Oh man, I am smiling as I sit down and open my blog up for the first time in a month — a month, that’s how long it’s been since I wrote about my sweet girl who’s napping. Yes, I’m sitting in a pitch-black hotel room with white noise as the soundtrack to my writing session and smiling as wide as can be because this month has been my favorite month yet. Does it really just keep getting better and better? I mean, yeah, being in Hawaii for the last month doesn’t hurt but man, Conley is so much fun.
We’ve spent the last four weeks in our happy place on Maui. We’ve spent days snuggled at The Kutcher Condo, we’ve ventured out to beaches, went swimming every single day, enjoyed long walks with palm tree views, and discovered all kinds of new things through the eyes of our girl. Taking this time away to step back from work – really, truly, just ask Drew – has been such a gift.
Maternity leave was a bit of a struggle for me, because I wrapped up all work things and then realized that newborns sleep like 20 hours a day and I was Netflix-ed out 5 days into the leave but this break? I was ready for it and so having my girl go from six to seven months and me being able to disconnect from work and just be her mama 24/7 was THE best. Her personality is shining more and more every day. She makes us laugh, that little comedian.
What’s new this month
Food! Conley started on solids this month and it’s been so much fun. We’re not really in a camp when it comes to the puree vs. baby-led weaning, we’re just doing a bit of both and trusting our intuition and letting her lead us in what excites her. So far she’s tried all kinds of food and loved every single bit. From avocado (a fave) to sweet potatoes, squash, banana — she’s even tried venison, steak, ono fish, and a few other proteins thanks to these awesome silicone feeders that allow her to taste food without swallowing or choking on it.
She’s also ready to get moving more. She loves being upright most and has pretty close to mastering sitting up (minus a few cute topples that make her laugh!) Coco loves tummy time and has started rocking back and forth which makes me think that crawling is on the horizon. She also LOVES to stand – like all the time – so we get great arm workouts in holding her up and letting her strong, sturdy little legs hold her up.
I’m pretty sure teeth will pop any day now. She loves putting every little thing in her mouth and loves when we massage her gums. She’s drooly (but not too bad) and her cute little gummy smile is ready to have some teeth added to the mix.
What we couldn’t live without
1.) These silicone feeders: (that I mentioned above.) My friend Sarah pointed me in the direction of these because they are a lot easier to clean than the mesh ones that you can buy. We just throw one in the diaper bag and then whatever we order or make for dinner, we will put some in there for her to enjoy. Babies at this age need iron so we try to choose iron-rich foods for her and so far she loves it. These are really easy to wash out and you can freeze food in them so they double as a teether.
2.) This swimsuit with SPF 50: I bought this on Amazon when we came to Hawaii and Coco was 6 weeks old – needless to say, Drew called it “the clown suit” but man, she’s lived in this little swimsuit on this trip. It’s awesome because it has built-in 50 SPF so we don’t have to lather her skin up all the time and just hit her little neck, hands, and feed. It’s also great because it easily zips on and off. I love this little suit!
3.) These swaddle blankets: Okay, I’ll be honest, we have about 50 different swaddle blankies at home. One thing we quickly realized here on island is that our baby girl runs HOT, like super hot. When Solly sent us a little care package that included these new swaddle blankets, it was a godsend. They are so crazy soft – like a perfectly worn-in tee-shirt – and not too heavy, so I could use them for nursing her in public and for a little cover in her stroller without spiking her temp. Plus, they are super cute!
4.) This baby carrier: Everyone told me about “ring sling” carriers and I kind of didn’t want to buy the hype. I need to do a blog post because we literally have been sent and have used every single carrier out there from the wrap kind to the ergo ones but I was actually super impressed with this carrier and found myself grabbing it all the time when we were out and about. Not only was it super easy to get her into, but she could also nurse while in the carrier and let’s be honest, this Nena and Co fabric is to-die-for. I am a convert, for sure.
5.) This stroller fan: Another Amazon purchase here that came in clutch on our trip. Every day I’d go on a walk with babe while Drew went to the gym and it’s been really hot here in Maui. This cheap little stroller fan was perfect for keeping Conley cool. My only complaint is that we have to charge it every night and it died on us a few times but honestly, it was a pretty great little stroller fan and people kept stopping us to ask us where we got it. Thank you, Amazon.
How I’m feeling
Happy. In short, I’m simply feeling happy. This has been my favorite Maui trip yet! I feel like we really rested here, I took a big step back from work, didn’t worry about micromanaging anything and just let go so that I could be a more present wife and mama. Every single night we would go to bed and I’d say to Drew, “That was a good day.” I’ve enjoyed this uninterrupted time with my family, I’ve loved my mornings with my girl, I’ve loved getting to just be mom for a bit and to slow my brain back down.
It’s so funny because for years and years, I leaned into my workaholic tendencies which led me to work all of the time and I would just chalk it all up to the fact that my brain doesn’t slow down enough to allow me to rest… wrong. I had never given myself a chance to pull away enjoy to actually enjoy rest and man, have I mastered that over the last few years thanks to an incredible, hardworking team, a smart business set up, and the freedom to let time be my currency. I am so incredibly privileged to get to have this time with my family on an island without having to worry about work – I get that and there isn’t a day that I don’t have gratitude for that.
We’ve just taken each day as it comes not really having plans but always being open to whatever comes our way! We’ve gotten to reconnect with friends, meet new friends, venture across the island, eat incredible food, but most of all, we’ve been able to just be. I’ve left my phone behind a ton, I haven’t switched it off of “do not disturb” mode the entire month, and have gone days without opening my laptop. It’s been great and I’m feeling really thankful and happy for these memories.
Some thoughts on motherhood
One thing that I’ve been mulling over a lot this month is how much and what I will share of my daughter. It’s funny because I always assumed I would want to share just like other mothers do: posting cute videos, sharing tons of photos, daily updates, the usual, but in this month, I’ve grown incredibly introspective and had a lot of thoughts about Conley and the internet. I hesitate in sharing this because I don’t know which direction I’ll go with these thoughts… I don’t want to say that I’m having these feelings and then be judged for choosing to still share her or vice versa – needless to say, I am still thinking through it all and having a lot of discussions with Drew about how we want to share our girl, our little miracle with the world.
I think it’s hard when you have grown such a following of people who have watched you through the years – specifically with our story of struggling to start our family – and then think about pulling back on how we share her, the thing I realize is that Conley didn’t ask to be born into a world where thousands of people see her memories as they unfold and while we have 99% positivity from the online world, my mama instincts have been leaving me wanting to protect her from that 1% that inevitably comes.
I love sharing my world online but now she is a part of my world and it’s not just my story anymore, it’s hers. We’re talking through this and we plan to continue to share bits and pieces of her life but we also might be pulling back a bit more as we navigate the internet and parenthood without answers. I’m just continuing to think, to question, to give myself space to try different things but ultimately, I am going to put what I think is best for her, first.
Month Seven Can Be Summarized As
While our time in Maui was nothing short of amazing, we can not wait to get back to our pups and to our family waiting for us in the Midwest. We loved our island time but we’re missing the beautiful summers of Duluth and we’re ready to get in some lake time, nana and papa time, and cousin time. Maui has been hot this summer and so we’re looking forward to jumping in the lake, going on walks and not having to pack ice packs to keep the baby cool, and bringing the dogs with us. What a beautiful life when both extremes are equally wonderful.
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