

  • Portland Children’s Museum
    • Admission is free on the first Friday every month after 5pm, we obviously had to take advantage of this deal.
    • Lots of exhibits and it was well worth the short drive.
    • Maggie was a little young to enjoy it, but we adults liked showing her how everything worked.

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  • OMSI
    • Honestly, I was a bit disappointed and thought we had wasted our time and money until I found the little kids’ area (a huge room devoted to different exploration exhibits for kids under 5 years old.
    • This was right up Bear’s alley. He loved the “big kid” exhibits and was in awe of the expensive equipment they have there.
    • Be ready for lots of kids here too.
    • There are a ton of food trucks set up just over the river from here, so that’s where we ate afterwards.

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  • Rose Garden
    • Free! (Always a fan of free things)
    • Beautiful collection of the most varieties of roses I’ve ever seen
    • We took a stroller, but I wouldn’t recommend it. There are a lot of stairs we went down and it was kind of awkward to handle in the rows of flowers. I’d take a carrier if I had to otherwise we just let Maggie roam free.
    • There’s a neat trail going behind the park if you’re up for exploring!
    • Not much parking so plan on walking a bit

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Where we ate: 

  • Tasty & Alder
    • family style meals
    • up to an hour wait on Sundays to get your name on the waitlist
  • Blue Star Donuts (because, when in Portland)
  • Pelican Brewery (as mentioned above)
  • Henry’s 12th St Tavern
    • the patio is considered a bar, so no under-agers allowed (even 18 month olds, apparently)

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  • Salt ‘n’ Straw (make sure you try as many flavors as you want, so you can make an informed decision about your choice!)

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  • 10 Barrel Brewing
    • we had a really long wait and unfortunately had to leave early because a certain toddler had jetlag and was overtired and causing a huge ruckus.
    • the waitstaff was awesome and did what they could to help entertain her while we waited.

 

There’s not much I would do differently next time – I would probably try to get a room with a little more space (fitting a pack n play and stroller in the room was a tight squeeze), I would schedule a day to find an awesome park (Portland really lacks for good kid-focused parks, in my opinion. At least in the downtown area, but maybe that’s normal for a city). We took a flimsy umbrella stroller which did the job until we found my dream double stroller off Craigslist to take home, it was actually nice to have a really small stroller because our room was tiny. I took a bunch of small toy animals and puzzle toys and they worked really well to occupy Maggie most of the trip. We used public transit most of the time, walked, or hitched a ride with my sister, only renting a car for our solo waterfall road trip. It worked out pretty well and we got around a lot.

If you’ve done Portland with kids, feel free to comment with some helpful tips or fun areas you’ve explored!

Portland Trip Pt. 1

About a month ago, we visited my sister and brother in law in Portland, OR. We went for 8 days and made use of all of our precious minutes there.
We got to do so much fun stuff and the weather was unusually warm and sunny for the area, so it was very pleasant.

We did have Maggie along, as we always do, because I believe traveling with kids is one of the best gifts to give them. My sister hadn’t seen Maggie since she was four months old, so it was also a bonding experience. Every time I see my family members loving on my daughter, my heart feels like it’s going to burst from happiness.

Anyways, here is a little bit about our trip, what we did, where we went, and what I’d do differently. I split the info into two posts, so the next post will focus on activities to do with a toddler and where we ate.

Places we went: 

  • Cannon Beach
    • Rented recumbent bikes at low tide from Family FUNCycles – they were wonderfully accommodating and we had a FANTASTIC experience with these bikes. A trailer was an extra like $5, I think, but well worth it because Maggie had a great time too.
    • It was really windy and cold and even though we were warned, not at all like any beach day I’ve ever had before. It was extremely foggy and made for a great view.
    • Ate at the Pelican Brewery – everyone else enjoyed flights of local brews.

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  • Waterfall Tour
    • Drive down the Historic Columbia River Highway starting at the Vista House
    • A great FREE activity (besides gas)
    • Go over toll bride to WA side if you have time
    • We did a bit of exploring (all Ryan’s idea) and ended up in the mountains with incredible views and high blood pressure.

