Friday, September 23, 2016


Happy first day of fall!!!

There's been so much to do around here, that I've neglected the blog again.  We've been busy soaking up the fresh mountain air and sunshine, but we are super looking forward to a crisp autumn this year.  We'll often just grab a quilt and go outside to blow bubbles, draw chalk masterpieces, and take in the view.  I do my best to keep Lena from eating grass, but, eh, ya happens.  Both girls are growing up so fast and I'm loving this season of life with them (minus the tantrums).  They both do and say so many cute things and so much of it is forgotten, pushed out of memory by a million other new things going on.  I wanted to take a quick snapshot of their lives as they are now so someday (probably just a year or less from now) when it's nearly forgotten because pregnancies and babies and sleep deprivation and laundry piles and grocery lists turned my brain to mush, I can look back and smile at the sweetness of this chaotic life I call mine.

Violet // 2 years, 11 months

Violet is a big girl.  I'm not sure exactly when it happened, but she there's no sign of baby left and that's kinda bittersweet.  She's independent and sassy and sweet and the wheels in her little head are constantly moving.  When she finds something that intrigues her, there's no stopping the obsession. 

Violet's pretty good about trying new things, which makes mealtime much easier than several months back when she went through a super picky phase.  Her favorite foods are raspberries, kiwi, peanut butter mach (PB&J), green beans, sardines and crackers, and pretty much any sweet food under the sun.

Naps are a thing of the distant past, which is extremely depressing because naptime was my happy hour.  However, she has FINALLY started sleeping through the night without waking.  If she does wake up, she'll crawl into bed with us for a couple of hours, which Jon and I both kinda love...minus the sideways sleeping and kicking your face part.   


Her current "thing" is the fifty states.  Y'all.  My TWO year old can identify every friggin state.  What in the ham sandwich?  She'll be eating her lunch, take a bite of whatever and hold it up and say, "It's Wisconsin!"  And then I've gotta go Google it because I don't freaking know what Wisconsin looks like, and sure enough, she's right!   And it seems we've officially entered the terrible twos because time-outs are a regular event in the Polk household.  And it's always over the dumbest stuff like she wants to go to the library, but doesn't want to wear shoes, or because I won't let her out the house with her shirt on inside out and backwards, or because Lena looked at her, or because I insist she pick up the 10,000 Q-tips she lined up in a train all around my room, or because boogers (which I don't really blame her for this one). 

Lena // 10 months

Lena is into everything.  EVERYTHING.  She's going through the phase where she tries to eat every little speck of whatever the crap she can get her little fingers on.  Sometimes it's actually food, other times it's carpet fuzz or paper or the fist full of cat fur she just ripped off our poor cat who doesn't realize playing dead isn't working for him.

I'm still exclusively breastfeeding Lena.  Thankfully, nursing this time around has been much, much easier.  I don't worry about a schedule like I did with Violet, nor do I worry about my supply, which has made motherhood way less stressful.  Lena loves food though.  She'll eat anything...everything.  Sometimes she'll be in her walker in the kitchen totally preoccupied with our cat or with Violet, and she'll hear some sound like me opening a package, or the fridge, or the clink of a utensil on a plate and she'll back-up in a sprint with this look on her face like oh haaayyy, what's that you got there???

  I miss sleep.  So much.  During the day, Lena is such a sweet, smiley baby.  She's always so happy.  Then darkness falls and she turns into a vampire that sucks our souls out.  But, I know it'll get better.  And she's a pretty good napper, so I can't complain about that.  One of my favorite times of the day is putting her down for her morning nap.  She goes to sleep so quickly and easily, I'm able to rock her for a few minutes and just enjoy the sweetness of a sleeping baby in my arms.    

Lena is so close to walking.  She's taken about three steps before, but usually she takes one step and just squats like she's realized she made a big mistake.  I really thought she'd be walking by now, but who needs to walk when you can crawl at lightening speed?   She's gotta be fast to keep up with Violet.  She just adores her big sister and wants to do everything V does, which is a struggle since she can't.  It won't be long though!     

Friday, August 12, 2016


It's been a while!  A lot's happened since my last post, the biggest being that we moved to western North Carolina. 

