stop trying to make it perfect.

Where My Heart Resides-1

“I tell him about the weight, the burden of representing something as beautiful and hard and messy and glorious as motherhood—this thing I believe in with all my heart, this thing I am dedicated to, this thing that feels like a 60-pound backpack on my shoulders. I confess my need to control, my struggle to delegate, my longing for every single post to be perfect.

I tell him about my fears, my insecurities, my anxiety that all of my hard work will fall apart while I’m drowning in newborn-land again, breastfeeding all day long while trying to entertain a toddler with one free hand.

How will I do this? 

He wraps his arms around me while I cry and reminds me of the familiar mantra I have spewed at him anytime he was overworked and overwhelmed: “You need to stop trying to make it perfect, and make it good enough.”

Touché.

Good enough. Good enough. Good enough.

I don’t know how to be good enough.”

…..read the rest over at Coffee + Crumbs today.

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third trimester faves.

Thirdtrimesterfavorites2

1. Jellyfish leather t-bar flats - Last month, ASOS was having a huuuuge sale, and I decided to treat myself to something that would surely fit at this point in pregnancy: shoes. At 8.5 months pregnant, I’m pretty much wearing flats exclusively, and these just so happen to look great with everything.

2. Split shoulder tee - You know where I’m not gaining weight these days? My shoulders. Might as well show those bad boys off. (Seriously though, this shirt is super flattering and one of my faves this month.)

3. ASOS shapewear leggings - We went to Santa Cruz a couple weekends ago—you know, where it’s not 103 degrees—and I was finally able to bust out my favorite maternity leggings. These fit like a dream, and I plan to wear them all winter long while my body slowly shrinks back to normal.

4. Dr. Jart BB cream - I have terrible skin when I’m pregnant. Terrible. My skin gets super oily and I break out a lot more than usual. This is my go-to “face base” and I cannot recommend it enough. I got a sample of this in my Birchbox a year ago, and have been hooked ever since. Some days I add a light layer of foundation on top, but most of the time I just apply concealer under my eyes and I’m good to go!

5. Unisom - Real talk: I am addicted to sleeping pills. Okay, not really, but kind of. I have legit insomnia when I am pregnant. As in—I will wake up at 3am and watch TV for two hours on the couch, eating bowls of Honey Nut Cheerios like it’s my job. And then I’ll work on my laptop until everyone else wakes up, at which point I’ll be a walking zombie for the rest of the day. It’s not cute. After complaining to my midwife, she suggested I try Unisom and it has been a LIFESAVER this pregnancy. I take half a tablet almost every night and have been sleeping like a dream. This is probably my #1 pregnancy staple this time around.

6. MAMA skinny jeans - Confession: this was an impulse buy last week. I don’t know, I got caught up in the Pumpkin Spice Latte hype or something. It’s still way too hot to wear jeans but I tried these on in the fitting room and couldn’t believe how well they fit. I couldn’t justify buying a “real” new pair of jeans this fall/winter since I know my body will be changing so much, but $35 for skinny jeans with a stretchy waistband seemed like a reasonable purchase. Happy sweater weather to me.

7. Floral nightgown - Last month I went shopping with my friend Christina who is due one week before me. We treated ourselves to new nursing bras, new sweatpants, and pretty new nightgowns to bring to the hospital. I wear this every single night and basically want to live in it. Plus! It has nursing straps, which is perfect for middle-of-the-night feedings.

This officially concludes the roundups of pregnancy faves, but in case you missed em, I am still enjoying all of these as well: first trimester faves // second trimester faves

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on making room.

Where my heart resides

I’ll be the first to admit: I always knew I was going to be the type of momma to go a little overboard on the nursery. I knew there would be a well-developed Pinterest board, a neutral color scheme, and plenty of non-baby decor items neatly arranged on top of the dresser. I knew people were going to roll their eyes at me.

Some of you are probably rolling your eyes right now.

