Friday, November 20, 2015

34 weeks

There are certain moments when the fact that I'm pregnant suddenly sinks in and I'm overcome with an incredibly surreal hold on just one hot second kind of swarm of feelings. That has been this week. The other night I was getting into bed (less and less gracefully these days) and I just turned (rolled) to face Dustin and said, "I'm really pregnant. When the heck did that happen?" He thought I said "how" so he was momentarily concerned and we had a good laugh.

But really, I'm feeling very shocked that Thanksgiving is next week and our baby is coming, ready or not, in 6 weeks. And don't say things like, "Well it could be tomorrow, ya know!" because if I haven't been totally clear yet, I'm in a little bit of a panic and those humorous bits of commentary kinda just make me go sdalkfjaskldjhfalwjer.

I'm trying to just see everything that's stressing me out as a great opportunity to laugh at myself. I'm stressed because our house isn't done, and I have this giant fear that once the baby comes all of these little things will really never get done. We'll have a to-do list miles and miles long, and we'll just be living in this weird limbo for years because we can never get around to crossing things off the list. There's just not enough time. I'm stressed out about the unfinished and the clutter. But then I realize that I've literally been living in clutter my entire life. Basically preparing to be a mom without knowing it. Clutter and I are besties. We understand each other. I have chosen clutter again and again, probably because I knew my future self would need this - to be happy and cozy and patient even in the clutter of new momhood. I knew there had to be a reason my room was never clean!

The truth is, expectations rarely meet up with reality. In my previous abstract thoughts about pregnancy and motherhood, I always imagined having a little girl. Not because I had a particular preference, but that's where my mind always went. But it's so wonderfully fitting that I'm going to be a little boy's, the girl with three brothers who was always surrounded by boys and legos and action figures and video games and dragons and sword-wielding stories of make believe. I am so much more prepared to be a boy's mom, and that's a fact. I knew there had to be a reason why I'm so weird! My little boy is gonna love me. 

My house will be cluttered, stories will abound, dragons will fly, and I will chill. We've got this.

Friday, November 6, 2015

featured artist: hello halsted

Every once in a while I come across something on Instagram or Etsy that really just kicks me in the teeth - because of its originality, beauty, uniqueness, or something akin to I wish I was that creative. It's the best kind of shock envy because it both surprises and inspires. I love supporting other artists, and sometimes I find something so spectacular that I just have to share it with others.

This week I stumbled upon Hello Halsted on Instagram through another Instagram account that I love, Poppy and Fern. Both of these ladies create stunning floral jewelry, but in very different ways. I long to have something from each of them; they're perpetually on my wishlists. Rachel of Poppy and Fern hand stitches her jewelry, and it's all amazing. She also has an affinity for poppies (as evidenced by her shop name), and I love everything she makes, especially this necklace.

Stephanie of Hello Halsted, on the other hand, uses real flowers - Queen Anne's Lace - to create her masterpieces. She dries, cuts and dyes them to create these stunning miniature watercolors trapped in resin. She typically makes a variety of necklaces and earrings, with occasional extras like rings. My favorites are the large circle, square or hexagon necklaces. Gorgeous! Did I mention she's only 25? Makes my year's to-do list seem a little underwhelming. She posts new batches of products in her online shop every 8-12 days, which sell out really fast. I love this method, though, because it means that she's constantly preparing fresh and exciting designs for each new batch. Follow her Instagram to feel fragrantly inspired by her sneak peeks and new batch posts, and definitely take a look at her shop - her new batch posts TOMORROW, November 7th, at 11am!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

happy halloween! {frocktober, the end}

This was the best Halloween.

We have a short but fun history of dressing up as Disney couples for Halloween. When we lived in Virginia, we participated in our church's Trunk or Treat for two years so we had to have costumes and a trunk theme. The first year we were Carl and Ellie from UP, and the second year we were Gnomeo and Juliet. It was a blast! This year we had to dress up, because coming up with a pregnant costume sounded like way too much fun...and how many chances like this will we get in life?

