October 27, 2020

Food + Drink

Grilled Cheese is one of those easy foods that took me a while to master. Burnt bread, cold cheese, honestly, it just wasn’t pretty! This Gourmet Grilled Cheese recipe is something that Jay and I have been loving lately. Recently, he said to me, “I don’t think I can go back to eating grilled cheese any other way!” Me too, Jay. Me too!

But really, talk about the ultimate compliment from my husband! My biggest goal in life is feeding my family delicious food and caring for them well. My month was made with that compliment and so I thought, I have to share this recipe with you and document it so I never forget how to make it!

This Gourmet Grilled Cheese is so easy to make but also very decadent. Whoever you serve it to will never know it has only three ingredients!

Easy Gourmet Grilled Cheese Recipe
Easy Gourmet Grilled Cheese Recipe
Easy Gourmet Grilled Cheese Recipe

Over many years of attempting grilled cheese, I have a few tips that I can share with you to hopefully make things easier for you, if you are currently struggling too!

First, Butter. Melt and then brush the bread with butter. I don’t know why, but it really makes such a difference. Also, finely grating your cheese helps it to melt more easily and quicker, if we are being honest. This allows the bread to get perfectly toasty without burning or taking ten years to make! Sourdough, or a great country bread, really makes a difference and Gruyère just takes this grilled cheese to the next level!

Easy Gourmet Grilled Cheese Recipe
Easy Gourmet Grilled Cheese Recipe

Easy Gourmet Grilled Cheese Recipe

Ingredients You will Need

2 Tablespoons Salted Butter, melted

Sourdough Bread, 1/2 inch slices

Gruyère Cheese, finely grated

Instructions

Warm skillet over medium heat or heat griddle to 300 degrees (this is how I do it).

Melt butter, slice bread, and grate cheese.

Brush one side of bread with butter and place butter side down on griddle. Smother the top of the bread with finely grate Gruyère. Place second slice of bread on top and brush with butter.

Cook on first side until golden brown, 3-5 minutes.

Flip and cook on second side until golden brown, 3-5 minutes. Cheese should be melted.

Remove from griddle. Cut into small pieces and serve.

This has been our go to grilled cheese recipe for the past little while and will probably last a lifetime! The bread has flavor and crisps perfectly. The butter adds a salty touch and allows the bread to get crispy. The Gruyère is not just cheddar and adds a wonderful, rich flavor. It also melts beautifully I must say! I have to tell you, this sandwich is heavenly. The perfect bite of crunchy bread filled with soft, rich cheese-y goodness!

I hope that you love this sandwich as much as we do. We love to serve it with this delicious soup recipe from Nordstrom my favorite! Also, this grilled cheese and soup, both, pair perfectly with this simple green salad. Dinner or lunch, it doesn’t really matter, this combination is one to keep in your entertaining repertoire!

Easy Gourmet Grilled Cheese

CONTINUE READING

T

Easy Gourmet Grilled Cheese Recipe

October 27, 2020

Food + Drink

There is no doubt that Ina Garten does it best. What does she do best you might ask? EVERYTHING. This vinaigrette recipe is one that you want to keep with you always and I love it so much. Over the years, I feel like I have crafted the perfect green salad with this dressing and I wanted to share it with you.

I haven’t added much to Ina’s original creation, but the combination of three perfect ingredients makes this green salad the perfect side dish to accompany any beautiful main course.

Where we live, there is a wonderful restaurant in Williamsburg called The Blue Talon. It is one of our favorite places to eat as it has a French Bistro flare to it. In fact, this was the first place Jay and I went on date night after Beau was born and the last place I drank wine before finding out I was pregnant! It has been involved in many important life moments, as you can see (haha!)

Either way, The Blue Talon serves a delicious green salad and I have always been trying to recreate it at home. The biggest issue I had was finding the perfect vinaigrette. I never could get it quite right! Even with this recipe, from Ina, it never tasted just as it did in the restaurant. I recently discovered it was because I left out the most important ingredient, that really does make a difference: 1 egg yolk at room temperature.

I was a little nervous to eat a raw egg yolk, even though I have no problem consuming a half of a cup of cookie dough every-time I make chocolate chip cookies! But I have to tell you, go for the egg yolk, it really does make a huge difference in the flavor and consistency of the dressing.

With that said, I adapted her green salad to make it my own by adding shredded parmesan cheese, as The Blue Talon does! Heres what to do…

Green Salad with Ina Garten's Vinaigrette

Green Salad Recipe with Ina Garten’s Vinaigrette

Ingredients You Will Need

Sweet Baby Lettuce Mix, this really just tastes the absolute best

Shredded Parmesan

Vinaigrette, recipe below

Instructions

Rinse and spin greens dry. This is what I use to spin mine.

Prepare Ina Garten’s Vinaigrette.

Pour a small amount of vinaigrette to dress the salad. Less is more here, I promise. You can always add more.

Sprinkle with a small handful of shredded parmesan cheese.

Toss and serve!

Ina Garten’s Vinaigrette Recipe

Ingredients

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic

3 tablespoons champagne vinegar

1 egg yolk at room temperature

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup good olive oil

Instructions

In a small bowl, whisk mustard, garlic, vinegar, egg yolk, salt and pepper. While whisking slowly pour in olive oil, whisking until emulsified.

Green Salad with Ina Garten's Vinaigrette

This recipe comes from her book Barefoot in Paris, which is probably my favorite cookbook she has written. If you love Paris, or the idea of Paris, and love to cook, you need this book!

I shared this recipe as it pairs well with this delicious and simple, Easy Gourmet Grilled Cheese Recipe. If you love grilled cheese, I hope you will check it out!

Green Salad with Ina Garten’s Vinaigrette

CONTINUE READING

T

Easy Gourmet Grilled Cheese Recipe

October 21, 2020

Lifestyle

Fall is one of my favorite times of year and this year is so much more special with our little Beau! This week, we took our first trip to the Pumpkin Patch! Diesel didn’t make the trip with us, but you know we got him a pumpkin so we can carve them all together! Here are a few pictures from Beau’s First Trip to the Pumpkin Patch! I need to work on my mom photography a bit!

Beau's First Trip to the Pumpkin Patch
Beau's First Trip to the Pumpkin Patch
Beau's First Trip to the Pumpkin Patch
Beau's First Trip to the Pumpkin Patch
Beau's First Trip to the Pumpkin Patch
Beau's First Trip to the Pumpkin Patch

Beau’s Shoes, Similar Outfit, Pacifier Clip, Pacifier

One of the best things about being a parent is experiencing all of the “firsts.” I feel as if I am seeing life through a new lens. It’s truly astonishing and really just the best thing ever. I knew being a parent would be great, but I truly had no idea just how much I would love being a mother and watching Beau experience things and learn.

He is still just a little baby but everything feels so much different, so much more exciting! Somedays I feel like I have been reborn. Life these days definitely has a positive spin and I have a different perspective, which I am truly grateful for.

Anticipating and planning our trip to the Pumpkin Patch was half of the fun! Doing things as our own little family, usually Diesel is there, feels perfect for us. I know next year will be even more exciting when he is walking around and exploring everything on his own. But, just having this first experience and making memories was so much fun! I will never forget it.

I hope to share more of these moments here on my blog and create a diary for us to look back on! Also, if you are local, we went to Pumpkinville in Toano.

Also, while I am here I thought I would share a few new things I have found for Beau’s Fall wardrobe! Shopping for Fall Baby Clothes has been one of my favorite things to do lately. These days, I spend a lot of time scouring the internet for chic baby clothes as Beau seems to only wear things a time or two before he has outgrown them!

During my pregnancy, I had a really hard find time chic clothing for little boys. Thankfully, I made some progress and found lots of sweet brands and pieces that I love. I thought I should share some of my findings with y’all and maybe you will share some of your favorites with me? I would love that!

Last week, my mom and I visited a sweet new store in Virginia Beach called Merriment on Main. If you are local, definitely stop in! They are an exclusive carrier of the Beaufort Bonnet Company and this store is DARLING!

I also placed my first order from Cecil & Lou and Beau finally has monogrammed things for the holiday’s! Recently, I heard someone on Instagram saying that shopping for Southern baby clothes was like an olympic sport and boy was she right! Things sell out so far in advanced and I’m learning that preorder is the way to go!

Here are some of the things that I have added to Beau’s Fall wardrobe and some holiday things as well!

Beau’s First Trip to the Pumpkin Patch

CONTINUE READING

T

Easy Gourmet Grilled Cheese Recipe

October 7, 2020

The Home

I was excited to get an early start on our Fall porch display this year, as I knew it would take me a little bit more time then it usually does. Last year, around this time, I was very early in my pregnancy with Beau and felt so sick! I remember there being a few days when I felt pretty good, literally like three days, and I was able to decorate our porch.

This year, I was so excited to decorate our fall porch with the boys and spend time together putting out our pumpkins, mums and updating our porch pots! Decorating for the holiday’s is something I always look forward to and this year, I am really excited! We can’t wait to enjoy Beau’s first Fall together as a family and our first baby, Diesel, turns ten this year on November 7th!

More than ever, I have really been craving a change of season. Being a mother is the absolute best thing. However, between Covid and my postpartum hormones, I could use something exciting to look forward to! Anyone else feeling that way? I can’t be the only one!

So, here you have it!

Our Fall Porch This Year

I always love filling our porch with mums and pumpkins! This year, my sweet neighbor inspired me to add some grasses to our Fall pots and I LOVE the way it really added character to our porch! To be honest, I have killed almost every single plant I have pot in these pots. So this year, we decided to just plant a few small things that we expect to replace.

In our pots we have some grass, dusty miller and chocolate chip ground cover. You can these at your local garden center. This year is also the first year that I found some inexpensive pots for our mums. These ones are great and less than $2. Yes, please!

It’s the little things that really make everything come together. I have been so self conscious about the lack of pots for my mums in the past. Not this year!

Last year, I purchased these wreaths at a local store, Boxwood and Berry. If you are ever visiting Williamsburg, definitely stop in! However, I found an identical option for you online. I love the citrus because it works for a Fall color spring and also is great for Spring too! One of my most popular blog posts, believe it or not, is this one where I share how I hang my wreaths using ribbon. If you are looking for how to do this, I would love for you to check out this post!

We had so much fun decorating our porch this year, as a family of four! Everyday we feel so blessed to have a home, yard, porch and the ability to get outside and appreciate our beautiful earth. I posted about these sweet little frogs on Instagram the other day, see above, so I had to include a pic of one here too!

Here are a few family pictures from the other day!

I purchased my sweater from Madewell last year. Here is a similar option.

Our Fall Porch This Year and A Few Family Photos

CONTINUE READING

T

Easy Gourmet Grilled Cheese Recipe

September 4, 2020

Lifestyle

It’s unreal to me that our little baby boy is already 4 months old! With that said, I thought I would share our baby favorites from the 0-3 months time frame. Naturally, this post has been written for over a month but it has been hard to find the time to take photos. I’m working on trying to carve a few minutes of “me time” so I can blog again! say a prayer for me!

I’m not really sure where the time goes, but boy, it sure goes fast! I think Kenny Chesney said something like that. Am I right? It’s unhealthy for me to dwell on time too much because I honestly get a little bit sad thinking about it.

When I was pregnant, I read so many different blog posts and articles about the best baby products, things and gadgets! The truth is, there are so many great things out there and every baby, and family, is different. Really, you just have to find what works best for your baby and your lifestyle. It takes time.

There are so many things to consider when purchasing baby products, but I thought I would just share with your our favorite things and if they are really special, I will share why we like them or how we use them. Of course, I highly recommend doing your own research and gathering other opinions. I am in no way a professional, but we have had a little trial and error.

Here are our baby favorites from 0-3 and the things I would recommend shopping, or registering, for. You can see our baby registry items here. Also, it’s important to mention that I’m probably forgetting something, but will let you know if I update this later on. things are ever changing and we have already swapped out a few things and I will share those in the future, very soon.

A Few Random Things First

Pacifier: Beau came to us from the NICU obsessed with a Paci. These are his favorite so far. These clips are a must!

Mom’s on Call: Taylor-Rae from Style Soufflé recommended this book to me. We have absolutely loved the structure and recommendations. It is so informative and a perfect gift for new moms. I just purchased this one for 6-13 months.

Dreft Laundry Detergent + Stain Remover: We love this and now I wash everything in it!

Baby Sleeping Door Pillow, Lamp, Blocks

Bath Time + Diapering

Angelcare Infant Bather: tip- for little babies, place a small hand towel in the tub and wet it down. This helps with the sliding around!

Scalp Scrubbie: LOVE these! I feel like Beau’s little scalp is clean and this helps rid of any small skin flaking.

Kyte Brush Set and Sponge: So far, we use the soft brush (LOVE) and the sponge from this set. I would highly recommend it!

Baby Wash Cloths

Johnson and Johnson Baby Q-Tips: Some people don’t recommend using this in your babies ears, but we find the safe, effective, and essential!

Honest Company Shampoo/Bodywash and Lotion

Beaufort Bonnet Company Towels and Washcloths: I’m so sad these are no longer available! But, we use our Weezie Towels now.

Aquaphor: A must! If you are having a little boy, buy lot’s of the squeezable Aquaphor. You will thank me later 😉

Honest Diaper Cream: We have been blessed with no rashes thus far. However, this is nice to have and helps to heal any redness.

Pampers Swaddlers

WaterWipes

Ubbi Diaper Pail: I raved about this diaper pail in this blog post. But, basically it’s easy to use, much more attractive than most, and doesn’t require special bags or inserts. Although, these bags hold A TON of diapers!

Changing Pad + Pehr Covers

Changing Pad Liners: These will save your changing pad in between washes!

Frida Baby Nail Clippers and File: We love these nail clippers. I never thought I would be able to clip Beau’s nails with confidence but these are amazing! I do his nails once a week and sometimes twice!

Sleep

Pehr Swaddles: These were our absolute favorite when we came home from the hospital. The absolute best for swaddling during the newborn phase!

Ollie Swaddle: When Beau started breaking out of his swaddle, we started using the Ollie and it was life-changing! He started sleeping so well.

Dohm Sound Machine: This sound machine is beautiful and great. Jay and I love sleeping with it now! But, it helps keep noises from around the house from distracting baby during nap time and at night. We now have two of them.

Moses Basket + Stand: This is Beau’s bassinet setup and we absolutely love it!

Snuggle Me Organic: Perfect for newborn days (tear) and for early morning snuggles!

Motorola Baby Monitor: This one is great. We also have the Nanit and love that as well.

