Friday, July 31, 2015

Six Months, A Cone Head, & Other Momish Updates

I promised I'd post a few 6 month shots of Everly so here we go... It can be hard to blog when you have a baby. I have no idea how people keep up with it! I've been a slacker. Can't believe it's been half a year since Everly was born! Everyone tells you time flies and that you should enjoy your children- especially when they're young.

Everly's starting to show a lot of personality- I don't know how I ever made it through tough days without her smile! It's crazy how you can be having a bad day then it all just melts away when you hear a little giggle. Watching her grow up has been the most rewarding experience of my life and we're only 6 months in!

 I try hard not to overload Facebook with baby pictures...really, I do. I can't help it. Hence, sharing my blog...I'm like every other mom out there. I think my kid is adorable- I think everything she does is cute. I have to stop myself from telling people every single little thing Everly does. I have to remind myself that most people really don't care to hear about all the details! I find myself not caring about that, though, and I overshare anyway.

This is the best my life has ever been. I know Facebook is basically just a highlight reel of people's lives, but when I say I'm the happiest I've ever been- I mean it. She's the reason why!

 This is going to sound shallow, but it's totally honest... Everly wasn't always this cute.

Go ahead, call me a bad mom. I'm being real here, though.

I worried about whether my baby would be cute or not.

If people tell you that thought has never crossed their mind, they're lying. Of course, health was (and is) always more important than beauty. Beauty is's only skin's what's on the inside that counts...yada yada yada... While all of that is true, my pregnant self occasionally lay awake wondering... What if my kid is ugly? And WORSE...


Some may think me awful for saying this but it's brutal honestly. You think all sorts of crazy stuff when you're pregnant (and, when you're not pregnant if you're me)... but we've all seen it happen. The proud parents who think their kid is the most beautiful thing to ever grace the planet...regardless of what their kid looks like. They are seemingly unaware of their child's flaws, physical and/or otherwise. I was- and still am- one of these parents.

For example...

When Everly was born, she had a cone head..It was pretty serious.
I didn't notice Everly's little football head until people pointed it out to me. Maybe it was the drugs that had me blissfully oblivious, but I think it goes beyond that. 'Love is blind' applies here. I kept saying obnoxious things like, "Isn't she perfect?" and "She's so beautiful!" Meanwhile, my husband silently worried about whether or not she'd need to wear a helmet.

Everly actually shrunk after she was born. Seriously?! Yeah. She went from 20 1/2 inches at birth to 20 inches at her first doctor appointment. That's how much cone we're talkin'!

Everly's skin was red and splotchy. Her eyes -and her entire body, really- were swollen.

I had always thought newborns were little potatoes.

They didn't look like mom or dad...they just looked- weird.

My baby was the exception. (Isn't everybody's?) She was perfect, cone-head and all!

Fortunately, it did get better...

I guess maybe it is true...whatever your baby looks like- you think they're beautiful...and you're right. :) You soon find out there are MUCH bigger and more important things to worry about. Like them growing up, for example...

 As I sat Everly in a tiny rocking chair the other day for her 6-month pics, something strange happened before I could stop myself. I started to cry. Not uncontrollable sobs, people...just a few quiet, bittersweet tears and a little sniffle.

Before my daughter, I didn't understand why and how people got so ridiculously emotional over their kids! It just sort of hit me, unexpectedly. My kid is half a year old. Where did the time GO? Seems like just yesterday I was in the hospital. It's unreal.

So, yes. I cried. Just a smidgen of a cry, okay?

I love this kid more than ANYTHING. I want to teach her so much! I want her to be better than me. I don't want her to make the mistakes I've made. I want her to know that it doesn't matter what you look like- it matters how you act, how you treat others, and how you feel about yourself.

I used to wear a lot of makeup. I stopped wearing much when this kid came into the picture. I didn't want her to think she had to look perfect to leave the house. I didn't want her to think she should spend a ton of time getting ready to go somewhere. This decision ended up saving ME a lot of time, as well as made me feel better about how I naturally look. Little things like this have changed and when I stop to think about why, it always goes back to Everly.

Some people have asked why I want to go back to school.