We decided a long time ago that dressing up as Pacha and his pregnant wife Chicha from The Emperor's New Groove would be perfect. I couldn't find much online in the way of costumes, so we figured it was a pretty original idea. We were thrilled when Colin and Victoria were totally on board with dressing up and walking around the small town of Blowing Rock during their Halloween festivities. They showed up with their Yzma and Kronk get-ups, and we were totally giddy. I love our friends. Victoria and I made our costumes (with the exception of my dress, which was a lucky find on Amazon for $20!). She actually found a blog which had pretty great instructions for easily putting together costumes for Kronk and Yzma. I made the poncho for Pacha out of fleece from JoAnn's, and my mom whipped up the weird little Pacha hat. I made my necklace out of the same material as the hat for a geometric collar, and then made the earrings out of wooden discs from Michael's that I painted dark brown. I also bought the bright green headband at Michael's. All in all it was really inexpensive and very fun to put together. 

It was incredibly entertaining seeing who recognized The Emperor's New Groove and who had no idea who or what we were trying to be. We began to realize that this movie seems to have only caught a handful of people in our exact age group. Any younger or older and it seems to have passed them right by. Which is a shame, because it's the best. 

Kronk, pull the lever!

Blowing Rock was decked out for the festival. There were hay rides and decorations around every corner. Once it began to get dark, most of the little shops were passing out candy for trick or treaters. The streets were soon full of kids and adults alike, and the temperatures began to drop drastically. We walked around and grabbed some coffee, and heartily enjoyed the many stares we received. 

We shopped around a little bit, buying some local spices and wishing we could buy every little bizarre trinket and Christmas ornament we came across. Towards the end of the night we jumped onto the tail end of the Main Street parade (which was basically just everyone in costume walking in a big line down the street). We counted it among our more prouder moments of life. 

Squeak, squeakin'. 

The night ended with us back at the house, delaying getting out of our costumes for as long as possible. After taking a few more pictures, the lure of pajamas and s'more-making finally won out. We settled in and made a fire and got cozy with s'mores and freshly made fudge. It was a fantastic day. Best Halloween ever.

It also signaled the end of Frocktober 2015. Another great month of dress-wearing. I wasn't sure how this year would go, being pregnant and growing steadily out of all of my regular clothes... but I feel pretty good about the challenge! In honor of Frocktober I will be donating quite a few clothes in the next few weeks. I'm looking forward to having a much simpler wardrobe and being a lot more intentional in what I buy and what I allow myself to keep over the years. Cheers to Frocktober, friends, festivities and the best Fall yet.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

find the fall {frocktober, days 29-30}

Outfit 1: Dress here and here
Outfit 2: Dress / Cardigan

The last few days of Frocktober were by far my favorite. Not because of the dresses or the outfit combinations, but because we were able to take off on a little vacation to find the Fall. We had long been planning to visit our friends Colin and Victoria in North Carolina, and a few months ago we finally took the plunge and bought the tickets. It's something we've been looking forward to ever since.

After our red eye flight from Arizona, they came and picked us up at the airport in Atlanta and we began the long drive to the mountains of Blowing Rock, North Carolina. Even though we were functioning on about four hours of sleep, the crispness in the air was enough to rejuvenate us. (Although I won't deny a few car naps on the way). When we finally got to the mountains the evening of the 30th, pulling into the driveway right at sunset, it was as if the mountains themselves were sighing along with us. This is the life.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

harry potter book club: the order of the phoenix

Happy Halloweeeeeen!

I have to confess... I've been dreading rereading this book. I've tried my best to shut it out over the past decade. I've only watched the movie once. It's probably a good idea for me to finally face my demons and accept that this book is, in fact, an integral part of the Harry Potter universe. And it really does have its merits. In truth, my memory had shut out anything good or interesting about this entry and chose to cling only to death and Umbridge. That's not a very good place to be. (But Death and Umbridge would be a pretty grand name for a band or a bar or a collection of angst-filled poetry).