On the Go

Bugaboo Fox Stroller: I have heard complaints about bugaboo strollers but we LOVE ours. It’s easy to fold and very chic. Plus, it rides like a Rolls-Royce! Of course, they already updated our version. You can see the new one here.

Bugaboo Nuna Car Seat: Also beautiful and pairs with our stroller. Very plush, comfy and safe for baby!

Car Mirror

Travel Fan: You have probably seen these all over my instagram. They are a hit with both Diesel and Beau!

Pehr Changing Pad: We use this so much! Around the house, at others homes, in the car and more! A must!

Disposable Changing Pad: Great for public changing tables, however with Covid we haven’t seen much of “public” anything.

Diaper Bags: Great for trashing diapers while out and about.

Travel WaterWipes: Saves room in diaper bag!

Pacifier Clip: Cute and keeps from the dreaded pacifier on floor incident happening!

Feeding

Feeding looks different for everyone. We have done a little bit of everything and honestly, I could share a more in-depth post, if you are interested, just let me know!

Dr. Brown’s Bottles: Great for on the go and keeping gas away.

Glass Bottles: A cleaner option, that we use when at home.

Sterilizer: This sterilizer is one of my number one recommendations for anyone having a baby! Perfect for bottles and breast pump parts! It sterilized and dries contents, plus it’s actually pretty.

OXO Bottle Brush absolutely the best and is not messy like others.

Boon Drying Rack and Accessories: Necessary, for us, even though it seems like it might not be.

Babyganics Bottle Soap: We like the foaming option.

Baby Brezza: If you are using formula this is heaven sent. It makes a bottle and warms it in seconds. Like a Nespresso for baby! Just make sure you get your powder setting right!

Holle Formula: Apparently the best option out there. We use this and Beau loves it.

Green Sprouts Bibs + Burp Cloths: The most absorbing and softest for an affordable price.

Gingham Bibs: Cute, soft and affordable.

Play + Seating

Lovevery Play Gym: I have raved about this playmat so much and will continue to do so. It is heaven sent and so great for baby’s development. Beau loves his and we love that it knows exactly what he needs to help with development in different areas. It is tacky and isn’t covered in a million flashing lights!

4moms mamaRoo: We have used our Mamaroo so much. I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s essential, at least not for Beau, but it is definitely handy!

Baby Bjorn Bouncer + Soft Toy Bar: What is essential, though, is this bouncer! It is easily portable, it isn’t an eye sore and we use it everyday all around the house. Also, if you plan on having multiple babies, you can simply purchase a different seat color and each one easily removes for washing.

These black and white books- 1,2,3: Beau loves these so much.

Jellycat Soft Books: These are so much fun and soft for little babies. We love Jellycat books for Beau. He has tons of them!

Hangers, Baby Duffle Bag

Clothing

A few of our favorite clothing brands thus far.

Baby Clothes Hangers

Drawer Organizers: We love these from the container store.

Kissy Kissy

Little English

Beaufort Bonnet Company

Nantucket Kids

Kissy Kissy Gowns

Gerber Onesies Bodysuits: I prefer these to other brands because they are softer, fit better and have two great buttons!

Kissy Kissy Footed Jammies

Kissy Kissy Mitts: These were a total newborn essential for us! Beau wore them all of the time to keep himself from scratching his face too much.

I love shopping on the Maisonette website. You can find a lot of great pieces on their website.

I do a lot of online ordering but if you are local our favorite stores that carry baby clothing are The Carousel in Williamsburg and The Perfecting Setting in Newport News.

Our Baby Favorites: 0-3 Months

CONTINUE READING

T

Easy Gourmet Grilled Cheese Recipe

July 27, 2020

Lifestyle

Since Beau was born, I have had to do things a little differently for the time being. Pre-baby I was very Barefoot Contessa. These days, I’m relying on very simple recipes including these 5 Pinterest Recipes Worth Trying and a whole lot of take out. Each day we are getting things more, and more, under control but until then, we are keeping it simple!

Whenever I am looking for recipe inspiration, I head to Pinterest! I have definitely found a lot of fails over the years, but every now and then you can come across a few good recipes!

I thought I would share some of my favorite Pinterest recipes worth trying with you!

30-Minute Sesame Mango Chicken Teriyaki

This recipe was quick and delicious. I usually don’t make too many recipes like this, so it was a nice change. Next time, I would probably add in some vegetables! I also used regular soy sauce, instead of low sodium, and it was just fine. Just use a little less than the recipe calls for.

Creamy Lemon Chicken Breast

Lemon is one of my favorite flavors, especially when it comes to pasta! I love a lemon-y pasta and was craving something a little creamier than what I usually make. So, I searched Pinterest for a creamy lemon chicken recipe. This one was a little more time consuming than what I have time for right now, and it could probably be simplified, but it was really good!

Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Banana Cake sounds so familiar, but honestly I think this one is the first banana cake I have ever had. A month, or so, ago, I had some overly ripe bananas and was looking for something different to make, other than banana bread or muffins, when I stumbled across this recipe. Banana cake with cream cheese frosting? It sounded interesting so I thought I would give it a try! Oh man, this was incredible. So moist and delicious. An absolute MUST TRY. Seriously, if you love bananas give this recipe a try.

Fajita Chicken Casserole

Like I said before, I love a good casserole but have always tried to push my cooking and try to learn how to cook more than just casseroles. Not saying they aren’t perfect delicious, but I didn’t want to that person that could only make casseroles. For the sake of time and simplification, post-baby, I thought I would look up a few casserole recipes and thought this one looked good. It was amazing! If you are looking for an easy way to switch on Mexican Food night, and like me aren’t great with those types of dishes, give this recipe a try! It serves great with Spanish Rice!

Stuffed Shells with Spinach and Cheese

I read somewhere that this recipe was the most pinned comfort food on Pinterest. Who knows if that’s really true, but they are definitely worthy of that title! I made these before Beau was born and they were so good. It made a ton of food and we divided the recipe up between two small casserole dishes. It feeds a family perfectly or you could make one for now and one for later. Another plus is that you can make this dish ahead of time and freeze some for later! #winwin

Peach Cobbler Recipe

Peach Cobbler Recipe

Shameless plug for one of my favorite recipes, that you can find here on my blog. Because I was sharing recipes, I wanted to mention this Peach Cobbler that is one of my favorite summer recipes and is the most delicious dessert. Serve this warm from the oven with vanilla ice cream and I promise you will love it!

Find more of my favorite recipes here.

5 Pinterest Recipes Worth Trying

CONTINUE READING

T

Easy Gourmet Grilled Cheese Recipe

October 27, 2020

Food + Drink

There is no doubt that Ina Garten does it best. What does she do best you might ask? EVERYTHING. This vinaigrette recipe is one that you want to keep with you always and I love it so much. Over the years, I feel like I have crafted the perfect green salad with this dressing and I wanted to share it with you.

I haven’t added much to Ina’s original creation, but the combination of three perfect ingredients makes this green salad the perfect side dish to accompany any beautiful main course.

Where we live, there is a wonderful restaurant in Williamsburg called The Blue Talon. It is one of our favorite places to eat as it has a French Bistro flare to it. In fact, this was the first place Jay and I went on date night after Beau was born and the last place I drank wine before finding out I was pregnant! It has been involved in many important life moments, as you can see (haha!)

Either way, The Blue Talon serves a delicious green salad and I have always been trying to recreate it at home. The biggest issue I had was finding the perfect vinaigrette. I never could get it quite right! Even with this recipe, from Ina, it never tasted just as it did in the restaurant. I recently discovered it was because I left out the most important ingredient, that really does make a difference: 1 egg yolk at room temperature.

I was a little nervous to eat a raw egg yolk, even though I have no problem consuming a half of a cup of cookie dough every-time I make chocolate chip cookies! But I have to tell you, go for the egg yolk, it really does make a huge difference in the flavor and consistency of the dressing.

With that said, I adapted her green salad to make it my own by adding shredded parmesan cheese, as The Blue Talon does! Heres what to do…

Green Salad with Ina Garten's Vinaigrette

Green Salad Recipe with Ina Garten’s Vinaigrette

Ingredients You Will Need

Sweet Baby Lettuce Mix, this really just tastes the absolute best

Shredded Parmesan

Vinaigrette, recipe below

Instructions

Rinse and spin greens dry. This is what I use to spin mine.

Prepare Ina Garten’s Vinaigrette.

Pour a small amount of vinaigrette to dress the salad. Less is more here, I promise. You can always add more.

Sprinkle with a small handful of shredded parmesan cheese.

Toss and serve!

Ina Garten’s Vinaigrette Recipe

Ingredients

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic

3 tablespoons champagne vinegar

1 egg yolk at room temperature

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup good olive oil

Instructions

In a small bowl, whisk mustard, garlic, vinegar, egg yolk, salt and pepper. While whisking slowly pour in olive oil, whisking until emulsified.

Green Salad with Ina Garten's Vinaigrette

This recipe comes from her book Barefoot in Paris, which is probably my favorite cookbook she has written. If you love Paris, or the idea of Paris, and love to cook, you need this book!

I shared this recipe as it pairs well with this delicious and simple, Easy Gourmet Grilled Cheese Recipe. If you love grilled cheese, I hope you will check it out!

Green Salad with Ina Garten’s Vinaigrette

CONTINUE READING

T

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October 21, 2020

Lifestyle

Fall is one of my favorite times of year and this year is so much more special with our little Beau! This week, we took our first trip to the Pumpkin Patch! Diesel didn’t make the trip with us, but you know we got him a pumpkin so we can carve them all together! Here are a few pictures from Beau’s First Trip to the Pumpkin Patch! I need to work on my mom photography a bit!

Beau's First Trip to the Pumpkin Patch
Beau's First Trip to the Pumpkin Patch
Beau's First Trip to the Pumpkin Patch
Beau's First Trip to the Pumpkin Patch
Beau's First Trip to the Pumpkin Patch
Beau's First Trip to the Pumpkin Patch

Beau’s Shoes, Similar Outfit, Pacifier Clip, Pacifier

One of the best things about being a parent is experiencing all of the “firsts.” I feel as if I am seeing life through a new lens. It’s truly astonishing and really just the best thing ever. I knew being a parent would be great, but I truly had no idea just how much I would love being a mother and watching Beau experience things and learn.

He is still just a little baby but everything feels so much different, so much more exciting! Somedays I feel like I have been reborn. Life these days definitely has a positive spin and I have a different perspective, which I am truly grateful for.

Anticipating and planning our trip to the Pumpkin Patch was half of the fun! Doing things as our own little family, usually Diesel is there, feels perfect for us. I know next year will be even more exciting when he is walking around and exploring everything on his own. But, just having this first experience and making memories was so much fun! I will never forget it.

I hope to share more of these moments here on my blog and create a diary for us to look back on! Also, if you are local, we went to Pumpkinville in Toano.

Also, while I am here I thought I would share a few new things I have found for Beau’s Fall wardrobe! Shopping for Fall Baby Clothes has been one of my favorite things to do lately. These days, I spend a lot of time scouring the internet for chic baby clothes as Beau seems to only wear things a time or two before he has outgrown them!

During my pregnancy, I had a really hard find time chic clothing for little boys. Thankfully, I made some progress and found lots of sweet brands and pieces that I love. I thought I should share some of my findings with y’all and maybe you will share some of your favorites with me? I would love that!

Last week, my mom and I visited a sweet new store in Virginia Beach called Merriment on Main. If you are local, definitely stop in! They are an exclusive carrier of the Beaufort Bonnet Company and this store is DARLING!

I also placed my first order from Cecil & Lou and Beau finally has monogrammed things for the holiday’s! Recently, I heard someone on Instagram saying that shopping for Southern baby clothes was like an olympic sport and boy was she right! Things sell out so far in advanced and I’m learning that preorder is the way to go!

Here are some of the things that I have added to Beau’s Fall wardrobe and some holiday things as well!

Beau’s First Trip to the Pumpkin Patch

CONTINUE READING

T

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October 7, 2020

The Home

I was excited to get an early start on our Fall porch display this year, as I knew it would take me a little bit more time then it usually does. Last year, around this time, I was very early in my pregnancy with Beau and felt so sick! I remember there being a few days when I felt pretty good, literally like three days, and I was able to decorate our porch.

This year, I was so excited to decorate our fall porch with the boys and spend time together putting out our pumpkins, mums and updating our porch pots! Decorating for the holiday’s is something I always look forward to and this year, I am really excited! We can’t wait to enjoy Beau’s first Fall together as a family and our first baby, Diesel, turns ten this year on November 7th!

More than ever, I have really been craving a change of season. Being a mother is the absolute best thing. However, between Covid and my postpartum hormones, I could use something exciting to look forward to! Anyone else feeling that way? I can’t be the only one!

So, here you have it!

Our Fall Porch This Year

I always love filling our porch with mums and pumpkins! This year, my sweet neighbor inspired me to add some grasses to our Fall pots and I LOVE the way it really added character to our porch! To be honest, I have killed almost every single plant I have pot in these pots. So this year, we decided to just plant a few small things that we expect to replace.

In our pots we have some grass, dusty miller and chocolate chip ground cover. You can these at your local garden center. This year is also the first year that I found some inexpensive pots for our mums. These ones are great and less than $2. Yes, please!

It’s the little things that really make everything come together. I have been so self conscious about the lack of pots for my mums in the past. Not this year!

Last year, I purchased these wreaths at a local store, Boxwood and Berry. If you are ever visiting Williamsburg, definitely stop in! However, I found an identical option for you online. I love the citrus because it works for a Fall color spring and also is great for Spring too! One of my most popular blog posts, believe it or not, is this one where I share how I hang my wreaths using ribbon. If you are looking for how to do this, I would love for you to check out this post!

We had so much fun decorating our porch this year, as a family of four! Everyday we feel so blessed to have a home, yard, porch and the ability to get outside and appreciate our beautiful earth. I posted about these sweet little frogs on Instagram the other day, see above, so I had to include a pic of one here too!

Here are a few family pictures from the other day!

I purchased my sweater from Madewell last year. Here is a similar option.

Our Fall Porch This Year and A Few Family Photos

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September 4, 2020

Lifestyle

It’s unreal to me that our little baby boy is already 4 months old! With that said, I thought I would share our baby favorites from the 0-3 months time frame. Naturally, this post has been written for over a month but it has been hard to find the time to take photos. I’m working on trying to carve a few minutes of “me time” so I can blog again! say a prayer for me!

I’m not really sure where the time goes, but boy, it sure goes fast! I think Kenny Chesney said something like that. Am I right? It’s unhealthy for me to dwell on time too much because I honestly get a little bit sad thinking about it.

