Monday, April 21, 2014

{Elodie Elizabeth Denfeld}

She's here! 

If you follow me on Instagram, you're well aware our little lady arrived exactly two weeks ago today on April 7th, 2014! 

The last two weeks have been such a whirlwind… While at times it feels like her delivery was just yesterday, there are also times it feels like she's been with us forever. 

Corey was able to take two weeks off work, which was seriously amazing. I am certain I wouldn't have gotten through the last two weeks without him. He has been the absolute biggest help. I knew he would be an amazing dad, but he exceeded every expectation and hope imaginable and my love for him has grown exponentially since Elodie was born. 

So, how about that precious baby? She arrived at 8:30 in the morning after a fairly quick (for a first timer!) labor/delivery. I can't wait to share her birth story! She weighed in at a healthy 7 pounds, 10 ounces and measured 20.5 inches long. She was born with the most adorable fat rolls on her arms -- I just wanted to eat them up!

We were in the hospital two days and two nights. I always thought we'd stay only one, but was so glad it was actually two as we learned so much from the nurses, and it just felt really good to be in our safe little bubble with our new addition for those first couple days.

Since coming home things have been a total roller coaster. Some days I am feeling like I'm on the top of the world. I couldn't be happier, I feel like I'm getting the hang of breastfeeding, she sleeps a good stretch at night... And then others I am an emotional wreck. I feel like I'm failing at motherhood and find breastfeeding completely overwhelming. The good news is the good days far outweigh the bad, and from what I hear what I'm experiencing emotionally is totally normal (thanks, hormones!). So we're just taking things day by day over here. As of today Corey is back at work and I am feeling extra thankful we live so close to family who can help me as I'm still getting adjusted to motherhood.

Just wanted to pop in for a quick update on how things were going over here. Hopefully I'll be back sooner than later with Elodie's birth story :) 
{Photos © Liz Denfeld Photography}

Sunday, March 23, 2014

{The Nursery}

I feel like we pulled this nursery together in record time. I had known for a long time certain elements I wanted for the nursery (like the Sharon Montrose animal prints), and we actually bought our crib really early on (like back in September), but getting past that was difficult. I waffled back and forth on the crib, we took forever to purchase the dresser, I could not for the life of me figure out what to do about a rocker/glider. We were just stumped. So we didn't do much of anything with the nursery until I got really sick with the norovirus at 32 weeks. 

So what does the norovirus have to do with our nursery? Well, this virus was nasty. I ended up in the hospital severely dehydrated and with a high fever. These things kicked my body into preterm labor. Luckily, once they got my hydration and fever under control my body stopped trying to have this baby and all was well (as well as can be when in recover mode, right?!). But the whole preterm labor scare really kicked us into high gear. After I was healthy again I just started ordering things, making decisions and getting stuff done. The whole thing went from a room full of all our wonderful baby shower gifts to a real-life nursery in the matter of a week or so. 

A little bit about the room... I knew I wanted the room to incorporate elements of travel (we hope to share our love and passion for travel with her from the very start) and animals (I am a HUGE animal lover and I hope I can teach her to love and care for animals, too!). I didn't want the room to feel overly girly/frilly/pink, but definitely wanted it to be bright and feminine. Of course, I wanted the room to be practical and we needed to do it all on a budget (we've pretty much had to furnish our entire house from the ground up since buying it in August!). And here's where we landed (sources for most everything listed after the photos):
{Photos © Liz Denfeld Photography}

Rocker: IKEA Strandmon Chair hacked and made into a rocker (Thanks, hubby!). We used this post to guide the way.
Changing Pad: Keekaroo Peanut Changer 
Animal Prints: Sharon Montrose
Frames for Animal Prints: Pottery Barn
Shelves: IKEA Ekby Jarpen Shelves in White & Ekby Valter brackets in Birch, spray painted gold
Gold Animal Statues: Dwell Studio via Horchow
Wooden Toy Camera: Twig (this color combo sold out now)
And Then There Were Three Zebra Print: SS Print Shop
Diagonal Stripe Frame: Nate Berkus for Target (now sold out)
Gold Glitter Shoes: Juicy Couture via HomeGoods
Teal Vase: Target (can't find online)
Wooden Giraffe and Plush Owl: Gifts
Diapers: Honest Company
White/Wicker basket: Nate Berkus for Target (now sold out)
Pink Pattern Basket: Gift
Watercolor Map Print & Frame: Clover via Society6
Elephant Crib Bedding: Pottery Barn Baby
Faux Sheepskin Rug: IKEA

Saturday, March 22, 2014

{Pregger Update: 38 Weeks}


How Far Along: 38 weeks

Size of Baby: She's still the size of a watermelon - 19-22 inches long
and weighs about 7 pounds.