So here I am, doing my best to start fresh and view this book as another work of art from Rowling. Spoiler alert: I think I failed. Cue lots of sarcasm and vaguely-masked despair.
Let's dive in. God help us.

Peculiar Petunia
Why am I so fascinated by Petunia? I want to know so much more about her. I think this book is the first time we (and Harry) appreciate her as his mother's sister, and as someone who grew up around, but just outside of, the wizarding realm. What must that have been like? The Dursleys are so intentionally ignorant of Harry's heritage that it's easy to forget that Petunia shares the same DNA. Which, as it turns out, is the reason why her home is such an integral part of Harry's protection - her blood, Lily's blood, seals that ancient magic that Lily produced when she sacrificed herself for her son.

Focusing on Petunia's past really exposes her jealousy, insecurity, pettiness, and fear. When she speaks up after the dementor attack and reveals her knowledge of exactly what the terrible creatures are, it's this fantastically polarizing moment. She mentions hearing the term told to her sister by that "horrid boy", who we assume to be James - and then she receives a raging Howler, REMEMBER MY LAST, which casts her in such a mysterious light. Who is she, really? How much energy does it take for her to pretend on a daily basis that she is normal? Does she ever grieve the loss of her sister, or has she been so truly embittered that she is content in being rigidly callous and average? There's a part of her that recognizes her role in protecting Harry, and is willing to continue doing so. I want to believe that she cares for him in some strange, small way.

The Order of the Phoenix
This is the good stuff. While we're stuck on the outside of the Order along with Harry and the rest of the students for quite a while, being introduced to the Order and its members and catching snippets of their activity gives us a glimpse of the first wizarding war - and what life was like for the few loyal members of the Order back then. It's a harrowing recollection. I understand Harry's shock and dismay when Mad-Eye shows him that photo of the first Order. What a terrible and tragic snapshot of good people whose lives were so completely destroyed. Seeing them in their young and hopeful state is rather jarring. 

I can't really ever get over the tragedy of the Longbottoms. Harry has known about them for a while, but it's almost a relief when they all run into Neville at St. Mungo's and discover the truth about his parents. It's such an important piece of who he is. Neville is so pure and good and true. When his mother wanders over and gives him a gum wrapper, and his gran tells him to throw it away, and he tucks it into his pocket... this is what evil has done. Harry is not the only child left parent-less from war, and he won't be the last. Neville has suffered just as much, if not more, but he has no fame nor recognition. He could have been the one marked by Lord Voldemort as his equal, but he wasn't. He is left to be ordinary, but still lives a life marked by it cruelly.

Visiting Grimmauld Place also reveals even more of Sirius Black's dark past, and the macabre mess of the house succeeds in reflecting their tense circumstances. It's quite a fitting club. For me, one of the saddest moments in the entire series is when Harry finds Mrs. Weasley desperately trying to get rid of a boggart that is taking turns changing into each of her family members' dead bodies. A book clubber pointed out that Rowling is rather clever in the way she personifies human emotion. Dementors as depression, boggarts as fear. I think the usage of such monsters in a scene like this is incredibly poignant. Boggarts are so intimidating because they personify fear in such a physical, public manner. Others are suddenly capable of seeing your most intimate fear on display. In this case, these visions are no passing nightmare - the war is coming, and tragedy and death become more and more likely every day. Molly is eventually saved and comforted by Harry, Sirius and Lupin - who assures her that they're more prepared, and that this time is different. But is it? 

Let's take a break with some:
Spot-On Quotes About Adolescence

Hermione: Oh, stop feeling all misunderstood.
Phineas Nigellus: Has it not occurred to you, my poor puffed-up popinjay, that there might be an excellent reason why the headmaster of Hogwarts is not confiding every tiny detail of his plans to you? Have you never paused, while feeling hard-done-by, to note that following Dumbledore's orders has never yet led you into harm? No. No, like all young people, you are quite sure that you alone feel and think, you alone recognize danger... 
George: Hello, Harry. We thought we heard your dulcet tones.
Ron: One person can't feel all that at once, they'd explode. 
Hermione: Just because you've got the emotional range of a teaspoon doesn't mean we all have! 
Dumbledore: You do care. You care so much you feel as though you will bleed to death with the pain of it.