That’s okay.

Because halfway through decorating Everett’s nursery, I realized something about the process. I realized that my attention to detail and obsessive compulsive tendencies were less about making a Pinterest-perfect room and more about simply making room

There I was—six months pregnant—folding and re-folding neat stacks of freshly washed burp cloths, having the epiphany of a lifetime.

I was making room
In my heart. In the dresser. In the closet. In my marriage. In my home. In my life.

In my everything. 

That nursery became a sanctuary for me—a place where I could let my mind wander and spend intentional time focusing on the tiny life growing inside of me. I spent hours upon hours in that room, arranging globes and hanging maps, folding onesies and stocking the diaper drawer with unopened creams and lotions. As I moved around the room shifting items on the bookcase, I wondered what our baby would look like, sound like, be like. I wondered if he would love to read like his mom and if he would be good at basketball like his dad.

With every folded onesie and pinwheel tacked to the wall, I felt a little more ready, a little more connected, a little more prepared. It was therapeutic. Cathartic. Peaceful. I found myself drawn to that room every afternoon, straightening books on the shelves and fluffing the pillow on the rocking chair. I moved the teddy bear to the left of the crib, then back to the right, then back to the left again. I carefully analyzed every item in that room, every sock, every piece of art on the walls. I could have described every last detail in a police report if I needed to.

That nursery was more than a nursery. It was the room where I made room—for him, for us, for all of it.

***

As I approach the ninth month of my second pregnancy, I have found myself spending more and more time in this baby’s room. I feel guilty admitting that his nursery has been more of an afterthought, but that’s the truth. I have only just now started putting the room together, with seven weeks of pregnancy left to go.

It has been hard to focus, to be intentional, to feel connected to this life growing inside of me while the first life that grew inside of me is running around the house like a monkey jumping off the couch and asking for more crackers. If it wasn’t for the fact that none of my clothes fit and I have to pee every sixteen minutes, I might occasionally forget that I’m pregnant altogether.

And I really, really hate that. 

So, for the next seven weeks, I’m giving myself permission to turn back into that crazy, eye-roll-inducing momma. I’m giving myself permission to fold and re-fold the onesies, to meticulously arrange feather decals on the wall, to sort the books alphabetically if I feel like it. I’m going to find room in the budget for a new rug, and I’m going to order that $26 print off Etsy that compliments our theme so perfectly. I apologize in advance for the instagrams that will surely follow.

But I hope at least now you see—this nursery is not about the elephant crib sheets or the adorable giraffe lamp or the dream catchers hanging on the wall. And those other mommas over there? It might not be about their birdcages and twig wreaths and vintage dresser knobs.

For some of us, it’s simply about making room.
In our hearts. In our dressers. In our closets. In our everything.

***

Everett’s nursery tour + Baby #2′s Pinterest board

p.s. I’m back on HuffPo today (!!!) defending two-year-olds

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our maternity photos.

Where My Heart Resides-1 Where My Heart Resides-2 Where My Heart Resides-3 03-maternity faves2Where My Heart Resides-5 Where My Heart Resides-11 Where My Heart Resides-7Where My Heart Resides-1402-maternity faves1Where My Heart Resides-9 Where My Heart Resides-19Where My Heart Resides-2205-maternity faves4Where My Heart Resides-23 Where My Heart Resides-25Where My Heart Resides-26 Where My Heart Resides-33 07-maternity faves6 Where My Heart Resides-31 08-maternity faves7Where My Heart Resides-3009-maternity faves8Where My Heart Resides-4310-maternity faves9Where My Heart Resides-46

Where My Heart Resides-48{ dress: Max Studio (similar fit dress here); green ring & earrings c/o Rocksbox }

My sweet friend Sarah took these pictures for us a couple weeks ago, and…..wait for it….this was her FIRST maternity shoot, ever.

!!!