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  • Mt. Hood & Trillium Lake
    • My sister called an audible from our plans and we drove to Mt. Hood on the clearest day of our visit. The view was just amazing and the weather was perfect.
    • We went at about 10am on a Saturday and the park area was pretty empty still. We were able to claim a picnic table with probably the best view in the place. By the time we left (around 1pm), there were tons of people around and it would’ve been more difficult to find a good spot.
    • They don’t open the road to the lake until Memorial Day, so we had to hike about 2 miles, but it was so worth it.

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  • Council Crest
    • A little park high on a hill with a great view of the city and mountains.
    • It was always busy when we were there so it must be a popular spot! I did see a hiking path, but we didn’t explore it
    • A quaint space to hang out near my sister’s place with area for play and picnics

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  • YoYo Yogi
    • My sister and I went on a date for an intimate prenatal yoga session (we ended up being the only ones at class on the holiday weekend).
    • They had an awesome deal where new members get a free class, so I got to enjoy some me time for nothing!

 

  • Brewcades (Ground Kontrol)
    • It’s really strange to be in a city that caters to the young generation.
    • Bear and my brother in law explored a brewcade one night with unlimited play on vintage arcade games for a $5 cover fee.

 

We stayed downtown at the Hotel DeLuxe which ended up being within walking distance of my sister’s apartment. We liked to pretend that we actually lived that close for the week. It was so sweet to see them so often during out trip. We loved being able to just run over for breakfast or dinner.

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We also were able to nab a high quality used double stroller off Craigslist and fly it home for free, so we had lots of success on the trip!

 

 

 

Stay tuned for another post on Portland with kids activities!

 

 

Thanks to my sister and brother in law for taking pictures and also sharing their camera so I didn’t have to pack mine. Be sure to check out their pictures of adventures in the PNW on houseoffigs.co 

Maggie Grace at 18 Months

We’ve finally hit it. The last of the monthly ages. 18 months is generally where people stop referring to their child’s age by months. Next she will be 2 years old and I don’t even want to think about that.

This stage has been the most challenging, fun, amazing age yet. Her development from a year old to now is jaw-dropping when I think about it. She definitely is more developed in the physical area than the language area. She walked just before her first birthday, spins, dances, goes down slides by herself, jumps, barrel rolls, and climbs on EVERYTHING. Seriously, I’m pretty sure her purpose in life is to get a broken leg before she hits 2. She is very tactile and has to touch whatever she sees. She also has some stellar fine motor skills like screwing bottle caps on. We’re just starting to get past the stage where everything goes in the mouth, which means bring on the play-doh and more crafts!

Her language has sped up like crazy in the past two weeks, however, and she is signing and speaking words I didn’t know she knew. So far, she signs for: more, please, thank you, all done, love you, and help. She says “mama, dada, baba, banana, go, car, cracker, up, cheese”, and of course her own versions of “leia” and “jackson”. She knows about four animal sounds and every time we ask her what a cow says, she says Leia. I think we mixed her up somewhere on that one.

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She enjoys music, playing with other kids, snuggling, doing what mom says “no” to, swimming, and her baby dolls. She has now been on eight plane rides and has been to both coasts. She takes a 2-3 hour nap everyday and used to sleep fairly well for her (waking up only once a night) until we hit the 18 month regression.

I don’t usually write monthly posts like this, exclaiming over where my kid is developmentally and such, but it’s been six months since we’ve seen extended family, so I figure this would catch everyone up on what she’s like now. She just got to see her aunt and uncle again (it had been over a year!) and I know she loved showing them what she can do.

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I know we’re a bit late on her 18 month birthday, but we were in Portland and I honestly didn’t even care to think about blogging while enjoying vacation with my family. Anyways, that’s Maggie for now!

Girl’s Best Friend

If you don’t know already from my posts and Instagram feed, we’re a bit dog obsessed around here. We have two fur babies of our own and regularly have a neighbor dog that spends hours a day here.

