‘Tis the season for Christmas shopping, y’all. Raise your hand if you do all of your shopping from the comfort of your couch. Whether you brave the crowds or cozy up and knock it out at home, I’ve got some goods for you. Here’s the thing – this time of year, your feed is probably flooded with bloggers posting their gift guides, right? I know mine is. I’ll be honest, there aren’t many “trends” I hop on in the blogging world (or the real world, #rebel), but this one is worth it. Buying gifts is hard. Buying gifts that don’t suck is even harder. So, I’m super proud and excited to give you some help in that department.
Here’s what makes this gift guide a little bit different than most: I can personally vouch for the whole thing. I own or have owned every item on the for her guide, I’ve bought my husband almost every item off the for him guide, and outside of a couple of toys, my toddler has been gifted every item off the kids list. You ready?
P.S. Be sure and make it all the way to the bottom of this post to enter the Few of Our Favorite Things Giveaway with Cold Coffee Hot Mess & be sure to click through to check out their gift guides!
If you don’t follow me on Instagram (you should, we have lots of fun), then you wouldn’t know that the Huz and I are currently neck deep in Whole30. Well, actually, what we’re doing is called the Journey, a clean eating challenge through local personal training company Body Bayou. We’re finding it’s better for us than Whole30 for a multitude of reasons, the top one being that the Journey includes constant communication and support from its creators. That means we can be standing in the grocery store, unsure if something is on the program, shoot them a text, and know for sure before we check out. It also means I can text them at 9 pm after a rough day and say I want to give up, and they can remind me of all the reasons not to.
Two weeks in I’ve lost 10 pounds and Huz has lost 13, so…I’d say it’s effective.
I’ve been posting on social a lot about my favorite Whole30 approved foods I’ve found and made, and in turn am getting a solid amount of recipe requests. The Instagram poll I ran showed pretty much all of my friends are down for a recipe round up, so here it is. Breakfast, snacks, dinners, & desserts! I’ve made every single one of these and they are completely Guichet approved 👌🏼 (Note: honey is allowed on the Journey, & not on Whole30. Many of these recipes contain honey.)
Ah summer. I have such a conflicting relationship with you. On one hand I seriously love having my girl home for three months. On the other, she’s home for three months. That’s three months of attempting to entertain her without breaking the bank (or losing my mind). Adding a newborn to the mix had me fairly anxious as the last days of Mother’s Day Out dwindled down. I knew I’d need some kind of game plan, but I was also worried about setting myself up for failure. Hi, my name is Blake and I’m a recovering perfectionist.
Then I realized, this summer is what I make it. I decided to go ahead and make a plan and just heap grace upon grace. I figure having a plan and not sticking to it is way better than it being a random Tuesday with nothing to do and sitting around the house losing our minds, ya know? So this is what I came up with. Each day of the week has an “activity”, and each week has a theme. These are the times that Pinterest actually comes in handy.
I realize as I sit down to write this that I never wrote Pacey Claire’s birth story, even though I totally intended to, just for myself. If that’s not the epitome of motherhood, right? It can be summed up fairly simply: her due date came and went (that’s always a fun day), and 3 days later we induced. I had gestational diabetes with the Pacers, and my doctor was a little worried about her getting too big. All good. I know we both barely slept from excitement, got to the hospital around 4, & started the pitocin. Going into her birth, med-free was the plan. Going into September 22, it was obvious meds were going to be involved, but I was hoping for no epidural. 6 hours into pitocin-level contractions (which, come to find out, are regular contractions on steroids), I went ahead and got the epidural. She was born and hour and a half later. All together in labor for 8 hours, pretty sure I pushed all of 4 times. I remember through the haze my darling OB mentioning something about my body being “made to make babies”.
Fast forward to now. Pregnant with baby girl Guichet number two, all prepped and ready to go for med-free birth, attempt two. The books are read, the playlist is made, the essential oils/diffuser/bluetooth speaker/birthing affirmations are packed. The postpartum necessities are bought. I am ready. I’m even thinking if for some reason we have to induce again, even though I’m GD free this time, we can just take the pitocin a little more slowly and I should be able to get through it. The 35 week ultrasound rolls around, and we’re all super excited to get to see baby sister. The ultrasound tech nonchalantly mentions “and she’s breech”. I’m fairly certain I blacked out. Not really, but I definitely tuned out. I could feel the oh crap vibes pulsating off of my poor husband sitting next to me. When the tech walked out of the room, he quietly asked if I was okay, and I answered with a simple and short no. I was very not okay.
I’m not really sure how to lead into a post such as this. My strangely sarcastic-in-the-face-of-tragedy self contemplated using the lines from Fresh Prince of Bel Air, because well – our lives did get twist turned upside down. But I won’t, because that’s ridiculous. What happened in the days between Wednesday and Saturday of last week was the most contradictory marriage of chaos and peace, and it’s honestly still a little difficult for me to retell the stories. I think that’s understandable, having faced the potential end of my 2nd favorite human’s life. But my village showed up in ways that I still can’t even comprehend, and I know people want to know what happened, and I want to tell you! You prayed and checked in and showed up and fed us and I want you to know why all of that was necessary. So I’ll just start at the top:
Pacey Claire had had a cold for about a week. Nothing serious, benign to the point that I hadn’t even contemplated taking her to see her pediatrician. Wednesday she woke up feeling a little warmer than usual, but I knew she had some molars coming in and her temperament was fine, so again – I wasn’t worried. As the day went on, I found her to be a little more lethargic that her usual non-stop self. By 4 o’clock she was exhausted and laying in my lap. The fever came on quick, one moment she was fine and the next she was on fire. On fire enough for me to pull her head out of my chest and look at her. I could tell in that moment that something wasn’t right. Her eyes were blank and her neck was stiff and she wasn’t responding as I yelled her name and lightly shook her. By the grace of God, my sister was 2 minutes from our house, on her way to pick something up. I called her in hysterics, telling her I didn’t know what was wrong with Pacey but she needed to get here. We got in the car and faced 5 o’clock traffic on Essen to try to get to Our Lady of the Lake’s pediatric ER. I can’t even talk about how long this took (is nothing being done about the complete inaccessibility of that hospital?) By the time we got there and Jeremy met us, Pacey was fine. I mean fine. Playing, talking, laughing. We called my father, a neonatal nurse practitioner, and he told us it sounded like she had had a febrile seizure, that the doctors would probably just send us home. So we didn’t go in. We turned around and headed back to the house. We were shaken up, but confident she was okay. Ha.