October 31, 2011

.Fall Weekend.

This weekend we went to Nashville for me to attend a conference; it was my first time presenting, so it was nerve-racking, but also empowering and assuring of what I am doing.  I brought the whole family and we enjoyed our short time there experiencing the sudden chill that fall brought in.  Dylan got to meet extended family and my professors, and she quickly won them all over with her dimple-filled smile and sweet personality.  She was so flexible and easygoing during this trip, leading me to believe that she inherited her parents' love of travel.  We intended to take lots of pictures, but I'm finding with the many things we need for baby everywhere we go, the camera just gets forgotten in the mix.  Thankfully with instagram, we still don't have to miss a beat.

Today is Halloween!  Off to get in my (work-appropriate) costume and can't wait to share pictures of Dylan dressed up too.

October 28, 2011

.Small Town Living.

There's something to be said about living in a small town, especially a southern small town, and experiencing some of the best stereotypes.  Living a slow, but purposeful pace.  Having people open the door for you.  Doing the 'smile, nod, and greet' to strangers as they pass.  Complaining about the 20 minute 'traffic' you had to encounter on the way home from work.  Seeing old school mates while running errands.  College football season being one of the great highlights of fall.  Gentlemen.  Bonfires.  The quiet comforts of the well-known.  Seeing your friend's parents at church on Sunday.  Living less than a mile from several of your closest friends.  Having a connection to someone new by finding, "oh, you graduated from there too? or "yes, I used to work/go to church/ school/ babysit so-and-so."  Passing by horses, cows, and acres of land on a daily basis.  Having the same neighbors for years who watch you from the first day of marriage to the day you brought your first baby home. 

Yes, we might not have skyscrapers, or get to ride bikes everywhere we go, or walk to the closest chic coffee shop, or tons of artists play at our stadium, or famous tourist spots, or a measly Forever 21/ H&M/ Zara in sight, and sometimes 'small' town means running into people you would have rather not... but we do have history, and we have familiar faces, and decade-old stories, and we have generations of family all within five miles, and it's a simple, but satisfying existence.  But it is exciting when you do get to escape for a bit, because the change of the bustle and noise is invigorating and just makes you feel different; it's interesting how a trip out of town always seems to come right when the craving for fresh, new air is at its highest.

Wishing everyone a rosy weekend.

October 24, 2011

.A Dull Girl.

This weekend, all work and no play made Jessica a very dull girl.  It's bound to happen at least a few times throughout a semester.  I did take a few breaks for a little date with G and church, but the rest of the weekend was spent in my yoga pants writing and researching in between of Dylan time.  G has been fighting a cold, so mix that with a demanding baby (I'm theorizing a teething baby will turn out to be a more accurate description) and it was tough staying on the grind.  It wasn't all bad though as we were able to slip in seeing a great movie, a little couch cuddling, work in the cool sunshine, and slobber kisses.  Dylan even woke us up early Saturday morning with a one-baby babbling concert... perfectly content... just wanting to sing the day in.  

I'll take some more of that any day.  

Enough with the sick husband though... I need my lovely partner in fine form to get through this week in preparation for our travels next weekend.  Here's to hoping that G isn't too terribly contagious...

October 21, 2011


This week forced me to unplug for a bit.  It was a solid good productive week, but one in which there isn't enough energy or physical time to partake in hobbies, and relaxing quickly turned into passing out.  Between work, a baby appointment (shots again!), classes, dissertation meetings, supervision meetings, research meetings, presentation meetings... my head hurts.  It's a good thing though, the kind of busy where you feel exhilarated and purposeful.  Where you feel grateful to have a partner who can take care of things like the budget, 'what are we eating for dinner?' and, 'are there any bottles clean??' and 'can you run to the grocery store because there's no food and we can only survive off of coffee for so long?,' because at the end of the day there just isn't enough brain capacity/ adrenaline/ tolerance left to decide.

G asked me earlier in the week, "what are you going to do with yourself when you don't always have schoolwork to do?" Why, I am going to join a  book club, and read for fun because this book still isn't done after months, I'm going to do all the diy's I've pinned on pinterest, I'm going to catch up on months of unread magazines, I'm going to get a full night's sleep every night, I'm going to learn to sew, I'm going to spend more time outdoors, I'm going to watch old movies, I'm going to watch more sunsets, I'm going to stay curled up in bed longer, plan fun trips and events, I'm going to have long talks with friends and family, I'm going to read endlessly to Dylan, I'm going to try new recipes, be creative, shop, get an active hobby, and cuddle on the couch with G without just falling straight  to sleep. 

I'm motivated to get to this finish line (I see you 2013) and see what my career shapes into.  But boy, do I look forward to the days when I'll only have to be away from my family for forty hours of the week and be able to add a level of spontaneity to my days instead of having to have every single hour of my life planned out.

October 18, 2011

.Campus Crowd.