It's Hard Being Famous
To keep from crying or breaking something, I tried to laugh every time someone thinks Harry is crazy or lying. After a while I started getting a little light-headed from the effort. Good thing I didn't make it a drinking game. 

I'm very torn between empathizing with Harry and wanting to smack him upside the head. He can be such a dunce. Drama queen supreme. But at the same time, I don't blame him for being frustrated. I get it. Yes, he's a complete moron when it comes to girls and he always takes out his anger on the wrong people. His temper is right on the surface at all times and he's pigheaded and stubborn. But I can't deny that this year is just one giant suck fest. Reading this book I'm constantly flip-flopping from championing Harry and wanting to cheer on his team, to echoing Phineas Nigellus like, THIS IS WHY KIDS BE DUMB.

I had to take a break to do some some serious yoga after Harry's court hearing in the beginning because I was so tensed up during that entire chapter. Fudge is so infuriating, I can't even. In truth, this whole book is comically terrible. Like those movies that are made to be stressful, like Due Date or One Fine Day. I hate those. This is Harry's Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. He saw Voldemort return, but is then forced to endure an entire summer with zero information about it. No one will tell him anything, and no one even believes his story in the first place. Not even his friends at Hogwarts, like Seamus (and his no-good mother). People straight-up stare, point and whisper. Rude. 

Dumbledore takes a very different approach, choosing to absolutely avoid Harry at all costs. No help, no guidance, no communication. And listen - I'm a big supporter of Dumbledore. I really am. I think he's boss, and I want him to always be right. But I think he messed up here. I know he was busy working things out in his own way, but Harry deserved a little more from him. It wouldn't have taken a whole lot. It's a small consolation that he admits this in the end.

With Dumbledore giving him the silent treatment and Hagrid mysteriously missing, Harry's left needing a new teacher friend - so he's gifted Dolores Stubby-Fingers Umbridge. Hem, hem. She uses him as a carving station for her creepy-as-crap blood-sucking quill. How is that not a dark magic item? How does she justify using this? She also definitely attempts to use an Unforgivable Curse on a student by the end. Like. What? Oh, and don't forget, Harry is also banned from Quidditch for life. And his first real crush happens to be still tragically confused and in love with her dead boyfriend, who died beside/because of Harry. (Ugh, Cho).

The good news is that Harry has a special mind-bond with Voldemort, and is able to save Mr. Weasley's life by warning the others after having a vivid snake's-eye view of the near-fatal attack. (Shocking twist: it takes a while for anyone to believe him about this. Quick, take another shot). But that mind-bond is kind of a beezy, and undoubtedly dangerous, so he's forced into anti-Voldy lessons with his other bestie, Severus Snape. Those lessons go so well that he sees another mind-bonding vision of Sirius being tortured, goes to save him, realizes it was all a trap (but don't worry because Sirius comes to save Harry from trying to save him), and then Sirius actually dies because of it. He gets tangled up in a flood of whispering silk and then he dies because...well. I don't actually know. It's very vague. I think he dies because of the crappy thread count? We've all been there. 

Ok, so good luck ever being happy again, Harry. This book is your personal pocket dementor. Mine, too.

Sirius Foreshadowing
I kept cringing throughout this book, because I felt like every time Sirius was present or mentioned, the text was pointing directly to his death. It gave me this dark heaviness in my chest. It's so easy to see it now that I know it's coming. Sirius is obviously depressed, and is continuously goaded and stung by comments and instructions from Dumbledore, Snape, Harry, the Weasleys...he's so lonely and dejected. Harry misses multiple chances to speak with him, he has things he wants to say but doesn't, he feels a strange foreboding about telling him goodbye...ugh. Don't go, Sirius. Please don't go. Stay with us and keep on singing God Rest Ye Merry Hippogriffs. 