I'm a stay-at-home-mom, after all.
Why do I need a degree? To answer: I WANT a degree for myself. I'm going back to school for MYSELF.

I am fortunate that I am able to stay home and raise my daughter.

For me, though, it's important to model what you want to instill in your children.

I completely respect the choices of others and I realize they differ from my own.

 If I'm going to encourage my daughter to do what makes her happy...
If I'm going to tell her that school is important...
If I'm going to tell her to do what she believes is right, regardless of what other people think....

I want my daughter to be proud of me. Being proud of myself helps make that happen. I've reflected a lot in the past 6 months. Things have changed so much, but it's all been for the better. Doing what I feel I need to do to become a better mother takes priority for me now.
Judging from this smile, I may be getting the hang of this whole mom thing!
New teeth! Here's Ev (because I like shortening her name to make her sound cooler) in my old high chair. She sat in it for the first time this week.

She's rubbing her gums here because they hurt and she has gravy on her bib and....wait, I'll stop. This is the boring stuff I have to catch myself doing now when I'm talking to other people. My stories sometimes aren't as interesting for others as they are for me. lol
Everything I am, I want her to be better. 
Everything I have, I want her to have more. 
Everything I've learned, I want to teach her. 
She has no idea how much better she's made me already.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

6 Months Later...

It's been over six months since I last blogged. Having a baby is a good excuse for taking a break, right? Tomorrow, Everly turns 6 months old. CRAZY!!!! My life has changed so much since she was born. I don't even know where to start!

In times like these, I'm glad I take tons of pictures...

<---------When I last blogged, I was 9 months pregnant.

WOW. I'd forgotten how much of a whale I felt like then!

This picture was taken right before we went to the hospital for Everly's delivery. (January 25, 2015.)

 I was SO READY to meet my little girl- and to not be pregnant anymore!

Little did I know that it would still be a while before Everly would make her grand entrance into the world...

Here we are at Centennial Women's Hospital in Nashville, TN. (Not pictured:'ll never see the in-labor pics, I'm afraid...) It's still January 25th and I'm in labor. I took this picture of my loyal birth support person...Of course, I envied him. I was in early stages of labor. My husband was snoring. This was just the beginning... good thing the couch was comfortable because we were going to be there a while...

35 hours later. 
35. hours...

Labor was HELL. I still debate on having anymore children when I think back on my labor and delivery. I'd already been in labor when we got to the hospital. Hours later, pitocin was given to speed up contractions. To make a long story short: Shoulder distotia. Near emergency C-section. Lots of pushing and panicking involved. So hungry. So tired. So...scared.

Then, finally... I remember the nurse saying,
"If we don't get her out on the next push, we need to call for a C-section."

Talk about pressure! (literally, lol)

Sandra Everly Hodge arrived at 9:11AM on January 27th, 2015.

The feeling here is indescribable. 
Some pictures say more than 1,000 words. 

For the first couple months postpartum, I was pretty much a hermit. I had my baby in the middle of winter and flu season. We stayed inside and I kept myself entertained taking tons of pictures. Trying to adjust to motherhood takes time. It's an emotional period, to say the least! It takes a while before you start feeling normal again. I tried breastfeeding. Another long story short, bottles became our besties. I was exhausted. I had no clue what I was doing. All of the sudden, I had this baby. This perfect, awesome baby that needed me. It's an incredible and completely overwhelming feeling that I'm fairly certain only other moms can understand. You want so much for this tiny person. You also realize that all that tiny person wants to do for a while is sleep. That gets boring. You don't care.  You're a mom now and you soon realize it won't be like this for long... 

 Before I knew it, the first doctor's appointments came and went. I tried to remember to take pictures of all the major milestone moments. My husband did give me a "push present". He insisted it not be called as such, though. Everly's birthstone is garnet so I snapped this picture at one of her first doctor appointments. I like to think I totally earned this ring!

I decided it was time to get back in shape...or, at least to make some sort of an effort. Being pregnant put me in an eat-whatever-I-want-and-worry-about-it-later frame of mind. People are always so (obnoxiously) curious about weight- especially before, during, and after pregnancy. "How much have you gained?" is a question I got sick of answering/lying about. To come completely clean here, I'll honestly answer. 

