Friday, December 28, 2018

Looking Back at 2018


The past couple of years have been some of the most memorable of my life - getting engaged in 2016, married in 2017, and now becoming a mother this year! 2018 has been unforgettable and I’ve loved every chapter, from being pregnant for 10 months to welcoming our sweet baby boy, and career advancements being promoted to the Accessories Buyer at work. Sharing some of my favorite photos from this special year below.

I can’t wait to see what 2019 holds for my new family of three. Wishing you all a fun & safe New Year!

{loving every stage}

{the day we found out I was pregnant}

{It's a BOY!}

{Journey to Jack}

{waiting on the most special gift}

{angel baby}

{couldn't resist dressing him up in this crochet Santa set}

{heart melted}

{making silly faces}





{soaking up all the snuggles}

{post-bath}

{first Christmas as a family of three}

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Jack Oliver


Jack Oliver Buckman made his grand entrance on December 4, 2018 at 11:30am, weighing 7 pounds 15 ounces and 20 inches long.


• • •


About 6 years ago, while living in LA (and on a brief long-distance split with Greg), a friend asked me a question that changed my life. "What is something that you must do before you die that would make your life complete?" Kind of thrown off guard by such a serious question, I really thought about it and my answer was simple: be a mom. This conversation shaped my future, because in that moment I knew Greg would be the father of my child one day. I called him the following morning and we decided to give forever a shot. Two months later, Greg moved across the country and the rest is history.

Two weeks ago my lifelong dream of becoming a mom became a reality when I gave birth to my son. My due date was November 28th and my doctor advised an induction before reaching 41 weeks as the risk for c-section and other complications increases. I had an appointment to be induced on Monday, December 3rd. 

I had tried so many things to naturally speed up labor. My body had started the process, with a few early labor symptoms and being dilated about 1-2 cm, but had been in that state for 2 weeks with no progression. I was so nervous about being induced and scared of the medication Pitocin commonly used. My anxiety was through the roof, crying constantly and not sleeping at all. My mom is a nurse and she talked to me about my fears, helping me work through my anxiety, and backed my doctors advice as well as my decision to go through with the induction.

Greg, my mom (who was serving as my doula) and I showed up to the hospital at 6:45am on the day of my scheduled induction but we were unfortunately turned away as there were no open rooms available, and were told we would receive a call around lunch time to return. Slightly disappointed since I had mentally prepared for the appointment, we went home and waited for the call. I tried to keep my mind off everything - Greg and I took a long 45 minute walk around the neighborhood and I took a quick nap. I ate a hearty lunch and called the maternity ward back, and was told to come in at 1:30pm. Once I was admitted, it still took forever to get started as the floor was packed with patients.

After a cervical exam showing I was still only 1-2 cm dilated, my doctor advised the nurse to give me Cervidil, which is typically a 12-hour process and then start Pitocin the next morning. Bummed that we were getting a late start at 6pm and would have to wait until the following morning to really get things going, but I was still trying to stay positive. About a half hour after the nurse placed the Cervidil, she came back in to ask if I was feeling the contractions shown on the monitor. I wasn’t feeling much but encouraged that things were happening. 

My doctor came in to check me and moved the Cervidil even farther back (ouch!!) The contractions immediately started getting more intense accompanied with stabbing pain in my lower back. The nurse I had that night was so amazing - offering me heating packs for my back, brought in a birthing ball to bounce on, and hooked me up to a wireless monitor so I could walk the halls. Nothing was helping the pain and the contractions were on top of each other, never returning to the baseline.

My nurse came back in to do another check after seeing the monitor and said we could remove the Cervidil since it kickstarted labor and my body was taking over. My doctor came in and broke my water at 1am. I called my mom shortly after to give her an update and she and my dad headed back to hospital to be by my side. 

The pain got so intense. I tried to just close my eyes and take deep breaths through each contraction but my body was shaking uncontrollably. My nurse said the anesthesiologist was down the hall with another patient and could give me an epidural whenever I was ready. At 3am I got an epidural, which was surprisingly painless. I started feeling better shortly after that as my lower body became numb. I slept through the active labor stage, with my nurse coming in every hour to shift me from side to side to help speed up the dilation process. By 5am, I was 6cm and at 7am I was at 9cm. It was almost go-time. Greg called his parents to start getting ready and head to the hospital since they live about an hour away.