About 6 months ago, Jon and I had a sit-down to talk about how our move to the Houston area was really not what we anticipated.  Jon was commuting sometimes more than 3 hours a day.  He'd leave super early and sometimes wouldn't even get home from work until after Lena was asleep.  Every night we were rushing through dinner so we could give the girls a bath and put them to bed.  By the time we were done, we'd both be so exhausted, sometimes we'd only get an hour to catch-up before going to bed ourselves.  On top of that, Jon hated his job.  After 6 months of this life, we decided to change it.  We made a list of what was important to us, put our house on the market, and Jon began searching for a job.  After a few ups and downs along the way, Jon was offered basically a dream job in a beautiful, small town in North Carolina.  The timing couldn't have been better, because we were scheduled to sell our home two weeks from then, and if Jon hadn't gotten this job, we weren't entirely sure what we'd be doing or where we were going.  The whole process was a pretty big leap of faith, but we were willing to risk the unknown to get out of our current situation.

One thing that was important to us was that our girls would grow up in a place where we could enjoy nature.  We wanted their childhood to be filled with barefoot runs in the grass, catching lightening bugs, falling in piles of autumn leaves, building snowmen, but most importantly, we wanted them to enjoy these experiences with both of their parents.

We've been so blessed these past couple of months.  On top of everything I mentioned, literally the only three bedroom house for rent has a view of a huge pasture of cows and mountains behind them.  Jon and I often stop to stare out of our front window, totally mesmerized by our new view.  Every day we see wild turkeys and deer grazing in our backyard.  And Jon's new commute is 5 minutes.

Stay tuned for our mountain adventures!

Saturday, May 21, 2016


This is my second time around the block called parenting.  To be clear, that doesn't mean I know what I'm doing, it just means I know about twice as much as I did the first go-round (which was nothing). 

When I was pregnant with Violet, I didn't buy any of those parenting books.  I didn't read anything about anything. I didn't read about pain management during childbirth.  (I should have.)   I didn't know about swaddles, baby carriers, or sound machines.  I didn't know there was an art to breastfeeding or that it would sometimes be incredibly difficult to get a baby to take a nap.  I thought it would just all come naturally.  (It didn't.) 

I'm pretty sure first-time parenting is hard for all new moms, but I really think I made it harder on my myself by not doing a little better research.  So, without further delay, here are some of my very favorite baby products for those early months.  Some are obvious, some aren't necessary, but all of them made life with a new baby easier.

1 II The Snotsucker & The Windi II So one of these sucks snot out of another person's nose and the other one goes up their butt.  They're both pretty gross, but sometimes necessary.  And when you're using The Windi, just make sure you have a towel or something on the other end,'ll rain poop.  Good thing babies are cute, amiright??

2 II Summer Infant Baby Monitor II I love this video baby monitor because it comes with two cameras (and can be programmed for up to four cameras), so on the days when I'm lucky enough to have both kiddos napping, I can easily keep an eye on them.  This particular monitor has a split screen so I can watch them both (the drawback is I have to manually switch the sound from camera to camera) or I can have the monitor scan each room every 8 seconds.  And Summer Infant has THE BEST customer service.  I called them because my original Summer Infant baby monitor buttons were sticking and they sent me a brand new monitor (and the newer model!) no questions asked!

3 II Sleep & Plays II  I hate putting onesies on new babies.  It always feels like their little toothpick limbs are just going to snap off (despite how freakishly strong they seem to be).  And sleep & plays make the million diaper changes a day so much easier.

4 II Ring Sling Carrier II When I wasn't feeding, burping, or changing Lena, I was almost always wearing her.  Wearing her in a sling allowed her to stay snug as a bug as I went about doing all the things that take two hands.

5 II Woombie Swaddle and Woombie Swaddle UP II We used the Woombie Swaddle on Lena until she was about 3 months old.  It was great because she was super snug and it was easy to zip on and off.  Around 3 months we switched over to the Woombie Swaddle UP, which is a little looser and allowed Lena's arms to be up while sleeping. 

6 II Rock n Play II If you ever want to use the bathroom or take a shower or brush your teeth, you'll want one of these.  If those things aren't important to you though, don't worry about getting it.