Rowling fully explores Harry's grief in the wake of Sirius' death, which is both cathartic and the worst. I spent the rest of the series waiting for Sirius to come back from that freaking veil. Harry's denial was my denial. His hope, his countless disappointments as he runs out of options for how Sirius could still be with him somehow. He can't accept it, and as a reader, neither could I. It's cruel.

Knowing that Harry had that two-way mirror to talk to Sirius the whole time makes me crazy. CRAZY. He could have talked to him at any time, known that he was safe. Instead of taking the word of a deranged house elf. I'm also pretty sure I already told Harry to always listen to Hermione. She's always right, and she knew something was fishy about that vision. (Ok, and she also advised everyone to be nicer to Kreacher.) Why be so dumb, Harry? Why.

Anyone who knows me well (and also a collection of total strangers) knows that Sirius is my favorite Harry Potter character of all time. I haven't read this book since I first read it as a teenager and cried myself to sleep after Sirius died. I'm not sure why I felt such a connection to him then, but it's still there. Sirius and Lupin both represent something very important for Harry...they're walking connections to his parents, especially his dad. They're guardians, father figures. Reading it this time around, I cried for Lupin just as much as I did for Harry. I wanted to read more about him in this book. 15 years ago, he woke up one morning to find that all of his closest friends were either dead or imprisoned. He is given the great gift of discovering the truth and reconciling with Sirius, only to witness his death less than 2 years later. The way that Rowling layers the story, you can truly grieve for the young men they used to be... the best friends who lost so very much - of whom Lupin is now the lone survivor.


There are some other pretty prime pieces of foreshadowing in this book. While they're cleaning Grimmauld Place, it's briefly mentioned that they find a "gold locket that none of them can open". Hmmm. The first time Harry sees Dumbledore following his vision of Mr. Weasley being attacked, Dumbles seems to have some kind of epiphany when Harry tells him he saw the vision through the eyes of Voldemort's snake. He pulls out one of his odd devices and says, "Naturally, naturally...but in essence divided?" He knows everything. He and Hermione need to co-lead the Order.

Occlumency and Other Frustrations
It's still rather baffling to me that Dumbledore would allow Snape to instruct Harry in something so vital without any supervision or follow-up. I understand that he trusts Snape, but does he honestly think he's fair and mature when it comes to Harry? Snape is straight-up messed up, ya'll. I must confess, reluctantly, that he does seem to be trying to help Harry in the beginning - the problem is that he's a jerk, and he takes every opportunity to hurt Harry in the process of that learning. Everyone and their mother knows that Snape hates Harry and does his best to make his life miserable. And visa versa. Of course this training failed. 

The information we gather from their time together is kind of a letdown, but it's not surprising. James was arrogant. Sirius was reckless and patronizing, and in a lot of ways, he still is. 12 years in Azkaban may have delayed his social maturity a tad. Not sure what Snape's excuse is. I'm about as far from the Snape Fan Club as I can possibly be, but I do have to say that his worst memory makes me cringe - and I'll admit that I understand why Snape and Sirius still hate each other. I get it. Those kind of grudges are hard to snuff out. Snape was bullied - it's true. But I stand by the fact that this grudge has absolutely nothing to do with Harry. We could go back and forth over who was more rotten as a teenager, but there has been an entire wizarding war in between then and now. Get over it, man. James is dead. Insulting him and telling his teenage son, who never even knew him, how awful he was doesn't really accomplish anything for anyone.

The fact that the memory bothers Harry so much tells us a lot. Harry isn't his dad. It's a shame that Snape never bothers to find out what kind of person Harry is going to be. I'm so glad Harry had the chance (thanks to Ginny - the thing about growing up with Fred and George is that you sort of start thinking anything's possible if you've got enough nerve) to speak with Lupin and Sirius about his dad. They have this wonderful moment of trying to explain, and own up to, their behavior as boys. I wanted more moments like this. I think it would have been quite natural for the three of them to spend time talking about James at length. As it is, we really only get this one small floo-powder conversation. As they say, James was a git but he grew out of it. His head deflated a bit and Lily did fall in love with him, and the true legacy of James is that he was a good man, a loyal friend, and he died protecting his family. 