I weighed 107 pounds when I found out I was pregnant. 
I'm 5'4". 
107 pounds is super, super, WAY too skinny for me....probably anyone, for that matter. 
125-135 is a much healthier weight range. I've been known to go overboard on the dieting, on occasion. 
Anyway, at the very END of my pregnancy...
I weighed 167 pounds. 

I still remember the nurse saying, "Gettin' on up there, aren'tcha honey?", after I stepped on the scale at one of my appointments. A non-pregnant me would've probably snapped back at her. Pregnant me cried later.

Moving right along...

It was time to lose the baby weight. Breastfeeding helped (while it lasted).  
Running became my release. My outlet. I became Forrest Gump, I swear. I ran every day. I decided to run a 5K.

 While I was obsessed with running all of the sudden, Josh was busy studying for finals.

Everly helped both of us.
 I ran that 5K.
Josh aced all of his tests.
 I lost the baby weight.

Down to 130 now, on a good day.
135 when I decide to eat whatever I want.
 (Nosy people now satisfied?)
I'll never be 107 again.
 I don't want my daughter to think that's normal.
It's not.
I'd like to be healthier, not skinnier.
I'm getting there...

Anyway, the running sadly didn't last.
Got a stress fracture. (Bones aren't the same after having a baby, turns out!)
Still working on healing but I plan to run again soon!

For now, I'm one of those walking moms and malls are, like, my new gym. It's weird...

 Josh graduated from pharmacy school.  

We all dressed in red outfits. I planned that because that's the sort of stuff I'm into these 

 Six years lead us to this moment. I couldn't be a prouder wife!

Everly slept through most of her daddy's graduation. She looked super cute doing it, though. I couldn't help but think- She won't remember this. I soaked it all in so I can one day tell her...Daddy wasn't always a pharmacist. He was a BBQ server when Mommy met him. We fell in love...You went to Daddy's graduation...

It's funny, the future conversations I imagine having with my tiny daughter!

 I took this picture on a random date night- We picked up some KFC and had a picnic at a local park. When you have a baby, the time you have together as a couple becomes more precious. We sat and talked about what we want, what we've accomplished, and where we want to go from here. We moved to Ashland City when we found out I was pregnant. We needed (and still need) to save money, so it made sense. Everything that's happened within the past 6 months has been an adjustment. We're working towards something BIG. I remind myself of that and this picture helps me remember what's important. Sometimes, it's easy to look at what you don't have instead of everything you DO have. Right now, we don't own our own house. That's about to change because...

We are starting to look at houses.

It's kind of an overwhelming process, but I'm happy we're starting to look! I kind of get creeped out by how well things are going according to our plan. (Makes me sound like a mad scientist, I realize...) But, really...It's crazy that years ago we had this conversation...

"What do you wanna do?"
"I don't know. I'm thinkin' pharmacy."
"Well, I could work since I don't know what I want right now."
"Then we can have a baby after you graduate."
"Yeah, and buy a house."
(This conversation has been simplified, of course)

Little Miss Everly got here a little earlier than 'planned', but I wouldn't have it any other way
Now, the house hunt begins!
I'm also going back to school this fall. 

I worked while my husband was in pharmacy school. I'm ready to go back to school now. Plan is to finish my Associates in Psychology at Nashville State. After that, I'd love to do something in graphic design. Right now, I'm a stay-at-home mom. Harder job than any other I've had thus far...also, more rewarding!

In other news, my sister-in-law and I became friends. Close friends. I'll go out on a limb to say we're besties now. :) We also started a mom group...a successful one. Make fun of me if you want, but it's legit. Like 350 members legit...just sayin'. 

My nephew and my daughter hang out just about every day, which is awesome! We had no clue what we were doing when we started the group- We wanted our kids to have some little playmates. It became something a lot bigger than that. We do events all the time. I stay SUPER busy and I love it!

 See it here - - - - - - - - - > MOMS ON THE MOVE NASHVILLE

 I realize I'm totally biased, but they are SO ADORABLE!!!

Everly at 5 months...

Stay tuned for 6 month pics. It won't be another 6 months before I blog again...I promise. :)