When I was pregnant, I read so many different blog posts and articles about the best baby products, things and gadgets! The truth is, there are so many great things out there and every baby, and family, is different. Really, you just have to find what works best for your baby and your lifestyle. It takes time.

There are so many things to consider when purchasing baby products, but I thought I would just share with your our favorite things and if they are really special, I will share why we like them or how we use them. Of course, I highly recommend doing your own research and gathering other opinions. I am in no way a professional, but we have had a little trial and error.

Here are our baby favorites from 0-3 and the things I would recommend shopping, or registering, for. You can see our baby registry items here. Also, it’s important to mention that I’m probably forgetting something, but will let you know if I update this later on. things are ever changing and we have already swapped out a few things and I will share those in the future, very soon.

A Few Random Things First

Pacifier: Beau came to us from the NICU obsessed with a Paci. These are his favorite so far. These clips are a must!

Mom’s on Call: Taylor-Rae from Style Soufflé recommended this book to me. We have absolutely loved the structure and recommendations. It is so informative and a perfect gift for new moms. I just purchased this one for 6-13 months.

Dreft Laundry Detergent + Stain Remover: We love this and now I wash everything in it!

Baby Sleeping Door Pillow, Lamp, Blocks

Bath Time + Diapering

Angelcare Infant Bather: tip- for little babies, place a small hand towel in the tub and wet it down. This helps with the sliding around!

Scalp Scrubbie: LOVE these! I feel like Beau’s little scalp is clean and this helps rid of any small skin flaking.

Kyte Brush Set and Sponge: So far, we use the soft brush (LOVE) and the sponge from this set. I would highly recommend it!

Baby Wash Cloths

Johnson and Johnson Baby Q-Tips: Some people don’t recommend using this in your babies ears, but we find the safe, effective, and essential!

Honest Company Shampoo/Bodywash and Lotion

Beaufort Bonnet Company Towels and Washcloths: I’m so sad these are no longer available! But, we use our Weezie Towels now.

Aquaphor: A must! If you are having a little boy, buy lot’s of the squeezable Aquaphor. You will thank me later 😉

Honest Diaper Cream: We have been blessed with no rashes thus far. However, this is nice to have and helps to heal any redness.

Pampers Swaddlers

WaterWipes

Ubbi Diaper Pail: I raved about this diaper pail in this blog post. But, basically it’s easy to use, much more attractive than most, and doesn’t require special bags or inserts. Although, these bags hold A TON of diapers!

Changing Pad + Pehr Covers

Changing Pad Liners: These will save your changing pad in between washes!

Frida Baby Nail Clippers and File: We love these nail clippers. I never thought I would be able to clip Beau’s nails with confidence but these are amazing! I do his nails once a week and sometimes twice!

Sleep

Pehr Swaddles: These were our absolute favorite when we came home from the hospital. The absolute best for swaddling during the newborn phase!

Ollie Swaddle: When Beau started breaking out of his swaddle, we started using the Ollie and it was life-changing! He started sleeping so well.

Dohm Sound Machine: This sound machine is beautiful and great. Jay and I love sleeping with it now! But, it helps keep noises from around the house from distracting baby during nap time and at night. We now have two of them.

Moses Basket + Stand: This is Beau’s bassinet setup and we absolutely love it!

Snuggle Me Organic: Perfect for newborn days (tear) and for early morning snuggles!

Motorola Baby Monitor: This one is great. We also have the Nanit and love that as well.

On the Go

Bugaboo Fox Stroller: I have heard complaints about bugaboo strollers but we LOVE ours. It’s easy to fold and very chic. Plus, it rides like a Rolls-Royce! Of course, they already updated our version. You can see the new one here.

Bugaboo Nuna Car Seat: Also beautiful and pairs with our stroller. Very plush, comfy and safe for baby!

Car Mirror

Travel Fan: You have probably seen these all over my instagram. They are a hit with both Diesel and Beau!

Pehr Changing Pad: We use this so much! Around the house, at others homes, in the car and more! A must!

Disposable Changing Pad: Great for public changing tables, however with Covid we haven’t seen much of “public” anything.

Diaper Bags: Great for trashing diapers while out and about.

Travel WaterWipes: Saves room in diaper bag!

Pacifier Clip: Cute and keeps from the dreaded pacifier on floor incident happening!

Feeding

Feeding looks different for everyone. We have done a little bit of everything and honestly, I could share a more in-depth post, if you are interested, just let me know!

Dr. Brown’s Bottles: Great for on the go and keeping gas away.

Glass Bottles: A cleaner option, that we use when at home.

Sterilizer: This sterilizer is one of my number one recommendations for anyone having a baby! Perfect for bottles and breast pump parts! It sterilized and dries contents, plus it’s actually pretty.

OXO Bottle Brush absolutely the best and is not messy like others.

Boon Drying Rack and Accessories: Necessary, for us, even though it seems like it might not be.

Babyganics Bottle Soap: We like the foaming option.

Baby Brezza: If you are using formula this is heaven sent. It makes a bottle and warms it in seconds. Like a Nespresso for baby! Just make sure you get your powder setting right!

Holle Formula: Apparently the best option out there. We use this and Beau loves it.

Green Sprouts Bibs + Burp Cloths: The most absorbing and softest for an affordable price.

Gingham Bibs: Cute, soft and affordable.

Play + Seating

Lovevery Play Gym: I have raved about this playmat so much and will continue to do so. It is heaven sent and so great for baby’s development. Beau loves his and we love that it knows exactly what he needs to help with development in different areas. It is tacky and isn’t covered in a million flashing lights!

4moms mamaRoo: We have used our Mamaroo so much. I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s essential, at least not for Beau, but it is definitely handy!

Baby Bjorn Bouncer + Soft Toy Bar: What is essential, though, is this bouncer! It is easily portable, it isn’t an eye sore and we use it everyday all around the house. Also, if you plan on having multiple babies, you can simply purchase a different seat color and each one easily removes for washing.

These black and white books- 1,2,3: Beau loves these so much.

Jellycat Soft Books: These are so much fun and soft for little babies. We love Jellycat books for Beau. He has tons of them!

Hangers, Baby Duffle Bag

Clothing

A few of our favorite clothing brands thus far.

Baby Clothes Hangers

Drawer Organizers: We love these from the container store.

Kissy Kissy

Little English

Beaufort Bonnet Company

Nantucket Kids

Kissy Kissy Gowns

Gerber Onesies Bodysuits: I prefer these to other brands because they are softer, fit better and have two great buttons!

Kissy Kissy Footed Jammies

Kissy Kissy Mitts: These were a total newborn essential for us! Beau wore them all of the time to keep himself from scratching his face too much.

I love shopping on the Maisonette website. You can find a lot of great pieces on their website.

I do a lot of online ordering but if you are local our favorite stores that carry baby clothing are The Carousel in Williamsburg and The Perfecting Setting in Newport News.

Our Baby Favorites: 0-3 Months

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July 27, 2020

Lifestyle

Since Beau was born, I have had to do things a little differently for the time being. Pre-baby I was very Barefoot Contessa. These days, I’m relying on very simple recipes including these 5 Pinterest Recipes Worth Trying and a whole lot of take out. Each day we are getting things more, and more, under control but until then, we are keeping it simple!

Whenever I am looking for recipe inspiration, I head to Pinterest! I have definitely found a lot of fails over the years, but every now and then you can come across a few good recipes!

I thought I would share some of my favorite Pinterest recipes worth trying with you!

30-Minute Sesame Mango Chicken Teriyaki

This recipe was quick and delicious. I usually don’t make too many recipes like this, so it was a nice change. Next time, I would probably add in some vegetables! I also used regular soy sauce, instead of low sodium, and it was just fine. Just use a little less than the recipe calls for.

Creamy Lemon Chicken Breast

Lemon is one of my favorite flavors, especially when it comes to pasta! I love a lemon-y pasta and was craving something a little creamier than what I usually make. So, I searched Pinterest for a creamy lemon chicken recipe. This one was a little more time consuming than what I have time for right now, and it could probably be simplified, but it was really good!

Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Banana Cake sounds so familiar, but honestly I think this one is the first banana cake I have ever had. A month, or so, ago, I had some overly ripe bananas and was looking for something different to make, other than banana bread or muffins, when I stumbled across this recipe. Banana cake with cream cheese frosting? It sounded interesting so I thought I would give it a try! Oh man, this was incredible. So moist and delicious. An absolute MUST TRY. Seriously, if you love bananas give this recipe a try.

Fajita Chicken Casserole

Like I said before, I love a good casserole but have always tried to push my cooking and try to learn how to cook more than just casseroles. Not saying they aren’t perfect delicious, but I didn’t want to that person that could only make casseroles. For the sake of time and simplification, post-baby, I thought I would look up a few casserole recipes and thought this one looked good. It was amazing! If you are looking for an easy way to switch on Mexican Food night, and like me aren’t great with those types of dishes, give this recipe a try! It serves great with Spanish Rice!

Stuffed Shells with Spinach and Cheese

I read somewhere that this recipe was the most pinned comfort food on Pinterest. Who knows if that’s really true, but they are definitely worthy of that title! I made these before Beau was born and they were so good. It made a ton of food and we divided the recipe up between two small casserole dishes. It feeds a family perfectly or you could make one for now and one for later. Another plus is that you can make this dish ahead of time and freeze some for later! #winwin

Peach Cobbler Recipe

Peach Cobbler Recipe

Shameless plug for one of my favorite recipes, that you can find here on my blog. Because I was sharing recipes, I wanted to mention this Peach Cobbler that is one of my favorite summer recipes and is the most delicious dessert. Serve this warm from the oven with vanilla ice cream and I promise you will love it!

Find more of my favorite recipes here.

5 Pinterest Recipes Worth Trying

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July 24, 2020

Lifestyle

I can’t believe we have had our little Beau here with us for over three months already! I always planned on sharing his birth story, but after his birth I have felt quite unsure about sharing. Becoming a mother makes you rethink anything and everything that you do and say. But, if there is one thing I am for certain about our little Beau, it is his strength and that is something worth sharing.

Right after he was born, I shared an overview of his birth story and my labor and delivery experience on my Instagram stories. I never got around to saving it and so I definitely wanted to share it here, on my blog. Beau, if you are reading this down the road and don’t approve, I’m so sorry. However, you are my little fighter and I want the world to know your strength and God’s Glory!

This post is my longest post ever. So, if you plan on sticking around until the end, I would go ahead and grab a coffee or a glass of wine, and settle in. I’m sorry for the length, but I’m long winded and this is a long story! Also, I have written and rewritten this post. I have put it off and put it off, not knowing if it was something I wanted to share. It’s so personal and also very emotional for me, but I’m grateful that after almost three months I feel that I have healed so much emotionally. Becoming a mother has made me feel more vulnerable at times than I think I probably ever have. I wanted to share this with you and really save these raw feelings for myself.

The Early Labor Moments

Throughout my entire pregnancy we were completely blessed. Everything was on track and we were expecting to have a pretty generic labor and delivery experience. I was fortunate enough to have a healthy blood pressure and not have gestational diabetes. As I mentioned before, those were both two big concerns for me as my mom developed high blood pressure during her pregnancy with me and diabetes runs in my family. I tested negative for Group B Strep and with Covid 19, we were aiming to spend as little time as possible in the hospital. Having never given birth before, I was hoping to be in and out. Kind of like a drive through experience I kept saying. How naive was I?

My due date was April 15th, Tax Day, and it was looking like we would be pretty close to that date or maybe even go a bit over. I always felt like he would come early but never dilated really much over a centimeter in the weeks leading up to his birth.

If you know anyone who is a volunteer firefighter, you are probably quite familiar with their fire pager. I didn’t know much about that lifestyle prior to meeting Jay, but these days, it’s a huge portion of my life. Anyways, I’m used to his pager going off at all hours of the night and it just so happened to go off around 3:30am on Easter morning. I laid in bed listening to the page and all of the sudden I felt a pain that was much different than anything I have ever felt. Was this it? Was it really happening?

I sat in bed for a bit longer and they continued coming every several minutes, or so. I thought for sure this might be it, so I decided to make my way to the bathroom. I spent most of my time there during my third trimester anyway, especially at night! For the sake of this being on the internet, I will spare you all of the details, but there was proof that labor had begun however my water had not broken yet. I tried to lay back down for a bit, and encouraged Jay to get some rest, but I was so excited I couldn’t sleep.

Around 5am I decided to take a shower and start getting ready so that I could take my time and also kill some time, as I knew this was going to be a long process. The contractions were quite intense as I stood up in the shower, but it’s safe to say I have a pretty low pain tolerance.

After I got out of the shower, I decided to sit on my birthing ball for comfort while doing my hair and makeup. Around 6-6:30am I called my parents because they wanted to know when I went into labor. Of course, they came right down to be with us and Diesel. We all sat around the house for a few hours, talking and hanging out.

Around 9am, the contractions started to taper off, or so it felt like it, so we all went for a walk down the street to encourage them to come back. Walking definitely brought them back on so every little bit I would walk around the house, yard, or driveway.

A little bit later, Jay’s parents joined us to hang out for a bit and spend some time together. It was so nice having our parents there with us before we went into the hospital, especially since they couldn’t actually be there with us or visit during our hospital stay.

I wanted to hold out as long as I could and did my best to stay at home as long as I could, however our hospital is about a 30 minute drive and we decided around noon that it would be best to start heading that way. I knew when the contractions were bringing tears and I could barely stand through them, I needed to get closer to a hospital!

There were lot’s of tears on my part, as we left to go to the hospital. I felt some type of way about leaving Diesel. I was heartbroken, emotional and scared, too. I had to leave my sweetest boy at home and also go give birth without my mom by my side. I had no idea what the next hours or days would hold and I’m so glad I didn’t or I would have probably had an even bigger breakdown!

We hopped in the car and were on our way…

Beau's Birth Story

The Hospital Labor Moments

We arrived at the hospital around 12:30pm, got checked in and went to triage for a bit to get examined. They let me know that I was about 4cm dilated and my water was “bulging,” which I assumed meant it would probably break pretty soon. They spoke with the doctor and I was admitted. I wanted to move things along as quick as possible, so I decide to hold out on getting an epidural for as long as I possibly could. The pain was pretty intense and hearing that I was only 4cm was a bit discouraging, but we completed our paperwork and got settled into our labor and delivery room.