This Saturday, we went to Auburn to hang out all day and watch Auburn vs. Florida on campus with our friends.  G ended up getting a ticket to the game, so baby girl and I stayed behind and had a fun afternoon chatting and eating at the tailgate spot; Dylan was spoiled with tons of attention from all the girls. 

I'm not sure if I can come up with anything bad about this time of year. 

October 16, 2011

.Educate- Engage- Empower.

I saw this trailer on Laura's blog and had to share it here.  As a woman, professional, and a mother of a daughter... this topic is something that is very prevalent for Dylan and I.  We learn from parents and in church what brings value to a woman, but I feel we hear a complete contradiction from the media. I am interested in how this documentary may empower viewers; I will definitely be tuning in October 20th, on OWN.

Miss Representation 8 min. Trailer 8/23/11 from Miss Representation on Vimeo.

October 15, 2011


Last Saturday, Dylan had her first birthday party to attend.  It's hard to believe that Lily is already one, as it was when she was born that we found out we were expecting.  As an army brat I don't have friends that I've grown up with, so I am happy Dylan will get to have a different experience.  I can't wait to show Dylan and Lily these pictures years down the road, and watch them develop together.  It'll be their first day of kindergarten before we know it, and it really makes me sad how fast time is flying by.

* Non- iPhone pictures courtesy of Mary

October 11, 2011

.Stormy Sky.

It's been rainy for days, but I don't mind.  It's both easier and more difficult to be productive and lazy in this weather.  At least I don't feel guilty being cooped up inside.  Luckily, Dylan is content for now to entertain herself and chat with me while I spend hours working.

October 10, 2011

.Baby Gradebook.

The often-seen list of what new parents will need for a child- I've been meaning to write this post for quite some time, but for some reason or another, I kept getting sidetracked.  This has turned out for the better though, as now that Dylan is 16 weeks old, I feel like I have a better sense of what has truly been useful...


Swing: we have used this in our living room every day since Dylan was born and it serves as a nice place to keep her when we need our hands for cooking or cleaning.  She loves the mobile, mirror, toys attached... it keeps her entertained, but she hates the actual swinging... which suits us fine as the motor for the swing can be quite loud. [grade: B]

Pack n Play with bassinet and changing table: this has been some of the best money we've spent for baby.  Located in a corner of our room next to me, it has been so functional for middle-of-the-night wake ups.  It's convenient with the attached changing table, and Dylan slept comfortably in the infant bassinet until weeks ago when she finally got too long for it.  It allows for vibration and music, none of which baby seemed interested in... but as she outgrows the napper and changing table, we're still left with the general playard area to safely contain her napping and fun.  The only drawback is that assembly is not as convenient as one would hope for traveling.  [grade: A-]

Swaddle: we used this simple, zip up swaddle that was light material.  It kept Dylan tight and cool like she liked, and was convenient as the swaddles we attempted with blankets was never as tight as the nurses at the hospital could do.  We attribute many sleep-full nights to this product. [grade: A+]

Pacifiers with clip: our child has an oral fixation; she always has to have something in there, and if allowed she would nurse all day and night just for the comfort.  We use these pacifiers and have no complaints. [grade: A+]

Baby Bouncer: this has been useful when I try to get ready in the mornings and need something to entertain baby in the room with me.  When I shower, I place her in this close by and she enjoys exercising her legs with it.  She was more than 6 weeks before she really began enjoying it, but the only downfall is that she tends to get overstimulated in it within 20 minutes. We have one similar to this.  [grade: B]

Glider: since Dylan isn't sleeping in her crib yet, we haven't used this much except when Dylan gets really overstimulated and we sit with her there, in the dark and quiet room. [grade: N/A... yet]

Boppy: we use this every single day, several times a day.  Not only does it make it more comfortable while nursing, but it helps her to sit up, and tummy time.  I couldn't live without it. [grade: A+]

Bumbo:  Dylan has just started using this and is still working on her center of balance with it.  This has been most beneficial in the kitchen while we're cooking, and when we're eating at the dinner table as she does not have a highchair yet, but likes to be in the center of the action. [grade: A]

Travel system: all-in-one car seat and stroller.  It's convenient, and this one that we have is easy to maneuver, even with one hand... which is many times all you have to spare at the moment. Points off for the amount of trunk space it takes, but points back for the cute unisex pattern.  [grade: A]

Sling and Carrier:  I'm a big believer in baby wearing as a method of bonding with your child, along with the convenience it provides.  I tried two slings and this one is a winner as it doesn't take a rocket scientist to be able to safely use it,  it comes in a variety of fabrics and colors, and is easily adjustable for maximum comfort (extra points that I got one during a much-reduced price sample sale!).  Originally I got this sling, but found that the directions were too confusing, and the fabric did not lend itself to comfortably adjust to baby and I.  We got this carrier as a gift and it's been a god sent for when Dylan wants to be held at an inopportune time.  I use the carrier for when she's awake and alert and the sling for when she's in a cuddly, sleepy mood.  Both help with the hassle of having a stroller in a high traffic area, especially during shopping! [original sling: D, new sling: A+, carrier: A- ]