7 II Pacifiers II Pacifiers are a blessing and a curse.   Lena wasn't interested in pacifiers until about 4 months old.  Then it was either a pacifier, or me at one o'clock, three o'clock, and five o'clock in the morning.  I chose a pacifier...specifically the Natursutten latex pacifier. They're a little pricier than other pacifiers, but considering how often they are in a baby's mouth, I wanted the safest option.

8 II NYME Organics II I love all of NYME's products, but my absolute favorites are their Bun Glaze and On the Spot.  I use them both all the time.

And lastly, one that I forgot to add until now is Colic Calm.  We used this to help with Lena's reflux and gas and it was amazing.  And though it's not listed as an ingredient, I'm pretty sure this stuff is made of unicorn tears. 

There are so many other baby products out there that I didn't even get to try and many more I probably don't know about.  Feel free to share your favorites so I can add it to my list for the next little one!

Monday, May 9, 2016


There's nothing quite like a car wreck to put things in perspective.  This is especially true when your babies are in the car.

On Saturday afternoon, we were all driving to the grocery store to pick up some ingredients for a Mother's Day meal the next day.  Some girl drove straight in a left turning lane, T-boning the driver's side of our vehicle.  Thankfully no one was hurt and the damage appears to be minor.  Needless to say, it really got me thinking of all the what ifs of those moments that led up to the accident.

What if there wasn't a red light a few moments before to slow everyone down?  What if instead of the 20ish mph, the girl who hit us was instead going the speed limit of 50 mph?

In my 2.5 years of motherhood, I've thought a lot of the what ifs and should haves.  They don't drown me in anxiety like they probably do some, but on a perfectly carefree day, I can sometimes catch myself thinking of all that can go wrong.  I imagine it's pretty common to mothers to think this way sometimes, because we have a whole lot more to lose than we did before children.  Or maybe it's not.  Maybe it's because I lost my own mother when I was 13.  Either way, I often count my blessings that can very easily be taken for granted, because life is sometimes too busy to appreciate those little moments.

So in honor of Mother's Day, I want to share my thankfulness for the small blessings that usually don't make the cut.

Firstly, I'm enormously thankful for my two little girls and my wonderful husband.  That almost goes without saying, but it shouldn't!

I'm thankful I get to change every diaper, because baby butts are the cutest.  

I'm thankful I get to do my family's laundry and remember that the hard-to-treat stain is there because my two year old thoroughly enjoyed her meal.

I'm thankful for a toddler who likes to help with dinner prep, because she'll grow up with the memories of cooking in the kitchen with her mama.

I'm thankful for every time my baby can't fall asleep unless she's in our arms, because we're the last thing she sees before she goes off to dreamland.

I'm thankful for the wild bird's nest that is my toddler's hair in the morning, because I get to brush it into uber adorable pigtails.
I'm thankful for when my two year old is wild, because my 5 month old falls into fits of laughter over it.

I'm thankful my house is strewn with toys, because it means children live and play here.

I'm thankful for a baby who wakes to nurse in the middle of the night, because it means she's growing.  

I'm thankful for the little bumps and bruises, because they are healed by a parent's kiss.

I'm thankful for the skipped naps, because it means more time with my children.

I'm thankful for the separation anxiety babies go through, because it means they feel safe with me.

I'm thankful for the weeds and small rocks in my pocket, because my daughter thought they were treasures and wanted me to have them.

I'm thankful for the what ifs, because they remind me to be thankful.

And lastly, I'm thankful for red lights, because the what ifs are enough.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016


It's been in the upper 80s here for a while now.  I'm pretty sure we just live in an endless summer.  I mean, we were wearing shorts on Christmas Day.  And for a gal that lives for cardigan weather, well, it's heartbreaking.  

Violet's been asking to go swimming nearly every day this past week.  And just in case I happened to forget, she'll point outside and remind me, "Look, it's a pool out there!"  So this weekend, we knew we needed to take a break from our usual, lay back, and enjoy some swimming and biscuit-making!