As the hours passed, the pain increased. I spent the first couple of hours on the birthing ball working my way through each contraction. They were coming every 3 minutes or so and lasting for about a minute. Being hooked up to an IV meant there were several bathroom breaks and walking or standing up during labor significantly increased the intensity of my contractions. After being examined by the doctor around 6pm and finding out I was still only, in his words *generously* 6cm dilated, he decided to go ahead and break my water. Some say that having your water broken is not that painful, but for me, it was pretty uncomfortable to say the least. After he broke my water, I felt great for 20 minutes or so and then the contractions started getting intense again. I was hungry, exhausted and decided to go ahead and get the epidural. It took a little bit for them to get everything ready and I got my epidural around 7pm.

Everything was smooth sailing for probably an hour to an hour and a half. I was laying upright in the bed and even got in a little nap for a few minutes. They came in to examine me again and wanted to move things along a bit so they had me lay on my side with a peanut ball in between my legs. Pretty common, no big deal.

Holy Moly, I have not idea what this did, but before I could grab the button to push for more epidural, I was crying and screaming in pain. Something about me laying on my side made me feel like I had no epidural at all.

We went through this process from about 8:30/9pm to around 1am. The anesthesiaologist had to visit our room 3 times or so to adjust my dosage. Not to mention, I was hitting the little button every time I could and even in between trying to get relief. They kept encouraging me to lay on my side, as one side of my cervix was not fully effaced, before I could push. However, the pain was unbearable. I begged to lay on my back and sit up and they were nice enough to give me a break every so often and the contractions would ease up a little bit during that time.

After hours off excruciating pain, gripping the side of my hospital bed, screaming and crying, (poor Jay, I know) my sweet nurse decided to place me on all fours to help me cope with the back labor pain and see if it would ease the pressure on my back. She pushed on my back through each contraction and showed Jay how to help me work through the pain. Eventually I got to the point that I could not longer not push and pretty much told them that I had to, there was no other option for me.

Beau’s Birth

Because I was on all fours, they decided to let me push that way. When they broke my water there was evidence that meconium was present. So, when it was time tp push, my midwife called up to the NICU and had the NICU doctor come down for Beau’s arrival, just to check him over and make sure everything was ok. At the time, meconium in the water seemed like such a big deal to me, but little did I know that it helped make post delivery much safer for him.

I wasn’t really aware of much at the time other than the pain. Gripping the head of the bed and pushing my way through each contraction, which were coming so fast. I could feel his head come so close to coming out and then slip back in when I stopped pushing. I think that really kept me going and pushing hard.

Finally, I could feel that intense pressure breakthrough. All of the sudden there were several people screaming at me and flipping me over onto my back. I assumed this was probably normal procedure for a birth. His head was out and they were yelling at me to push and keep pushing and to push and not to stop. It becomes obvious that I had to push him out right then. I just kept thinking that this was a part of a normal birth experience. I’ve seen the movies, haha.

We pushed for about 20 minutes and our little Beau was born at 1:36am on Monday April 13th, 2020. This was the best and the scariest moment of my life. He was here, he was out and he wasn’t crying. I knew that wasn’t good. I was expecting them to bring him to me and place him on my chest, but instead, they cut the cord and ran him away to his little bed on the other side of the room. When I looked up there were all of at least ten people in the room. At the beginning of my pushing process there were only two, with the NICU doctor was on his way. In that moment, all I could say was, “My baby!” and the tears came.

I couldn’t see him or hear him. The only evidence that he existed was the rush of people around his little hospital bed. When I looked up into Jay’s eyes, and saw the tears, I knew something wasn’t right. He looked at Beau and looked at me. I begged him to go be with Beau. Of course, he ran straight over as I watched from a far.

Jay returned to my bed side and the NICU doctor followed. He told us that they were going to take Beau up to the NICU to examine him and he should be back down with us within an hour. He said if he returned before then, it probably wasn’t good. They allowed me to kiss him and then took him to the NICU.

The Moments After Beau’s Birth

My midwife and nurse cleaned me, stitched me up, and explained what had happened to Beau for me to better understand. Jay, bless his heart, witnessed the entire thing. It’s hard to see between your legs or really focus on anything when you are pushing a baby out, so I needed someone to help fill in the gaps for me.

During birth, both of Beau’s shoulders got stuck inside of my pelvis and would not come through. Shoulder dystocia is more common than I knew and since his birth I have done a little research to help me come to terms with those scary moments. We were both extremely blessed to have very few complications. I have had none so far and he recovered so quickly from his traumatic entrance into this world. Praise the Lord for His goodness.

Remember the part where I shared that the NICU doctor said, “We are going to take Beau up to the NICU to examine him and he should be back down with you within an hour. If I returned before then, it probably isn’t good.” Well, about 30 minutes later he returned. The look on his face said it all. In that moment we knew that it wasn’t good. Thankfully, since this moment Beau has continuously gotten stronger, and even more advanced than most babies, each day. However, at that moment, things weren’t good.

He shared that on the way up to the NICU, one floor up, Beau stopped breathing. They bagged him (breathed for him) and placed him on a ventilator. He was also started on an IV and antibiotics for the meconium in the amniotic fluid. At that time, the doctor didn’t know a lot but he knew that things weren’t good and he informed us that we would be discharged from the hospital before Beau was ready to leave the NICU. I was, as any mother would be, pretty much hysterical. The doctor asked us if we were Christians and reached out a hand to us both. He said he would like to pray for Beau with us, if that was ok. That moment, along with so many other moments, is one I will never forget and will always be grateful for. As the tears rolled down our faces, this amazing man prayed for our little boy and he did everything in his power to help him.

A few minutes later they said that Beau was stable and we could go and see him. I know this probably isn’t the best response, but I was completely terrified. In that moment, I didn’t feel strong enough to meet my baby boy when he was hooked up to these machines. I told Jay and the doctors that I didn’t want to go. I just couldn’t do it. I felt like a baby myself without my parents and here I was faced with my baby fighting to breathe. They all promised me that I needed to go and that it would be good for me to see him, despite my fear of his condition. They were so incredibly right.

Beau's Birth Story
This was one of the hardest moments of my life but also the most rewarding. Out baby boy was finally here with us.
Beau's Birth Story
Beau's Birth Story
Beau's Birth Story

We got to see him and kiss his little fingers and toes. Every time I see these pictures I cry all over again and question sharing this. But, the reality is it’s ok. It was scary, but not every birth goes smoothly and that’s ok. I wasn’t prepared for this, no one is. But, some birth stories look like this. You don’t always read about births like this on online publications. You see professional images of mothers with mascara on or a powerful image of a mom pulling her baby out herself in some inflatable pool. But, what about the parents who are exhausted and terrified. That don’t get to hold their babies for hours, days or weeks. My intention is to never make anyone else feel sad or scared but instead to show that you can have a rocky beginning and also a healthy baby and the strongest bond you will ever feel.

Our sweet boy is such a fighter. By the time we were able to get to the NICU, he was already fighting to try to pull the ventilator tube out of his throat. A few short hours later, by 6am, the doctors were able to remove the tube and take him off of the ventilator. That afternoon these were able to remove some of the other lines, his nose cannula and by Tuesday morning he was free of all cords and lines. Tuesday afternoon around 3pm he was able to come and stay with us in our room.

Beau's Birth Story
This is one of my favorite pictures of his. So soft, sweet and squishy. I just wanted to hold him so badly!

Finally, after almost two days, we could all three be together. Due to Covid 19, the NICU would only allow one visiter to come in a 24 hr period. The amazing doctors and nurses were kind enough to let us both come to see Beau right after he was born for a few moments together. But, after we left, only one parent could come for the first 24hrs and then another could come during the next. I spent Monday with Beau and Jay couldn’t see him until Tuesday. Those were some of the hardest moments focus. How were we supposed to take turns seeing our baby in this condition? Why couldn’t we all three be together? We already were in this situation without the support of our families and now this?

Beau's Birth Story
Our first times holding Beau.
Beau's Birth Story

Looking back, I’m grateful that we endure that time without the presence of others. These excruciating moments were growing moments for our marriage and for us as a family. While not ideal, there are things to be taken from even the hardest experiences. I just wish we could have spent that first day together snuggling and bonding. Instead, I spent the first day staring at our sweet little boy, unable to hold him for the first time 15+ hours after he was born. Jay had to wait an additional 29 hours to finally see him again and have the opportunity to hold him.

Wednesday evening, April 15th 2020, we all loaded up in the car to head home and meet Beau’s big brother and spend our first night together as a family in our home.

Beau's Birth Story
Beau's Birth Story

This is probably the longest birth story you have ever read. I hope you made it this far and I hope it wasn’t too much for you. Sharing this was difficult. I know there are mothers, babies, and families who endure so much more than what we did. But, this was hard for us.

I have sat down on numerous occasions and wrote a few sentences, cried, closed my computer, returned, edited and completed this cycle over and over. Whether it’s the right choice or not to share this personal story, I’m not sure. But, I do know that this little fella has changed our lives and he continues to grow and thrive each day.

We are so grateful to God for healing our baby, keeping him safe and watching over him, us, and the doctors who treated him during this scary time. Thank you to our friends and family for your continued prayers and support. We have never felt more loved, grateful or blessed.

On April 13, 2020 at 1:36am, James Beauregard Parlett changed our lives.

We love you more, and more, each day, Beau.

Love, Mommy, Daddy, and Bubby (Diesel)

Cover image: Tiffany Sigmon

Beau’s Birth Story

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The post

I can’t believe we have had our little Beau here with us for over three months already! I always planned on sharing his birth story, but after his birth I have felt quite unsure about sharing. Becoming a mother makes you rethink anything and everything that you do and say. But, if there is one […]

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we'll be in touch soon! 

October 21, 2020

Lifestyle

Fall is one of my favorite times of year and this year is so much more special with our little Beau! This week, we took our first trip to the Pumpkin Patch! Diesel didn’t make the trip with us, but you know we got him a pumpkin so we can carve them all together! Here are a few pictures from Beau’s First Trip to the Pumpkin Patch! I need to work on my mom photography a bit!

Beau's First Trip to the Pumpkin Patch
Beau's First Trip to the Pumpkin Patch
Beau's First Trip to the Pumpkin Patch
Beau's First Trip to the Pumpkin Patch
Beau's First Trip to the Pumpkin Patch
Beau's First Trip to the Pumpkin Patch

Beau’s Shoes, Similar Outfit, Pacifier Clip, Pacifier

One of the best things about being a parent is experiencing all of the “firsts.” I feel as if I am seeing life through a new lens. It’s truly astonishing and really just the best thing ever. I knew being a parent would be great, but I truly had no idea just how much I would love being a mother and watching Beau experience things and learn.

He is still just a little baby but everything feels so much different, so much more exciting! Somedays I feel like I have been reborn. Life these days definitely has a positive spin and I have a different perspective, which I am truly grateful for.

Anticipating and planning our trip to the Pumpkin Patch was half of the fun! Doing things as our own little family, usually Diesel is there, feels perfect for us. I know next year will be even more exciting when he is walking around and exploring everything on his own. But, just having this first experience and making memories was so much fun! I will never forget it.

I hope to share more of these moments here on my blog and create a diary for us to look back on! Also, if you are local, we went to Pumpkinville in Toano.

Also, while I am here I thought I would share a few new things I have found for Beau’s Fall wardrobe! Shopping for Fall Baby Clothes has been one of my favorite things to do lately. These days, I spend a lot of time scouring the internet for chic baby clothes as Beau seems to only wear things a time or two before he has outgrown them!

During my pregnancy, I had a really hard find time chic clothing for little boys. Thankfully, I made some progress and found lots of sweet brands and pieces that I love. I thought I should share some of my findings with y’all and maybe you will share some of your favorites with me? I would love that!

Last week, my mom and I visited a sweet new store in Virginia Beach called Merriment on Main. If you are local, definitely stop in! They are an exclusive carrier of the Beaufort Bonnet Company and this store is DARLING!

I also placed my first order from Cecil & Lou and Beau finally has monogrammed things for the holiday’s! Recently, I heard someone on Instagram saying that shopping for Southern baby clothes was like an olympic sport and boy was she right! Things sell out so far in advanced and I’m learning that preorder is the way to go!

Here are some of the things that I have added to Beau’s Fall wardrobe and some holiday things as well!

Beau’s First Trip to the Pumpkin Patch

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T

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October 7, 2020

The Home

I was excited to get an early start on our Fall porch display this year, as I knew it would take me a little bit more time then it usually does. Last year, around this time, I was very early in my pregnancy with Beau and felt so sick! I remember there being a few days when I felt pretty good, literally like three days, and I was able to decorate our porch.

This year, I was so excited to decorate our fall porch with the boys and spend time together putting out our pumpkins, mums and updating our porch pots! Decorating for the holiday’s is something I always look forward to and this year, I am really excited! We can’t wait to enjoy Beau’s first Fall together as a family and our first baby, Diesel, turns ten this year on November 7th!

More than ever, I have really been craving a change of season. Being a mother is the absolute best thing. However, between Covid and my postpartum hormones, I could use something exciting to look forward to! Anyone else feeling that way? I can’t be the only one!

So, here you have it!

Our Fall Porch This Year

I always love filling our porch with mums and pumpkins! This year, my sweet neighbor inspired me to add some grasses to our Fall pots and I LOVE the way it really added character to our porch! To be honest, I have killed almost every single plant I have pot in these pots. So this year, we decided to just plant a few small things that we expect to replace.

In our pots we have some grass, dusty miller and chocolate chip ground cover. You can these at your local garden center. This year is also the first year that I found some inexpensive pots for our mums. These ones are great and less than $2. Yes, please!

It’s the little things that really make everything come together. I have been so self conscious about the lack of pots for my mums in the past. Not this year!

Last year, I purchased these wreaths at a local store, Boxwood and Berry. If you are ever visiting Williamsburg, definitely stop in! However, I found an identical option for you online. I love the citrus because it works for a Fall color spring and also is great for Spring too! One of my most popular blog posts, believe it or not, is this one where I share how I hang my wreaths using ribbon. If you are looking for how to do this, I would love for you to check out this post!

We had so much fun decorating our porch this year, as a family of four! Everyday we feel so blessed to have a home, yard, porch and the ability to get outside and appreciate our beautiful earth. I posted about these sweet little frogs on Instagram the other day, see above, so I had to include a pic of one here too!

Here are a few family pictures from the other day!

I purchased my sweater from Madewell last year. Here is a similar option.

Our Fall Porch This Year and A Few Family Photos

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September 4, 2020

Lifestyle

It’s unreal to me that our little baby boy is already 4 months old! With that said, I thought I would share our baby favorites from the 0-3 months time frame. Naturally, this post has been written for over a month but it has been hard to find the time to take photos. I’m working on trying to carve a few minutes of “me time” so I can blog again! say a prayer for me!