Just Deserts
Things that make this book bearable: Umbridge being dragged into the Forbidden Forest by centaurs (half-breeds she fears and despises, oh justice). Fred and George leaving school in mayhem and fireworks, and Peeves saluting them in farewell. Dumbledore's Army. Every time someone tells Zacharias Smith to shut up. When Ginny says, "Well, that was a bit stupid of you, seeing as you don't know anyone but me who's been possessed by You-Know-You, and I can tell you how it feels" (and her burgeoning boldness in general). Neville's improvement and bravery. Luna Lovegood. When McGonagall tells Harry to have a biscuit. Rita Skeeter being blackmailed and bossed around by Hermione. The Quibbler. Nymphadora Tonks. This is the book that really brings the girl power. It's where I think people begin to have the greatest disadvantage by not reading the books - there are so many great characters that emerge, especially Ginny, that are barely skimmed in the movies.

It's satisfying at the end to finally get some answers from Dumbledore, even though his recognition that they should've been more honest with Harry comes way too late and at a very high cost. Youth cannot know how age thinks and feels. But old men are guilty if they forget what it was to be young. It's a great line. It's hard to see Dumbledore so vulnerable. I still cry when he admits that the greatest flaw in his plan was growing to care for Harry too much. But what a lesson to learn. Putting the truth above someone's temporary happiness is something we all struggle with, I think.

The best moment of the book, really, is when Fudge finally has to concede to Dumbledore and stop being a raging moron.

That about wraps up The Order of the Phoenix. As always, I could continue talking about this for eons! But I'd much rather hear your thoughts. THANK YOU for reading along! Share your thoughts below, but be careful of spoilers if it's your first time reading through this series, because there are bound to be a few. If you have read them/seen them before, please try to only respond regarding plot points from this book and avoid series-wide spoilers. 

I'm not sure when the next review will be up, but I'll make sure to announce it in The Harry Potter Book Club page

Half-Blood Prince is such a great book, and I can't wait to reread it. I think by the time the last few books of the series came out I devoured them a little too quickly...a lot of the details are hazy. I look forward to ranting about it with you all soon. Until then...


**View All Harry Potter Book Club Reviews
***Read all Harry Potter Related Blog Posts

Thursday, October 29, 2015

31 weeks {frocktober, days 27-28}

Outfit 1: Dress 123456
Outfit 2: Dress / Cardigan

I don't have a lot to say this morning, except that WE'RE GOING TO NORTH CAROLINA TONIGHT! Technically we're getting on a plane tonight - we're flying overnight on a red eye. So we won't really be in NC until tomorrow. BUT the excitement remains and I can hardly stand it! This work day is dragging by. Wishing I could take a nap and sleep some of that time away. I'm really on board with that nap desk idea
It's almost as if Arizona knows that we're leaving, and is trying to tempt us to stay with the most gorgeous weather this morning. As soon as I stepped outside I just had to pause and take a second to breathe it in. It's a little taste of that North Carolina air. (Sorry, AZ). 

We're also 31 weeks now! He is the most active baby in the world, I'm certain of it. I cannot wait to meet him. He's going to be a hoot. He's constantly wiggling, hiccuping, twirling, dancing, kicking, snuggling. Sometimes he gets right up in my ribs and just nudges me, heyyyyy. 

I'll be blogging the last few days of Frocktober a little late, since I won't be blogging while we're gone. I'll just be enjoying the time with our friends and soaking it all in - our last little trip before baby! We have the best Halloween costumes planned (to go along with our previous Disney couple ensembles...), and I also have an incredible story to tell you all about a baby blanket that I found mysteriously sitting on my desk chair this week at work. It's a great one. See you all next week! 