A little after 10am, my doctor instructed me to start pushing, with Greg and my mom by my side. Greg and one of the nurses held each of my legs for the next hour and 20 minutes until our baby was born. The epidural ran out at the worst possible time - he was crowning and I felt everything! It was extremely painful but the reward was beyond worth it.

As soon as he was born, my doctor put Jack on my chest and Greg cut the umbilical cord shortly after. We snuggled skin to skin for a little while before taking his measurements. The doctor, nurses and my mom stepped out so Greg and I could have some time just the three of us. After about an hour, Greg went to the waiting room to get our parents to meet their new grand baby. Jack and I were alone for the first time. When I looked down at him, I lost it - tears of joy streaming down my face as the adrenaline of delivery started to subside and immense happiness flooded over me. I couldn’t believe I was holding my sweet baby boy in my arms. 

Many don't know that I was adopted, and it's something I rarely think about given that my parents and I have such a close relationship, and would never consider anyone else my Mom and Dad. But when Jack was born, I met my first blood-relative, which was a truly indescribable feeling. I can’t wait to see which of my features he received as he continues to grow and develop.


We have had our kids’ names picked out for years, and Jack was named after Greg’s grandfather. We had several contenders for a middle name but wanted to wait until we met our little guy to decide on one. The night of his birthday, when the three of us had moved to the recovery room and finally had a moment of peace without interruptions, Greg and I discussed which middle name suited him best. We both immediately said Oliver. 

Overall the labor and delivery experience was almost exactly as I stated in my "wishful-thinking" birth plan. I’m so glad the induction went smoothly and my body naturally took over so I could avoid Pitocin. Greg and my mom were the best cheerleaders and so supportive throughout the process and I’m so glad they were with me. Greg and I feel incredibly blessed to have a healthy and happy baby boy. He’s so perfect and we fall more in love every day.

{the last bump picture with my mom/doula}

{the moment we became parents}

{just shy of 8 pounds}

{tiny footprints}

{meeting the Nanas}

{snuggling with Poppy}

{sleeping on Dad's chest}

{father and son}

{post-breastfeeding bliss}

{our sweet boy}

Friday, November 16, 2018

Third Trimester Recap


{sunset beach walk at 37 weeks}

I made it to the home stretch. I'm currently 38 weeks pregnant, and Jack could make his arrival any day. Pregnancy has been a truly unbelievable experience and I'm so thankful to have had a healthy journey. There have been tough days sprinkled in over the last 9 months but overall I've been happy, feeling pretty good and just beyond grateful for our little miracle. Greg and I have been together for 9 years and have always talked about wanting a family. After we got married last year, we decided it was as good a time as any to start trying, and we feel really blessed that we will be meeting our son so soon.

The aches and pains have definitely set in, but I've done my best to stay active during my entire pregnancy. Working out has become increasingly harder the farther along I've gotten, but I am still going for (almost) daily 30-45 minute beach walks, albeit at a much slower pace. Late in the second trimester, I began experiencing some pain in my abdomen and pelvis so certain exercises only made it worse. Between 34 and 36 weeks, he dropped and the pressure has been intense with random jolts of shooting pain that stop me in my tracks. I have had good days and bad days, but have taken advantage of when I'm feeling up to it to go for a walk, lift light weights, and practice yoga.

During the third trimester, my diet has remained pretty much the same - focusing on protein, fruits and veggies, but I've actually had a decrease in appetite as he continues to grow and take up more space in my tummy. Meals have become snacks, as I get full after several bites. The all-day nausea that finally broke around week 20 has come back but thankfully only in waves, usually after eating and dissipates within an hour. I really didn't have any cravings throughout pregnancy, so Greg got lucky with not having any crazy late-night runs :)

{29 week bump in a cherry-printed dress}

The recommended weight gain for pregnancy is between 25-35 pounds. I have tried my best to stay on the low end of that spectrum, given my petite 5'2 frame. I weighed 112 lbs pre-pregnancy and have gained a total of 26 pounds. I'm not going to stress myself out over losing the weight right away. I'm focused on recovering and healing, and spending time bonding with my newborn. It took 9 months to gain the weight in order to grow my son, so I'm giving myself at least that much time to try and get my body back to "normal." It has been amazing to see my body transform and looking back at baby bump progression photos is mind-blowing!