Sarah just launched her official photography business and I could not possibly be more proud of her. It can be super nerve-wracking to release your art into the world, but I think we all can agree: the girl’s got skill. I am so thankful to have these gorgeous photos to document our last few weeks as a family of three. Thank you, Sarah!

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labels, dreams, fears, and fuel.

where my heart resides

{ photo by Sarah Thornhill }

One of the weirdest things that has plagued me since becoming a mother is figuring out my label. I’m not even into labels, but it seems like every time I meet a new person or start chatting with another mom at the park, this question inevitably comes up:

So, do you stay home or…..?

Shortly after Everett was born, and my steady contract gig ended, I got into the habit of saying I was a stay-at-home mom. I don’t know why I started saying that, since I was also running a photography business on the side, but it just seemed like an easy thing to say. After all, I was staying at home most of the time (see: wearing yoga pants covered in spit-up and eating cheetos like a boss).

Fast forward two years and I find myself still struggling with that question and those ridiculous labels. Stay-at-home mom. Work-at-home mom. Working mom. Part-time-working mom.

Two months ago, I started Coffee + Crumbs with high hopes and low expectations. I hoped it would be well received and that it would grow steadily into the place I dreamed it would be: an online community built on storytelling and me too’s. I had tiny numbers in my head, small goals for us to reach by Christmastime.

And then we reached all of them in the first six weeks.

So I celebrated! I danced in my kitchen! I clinked my glass of iced tea to Everett’s sippy cup in the backyard, saying “cheers” half a dozen times.

And then, being the hormonal pregnant mess that I am, I cried. Sobbed. Had a nervous breakdown. Had a second nervous breakdown. I scared Brett with all the crying, all the Freaking Out, all the incessant worrying.

While all of our numbers and goals were being met and surpassed, I started receiving an overwhelming amount of validation. E-mails. Texts. In-real-life conversations. Everyone was generous and forthcoming with compliments and feedback, affirming the idea and concept and all of the hard work behind the scenes.

I reveled in that validation for exactly five minutes before the panic set in.

That panic turned into fear and that fear turned into anxiety and that anxiety turned into a two hour cry-fest on my couch.

I was struggling. Drowning in e-mails and submissions and to-do lists that were never finished. I couldn’t keep up with everything and felt like I was failing everyone. The higher our numbers climbed, the more pressure I felt to make it perfect. I was losing myself in perfectionism, and it wasn’t pretty.

Something had to change, something had to give, and there weren’t any easy answers. It’s easy to talk about things like boundaries and delegating, but actually doing them is a whole other story.

And yet.

Smack in the middle of my nervous breakdown on the couch, I realized something.

My dreams for Coffee + Crumbs were only getting bigger.

The fear wasn’t paralyzing me; in a way, it was fueling me. 

A podcast.
An online shop.
A beautiful hardcover book filled with our stories.

I can see all of it.

And while I have no idea where to start or how to get there, I know one thing for sure: I love what I see.

So I guess you can label me whatever you want. Right now I’m home with a toddler and another baby on the way, working my ass off during naptime and during twenty minute spurts while Curious George plays in the background. Nothing is easy; guilt follows me around like a puppy dog all day long. There’s never enough time, nothing is ever finished, but nervous breakdowns aside…..I’m starting to believe this is right where I am supposed to be. Taking care of a toddler, bringing another sweet baby boy into the world, and attempting to create something meaningful for other mothers in the process.

In this season of life, this place of in-between and All The Big Dreams, motherhood fuels the content of my work, and the content of my work fuels the mother I am becoming. The lines are often blurred and while that feels impossibly hard on most days, I’m grateful I don’t have to choose one or the other. I love being a mom, and I love the work that I’m doing. I’m making it all up as I go along, creating a dream job in between poopy diapers and cracker bribes. 

To hell with the labels; there is no label adequate for that.

It will not be easy, but this is only the beginning.

Cheers to leaning in.

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