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

then and now {frocktober, day 26}

Cat Dress: LOFT (old)
Remixed here, here, and here

Gosh, I love this cat dress. It's definitely one of my go-to dresses for work. I've worn it a lot, though I've only featured it on the blog a few times. It's incredibly comfortable and can be worn as-is. That may not seem like a big deal, but it is. I have to confess, I have far too many dresses that don't function that easily. Strapless, spaghetti-strap, open-backed. Those are fun to remix and layer, but I only have a few fantastic dresses that need no tampering with - they're perfect and outfit ready on their own. This is one of them.

I posted a great before/after photo on my Instagram of me wearing this dress earlier in my pregnancy (18 weeks) and then wearing it again yesterday, at 30 (almost 31) weeks. I think I'll retire this dress now until post-pregnancy. Those cats are looking pretty stretched. ;)

Instagram: 18 weeks // 30 weeks

Monday, October 26, 2015

what might have been {frocktober, day 25}

Remixes: bow top / dress

Today, October 26th, was the due date for our first baby. We called her Poppy, because that's the size she was when we lost her. We'll never know if she was a boy or a girl on this side of heaven, but she's still a very intricate part of us. Sometimes, at the oddest and strangest of moments, one of us will turn to the other and just say, I miss Poppy. She changed the way we experience sorrow, our love for each other, our marriage, our family. I've mentioned before how I have been dreading this day. Now that it's here, I feel a very solid sense of painful gratitude. It's a relief to be here in a way, to be facing this dreaded milestone and still be intact. 

Carrying our son William has been such a complex variety of layered joy, fear, hope, sorrow, excitement, love. It's the dichotomy of tears. My husband showed up to work this morning with a bouquet of wildflowers, some soil, and a packet of poppy seeds for us to plant a garden of poppies together in our new home. I honestly can't think of anything more wonderful than having a garden of poppies. It also makes me want to cry. He also brought a card that he had written both to me and to Poppy. It was perfect and it broke my heart. We cried together in the car, and I have never felt so grateful to have him by my side. His heart is a privilege to know. He loves our babies. He is the best dad. I cannot wait to see him in action when William comes into the world. 

What might have been is a cruel daydream. But today is not a day to dwell on tragedy or loss, but to draw closer together and bask in the happiness she brought to our lives in such a short time. I like to say her life was vibrant. It was. It still is. We spend our time now dreaming of our future garden, and loving on both of our babies with all our might. 

Sunday, October 25, 2015

take a class {frocktober, days 22-24}

I can't believe we're already heading in to the last week of October/Frocktober. This challenge has been pretty fun and comfortable for me to accomplish, since wearing dresses tend to be the easiest and most flattering choice for me anyway. I've tried to still push my creative boundaries and come up with outfits that are interesting. A very special shout out to maternity leggings, which have made my life so very swell. Even so, I'm really looking forward to donning my maternity denim and some of the cute tops I've been waiting to wear. 

For day 22, I wore this black confetti-print dress with a stretchy high-low skirt belted on top of it. On day 23 I wore probably my most-worn dress ever. I think I say that a lot. I definitely have my favorites. I got it for $5 years ago on Zulily, and I couldn't help trying to sneak it over my baby bump. It was a tight fit, but it worked. I found the crochet cardigan at Forever 21 last month for our maternity photoshoot. Day 24 was classic Saturday comfort - stretchy bodycon dress, leggings, oversized sweater. 

Outfit 1: Dress / Cardigan
Outfit 2: Dress 1, 2, 34, 5 / Cardigan
Outfit 3: Sweater 1, 2

We had our all-day birthing class on Saturday, which was incredibly enlightening. I could make a lot of jokes about it but I'm actually really, really glad we went. If you're on the fence about whether to take a class or not, I'd really encourage you to. It was a great overview of what to expect, and I think it gave my husband some really great information on what his role will be and what kinds of things I'll be going through, step by step. I think our approach before was kind of like, we'll figure it out - let's just not think about it until we have to. But being informed is definitely the way to go. It dispels fear and helps equip you with the tools you need to have that mind over matter perspective. It was a great day spent together learning and looking forward to the arrival of our baby boy! It's coming up so soon.