I’m not really sure where the time goes, but boy, it sure goes fast! I think Kenny Chesney said something like that. Am I right? It’s unhealthy for me to dwell on time too much because I honestly get a little bit sad thinking about it.

When I was pregnant, I read so many different blog posts and articles about the best baby products, things and gadgets! The truth is, there are so many great things out there and every baby, and family, is different. Really, you just have to find what works best for your baby and your lifestyle. It takes time.

There are so many things to consider when purchasing baby products, but I thought I would just share with your our favorite things and if they are really special, I will share why we like them or how we use them. Of course, I highly recommend doing your own research and gathering other opinions. I am in no way a professional, but we have had a little trial and error.

Here are our baby favorites from 0-3 and the things I would recommend shopping, or registering, for. You can see our baby registry items here. Also, it’s important to mention that I’m probably forgetting something, but will let you know if I update this later on. things are ever changing and we have already swapped out a few things and I will share those in the future, very soon.

A Few Random Things First

Pacifier: Beau came to us from the NICU obsessed with a Paci. These are his favorite so far. These clips are a must!

Mom’s on Call: Taylor-Rae from Style Soufflé recommended this book to me. We have absolutely loved the structure and recommendations. It is so informative and a perfect gift for new moms. I just purchased this one for 6-13 months.

Dreft Laundry Detergent + Stain Remover: We love this and now I wash everything in it!

Baby Sleeping Door Pillow, Lamp, Blocks

Bath Time + Diapering

Angelcare Infant Bather: tip- for little babies, place a small hand towel in the tub and wet it down. This helps with the sliding around!

Scalp Scrubbie: LOVE these! I feel like Beau’s little scalp is clean and this helps rid of any small skin flaking.

Kyte Brush Set and Sponge: So far, we use the soft brush (LOVE) and the sponge from this set. I would highly recommend it!

Baby Wash Cloths

Johnson and Johnson Baby Q-Tips: Some people don’t recommend using this in your babies ears, but we find the safe, effective, and essential!

Honest Company Shampoo/Bodywash and Lotion

Beaufort Bonnet Company Towels and Washcloths: I’m so sad these are no longer available! But, we use our Weezie Towels now.

Aquaphor: A must! If you are having a little boy, buy lot’s of the squeezable Aquaphor. You will thank me later 😉

Honest Diaper Cream: We have been blessed with no rashes thus far. However, this is nice to have and helps to heal any redness.

Pampers Swaddlers

WaterWipes

Ubbi Diaper Pail: I raved about this diaper pail in this blog post. But, basically it’s easy to use, much more attractive than most, and doesn’t require special bags or inserts. Although, these bags hold A TON of diapers!

Changing Pad + Pehr Covers

Changing Pad Liners: These will save your changing pad in between washes!

Frida Baby Nail Clippers and File: We love these nail clippers. I never thought I would be able to clip Beau’s nails with confidence but these are amazing! I do his nails once a week and sometimes twice!

Sleep

Pehr Swaddles: These were our absolute favorite when we came home from the hospital. The absolute best for swaddling during the newborn phase!

Ollie Swaddle: When Beau started breaking out of his swaddle, we started using the Ollie and it was life-changing! He started sleeping so well.

Dohm Sound Machine: This sound machine is beautiful and great. Jay and I love sleeping with it now! But, it helps keep noises from around the house from distracting baby during nap time and at night. We now have two of them.

Moses Basket + Stand: This is Beau’s bassinet setup and we absolutely love it!

Snuggle Me Organic: Perfect for newborn days (tear) and for early morning snuggles!

Motorola Baby Monitor: This one is great. We also have the Nanit and love that as well.

On the Go

Bugaboo Fox Stroller: I have heard complaints about bugaboo strollers but we LOVE ours. It’s easy to fold and very chic. Plus, it rides like a Rolls-Royce! Of course, they already updated our version. You can see the new one here.

Bugaboo Nuna Car Seat: Also beautiful and pairs with our stroller. Very plush, comfy and safe for baby!

Car Mirror

Travel Fan: You have probably seen these all over my instagram. They are a hit with both Diesel and Beau!

Pehr Changing Pad: We use this so much! Around the house, at others homes, in the car and more! A must!

Disposable Changing Pad: Great for public changing tables, however with Covid we haven’t seen much of “public” anything.

Diaper Bags: Great for trashing diapers while out and about.

Travel WaterWipes: Saves room in diaper bag!

Pacifier Clip: Cute and keeps from the dreaded pacifier on floor incident happening!

Feeding

Feeding looks different for everyone. We have done a little bit of everything and honestly, I could share a more in-depth post, if you are interested, just let me know!

Dr. Brown’s Bottles: Great for on the go and keeping gas away.

Glass Bottles: A cleaner option, that we use when at home.

Sterilizer: This sterilizer is one of my number one recommendations for anyone having a baby! Perfect for bottles and breast pump parts! It sterilized and dries contents, plus it’s actually pretty.

OXO Bottle Brush absolutely the best and is not messy like others.

Boon Drying Rack and Accessories: Necessary, for us, even though it seems like it might not be.

Babyganics Bottle Soap: We like the foaming option.

Baby Brezza: If you are using formula this is heaven sent. It makes a bottle and warms it in seconds. Like a Nespresso for baby! Just make sure you get your powder setting right!

Holle Formula: Apparently the best option out there. We use this and Beau loves it.

Green Sprouts Bibs + Burp Cloths: The most absorbing and softest for an affordable price.

Gingham Bibs: Cute, soft and affordable.

Play + Seating

Lovevery Play Gym: I have raved about this playmat so much and will continue to do so. It is heaven sent and so great for baby’s development. Beau loves his and we love that it knows exactly what he needs to help with development in different areas. It is tacky and isn’t covered in a million flashing lights!

4moms mamaRoo: We have used our Mamaroo so much. I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s essential, at least not for Beau, but it is definitely handy!

Baby Bjorn Bouncer + Soft Toy Bar: What is essential, though, is this bouncer! It is easily portable, it isn’t an eye sore and we use it everyday all around the house. Also, if you plan on having multiple babies, you can simply purchase a different seat color and each one easily removes for washing.

These black and white books- 1,2,3: Beau loves these so much.

Jellycat Soft Books: These are so much fun and soft for little babies. We love Jellycat books for Beau. He has tons of them!

Hangers, Baby Duffle Bag

Clothing

A few of our favorite clothing brands thus far.

Baby Clothes Hangers

Drawer Organizers: We love these from the container store.

Kissy Kissy

Little English

Beaufort Bonnet Company

Nantucket Kids

Kissy Kissy Gowns

Gerber Onesies Bodysuits: I prefer these to other brands because they are softer, fit better and have two great buttons!

Kissy Kissy Footed Jammies

Kissy Kissy Mitts: These were a total newborn essential for us! Beau wore them all of the time to keep himself from scratching his face too much.

I love shopping on the Maisonette website. You can find a lot of great pieces on their website.

I do a lot of online ordering but if you are local our favorite stores that carry baby clothing are The Carousel in Williamsburg and The Perfecting Setting in Newport News.

Our Baby Favorites: 0-3 Months

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T

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July 27, 2020

Lifestyle

Since Beau was born, I have had to do things a little differently for the time being. Pre-baby I was very Barefoot Contessa. These days, I’m relying on very simple recipes including these 5 Pinterest Recipes Worth Trying and a whole lot of take out. Each day we are getting things more, and more, under control but until then, we are keeping it simple!

Whenever I am looking for recipe inspiration, I head to Pinterest! I have definitely found a lot of fails over the years, but every now and then you can come across a few good recipes!

I thought I would share some of my favorite Pinterest recipes worth trying with you!

30-Minute Sesame Mango Chicken Teriyaki

This recipe was quick and delicious. I usually don’t make too many recipes like this, so it was a nice change. Next time, I would probably add in some vegetables! I also used regular soy sauce, instead of low sodium, and it was just fine. Just use a little less than the recipe calls for.

Creamy Lemon Chicken Breast

Lemon is one of my favorite flavors, especially when it comes to pasta! I love a lemon-y pasta and was craving something a little creamier than what I usually make. So, I searched Pinterest for a creamy lemon chicken recipe. This one was a little more time consuming than what I have time for right now, and it could probably be simplified, but it was really good!

Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Banana Cake sounds so familiar, but honestly I think this one is the first banana cake I have ever had. A month, or so, ago, I had some overly ripe bananas and was looking for something different to make, other than banana bread or muffins, when I stumbled across this recipe. Banana cake with cream cheese frosting? It sounded interesting so I thought I would give it a try! Oh man, this was incredible. So moist and delicious. An absolute MUST TRY. Seriously, if you love bananas give this recipe a try.

Fajita Chicken Casserole

Like I said before, I love a good casserole but have always tried to push my cooking and try to learn how to cook more than just casseroles. Not saying they aren’t perfect delicious, but I didn’t want to that person that could only make casseroles. For the sake of time and simplification, post-baby, I thought I would look up a few casserole recipes and thought this one looked good. It was amazing! If you are looking for an easy way to switch on Mexican Food night, and like me aren’t great with those types of dishes, give this recipe a try! It serves great with Spanish Rice!

Stuffed Shells with Spinach and Cheese

I read somewhere that this recipe was the most pinned comfort food on Pinterest. Who knows if that’s really true, but they are definitely worthy of that title! I made these before Beau was born and they were so good. It made a ton of food and we divided the recipe up between two small casserole dishes. It feeds a family perfectly or you could make one for now and one for later. Another plus is that you can make this dish ahead of time and freeze some for later! #winwin

Peach Cobbler Recipe

Peach Cobbler Recipe

Shameless plug for one of my favorite recipes, that you can find here on my blog. Because I was sharing recipes, I wanted to mention this Peach Cobbler that is one of my favorite summer recipes and is the most delicious dessert. Serve this warm from the oven with vanilla ice cream and I promise you will love it!

Find more of my favorite recipes here.

5 Pinterest Recipes Worth Trying

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July 24, 2020

Lifestyle

I can’t believe we have had our little Beau here with us for over three months already! I always planned on sharing his birth story, but after his birth I have felt quite unsure about sharing. Becoming a mother makes you rethink anything and everything that you do and say. But, if there is one thing I am for certain about our little Beau, it is his strength and that is something worth sharing.

Right after he was born, I shared an overview of his birth story and my labor and delivery experience on my Instagram stories. I never got around to saving it and so I definitely wanted to share it here, on my blog. Beau, if you are reading this down the road and don’t approve, I’m so sorry. However, you are my little fighter and I want the world to know your strength and God’s Glory!

This post is my longest post ever. So, if you plan on sticking around until the end, I would go ahead and grab a coffee or a glass of wine, and settle in. I’m sorry for the length, but I’m long winded and this is a long story! Also, I have written and rewritten this post. I have put it off and put it off, not knowing if it was something I wanted to share. It’s so personal and also very emotional for me, but I’m grateful that after almost three months I feel that I have healed so much emotionally. Becoming a mother has made me feel more vulnerable at times than I think I probably ever have. I wanted to share this with you and really save these raw feelings for myself.

The Early Labor Moments

Throughout my entire pregnancy we were completely blessed. Everything was on track and we were expecting to have a pretty generic labor and delivery experience. I was fortunate enough to have a healthy blood pressure and not have gestational diabetes. As I mentioned before, those were both two big concerns for me as my mom developed high blood pressure during her pregnancy with me and diabetes runs in my family. I tested negative for Group B Strep and with Covid 19, we were aiming to spend as little time as possible in the hospital. Having never given birth before, I was hoping to be in and out. Kind of like a drive through experience I kept saying. How naive was I?

My due date was April 15th, Tax Day, and it was looking like we would be pretty close to that date or maybe even go a bit over. I always felt like he would come early but never dilated really much over a centimeter in the weeks leading up to his birth.

If you know anyone who is a volunteer firefighter, you are probably quite familiar with their fire pager. I didn’t know much about that lifestyle prior to meeting Jay, but these days, it’s a huge portion of my life. Anyways, I’m used to his pager going off at all hours of the night and it just so happened to go off around 3:30am on Easter morning. I laid in bed listening to the page and all of the sudden I felt a pain that was much different than anything I have ever felt. Was this it? Was it really happening?

I sat in bed for a bit longer and they continued coming every several minutes, or so. I thought for sure this might be it, so I decided to make my way to the bathroom. I spent most of my time there during my third trimester anyway, especially at night! For the sake of this being on the internet, I will spare you all of the details, but there was proof that labor had begun however my water had not broken yet. I tried to lay back down for a bit, and encouraged Jay to get some rest, but I was so excited I couldn’t sleep.

Around 5am I decided to take a shower and start getting ready so that I could take my time and also kill some time, as I knew this was going to be a long process. The contractions were quite intense as I stood up in the shower, but it’s safe to say I have a pretty low pain tolerance.

After I got out of the shower, I decided to sit on my birthing ball for comfort while doing my hair and makeup. Around 6-6:30am I called my parents because they wanted to know when I went into labor. Of course, they came right down to be with us and Diesel. We all sat around the house for a few hours, talking and hanging out.

Around 9am, the contractions started to taper off, or so it felt like it, so we all went for a walk down the street to encourage them to come back. Walking definitely brought them back on so every little bit I would walk around the house, yard, or driveway.

A little bit later, Jay’s parents joined us to hang out for a bit and spend some time together. It was so nice having our parents there with us before we went into the hospital, especially since they couldn’t actually be there with us or visit during our hospital stay.

I wanted to hold out as long as I could and did my best to stay at home as long as I could, however our hospital is about a 30 minute drive and we decided around noon that it would be best to start heading that way. I knew when the contractions were bringing tears and I could barely stand through them, I needed to get closer to a hospital!

There were lot’s of tears on my part, as we left to go to the hospital. I felt some type of way about leaving Diesel. I was heartbroken, emotional and scared, too. I had to leave my sweetest boy at home and also go give birth without my mom by my side. I had no idea what the next hours or days would hold and I’m so glad I didn’t or I would have probably had an even bigger breakdown!

We hopped in the car and were on our way…

Beau's Birth Story

The Hospital Labor Moments

We arrived at the hospital around 12:30pm, got checked in and went to triage for a bit to get examined. They let me know that I was about 4cm dilated and my water was “bulging,” which I assumed meant it would probably break pretty soon. They spoke with the doctor and I was admitted. I wanted to move things along as quick as possible, so I decide to hold out on getting an epidural for as long as I possibly could. The pain was pretty intense and hearing that I was only 4cm was a bit discouraging, but we completed our paperwork and got settled into our labor and delivery room.