Violet is our little sous-chef.  She loves helping in the kitchen.  When Lena's napping, we get dinner prepped and she is so proud at dinnertime.  It's the sweetest thing.  She's a talkative little chatterbox.  All day long she tells me things like every time she sees a bird in the sky, or a lizard (she calls them wizards) crawling around, or that birds eat the red berries on the bush outside with their "mouth beaks."  And there's no sweeter sound than hearing her say, "I love you."  Absolutely nothing at all.

Lena is now almost 5.5 months old.  She's scooting around all over the place, especially during diaper changes.  I think it's rude, but she thinks it's her time to shine.  She flips over so fast, pulls herself up into a crawling position and then somehow she thrusts her body forward like she's about to take-off flying. 

I love watching my two girls loving and laughing at each other.  Their sweet innocence is my daily reminder to just enjoy these little moments.  And since I finally joined the rest of the modern world in creating an Instagram account, you can better follow our adventures @thepolkfolk or you can click on the handy little Instagram icon over on the right-hand side of the blog.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016


Between moving to a new state, having a baby, Jon's studying, and small DIY projects around the house, we hadn't left the Houston area since we moved here nine months ago.  We really needed to escape, so we planned a much needed week long visit to Louisiana the week of Easter.

Violet was actually a pretty good road-tripper.  So what that she watched The Aristocats on loop!  Lena, on the other hand, needed to be entertained by me the entire seven and a half hours it took us to get there.  Her entertainment, included, but wasn't limited to, me singing, making animal noises, making strange noises, making farting noise, clapping, snapping, playing peek-a-boo, shaking rattles, and of course trying to explain to a 4 month old that she was being irrational.

And since both of our families were all in town, we decided to have Lena baptized on Easter Sunday at our hometown church, which coincidentally is where Jon and I met as kids.  Lena wore the very same gown I wore when I was baptized (and so did Violet two years ago).  Violet wore a beautiful dress from Blue Dove with bees hand-smocked on it.

Violet and her cousin, B.G., had a little Easter egg hunt in Jon's parents' front yard.  She loved finding all the hidden eggs, and would give each one a kiss before she dropped it in her basket.  And even though B.G. could have scooped up most of the eggs, he was so sweet and left a bunch for her to find.

Even though it rained most of the days we were there, it was nice escaping the Texas heat to visit friends and family, eat some crawfish, and play outside with the girls. 

We're looking forward to our next adventure, which hopefully isn't too long off! 

Thursday, March 10, 2016


Kids are crazy.  Y'all.  CRAZY.
To be fair, Lena's not really old enough to be doing crazy stuff.  But, she is going through some sleep regression, which has mama tired.  So tired.  I was checking out at the grocery store when a college-aged girl told me how she gets baby fever whenever she sees babies.  I told her to set her alarm clock for every hour and a half and see if she still wanted a baby in the morning.  Then she told me she might wait until she was 35.   

Lena's got the cutest double-chin and the cubbiest thighs ever.  I can't wait for warmer weather so I can see them all day long. She's a little over 3.5 months old and she's already bossy.  If she wants to be held or entertained or fed, she's not one to be shy about it.  And she pretty much thinks Violet hung the moon.  Jon and I try all kinds of things to get her to giggle, and all Violet has to do it jump a little and she's in a hysterical fit of laughter.

Violet is approaching 2.5 and she is so smart and funny.  She loves to play with building blocks and stack random items as tall as she can.  And she yells oh no timmmmbbberrr when they fall. 
She just transitioned from her crib to her big girl bed.  The monster has been released!  She hasn't been napping for a while now.  Occasionally she'll surprise me with one though, so we still go through the routine so we can both get a break.  I can see her in the monitor sneaking out of bed to grab her hat or 17 stuffed animals and quickly hop back into bed. 

She says oh goo-ness when you blow big bubbles.  She shoved a rock up her nose.  She sings Let It Go when she should be napping.  She refers to each of her fingers as daddy finger, mommy finger, brother finger, sister finger, and baby finger.  She's obsessed with shapes.  As I try to type this very post, she keeps shoving different objects in my face to ask me what shape it is.  Her current favorite book is Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, or as she calls it, chicken chicken boom boom boom.  A few days ago, she walked up to me with her back hunched over and whispered, It's big one poo poo...and it was.  And a couple Sundays ago, she pulled on a pair of my granny panties underwear under her dress and we didn't find out until we were in church.  