There are numerous physical changes with pregnancy, and a lot of them have to do with skin: acne, melasma, spider veins, the linea nigra, and stretch marks. Hormonal breakouts hit me hard during the first trimester, but have since settled down tremendously. I did not experience any melasma, which I contribute to wearing sunscreen on my face everyday, thanks to my SPF 30 tinted moisturizer. I also haven't seen any spider veins pop up. Around week 36, the linea nigra started showing on my belly, but it's very faint. Knowing that I'm prone to developing stretch marks (I have some from my teenage years), I've been super diligent about trying to avoid them. Starting at 9 weeks, I have applied Bio Oil and Burt's Bees Mama Bee Belly Butter twice a day. After every shower, I slather on Bio Oil while my skin is still a little damp, and every morning and night without fail, I have used the Burt's Bees lotion. Neither one leaves a residue on clothes, and neither one has a strong smell. I think using these products in combination with staying really hydrated (drinking a gallon of water a day, no joke) and gaining the recommended weight gradually, has helped a lot. I'm going to continue using both of these after delivery to help my skin stay moisturized while my tummy shrinks back down.


{32 weeks - when I officially couldn't see my toes anymore}

I've been wearing comfy dresses 95% of the time (maxis and stretchy bodycon styles are the best!) The only piece of maternity clothing I bought was one pair of jeans, but it's been such a hot year in Florida that I didn't wear them until the last week of October when "fall" finally decided to appear. The temperature dropped below 80 degrees and I decided I should at least wear them once before my bump is gone!

I previously shared all the details of our Baby Shower - it was a fun day filled with family, friends, BBQ and playing in the pool. My amazing co-workers also threw me a surprise shower in October which was so special! Greg and I feel extremely fortunate to have a village of loved ones to help us in this new chapter. Everyone has been very generous and we have everything we could ever need or want for Jack! My parents have been crucial in preparing for our new arrival, and we're grateful that they live only 15 minutes away. Nana and Poppy are over the moon about their new grand-baby!

Decorating the nursery was one of my favorite parts of pregnancy, and I loved finding all the special pieces that tie the room together. It's surreal to think that we will be bringing our son home within the next couple weeks! Greg and I did a maternity shoot at the 8-month mark and I know we are going to treasure those photos forever. For the most part, I have enjoyed being pregnant and it's so nice to have documented memories to look back on, between pictures, blog posts and my own personal journal entries.

{35 weeks pregnant at the pumpkin patch}

It's no surprise to anyone that knows my husband, but Greg has been the absolute biggest support throughout this entire journey - everything from coming to doctor's appointments to cleaning the cat box, giving me back rubs and getting excited every time he feels Jack moving. On days when I'm in a lot of pain, he totally takes over - setting me up with a comfy spot on the couch, cooks dinner, cleans, everything! I already knew he was an amazing partner but he has gone above and beyond these last 9+ months. He is anxious to meet his mini-me, and I can't wait to see him grow into his role as a father.

As I'm nearing the end of pregnancy, I have a lot of mixed feelings. I am thrilled by the thought of meeting our little man, but I'm going to miss having him with me every second of the day. I already feel so connected to him, knowing that my body made his, everything from his eyelashes to his toes. I have been his home and know he's safe in there - protected and getting all the nutrients and sleep he needs. The thing I'm going to miss the most is feeling Jack move in my tummy - I'm soaking up all the kicks, jabs, hiccups and rolls while I can. He's running out of room in there lately but every movement is the sweetest reminder that he will be in my arms soon.

Greg is planning to take off work for the first four weeks after Jack arrives and I couldn't be more excited for the time we are going to spend as a family of three, enjoying all the new baby snuggles, learning about our little guy and being sleep-deprived together. Our hospital bags are packed and waiting by the door - the final countdown is on!

{Halloween costumes: baby under construction // my tool belt was complete with a rubber ducky, diapers and a bottle!}

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Smile Brilliant CariPRO Electric Toothbrush


Who doesn't want a bright, white smile? It's such a confidence-booster for me. I worked with Smile Brilliant last year, and loved the whitening trays that kept my teeth sparkling for our wedding day, so I jumped at the chance to try out their new CariPRO Electric Toothbrush.