As the hours passed, the pain increased. I spent the first couple of hours on the birthing ball working my way through each contraction. They were coming every 3 minutes or so and lasting for about a minute. Being hooked up to an IV meant there were several bathroom breaks and walking or standing up during labor significantly increased the intensity of my contractions. After being examined by the doctor around 6pm and finding out I was still only, in his words *generously* 6cm dilated, he decided to go ahead and break my water. Some say that having your water broken is not that painful, but for me, it was pretty uncomfortable to say the least. After he broke my water, I felt great for 20 minutes or so and then the contractions started getting intense again. I was hungry, exhausted and decided to go ahead and get the epidural. It took a little bit for them to get everything ready and I got my epidural around 7pm.

Everything was smooth sailing for probably an hour to an hour and a half. I was laying upright in the bed and even got in a little nap for a few minutes. They came in to examine me again and wanted to move things along a bit so they had me lay on my side with a peanut ball in between my legs. Pretty common, no big deal.

Holy Moly, I have not idea what this did, but before I could grab the button to push for more epidural, I was crying and screaming in pain. Something about me laying on my side made me feel like I had no epidural at all.

We went through this process from about 8:30/9pm to around 1am. The anesthesiaologist had to visit our room 3 times or so to adjust my dosage. Not to mention, I was hitting the little button every time I could and even in between trying to get relief. They kept encouraging me to lay on my side, as one side of my cervix was not fully effaced, before I could push. However, the pain was unbearable. I begged to lay on my back and sit up and they were nice enough to give me a break every so often and the contractions would ease up a little bit during that time.

After hours off excruciating pain, gripping the side of my hospital bed, screaming and crying, (poor Jay, I know) my sweet nurse decided to place me on all fours to help me cope with the back labor pain and see if it would ease the pressure on my back. She pushed on my back through each contraction and showed Jay how to help me work through the pain. Eventually I got to the point that I could not longer not push and pretty much told them that I had to, there was no other option for me.

Beau’s Birth

Because I was on all fours, they decided to let me push that way. When they broke my water there was evidence that meconium was present. So, when it was time tp push, my midwife called up to the NICU and had the NICU doctor come down for Beau’s arrival, just to check him over and make sure everything was ok. At the time, meconium in the water seemed like such a big deal to me, but little did I know that it helped make post delivery much safer for him.

I wasn’t really aware of much at the time other than the pain. Gripping the head of the bed and pushing my way through each contraction, which were coming so fast. I could feel his head come so close to coming out and then slip back in when I stopped pushing. I think that really kept me going and pushing hard.

Finally, I could feel that intense pressure breakthrough. All of the sudden there were several people screaming at me and flipping me over onto my back. I assumed this was probably normal procedure for a birth. His head was out and they were yelling at me to push and keep pushing and to push and not to stop. It becomes obvious that I had to push him out right then. I just kept thinking that this was a part of a normal birth experience. I’ve seen the movies, haha.

We pushed for about 20 minutes and our little Beau was born at 1:36am on Monday April 13th, 2020. This was the best and the scariest moment of my life. He was here, he was out and he wasn’t crying. I knew that wasn’t good. I was expecting them to bring him to me and place him on my chest, but instead, they cut the cord and ran him away to his little bed on the other side of the room. When I looked up there were all of at least ten people in the room. At the beginning of my pushing process there were only two, with the NICU doctor was on his way. In that moment, all I could say was, “My baby!” and the tears came.

I couldn’t see him or hear him. The only evidence that he existed was the rush of people around his little hospital bed. When I looked up into Jay’s eyes, and saw the tears, I knew something wasn’t right. He looked at Beau and looked at me. I begged him to go be with Beau. Of course, he ran straight over as I watched from a far.

Jay returned to my bed side and the NICU doctor followed. He told us that they were going to take Beau up to the NICU to examine him and he should be back down with us within an hour. He said if he returned before then, it probably wasn’t good. They allowed me to kiss him and then took him to the NICU.

The Moments After Beau’s Birth

My midwife and nurse cleaned me, stitched me up, and explained what had happened to Beau for me to better understand. Jay, bless his heart, witnessed the entire thing. It’s hard to see between your legs or really focus on anything when you are pushing a baby out, so I needed someone to help fill in the gaps for me.

During birth, both of Beau’s shoulders got stuck inside of my pelvis and would not come through. Shoulder dystocia is more common than I knew and since his birth I have done a little research to help me come to terms with those scary moments. We were both extremely blessed to have very few complications. I have had none so far and he recovered so quickly from his traumatic entrance into this world. Praise the Lord for His goodness.

Remember the part where I shared that the NICU doctor said, “We are going to take Beau up to the NICU to examine him and he should be back down with you within an hour. If I returned before then, it probably isn’t good.” Well, about 30 minutes later he returned. The look on his face said it all. In that moment we knew that it wasn’t good. Thankfully, since this moment Beau has continuously gotten stronger, and even more advanced than most babies, each day. However, at that moment, things weren’t good.

He shared that on the way up to the NICU, one floor up, Beau stopped breathing. They bagged him (breathed for him) and placed him on a ventilator. He was also started on an IV and antibiotics for the meconium in the amniotic fluid. At that time, the doctor didn’t know a lot but he knew that things weren’t good and he informed us that we would be discharged from the hospital before Beau was ready to leave the NICU. I was, as any mother would be, pretty much hysterical. The doctor asked us if we were Christians and reached out a hand to us both. He said he would like to pray for Beau with us, if that was ok. That moment, along with so many other moments, is one I will never forget and will always be grateful for. As the tears rolled down our faces, this amazing man prayed for our little boy and he did everything in his power to help him.

A few minutes later they said that Beau was stable and we could go and see him. I know this probably isn’t the best response, but I was completely terrified. In that moment, I didn’t feel strong enough to meet my baby boy when he was hooked up to these machines. I told Jay and the doctors that I didn’t want to go. I just couldn’t do it. I felt like a baby myself without my parents and here I was faced with my baby fighting to breathe. They all promised me that I needed to go and that it would be good for me to see him, despite my fear of his condition. They were so incredibly right.

Beau's Birth Story
This was one of the hardest moments of my life but also the most rewarding. Out baby boy was finally here with us.
Beau's Birth Story
Beau's Birth Story
Beau's Birth Story

We got to see him and kiss his little fingers and toes. Every time I see these pictures I cry all over again and question sharing this. But, the reality is it’s ok. It was scary, but not every birth goes smoothly and that’s ok. I wasn’t prepared for this, no one is. But, some birth stories look like this. You don’t always read about births like this on online publications. You see professional images of mothers with mascara on or a powerful image of a mom pulling her baby out herself in some inflatable pool. But, what about the parents who are exhausted and terrified. That don’t get to hold their babies for hours, days or weeks. My intention is to never make anyone else feel sad or scared but instead to show that you can have a rocky beginning and also a healthy baby and the strongest bond you will ever feel.

Our sweet boy is such a fighter. By the time we were able to get to the NICU, he was already fighting to try to pull the ventilator tube out of his throat. A few short hours later, by 6am, the doctors were able to remove the tube and take him off of the ventilator. That afternoon these were able to remove some of the other lines, his nose cannula and by Tuesday morning he was free of all cords and lines. Tuesday afternoon around 3pm he was able to come and stay with us in our room.

Beau's Birth Story
This is one of my favorite pictures of his. So soft, sweet and squishy. I just wanted to hold him so badly!

Finally, after almost two days, we could all three be together. Due to Covid 19, the NICU would only allow one visiter to come in a 24 hr period. The amazing doctors and nurses were kind enough to let us both come to see Beau right after he was born for a few moments together. But, after we left, only one parent could come for the first 24hrs and then another could come during the next. I spent Monday with Beau and Jay couldn’t see him until Tuesday. Those were some of the hardest moments focus. How were we supposed to take turns seeing our baby in this condition? Why couldn’t we all three be together? We already were in this situation without the support of our families and now this?

Beau's Birth Story
Our first times holding Beau.
Beau's Birth Story

Looking back, I’m grateful that we endure that time without the presence of others. These excruciating moments were growing moments for our marriage and for us as a family. While not ideal, there are things to be taken from even the hardest experiences. I just wish we could have spent that first day together snuggling and bonding. Instead, I spent the first day staring at our sweet little boy, unable to hold him for the first time 15+ hours after he was born. Jay had to wait an additional 29 hours to finally see him again and have the opportunity to hold him.

Wednesday evening, April 15th 2020, we all loaded up in the car to head home and meet Beau’s big brother and spend our first night together as a family in our home.

Beau's Birth Story
Beau's Birth Story

This is probably the longest birth story you have ever read. I hope you made it this far and I hope it wasn’t too much for you. Sharing this was difficult. I know there are mothers, babies, and families who endure so much more than what we did. But, this was hard for us.

I have sat down on numerous occasions and wrote a few sentences, cried, closed my computer, returned, edited and completed this cycle over and over. Whether it’s the right choice or not to share this personal story, I’m not sure. But, I do know that this little fella has changed our lives and he continues to grow and thrive each day.

We are so grateful to God for healing our baby, keeping him safe and watching over him, us, and the doctors who treated him during this scary time. Thank you to our friends and family for your continued prayers and support. We have never felt more loved, grateful or blessed.

On April 13, 2020 at 1:36am, James Beauregard Parlett changed our lives.

We love you more, and more, each day, Beau.

Love, Mommy, Daddy, and Bubby (Diesel)

Cover image: Tiffany Sigmon

Beau’s Birth Story

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I can’t believe we have had our little Beau here with us for over three months already! I always planned on sharing his birth story, but after his birth I have felt quite unsure about sharing. Becoming a mother makes you rethink anything and everything that you do and say. But, if there is one […]

July 22, 2020

Fashion

Adding this Covid mess on top of having a baby and not being able to leave the house very often has put me into a little bit of a slump lately. I have being dreaming of a Summer beach vacation, something we haven’t done in years and we finally pulled the trigger on a rental house. Let me tell you what, everyone and their mother has booked Summer beach rental houses. They are hard to find, y’all!

Either way, the idea of getting takeout or grilling out, spending the days on the beach and in the pool and just relaxing, are giving me real inspiration and something to look forward to. Naturally, we wouldn’t be going to any hotels or flying on any airplanes, so a nice rental house and road trip sound pretty fun to me! I’m already looking forward to it and planning a packing list! If you have any tips for road tripping with a baby, please let me know! We are bringing the whole #quadsquad on this trip. 6.5 hours with a baby and a pup!

Instead of just sharing one image roundup, I decided to add all of my favorites to this list so that I can update it as I find more and more beach finds! I can say that from the few things I do own on this list, this swimsuit is a dream! I bought it a few weeks ago for the Fourth of July and love it so much. It’s now on sale! It’s very soft and stretchy, I would say size down.

I received this several years ago as a gift and love it so much. You can fill it with water, but it holds an entire bottle of wine! #winwin

This dress has been one of my go to pieces this summer. It’s beautiful and comfortable and perfect for postpartum! I know I will be adding more beach finds to my closet, so I will add them here too. For fun, I added a few of our favorite summer baby items as well!

Summer Beach Wish List

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October 7, 2020

The Home

I was excited to get an early start on our Fall porch display this year, as I knew it would take me a little bit more time then it usually does. Last year, around this time, I was very early in my pregnancy with Beau and felt so sick! I remember there being a few days when I felt pretty good, literally like three days, and I was able to decorate our porch.

This year, I was so excited to decorate our fall porch with the boys and spend time together putting out our pumpkins, mums and updating our porch pots! Decorating for the holiday’s is something I always look forward to and this year, I am really excited! We can’t wait to enjoy Beau’s first Fall together as a family and our first baby, Diesel, turns ten this year on November 7th!

More than ever, I have really been craving a change of season. Being a mother is the absolute best thing. However, between Covid and my postpartum hormones, I could use something exciting to look forward to! Anyone else feeling that way? I can’t be the only one!

So, here you have it!

Our Fall Porch This Year

I always love filling our porch with mums and pumpkins! This year, my sweet neighbor inspired me to add some grasses to our Fall pots and I LOVE the way it really added character to our porch! To be honest, I have killed almost every single plant I have pot in these pots. So this year, we decided to just plant a few small things that we expect to replace.

In our pots we have some grass, dusty miller and chocolate chip ground cover. You can these at your local garden center. This year is also the first year that I found some inexpensive pots for our mums. These ones are great and less than $2. Yes, please!

It’s the little things that really make everything come together. I have been so self conscious about the lack of pots for my mums in the past. Not this year!

Last year, I purchased these wreaths at a local store, Boxwood and Berry. If you are ever visiting Williamsburg, definitely stop in! However, I found an identical option for you online. I love the citrus because it works for a Fall color spring and also is great for Spring too! One of my most popular blog posts, believe it or not, is this one where I share how I hang my wreaths using ribbon. If you are looking for how to do this, I would love for you to check out this post!

We had so much fun decorating our porch this year, as a family of four! Everyday we feel so blessed to have a home, yard, porch and the ability to get outside and appreciate our beautiful earth. I posted about these sweet little frogs on Instagram the other day, see above, so I had to include a pic of one here too!

Here are a few family pictures from the other day!

I purchased my sweater from Madewell last year. Here is a similar option.

Our Fall Porch This Year and A Few Family Photos

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September 4, 2020

Lifestyle

It’s unreal to me that our little baby boy is already 4 months old! With that said, I thought I would share our baby favorites from the 0-3 months time frame. Naturally, this post has been written for over a month but it has been hard to find the time to take photos. I’m working on trying to carve a few minutes of “me time” so I can blog again! say a prayer for me!

I’m not really sure where the time goes, but boy, it sure goes fast! I think Kenny Chesney said something like that. Am I right? It’s unhealthy for me to dwell on time too much because I honestly get a little bit sad thinking about it.

When I was pregnant, I read so many different blog posts and articles about the best baby products, things and gadgets! The truth is, there are so many great things out there and every baby, and family, is different. Really, you just have to find what works best for your baby and your lifestyle. It takes time.

There are so many things to consider when purchasing baby products, but I thought I would just share with your our favorite things and if they are really special, I will share why we like them or how we use them. Of course, I highly recommend doing your own research and gathering other opinions. I am in no way a professional, but we have had a little trial and error.

Here are our baby favorites from 0-3 and the things I would recommend shopping, or registering, for. You can see our baby registry items here. Also, it’s important to mention that I’m probably forgetting something, but will let you know if I update this later on. things are ever changing and we have already swapped out a few things and I will share those in the future, very soon.