As for me, I've started having postpartum hair loss, which really allows me to express myself through shower wall art.  And last week, I made the mistake of trying on some pre-baby jeans.  It was about as depressing as Matthew's death on Downton Abbey.  Jeans just don't know me like leggings do.  And I'll tell you another thing, if ever there is a zombie apocalypse, I hope I'm wearing leggings, because I barely survive a regular day in skinny jeans.

 Lastly, to share some exciting news for our family, after 5 years and countless hours of studying, my sweet husband has passed his seventh and  final exam to become a licensed architect!  Hip hip hooray!

Thursday, January 28, 2016


Lena turned two months old last week (err week and a half ago).  Time is definitely going by much faster than it did with Violet.  And oh boy is it exhausting.  The problem isn't that I'm not getting great sleep, it's that I remember what great sleep is.  I now know why parents don't let their teenagers sleep in.  Payback.  Another mom at my midwife's office actually told me she loved the newborn stage and wished her own daughter could have been a newborn forever.  I was so tired, I couldn't even comment.  I just gave her this dead stare for who knows how long.  I guess she recognized the look and said, "oh yeah, except for the lack of sleep part." 
Seriously, sometimes my only personal objective for the day is to brush my teeth.  That's it. Sometimes showering is just an unrealistic goal.  I pretty much feel like an Olympic gold winner if I don't have lizard breath and am not wearing pajamas.  What did stay-at-home moms do before yoga pants and top-knots?  Whatever it was, it sounds depressing.

Age:  2 months, 1 week, and 3 days
Stats:  11.4 pounds.  Girlfriend has rolls on her toes.  She's already too long for her 0-3 month clothes.  And this child is strong.  Try to lay her down and she'll grab whatever she can, shirt, hair, face, with a Vulcan death grip.  Opening her dainty little fingers is like prying open a crocodiles jaw.
Sleep:  At night, this girl is a rockstar.  Usually she sleeps in stretches of 4-6 hours.  However, the other night she slept 8.5 hours straight.  Seriously, when I woke up, it was like I'd been to a spa.  Naps are a whole different story though.  She's a cat napper.  And those are the worst, just so ya know.

Sleep is such a popular topic.  I've had complete strangers ask me how she sleeps.  So weird.  If someone asked me how I slept at night, I'd be awkwardly walking away backwards.  Those people aren't even that bad though.  The worst are the ones who are like, "Ohhhhh, my daughter slept 12 hours straight from 5 weeks on, so I can't really relate."  Those people make me want to drink.

Milestones: Lots of smiling and cooing.  From the moment she wakes up in the morning, Lena is just a bundle of smiles.
Favorites: Lena loves diaper changes and bath time.  So maybe I should just say she loves being naked?  Hopefully this isn't a problem someday.  She also loves being talked to, being held, outside, and nursing.  

As for Violet, besides being the coolest sister ever, she's also the sweetest.  Any time Lena cries, Violet says, "Nena kay (Lena okay)?" or runs to her saying "Coming Nena, coming!"  And whenever Lena is on her activity mat, she always tries to lay down next to her.  And she always tries to be extra gentle. (Toddler heads are like bowling balls though, so ya gotta be careful!) 

Things are getting easier (or more manageable) everyday.  I try to remember the advice I was given shortly after Violet was born.  Everything is a phase.  When it's hard, know it will pass (and substitute meals for coffee)  And when it's easy, savor it. 

Monday, January 18, 2016



I know there are at least a few people who think I'm kinda crazy for having a home birth.  I know this because people told me I was crazy for having a natural birth with Violet.  To be fair though, I did tell people that I was bringing a hot-plate to the hospital so I could cook up my placenta afterwards and never mentioned I was joking.

It wasn't until we moved to Texas that I even considered having a home birth.  Our home in Louisiana was just a little too far from a hospital to feel comfortable about giving birth at our house, but our new home is less than 5 minutes away, so I decided to start researching the possibility.  It really didn't take much convincing though, because I hate hospitals.  There were a few months during my pregnancy where I was under the care of a high-risk OB because of a low-lying placenta and I feared that not only would I have to deliver in a hospital, but I might need to be induced, or worse have a c-section.  Thankfully though, my placenta moved to where it needed to go and I was cleared for a home birth.  Hooray!