As someone that has used a regular manual toothbrush forever, the CariPRO was a game changer. After using it twice a day for a week, I'm seeing and feeling a noticeable difference in how clean and white my teeth are. With a sleek design, interchangeable brush heads and long battery life, this toothbrush is a winner. 

The CariPRO toothbrush has five settings - clean, white, massage, gum care, and sensitive. I'm loving the "sensitive" setting currently, as pregnancy makes your gums more susceptible to become swollen (thanks, hormones). It also has a timer that pauses every 30 seconds to alert you that it's time to move to the next quadrant of your mouth, totaling 2 minutes. I've seen such a difference in my smile in a short period of time, I'm ditching my regular toothbrush for the foreseeable future!

I'm so excited to offer my readers a 20% discount and a chance to win a CariPRO Electric Toothbrush!

Click below to enter the Giveaway:
https://www.smilebrilliant.com/gb/mc2squared

20% Discount Code: 
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best electric toothbrush

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Maternity Photoshoot Favorites



Greg and I celebrated our first Wedding Anniversary on October 7th, and our gift to each other was a maternity photoshoot. We met Bia Schaefer at Rock Springs in Apopka bright and early and had a great time shooting around the property. She captured gorgeous images of such a special time in our life. The gallery turned out so beautiful and we will cherish these photos forever. See some of my favorite shots below.









Monday, October 8, 2018

Reese's Blondies


Combining Greg and my favorite candies into a delicious dessert - the Reese's holiday shapes are my go-to (double the peanut butter!) and Greg loves the crunchy pieces. I mixed both into blondies and they turned out so good - thick, gooey and loaded with festive treats! If Reese's aren't your thing, you could easily substitute with any kind of candy as this recipe is the perfect way to use up leftover Halloween sweets. 

ingredients
12 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 sugar
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup Reese's Pieces, divided
10 Reese's Pumpkins, chopped

recipe
{1}
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Prep a 9x9 baking dish by either lining with parchment paper or spraying with non-stick baking spray. Set aside.
{2}
In a stand mixer or large bowl, mix together the butter, brown sugar and sugar. Add in the egg, egg yolk and vanilla, mix to combine. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda and salt. Slowly add flour mixture to the stand mixer and mix until just combined. Using a spatula, carefully fold in 3/4 cup of the Reese's Pieces and the chopped Reese's Pumpkins.
{3}
Spread dough into prepared pan and sprinkle with remaining Reese's Pieces, lightly pressing them into the top of the dough.
{4}
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the edges are golden brown, and the middle looks dry and does not sink in when gently touched. Remove and let cool before serving. Cut into large squares and enjoy!




{recipe adapted from iheartnaptime.net}

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Jack's Nursery


One of my favorite parts of pregnancy has been designing Jack's nursery. We decided to go with a nautical theme, which feels like a natural extension of the decor in our beach bungalow currently. I had so much fun curating all of the pieces - a sign with his name, wall decor, and pillows - all in shades of navy, blue, white, grey and touches of seafoam. The end result turned out exactly how I had envisioned! It's hands-down my favorite room in our home and I've been spending a lot of time in there just daydreaming about our little guy.


The Jack sign was the first thing I bought for the room - it's custom from Etsy and I love the rope and anchor design. My Aunt and Uncle gifted us the crib for our baby shower, and surprised us with a beautiful baby blanket that my Aunt Patty hand-crocheted!


When my parents moved out of their house earlier this year, we were fortunate enough to inherit a lot of furniture - including a day bed and dresser that Greg re-painted for the nursery. We picked out 5 paint swatches to coordinate the dresser drawers with the rest of the room. The throw pillows are all from Home Goods and Pier 1, and the grey blackout curtains are from Amazon.


 I absolutely love the way the dresser turned out - Greg did an amazing job flipping the former black dresser into a colorful piece that really ties the whole room together. The whale lamp is a Home Goods score, and we found the ship wheel on Amazon, which matched the dresser perfectly!


Greg also re-did the whale tail wall art that we found at T.J. Maxx, by painting the background the same grey as the top drawer of the dresser and then sanded it down for a distressed look.


We bought the reclining rocking chair and throw pillow from Target, which is so comfortable! Can't wait to rock Jack to sleep every night. A little over 2 months to go!
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