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Since they’re such a big part of our family, I’ll give you some of their backstory!

Jackson Jorge:

Named for a white “J” mark on the back of his head from when he was a puppy. My sister named his middle name and was in the depths of high school Spanish.

Born Nov. 4, 2005 – we adopted him from a nearby hobby farm just before Christmas.

He was a gift from my friends after my childhood dog passed away that summer.

He has moved with me four times, once including crossing state lines. He was a package deal when my husband married me.

He’s part-Australian Shepherd, part-terrier. He is super smart and also crazy. He is high anxiety and freaks out at fireworks, guns, and the air compressor. He takes doggy Xanax.

He’s been with me through everything and is still my puppy. He’s the lucky one that gets to sleep on the bed by me.

 

Leia Jade:

Born April 20, 2015 – we adopted her from a family breeder in late June after a concert. She was my project because I was very pregnant and bored after I quit working.

She is a purebred red Labrador and is the laziest, goofiest mutt ever.  We kid around that her name is really “Lay-a” because of how lazy she is. We aren’t big Star Wars fans or anything, we just liked the name for her.

She is the best dog for our toddler. I’d say she loves Maggie, but she really loves everyone. She’s everybody’s best friend.

She knows about three tricks and that’s it. She’s dumb, but pretty!

 

After we got Leia, we realized that several things were necessary for a comfortable life with both our dogs and kids. We put in a dog door and made sure we had a completely fenced in yard. This enables me to not have to worry about the dogs and to focus more on my daughter without constantly having to get up and let the dogs in and out (anyone with a newborn understands the frustration).

We’ve made it almost two years with two dogs and a baby without any incident! We have, however, realized that we get easily annoyed at some very small things. Our biggest complaint right now, is noisy dog tags! Our dogs have an ID tag and a rabies tag on their collars and they are constantly jingling. When your dog scratches and his tags wake your sleeping baby, you get angry!

We’ve tried silicone tag covers, but they didn’t fit the tags well and ended up ripping within a couple weeks. Sometimes the rings on the tags would get bent and the tags would come off. Super safe for our dogs and kid, right? Well, I finally found the solution!

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Engraved leather dog collars! It eliminates the need for the ID tag, so it’s instantly quieter. I tried one from Custom Catch for Leia and we love it! There were several options and we chose a simple one – her name and my phone number.

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We’ve had it on her for a couple weeks now and are extremely happy with it. It is a high quality product and the engraving is very well done. Just search Custom Catch on Amazon and see what they have to offer!

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—–This is a sponsored post and I received a discounted product in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.—–

 

 

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Encouragement on Mothers’ Day

This is for all the mamas out there. Mamas of all kinds…the ones who are just surviving, the ones who feel more like a feeding trough than a human being, the ones who haven’t slept through the night in years, the ones who reheat their coffee five times, the ones who hope no one notices that she hasn’t showered in a week. This is also for the mamas who are longing to hold a baby. The ones who have grieved, prayed, and even lost hope. This is for the mamas who are loving a baby that doesn’t share their last name, the ones who are raising someone else’s baby, the ones whose love goes deeper than blood. This is for the mamas who are raising someone else’s child, knowing full well that the child will never stay with her. The ones who are giving a temporary home but a forever love. This is also for the mamas who already raised their own children and are now raising their grandchildren. The ones who are even more tired and worn out than us young moms ever could imagine, but still chasing little ones.

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You are loved. You are honored. You are important. Your love is eternal and your care leaves an impression on all you meet.

You are a teacher, a provider, a chef, a personal shopper, a housemaid, a secretary, a chauffeur, a contractor, a nurse, and a counselor (among many other roles).

You are in the most demanding job in the world with the least preparation. You are amazing and have filled your role with grace.

This Mother’s Day, be encouraged. Know that you are respected and loved. Reflect on your past year and be open to what struggles and blessings the next year will bring.

 

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A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family and portions for her female servants. She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers. She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet. She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple. Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land. She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes. She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.”  Psalm 31:10-31