Two weeks before my due date, I got a call from my midwife.  She needed some unexpected surgery and wouldn't be able to deliver my baby.  Had this been my first pregnancy, this is probably where I would have freaked out.  Being my second though, I really didn't care who delivered my baby, as long as they knew what they were doing. 

A week before my due date, I woke up around 1:00 a.m. with mild contractions that felt like menstrual cramps.  The day before, I had my 39 week appointment and we were trying to guesstimate when I might go into labor because my in-laws were coming in town in a few days to help with Violet.  I was only dilated 1 cm and my midwife said, "Well, I don't think you'll go into labor tonight or even tomorrow."  That's called irony, folks.

I tried to sleep through contractions until I went into active labor, which was about five hours later.  Contractions during this time felt stronger, longer, and more painful, but definitely bearable.  One thing I learned during my labor with Violet was the more you tense up during contractions, the longer labor will last.  When the contractions got to the point where I needed to brace myself, I tried to calmly breathe in through my nose and out through my mouth until it had passed.

At 6:00 a.m., I called my midwife, or rather my back-up midwife, and let her know it was game time. Also at this time, Jon started getting the inflatable birthing pool ready.  It took about five minutes to inflate.  While it was inflating, Jon removed the shower head and connected a long hose to it that fed the water into the pool.  In total, it took a little over an hour to fill the birthing pool.  Jon also laid down some plastic sheets on the floor and a canvas drop-cloth on the bed to protect it from water and possibly blood.

At about 7:30 a.m., I was finally able to get into the birthing pool.  I'm not sure why, but it just feels more comfortable to be in labor in warm water, so it was a relief to finally get in.  I knew that I had about two hours until Violet would be waking up, and since there was no way Jon's mom would make it in time, I felt an urgency to deliver before she woke up.

At about 8:30 a.m., I started to go into the transition phase of labor.  Contractions were long, intense and definitely painful (though not as painful as I remembered them being with Violet), with about a minute's break between them.  While I tried to find a comfortable position to labor in, my midwife told me that if I could bear it, kneeling in a lunge position would speed things up.  This position was definitely more painful.  I could feel Lena squirming and it caused some intense pressure in my pelvic region.  My midwife showed Jon how he could help relieve some of this pain by hold my hips with an inward pressure while I rocked side-to-side slightly as I went into a contraction.  Despite the intensity of this position, I chose to be in it because I knew I couldn't delay the inevitable.  I've been through a 12 hour labor before, and if I could do anything to speed things up this time, I was all for it.  I'd say that this part of labor was the most painful.  In fact, I may have dropped the f-bomb a few times.

At 9:29 a.m., after eight hours of labor, I began pushing.  I don't really remember much about this time because it all happened so quickly.  As Lena was crowning, my midwife asked if I wanted to feel her head.  I said no, because I wanted to just get this over with.  As Lena's head was coming out, my midwife told me to try to push very gently, allowing my contraction to push her out, which prevents tearing.  Once her head was born, my midwife told me to give one more big push for her body.  I remember thinking, "This is going to hurt," and I pushed with every ounce of energy left in me.  After only six minutes of pushing, Lena Rose emerged, and I reached down and pulled her onto my chest.

During this pregnancy, one of my biggest concerns was what to do with Violet when I went into labor.  We'd recently moved to Texas and our closest family was six hours away.  We had friends who could help with Violet if there was an emergency, but at the time Violet seemed to be going through separation anxiety.  I was really worried about how traumatic it could be for her if she had to go with people she didn't really know well.  I tried to put these worries at the back of my mind though, and just pray for the best.  And really, things could not have happened more perfectly.  I went into labor in the middle of the night while Violet was sleeping and literally while I was pushing, she woke up and I could hear her singing her ABC's.  I'm so thankful things went so smoothly, but I'm mostly thankful to be able to have given birth in my own home, in my own room, while my daughter slept soundly in hers.

P.S.  I always get excited when I hear someone wants to have a natural birth, so if anyone has any questions, feel free to comment or e-mail!