A Few Random Things First

Pacifier: Beau came to us from the NICU obsessed with a Paci. These are his favorite so far. These clips are a must!

Mom’s on Call: Taylor-Rae from Style Soufflé recommended this book to me. We have absolutely loved the structure and recommendations. It is so informative and a perfect gift for new moms. I just purchased this one for 6-13 months.

Dreft Laundry Detergent + Stain Remover: We love this and now I wash everything in it!

Baby Sleeping Door Pillow, Lamp, Blocks

Bath Time + Diapering

Angelcare Infant Bather: tip- for little babies, place a small hand towel in the tub and wet it down. This helps with the sliding around!

Scalp Scrubbie: LOVE these! I feel like Beau’s little scalp is clean and this helps rid of any small skin flaking.

Kyte Brush Set and Sponge: So far, we use the soft brush (LOVE) and the sponge from this set. I would highly recommend it!

Baby Wash Cloths

Johnson and Johnson Baby Q-Tips: Some people don’t recommend using this in your babies ears, but we find the safe, effective, and essential!

Honest Company Shampoo/Bodywash and Lotion

Beaufort Bonnet Company Towels and Washcloths: I’m so sad these are no longer available! But, we use our Weezie Towels now.

Aquaphor: A must! If you are having a little boy, buy lot’s of the squeezable Aquaphor. You will thank me later 😉

Honest Diaper Cream: We have been blessed with no rashes thus far. However, this is nice to have and helps to heal any redness.

Pampers Swaddlers

WaterWipes

Ubbi Diaper Pail: I raved about this diaper pail in this blog post. But, basically it’s easy to use, much more attractive than most, and doesn’t require special bags or inserts. Although, these bags hold A TON of diapers!

Changing Pad + Pehr Covers

Changing Pad Liners: These will save your changing pad in between washes!

Frida Baby Nail Clippers and File: We love these nail clippers. I never thought I would be able to clip Beau’s nails with confidence but these are amazing! I do his nails once a week and sometimes twice!

Sleep

Pehr Swaddles: These were our absolute favorite when we came home from the hospital. The absolute best for swaddling during the newborn phase!

Ollie Swaddle: When Beau started breaking out of his swaddle, we started using the Ollie and it was life-changing! He started sleeping so well.

Dohm Sound Machine: This sound machine is beautiful and great. Jay and I love sleeping with it now! But, it helps keep noises from around the house from distracting baby during nap time and at night. We now have two of them.

Moses Basket + Stand: This is Beau’s bassinet setup and we absolutely love it!

Snuggle Me Organic: Perfect for newborn days (tear) and for early morning snuggles!

Motorola Baby Monitor: This one is great. We also have the Nanit and love that as well.

On the Go

Bugaboo Fox Stroller: I have heard complaints about bugaboo strollers but we LOVE ours. It’s easy to fold and very chic. Plus, it rides like a Rolls-Royce! Of course, they already updated our version. You can see the new one here.

Bugaboo Nuna Car Seat: Also beautiful and pairs with our stroller. Very plush, comfy and safe for baby!

Car Mirror

Travel Fan: You have probably seen these all over my instagram. They are a hit with both Diesel and Beau!

Pehr Changing Pad: We use this so much! Around the house, at others homes, in the car and more! A must!

Disposable Changing Pad: Great for public changing tables, however with Covid we haven’t seen much of “public” anything.

Diaper Bags: Great for trashing diapers while out and about.

Travel WaterWipes: Saves room in diaper bag!

Pacifier Clip: Cute and keeps from the dreaded pacifier on floor incident happening!

Feeding

Feeding looks different for everyone. We have done a little bit of everything and honestly, I could share a more in-depth post, if you are interested, just let me know!

Dr. Brown’s Bottles: Great for on the go and keeping gas away.

Glass Bottles: A cleaner option, that we use when at home.

Sterilizer: This sterilizer is one of my number one recommendations for anyone having a baby! Perfect for bottles and breast pump parts! It sterilized and dries contents, plus it’s actually pretty.

OXO Bottle Brush absolutely the best and is not messy like others.

Boon Drying Rack and Accessories: Necessary, for us, even though it seems like it might not be.

Babyganics Bottle Soap: We like the foaming option.

Baby Brezza: If you are using formula this is heaven sent. It makes a bottle and warms it in seconds. Like a Nespresso for baby! Just make sure you get your powder setting right!

Holle Formula: Apparently the best option out there. We use this and Beau loves it.

Green Sprouts Bibs + Burp Cloths: The most absorbing and softest for an affordable price.

Gingham Bibs: Cute, soft and affordable.

Play + Seating

Lovevery Play Gym: I have raved about this playmat so much and will continue to do so. It is heaven sent and so great for baby’s development. Beau loves his and we love that it knows exactly what he needs to help with development in different areas. It is tacky and isn’t covered in a million flashing lights!

4moms mamaRoo: We have used our Mamaroo so much. I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s essential, at least not for Beau, but it is definitely handy!

Baby Bjorn Bouncer + Soft Toy Bar: What is essential, though, is this bouncer! It is easily portable, it isn’t an eye sore and we use it everyday all around the house. Also, if you plan on having multiple babies, you can simply purchase a different seat color and each one easily removes for washing.

These black and white books- 1,2,3: Beau loves these so much.

Jellycat Soft Books: These are so much fun and soft for little babies. We love Jellycat books for Beau. He has tons of them!

Hangers, Baby Duffle Bag

Clothing

A few of our favorite clothing brands thus far.

Baby Clothes Hangers

Drawer Organizers: We love these from the container store.

Kissy Kissy

Little English

Beaufort Bonnet Company

Nantucket Kids

Kissy Kissy Gowns

Gerber Onesies Bodysuits: I prefer these to other brands because they are softer, fit better and have two great buttons!

Kissy Kissy Footed Jammies

Kissy Kissy Mitts: These were a total newborn essential for us! Beau wore them all of the time to keep himself from scratching his face too much.

I love shopping on the Maisonette website. You can find a lot of great pieces on their website.

I do a lot of online ordering but if you are local our favorite stores that carry baby clothing are The Carousel in Williamsburg and The Perfecting Setting in Newport News.

Our Baby Favorites: 0-3 Months

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July 27, 2020

Lifestyle

Since Beau was born, I have had to do things a little differently for the time being. Pre-baby I was very Barefoot Contessa. These days, I’m relying on very simple recipes including these 5 Pinterest Recipes Worth Trying and a whole lot of take out. Each day we are getting things more, and more, under control but until then, we are keeping it simple!

Whenever I am looking for recipe inspiration, I head to Pinterest! I have definitely found a lot of fails over the years, but every now and then you can come across a few good recipes!

I thought I would share some of my favorite Pinterest recipes worth trying with you!

30-Minute Sesame Mango Chicken Teriyaki

This recipe was quick and delicious. I usually don’t make too many recipes like this, so it was a nice change. Next time, I would probably add in some vegetables! I also used regular soy sauce, instead of low sodium, and it was just fine. Just use a little less than the recipe calls for.

Creamy Lemon Chicken Breast

Lemon is one of my favorite flavors, especially when it comes to pasta! I love a lemon-y pasta and was craving something a little creamier than what I usually make. So, I searched Pinterest for a creamy lemon chicken recipe. This one was a little more time consuming than what I have time for right now, and it could probably be simplified, but it was really good!

Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Banana Cake sounds so familiar, but honestly I think this one is the first banana cake I have ever had. A month, or so, ago, I had some overly ripe bananas and was looking for something different to make, other than banana bread or muffins, when I stumbled across this recipe. Banana cake with cream cheese frosting? It sounded interesting so I thought I would give it a try! Oh man, this was incredible. So moist and delicious. An absolute MUST TRY. Seriously, if you love bananas give this recipe a try.

Fajita Chicken Casserole

Like I said before, I love a good casserole but have always tried to push my cooking and try to learn how to cook more than just casseroles. Not saying they aren’t perfect delicious, but I didn’t want to that person that could only make casseroles. For the sake of time and simplification, post-baby, I thought I would look up a few casserole recipes and thought this one looked good. It was amazing! If you are looking for an easy way to switch on Mexican Food night, and like me aren’t great with those types of dishes, give this recipe a try! It serves great with Spanish Rice!

Stuffed Shells with Spinach and Cheese

I read somewhere that this recipe was the most pinned comfort food on Pinterest. Who knows if that’s really true, but they are definitely worthy of that title! I made these before Beau was born and they were so good. It made a ton of food and we divided the recipe up between two small casserole dishes. It feeds a family perfectly or you could make one for now and one for later. Another plus is that you can make this dish ahead of time and freeze some for later! #winwin

Peach Cobbler Recipe

Peach Cobbler Recipe

Shameless plug for one of my favorite recipes, that you can find here on my blog. Because I was sharing recipes, I wanted to mention this Peach Cobbler that is one of my favorite summer recipes and is the most delicious dessert. Serve this warm from the oven with vanilla ice cream and I promise you will love it!

Find more of my favorite recipes here.

5 Pinterest Recipes Worth Trying

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July 24, 2020

Lifestyle

I can’t believe we have had our little Beau here with us for over three months already! I always planned on sharing his birth story, but after his birth I have felt quite unsure about sharing. Becoming a mother makes you rethink anything and everything that you do and say. But, if there is one thing I am for certain about our little Beau, it is his strength and that is something worth sharing.

Right after he was born, I shared an overview of his birth story and my labor and delivery experience on my Instagram stories. I never got around to saving it and so I definitely wanted to share it here, on my blog. Beau, if you are reading this down the road and don’t approve, I’m so sorry. However, you are my little fighter and I want the world to know your strength and God’s Glory!

This post is my longest post ever. So, if you plan on sticking around until the end, I would go ahead and grab a coffee or a glass of wine, and settle in. I’m sorry for the length, but I’m long winded and this is a long story! Also, I have written and rewritten this post. I have put it off and put it off, not knowing if it was something I wanted to share. It’s so personal and also very emotional for me, but I’m grateful that after almost three months I feel that I have healed so much emotionally. Becoming a mother has made me feel more vulnerable at times than I think I probably ever have. I wanted to share this with you and really save these raw feelings for myself.

The Early Labor Moments

Throughout my entire pregnancy we were completely blessed. Everything was on track and we were expecting to have a pretty generic labor and delivery experience. I was fortunate enough to have a healthy blood pressure and not have gestational diabetes. As I mentioned before, those were both two big concerns for me as my mom developed high blood pressure during her pregnancy with me and diabetes runs in my family. I tested negative for Group B Strep and with Covid 19, we were aiming to spend as little time as possible in the hospital. Having never given birth before, I was hoping to be in and out. Kind of like a drive through experience I kept saying. How naive was I?

My due date was April 15th, Tax Day, and it was looking like we would be pretty close to that date or maybe even go a bit over. I always felt like he would come early but never dilated really much over a centimeter in the weeks leading up to his birth.

If you know anyone who is a volunteer firefighter, you are probably quite familiar with their fire pager. I didn’t know much about that lifestyle prior to meeting Jay, but these days, it’s a huge portion of my life. Anyways, I’m used to his pager going off at all hours of the night and it just so happened to go off around 3:30am on Easter morning. I laid in bed listening to the page and all of the sudden I felt a pain that was much different than anything I have ever felt. Was this it? Was it really happening?

I sat in bed for a bit longer and they continued coming every several minutes, or so. I thought for sure this might be it, so I decided to make my way to the bathroom. I spent most of my time there during my third trimester anyway, especially at night! For the sake of this being on the internet, I will spare you all of the details, but there was proof that labor had begun however my water had not broken yet. I tried to lay back down for a bit, and encouraged Jay to get some rest, but I was so excited I couldn’t sleep.

Around 5am I decided to take a shower and start getting ready so that I could take my time and also kill some time, as I knew this was going to be a long process. The contractions were quite intense as I stood up in the shower, but it’s safe to say I have a pretty low pain tolerance.

After I got out of the shower, I decided to sit on my birthing ball for comfort while doing my hair and makeup. Around 6-6:30am I called my parents because they wanted to know when I went into labor. Of course, they came right down to be with us and Diesel. We all sat around the house for a few hours, talking and hanging out.

Around 9am, the contractions started to taper off, or so it felt like it, so we all went for a walk down the street to encourage them to come back. Walking definitely brought them back on so every little bit I would walk around the house, yard, or driveway.

A little bit later, Jay’s parents joined us to hang out for a bit and spend some time together. It was so nice having our parents there with us before we went into the hospital, especially since they couldn’t actually be there with us or visit during our hospital stay.

I wanted to hold out as long as I could and did my best to stay at home as long as I could, however our hospital is about a 30 minute drive and we decided around noon that it would be best to start heading that way. I knew when the contractions were bringing tears and I could barely stand through them, I needed to get closer to a hospital!

There were lot’s of tears on my part, as we left to go to the hospital. I felt some type of way about leaving Diesel. I was heartbroken, emotional and scared, too. I had to leave my sweetest boy at home and also go give birth without my mom by my side. I had no idea what the next hours or days would hold and I’m so glad I didn’t or I would have probably had an even bigger breakdown!

We hopped in the car and were on our way…

Beau's Birth Story

The Hospital Labor Moments

We arrived at the hospital around 12:30pm, got checked in and went to triage for a bit to get examined. They let me know that I was about 4cm dilated and my water was “bulging,” which I assumed meant it would probably break pretty soon. They spoke with the doctor and I was admitted. I wanted to move things along as quick as possible, so I decide to hold out on getting an epidural for as long as I possibly could. The pain was pretty intense and hearing that I was only 4cm was a bit discouraging, but we completed our paperwork and got settled into our labor and delivery room.

As the hours passed, the pain increased. I spent the first couple of hours on the birthing ball working my way through each contraction. They were coming every 3 minutes or so and lasting for about a minute. Being hooked up to an IV meant there were several bathroom breaks and walking or standing up during labor significantly increased the intensity of my contractions. After being examined by the doctor around 6pm and finding out I was still only, in his words *generously* 6cm dilated, he decided to go ahead and break my water. Some say that having your water broken is not that painful, but for me, it was pretty uncomfortable to say the least. After he broke my water, I felt great for 20 minutes or so and then the contractions started getting intense again. I was hungry, exhausted and decided to go ahead and get the epidural. It took a little bit for them to get everything ready and I got my epidural around 7pm.

Everything was smooth sailing for probably an hour to an hour and a half. I was laying upright in the bed and even got in a little nap for a few minutes. They came in to examine me again and wanted to move things along a bit so they had me lay on my side with a peanut ball in between my legs. Pretty common, no big deal.