Diaper bag: while there are many trendy and expensive options, I chose a simple, but cute Carter's bag to start off with as it would break my heart to get many of the messes that come with babies (ahem... poop, milk, spit up, throw up, pee, more poop) on something so nice.  Plus, when G has the baby I didn't think he'd appreciate the opportunity to carry something high end and fashionable with his outfit.  The changing pad included is also the best for families on the run.  If I could choose any one to have though, it would be this beautiful one (maybe for Christmas??).  G wants a "manly" backpack though.  [grade: A-]

Diaper genie: very dirty diapers in this thing next to my bed... yet I smell none of the goods. [grade: A]

Bottles: we were recommended these by many and have had no problems with additional baby gas problems, spit up, or nipple confusion.  So far they're lasting well. [grade: A]

Diapers: we were lucky enough to be gifted months' worth of diapers.  With experience we grew to prefer Pampers over Huggies, but when it came time to buy our own, Target brand has served us well.  No leaks and very cost efficient. [Pampers: A, Huggies: C, Target: A].

Playmat: at four months old, this is turning into Dylan's favorite.  She enjoys reaching for the toys and trying to roll over, but before she would just lay there for a few minutes and then cry.  We have this one. [grade: still tbd, but for now a B+].


Obviously this doesn't even begin to scratch the surface on what you feel you need/want as a parent, but it's a starting point.  We've been lucky that nothing purchased has been a complete bust.  The good thing is that these are just that... things.  None of these are required for a healthy and happy baby; being a caring parent will be a stronger contributor to that.

* Other helpful lists here, here, and here of what worked and what didn't work for recent mamas!

October 7, 2011

.New (Lately) Favorites.

My new (lately) favorite parts of the weekend...

... our recent tradition of Friday pizza takeout, huddling on the couch together, catching up
... a few days to be a stay-at-home mama
... airy concerts, downtown
... chilly mornings to snuggle in bed, us three
... cleaning with all the windows open
... outdoor markets, wearing baby
... group napping
... hair up, scarf wearing
... magazine reading
... family breakfast making
... accomplishing things, with steaming coffee by my side
... future planning

October 5, 2011

.Motherhood Musings: Humanity.

The world can be a harsh, dark place.  People can be cruel and do unimaginable things.  Actions can be so hard to rationalize and understand.  Human nature can be destructive.  In counseling, we often times hear the darkest part of people's lives.  As therapists, we're careful to compartmentalize these things in order to avoid quickly burning out... but sometimes stories you hear will just sit with you long after. 

Now as a mother, I find it even more challenging to separate the sufferings of others from our daily experiences.  I want to protect Dylan from everything painful, everything bad, everything evil.  I feel this physical tightness in my throat and chest when imagining her pure, joyful self being exposed to the blackness of life.  I want to guard her from bullying, a broken heart, hatred, death, sickness, the world's injustices.  This is the reason I had no desire to pursue being a child therapist... I want to save and protect each one and I know that's impossible. 

So when I hear these tragedies... all I know to do now is hold baby girl that much tighter all throughout the day and hope to teach her what it means to be good.  I don't want her to strive for perfection; there is growth and acquired character in shortcomings. I don't want her just following the rules.  I want to model and reinforce for her what it means to choose to be compassionate, have integrity, empathy, consideration and understanding for others, ambition, perseverance, and most of all... having faith in our God and a place that makes no sense to us now... but will later.

Read other Motherhood Musings here, here, and here.

October 3, 2011


Recently... I read a refreshingly honest post about finding balance as a mother, wife, and individual.  Having/ have a little one?  My friend Morgan's site is chock-full of ideas. Dylan is nearly four months old and rolling over, but she just hasn't figured out how to roll back.  She also discovered her feet and can entertain herself with them for periods on end.  We finally moved her from her infant bassinet to sleeping in her pack n play.  I'm not ready to move her into her own room quite yet.  Work was challenging... but when is it not?  Having to hospitalize someone never gets easier though.  I'm so ready for this semester to be over with... I'll never have to take this many classes at once ever again.  I've thrown a few tantrums lately... wonder how long I can blame it on the hormones?  Also, strangers telling me what I'm doing wrong with my child are not appreciated... and please don't touch my baby, person-I-don't-know, or I may have to kindly redirect you. I can't believe I'm nearly half way through this program.  G has been so helpful, allowing me to focus on my assignments so I can be in bed at a decent hour.  I'm so loving the cool weather coming in;  96 degrees is too hot for October.  We started watching a (new to us) show.  I need a haircut, bad.  G and I are implementing a new budget and we're sort of excited about it.  Oh yea, and skype dates with friends and family are the best.

We're stuck together for now Monday, so let's make the best of it shall we?