My husband and I LOVE camping and we finally got to take our little 9 month old with us for his first camping trip this past weekend. I'll be honest, I was extremely nervous leading up to the trip. I had literally lost sleep stressing over questions in my mind like: WHERE does the baby sleep? What should he WEAR to sleep? How will we know he is warm enough at night? How do you keep them clean? Where do you PUT them? I did tons of research before we left and all I really learned was you just have to go with the flow and everything will be fine - babies are resilient. No matter how many blogs I read, probably the best piece of advice I got was from a personal friend who recommended the use of a tent heater at night. That was lifesaving advice for me because it gave me piece of mind about keeping him warm at night. I will be blogging later with my own tips and must-haves for camping with a baby in another post later this week, but for now, I just want to reminisce on our little weekend getaway in the mountains...
My husband and I bought our first house together in November 2014. Immediately after closing we discovered I was pregnant with our first child. So naturally all the focus for the past year and a half has been about preparing for the baby's arrival, learning how to be a mother and keeping my baby alive rather than decorating our house and buying furniture. Well now that I am finally feeling a little more settled in my role as a mother, I have finally had the chance to start dreaming up ideas for turning our house into a home...
We live in Arizona. It has got to be one of the most beautiful states in the country. Perhaps I am biased because I am what we call a "Native" (born and raised, baby!), but the amount of people emigrating from other places to be here leads me to believe I might not be the only one who has this opinion. One of the best ways to better learn to appreciate Arizona's beauty, especially if you're in the Phoenix area, is to go hiking on one of the gorgeous mountains in the valley. There are so many to chose from. No matter where you live, there is a mountain nearby just waiting for you to climb it. So if you're outdoorsy and need a quick fix without the drive, take a hike! (And I mean that in a good way, not in the "get outta my face" kind of way).
So I have been wanting to post pictures of my nursery for a long time now and just never really got around to taking pictures of it. I've also been a little nervous because I don't exactly consider myself a spectacular decorator, but I really am in love with how it turned out so I wanted to share. I put a lot of thought into the whole thing, and while it may not be any kind of "I saw it on Pinterest" dream room, there are a lot of sentimental pieces that make the room special to me and are what make me love it so much. It's exactly what I wanted for my nursery. When I first started planning, all I knew was that I liked Woodland theme and I wanted mint walls, so that's what I did! I LOVE it!!
Back in November and December, I was on a very strict diet because my breastfeeding infant was having reactions to some of the foods I was eating. It got to the point where, per doctor's orders, I ate nothing but chicken, broccoli, and rice for two weeks straight. It was one of the hardest things I've had to do and it being the holidays certainly didn't make it any easier. To accommodate my crazy diet restrictions, my Mother-in-Law made this amazing Baked Berry Oatmeal for me to enjoy for breakfast during my stay in Ohio - and I have been completely addicted to it ever since. It's healthy, delicious, and super easy to make. Plus it warms up great so you could make a pan on a Sunday and live off of it in the mornings for a few days. And with an infant in my house who constantly wants to be held and nurse, the easier my morning breakfast routine the better!
OK, so one of my most favorite meals of all time is Shepherd's Pie. I still remember the first time I ever had it years ago when I was still a teenager - it left that big of an impression on me. Ever since that first tasting, whenever I am at a restaurant with Shepherd's Pie on the menu, I always order it. I just can't pass it up. Especially if I am at a good Irish restaurant - because then you know it's going to be good!
So I have been completely dairy-free now since the end of September because my baby boy has had some allergic reactions to some of the foods I've been eating. (That crazy journey will be explained in a whole other post - stay tuned).
Being dairy-free really hasn't been all that difficult, except when eating out. So, I just cook most of my meals at home... Which is much healthier and more cost-effective anyway. Can't complain about all that! Just takes a little planning, and I've had to learn some new recipes and modify old ones to comply with my new diet restrictions. It has been a learning curve (hidden dairy is in A LOT of foods!) but I've finally got most of it down now and have become pretty creative with food. The good news has been that a dairy-free diet is definitely possible to do and can be just as delicious, thankfully!
This is going to be a long post because in good ol' Liesl fashion, I leave no detail behind...
At 36 weeks pregnant, I went to my bi-weekly OBGYN appointment for my typical routine checkup. It was then that I learned that my doctor would be out of the country on a medical mission from July 18th - August 1st (the last two weeks of my pregnancy). My due date was July 27th. To say I was devastated to learn this news would be an understatement. I LOVE my doctor. She really is the best... So the idea that she wouldn't be there to deliver my baby was absolutely crushing. I wanted to have a natural, un-medicated labor, and it was my opinion that a good part of my success in that would be the kind of support staff present at the hospital during my labor (i.e. the nurses and, of course, my doctor). I felt like any questions I now had about my upcoming labor were pointless to ask her because she wasn't going to be the one there to deliver my baby anyway, so it didn't matter anymore what she thought or what she was or wasn't ok with letting me do, etc.. All the trust and planning I had built up with her over the past 8 months felt completely wasted. I went home and literally cried for hours and hours. I was planning on having a productive day that day but, instead, I spent the entire day on my bed soaking my pillow and Eric's shoulder with tears. Pregnancy hormones at their finest!
"It is more wonderful than I could have ever imagined it would be..."
Our little one arrived on August 5, 2015. Exactly 8 days ago! I have been completely immersed in my new role as a mother and caring for my son. It is more wonderful than I could have ever imagined it would be. He has completely captured my heart and soul. I can't wait to write about my birth story but that's going to be a bit of a longer post and I need a little more time to put it together; but, in a nutshell, I will say that it was one of the most beautiful, mind blowing and life altering experiences I've ever been through that I will absolutely never, ever forget. I honestly wouldn't change one thing about how it all went down because I know everything happened exactly the way God intended. I feel so incredibly blessed. My son is the most precious, beautiful, amazing being I have ever laid eyes on. I could literally just hold him in my arms and stare at him forever. It's overwhelming how special the gift of giving life is. What a blessing. I cry constantly - happy tears - because of how incredibly happy and overwhelmed with love and happiness I feel now. (Yes I know that hormones are at play), but honestly, I can't get over how in love I am with Gavin and my darling husband, and how amazed I am at everything I just went through and am going through. Every second is so sentimental to me. I don't ever want these moments to end. I want time to freeze so I can live in these experiences forever. But at the same time, I so look forward to what the future has in store and can't wait for him to start talking and for his little personality to come out.
Well, here we are... 8 days past my "due date" of July 27th. I still can't believe our little guy is making me wait this long! Then again, if you ask anyone on my side of the family, they would tell you our baby boy is right on time... "Gentry Standard Time" that is. You see, my family is notoriously late. Like, REALLY late. As in, tell them to show up at least an hour before you actually want them there, and they still won't get there until at least 30 minutes later than what you wanted. For example, if you want your party to start at 4:00, tell them it starts at 3:00, and they'll show up at 4:30/5:00 every. single. time. It's quite comical, actually. So clearly, my son has that good ol' Gentry clock running. Wonderful...
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Here you can explore what it's like to live a "Daum Good Life" in the gorgeous Arizona desert as a wife, stay at home mother, amateur photographer, and wannabe cook!