Holy Moly, I have not idea what this did, but before I could grab the button to push for more epidural, I was crying and screaming in pain. Something about me laying on my side made me feel like I had no epidural at all.

We went through this process from about 8:30/9pm to around 1am. The anesthesiaologist had to visit our room 3 times or so to adjust my dosage. Not to mention, I was hitting the little button every time I could and even in between trying to get relief. They kept encouraging me to lay on my side, as one side of my cervix was not fully effaced, before I could push. However, the pain was unbearable. I begged to lay on my back and sit up and they were nice enough to give me a break every so often and the contractions would ease up a little bit during that time.

After hours off excruciating pain, gripping the side of my hospital bed, screaming and crying, (poor Jay, I know) my sweet nurse decided to place me on all fours to help me cope with the back labor pain and see if it would ease the pressure on my back. She pushed on my back through each contraction and showed Jay how to help me work through the pain. Eventually I got to the point that I could not longer not push and pretty much told them that I had to, there was no other option for me.

Beau’s Birth

Because I was on all fours, they decided to let me push that way. When they broke my water there was evidence that meconium was present. So, when it was time tp push, my midwife called up to the NICU and had the NICU doctor come down for Beau’s arrival, just to check him over and make sure everything was ok. At the time, meconium in the water seemed like such a big deal to me, but little did I know that it helped make post delivery much safer for him.

I wasn’t really aware of much at the time other than the pain. Gripping the head of the bed and pushing my way through each contraction, which were coming so fast. I could feel his head come so close to coming out and then slip back in when I stopped pushing. I think that really kept me going and pushing hard.

Finally, I could feel that intense pressure breakthrough. All of the sudden there were several people screaming at me and flipping me over onto my back. I assumed this was probably normal procedure for a birth. His head was out and they were yelling at me to push and keep pushing and to push and not to stop. It becomes obvious that I had to push him out right then. I just kept thinking that this was a part of a normal birth experience. I’ve seen the movies, haha.

We pushed for about 20 minutes and our little Beau was born at 1:36am on Monday April 13th, 2020. This was the best and the scariest moment of my life. He was here, he was out and he wasn’t crying. I knew that wasn’t good. I was expecting them to bring him to me and place him on my chest, but instead, they cut the cord and ran him away to his little bed on the other side of the room. When I looked up there were all of at least ten people in the room. At the beginning of my pushing process there were only two, with the NICU doctor was on his way. In that moment, all I could say was, “My baby!” and the tears came.

I couldn’t see him or hear him. The only evidence that he existed was the rush of people around his little hospital bed. When I looked up into Jay’s eyes, and saw the tears, I knew something wasn’t right. He looked at Beau and looked at me. I begged him to go be with Beau. Of course, he ran straight over as I watched from a far.

Jay returned to my bed side and the NICU doctor followed. He told us that they were going to take Beau up to the NICU to examine him and he should be back down with us within an hour. He said if he returned before then, it probably wasn’t good. They allowed me to kiss him and then took him to the NICU.

The Moments After Beau’s Birth

My midwife and nurse cleaned me, stitched me up, and explained what had happened to Beau for me to better understand. Jay, bless his heart, witnessed the entire thing. It’s hard to see between your legs or really focus on anything when you are pushing a baby out, so I needed someone to help fill in the gaps for me.

During birth, both of Beau’s shoulders got stuck inside of my pelvis and would not come through. Shoulder dystocia is more common than I knew and since his birth I have done a little research to help me come to terms with those scary moments. We were both extremely blessed to have very few complications. I have had none so far and he recovered so quickly from his traumatic entrance into this world. Praise the Lord for His goodness.

Remember the part where I shared that the NICU doctor said, “We are going to take Beau up to the NICU to examine him and he should be back down with you within an hour. If I returned before then, it probably isn’t good.” Well, about 30 minutes later he returned. The look on his face said it all. In that moment we knew that it wasn’t good. Thankfully, since this moment Beau has continuously gotten stronger, and even more advanced than most babies, each day. However, at that moment, things weren’t good.

He shared that on the way up to the NICU, one floor up, Beau stopped breathing. They bagged him (breathed for him) and placed him on a ventilator. He was also started on an IV and antibiotics for the meconium in the amniotic fluid. At that time, the doctor didn’t know a lot but he knew that things weren’t good and he informed us that we would be discharged from the hospital before Beau was ready to leave the NICU. I was, as any mother would be, pretty much hysterical. The doctor asked us if we were Christians and reached out a hand to us both. He said he would like to pray for Beau with us, if that was ok. That moment, along with so many other moments, is one I will never forget and will always be grateful for. As the tears rolled down our faces, this amazing man prayed for our little boy and he did everything in his power to help him.

A few minutes later they said that Beau was stable and we could go and see him. I know this probably isn’t the best response, but I was completely terrified. In that moment, I didn’t feel strong enough to meet my baby boy when he was hooked up to these machines. I told Jay and the doctors that I didn’t want to go. I just couldn’t do it. I felt like a baby myself without my parents and here I was faced with my baby fighting to breathe. They all promised me that I needed to go and that it would be good for me to see him, despite my fear of his condition. They were so incredibly right.

Beau's Birth Story
This was one of the hardest moments of my life but also the most rewarding. Out baby boy was finally here with us.
Beau's Birth Story
Beau's Birth Story
Beau's Birth Story

We got to see him and kiss his little fingers and toes. Every time I see these pictures I cry all over again and question sharing this. But, the reality is it’s ok. It was scary, but not every birth goes smoothly and that’s ok. I wasn’t prepared for this, no one is. But, some birth stories look like this. You don’t always read about births like this on online publications. You see professional images of mothers with mascara on or a powerful image of a mom pulling her baby out herself in some inflatable pool. But, what about the parents who are exhausted and terrified. That don’t get to hold their babies for hours, days or weeks. My intention is to never make anyone else feel sad or scared but instead to show that you can have a rocky beginning and also a healthy baby and the strongest bond you will ever feel.

Our sweet boy is such a fighter. By the time we were able to get to the NICU, he was already fighting to try to pull the ventilator tube out of his throat. A few short hours later, by 6am, the doctors were able to remove the tube and take him off of the ventilator. That afternoon these were able to remove some of the other lines, his nose cannula and by Tuesday morning he was free of all cords and lines. Tuesday afternoon around 3pm he was able to come and stay with us in our room.

Beau's Birth Story
This is one of my favorite pictures of his. So soft, sweet and squishy. I just wanted to hold him so badly!

Finally, after almost two days, we could all three be together. Due to Covid 19, the NICU would only allow one visiter to come in a 24 hr period. The amazing doctors and nurses were kind enough to let us both come to see Beau right after he was born for a few moments together. But, after we left, only one parent could come for the first 24hrs and then another could come during the next. I spent Monday with Beau and Jay couldn’t see him until Tuesday. Those were some of the hardest moments focus. How were we supposed to take turns seeing our baby in this condition? Why couldn’t we all three be together? We already were in this situation without the support of our families and now this?

Beau's Birth Story
Our first times holding Beau.
Beau's Birth Story

Looking back, I’m grateful that we endure that time without the presence of others. These excruciating moments were growing moments for our marriage and for us as a family. While not ideal, there are things to be taken from even the hardest experiences. I just wish we could have spent that first day together snuggling and bonding. Instead, I spent the first day staring at our sweet little boy, unable to hold him for the first time 15+ hours after he was born. Jay had to wait an additional 29 hours to finally see him again and have the opportunity to hold him.

Wednesday evening, April 15th 2020, we all loaded up in the car to head home and meet Beau’s big brother and spend our first night together as a family in our home.

Beau's Birth Story
Beau's Birth Story

This is probably the longest birth story you have ever read. I hope you made it this far and I hope it wasn’t too much for you. Sharing this was difficult. I know there are mothers, babies, and families who endure so much more than what we did. But, this was hard for us.

I have sat down on numerous occasions and wrote a few sentences, cried, closed my computer, returned, edited and completed this cycle over and over. Whether it’s the right choice or not to share this personal story, I’m not sure. But, I do know that this little fella has changed our lives and he continues to grow and thrive each day.

We are so grateful to God for healing our baby, keeping him safe and watching over him, us, and the doctors who treated him during this scary time. Thank you to our friends and family for your continued prayers and support. We have never felt more loved, grateful or blessed.

On April 13, 2020 at 1:36am, James Beauregard Parlett changed our lives.

We love you more, and more, each day, Beau.

Love, Mommy, Daddy, and Bubby (Diesel)

Cover image: Tiffany Sigmon

Beau’s Birth Story

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I can’t believe we have had our little Beau here with us for over three months already! I always planned on sharing his birth story, but after his birth I have felt quite unsure about sharing. Becoming a mother makes you rethink anything and everything that you do and say. But, if there is one […]

July 22, 2020

Fashion

Adding this Covid mess on top of having a baby and not being able to leave the house very often has put me into a little bit of a slump lately. I have being dreaming of a Summer beach vacation, something we haven’t done in years and we finally pulled the trigger on a rental house. Let me tell you what, everyone and their mother has booked Summer beach rental houses. They are hard to find, y’all!

Either way, the idea of getting takeout or grilling out, spending the days on the beach and in the pool and just relaxing, are giving me real inspiration and something to look forward to. Naturally, we wouldn’t be going to any hotels or flying on any airplanes, so a nice rental house and road trip sound pretty fun to me! I’m already looking forward to it and planning a packing list! If you have any tips for road tripping with a baby, please let me know! We are bringing the whole #quadsquad on this trip. 6.5 hours with a baby and a pup!

Instead of just sharing one image roundup, I decided to add all of my favorites to this list so that I can update it as I find more and more beach finds! I can say that from the few things I do own on this list, this swimsuit is a dream! I bought it a few weeks ago for the Fourth of July and love it so much. It’s now on sale! It’s very soft and stretchy, I would say size down.

I received this several years ago as a gift and love it so much. You can fill it with water, but it holds an entire bottle of wine! #winwin

This dress has been one of my go to pieces this summer. It’s beautiful and comfortable and perfect for postpartum! I know I will be adding more beach finds to my closet, so I will add them here too. For fun, I added a few of our favorite summer baby items as well!

Summer Beach Wish List

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July 20, 2020

Lifestyle

I can’t believe I’m here to talk to you about spending our first three months with Beau! Everyone tells you that time flies, but seriously, why does it have to go so fast? I just want to bottle up these feelings, and this time. I just wish it would slow down a bit.

Our little boy is growing so fast, we just can’t keep up! We have been enjoying our time as a family of four, #quadsquad, and are all learning our new roles and routines. This sweet baby changes everyday and each stage is even more exciting than the last.

I wrote a two month update and never got around to posting it, so I will include my thoughts from month two here as well!

Three Months with Beau
Outfit | Blocks

Two Months with Beau

We are getting lot’s of cute smiles and coos throughout the day. Beau loves to lay in his bassinet, chat and smile in the mornings and at night. There is nothing quite like those sweet baby noises and smiles. Words don’t describe the way they make me feel on the inside. It truly is the BEST THING IN THE WORLD.

Month two brought about growth and changes! For a few different reasons, I made the terribly difficult decision to stop nursing. With that said, we introduced bottles and needed several additional things. Because Beau is more active and alert now, we have been spending more time in his room and he just loves his play-mat. Whenever I have a few moments I try to update his baby book which we absolutely love!

Three Months with Beau

This little fella is movin’ and shakin’ these days. He is very talkative and will probably be more like his mama when it comes to talking. Meaning, once he starts he might not ever stop! (haha) We love this sweet boy so much and it is truly difficult for me to come to terms with how quickly life is flying by. Each day he learns something new and is chaining a little bit.

He loves his toy bar on his Baby Bjorn Bouncer seat. He talks to all of the little animals and grabs them and hits them. He is moving around his playmat and trying out the different stations. He loves to kick the black and white ball now and just talks away whenever we lay him down on it. He sits up in his boppy a lot in the bed when we are watching tv and has moved up to sleeping in a pack n play in our bedroom as he outgrew his bassinet.

Beau loves to hear himself talk and sometimes just kind of just yells at us, instead of crying, to get our attention. LOL! We are starting to see even more of his personality shining through and we love it so much.

On week 13, just a couple of days after he turned three months old, Beau rolled over for the first time! Mommy is very proud of him, Daddy too! We love you so much, Baby Beau!

Some of our favorite Beau things from Month Two

Feeding: these bottles, bibs, Baby Brezza (life saver if formula feeding, just make sure you have the correct powder setting), Bottle Brush, Soap, Drying Rack and Accessories.

Play: Play Mat and Mamaroo Mobile

Sleep: Ollie Swaddle and Sound Machine

Baby Book

Some of our favorite Beau things from Month Three:

Monogrammed Weezie Towels

Play: Bumbo, Baby Bjorn Bouncer with Toy Bar, and these books (1,2,3) he loves so much, the bug book is his favorite these days!

Nuna Travel Crib for Sleep

Clothing

I thought I would mention clothing as a small aside. We absolutely LOVE Kissy Kissy outfits for Beau. He has onesies, pants, pajamas, shortsleeved outfits and tanks tops. We love everything! Also, blankets, bibs, mitts and booties. Really, everything is just the best from them. It’s hard to go back to anything after you have had that soft pima cotton!

A few more things…

Now that I am writing all of this out, I feel like it would just be better to make a more organized post on everything we loved and would recommend for months 0-3. If that is something you are interested in, just let me know!

I mentioned these items in my first month post, but we have really loved pampers swaddlers for his diapers. I personally believe using Water Wipes has made a difference too. For some reason, the smell of pampers wipes just don’t agree with me and I feel like Water Wipes are a much cleaner option. We love them. This diaper pail is a life saver. It’s chic and does the job. Other options out there might be more affordable at the beginning, but this one I think is the best option and the best investment. It’s built to last. You don’t need to buy any cartridges or special bags and it keeps all of the smells locked away!

Three months has gone by way too fast. My little baby is growing into a bigger and bigger baby everyday, right before my eyes. He is so beautiful and perfect and being a mother is the best thing ever. I really do hope to get back to posting more regularly on this space. These days it makes me so happy and gives me a little bit of freedom, that I really love and crave! If you have nay content requests, just leave them in a comment or send me an email and it will give me something fun to look forward to!

Three Months with Beau

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September 4, 2020

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Lifestyle

July 27, 2020

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Lifestyle

July 24, 2020

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Lifestyle

July 22, 2020

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Fashion

July 20, 2020

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Lifestyle

DECEMBER 10, 2017

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HOLIDAYS