Maternity Clothes: Oh yes.

Stretch Marks: Fingers crossed... still no...

Sleep: Sleep seems to be deteriorating by the night. Seems unfair, no?
I mean, I know I'll be getting zero sleep once she arrives, the least
my body could do is allow me to get some shut eye during these last
precious weeks! (days?!)

Best Moment of the Week:  Getting the car seat installed. This pregger
may or may not have started crying as I drove away with a car seat in
my back seat. Whoa, this is feeling very real.

 Movement:  There were a few days last week where she wasn't her
feisty self. I'd be lying if I said it didn't make me worry a little
bit. I know the bigger she gets, the less room she has, so she's bound
to slow down on her movement, but I missed it! Happily, she's back to
her active self now!

Cravings: Nothing in particular this week...

Gender: Little Lady!

Belly Button In or Out: I think we're officially in the outtie club.

Wedding Ring on or Off: On! My massage therapist (oh yeah, I've been
treating myself to weekly prenatal massages as of last week -
best.idea.ever.) even commented how I wasn't swollen at all. I credit
that to good genes (thanks, Mom!) and not being pregnant in the
summer. Whatever it is, I'm happy about it!

Anything Making You Queasy or Sick: Not really. Except all of a sudden
eggs sound disgusting to me, when I've been eating them a ton this
whole pregnancy. Weird!

What I Miss: We've had a couple incredibly beautiful days the last
couple weeks in Portland. I miss sitting outside with a crisp glass of
white wine or a delicious IPA. Soon enough!

What I am Looking Forward to: Living my birth story. I can't get
enough birth stories, I love reading them. I always have, but now
especially. And every one I read makes me think.. What will my story
be?? How will it all start? How will it end? Birth is such an
incredible and unique thing. No two births are alike. I am dying to
find out how mine goes down... Praying for a healthy baby and safe
delivery. That's all I want!

Labor Signs: Lots of Braxton Hicks still. Found out at my appointment
this week that they're doing their job. Could be any day! But I could
also go past my due date. The anticipation!!!!

Nursery: The rocking chair is done and we got a lamp! I need two more
picture frames and some drawer organizers and then it will really be
done. It's done enough now that I took photos that I'll be sharing on
here soon!! I LOVE the way it turned out :)

Emotions:  Had a rough day yesterday, today I'm feeling good. It's
really a daily thing. Overall feeling really great, happy and excited.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

{Pregger Update: 36 Weeks}


How Far Along: I’ll be 37 weeks Thursday!

Size of Baby: She’s the size of a watermelon – 19-22 inches long and weighs about 6.5 pounds. Whoa.

Maternity Clothes: I’ve definitely bought my fair share of maternity clothes throughout this pregnancy! I just always felt like the maternity stuff fit better and was more flattering – considering it was made for a bump, I think that makes sense! I can still miraculously wear a few pre-pregnancy things, but the number of those items is dwindling by the day!

If you’re wondering, my favorite places for maternity clothes have been:
ASOS.com
Gap
Target
Paige Maternity Jeans via Pea in the Pod

Stretch Marks: Still slathering on the belly butter and still stretch mark free… Fingers crossed…
  
Sleep: Eh, it’s okay! I get up 3-4 times a night to pee, so that’s not exactly fun. But other than that, it’s actually not so bad. Trying to get all the rest I can get before little lady arrives :)

Best Moment of the Week:  Working on the nursery. We’re almost finished! Corey and I pulled it all together really quickly in the end. I am so proud of the room – it’s definitely my favorite space in the house. Just a few more details to add and then I’ll share pictures here!

 Movement:  Good grief this girl is always on the move. I thought by this point she was supposed to be a little more crammed for space, but judging by all the kicks and flips I feel all day long, I find that hard to believe! I do have to admit I really love it. And if I don’t feel her for even 30 minutes I start missing her rolling around in there (and, admittedly, get a little worried).

Cravings: I love eating cereal these days – Honey Nut Cheerios. And I could eat Thai food every single day (but that’s been the case this entire pregnancy). Not loving meat, which is kind of a new thing as of the last month or so…

Gender: Little Lady!

Belly Button In or Out: It goes back and forth. At this very moment it’s out!

Wedding Ring on or Off: On! Knock on wood, I haven’t dealt with a lot of swelling during this pregnancy, so I hope I can wear them until the end.

Anything Making You Queasy or Sick: Nausea started coming back for me pretty consistently as soon as the third trimester started. As long as I’m good about snacking and drinking lots of water I’m usually okay.

What I Miss: Being able to stand and walk for long periods of time without having intense back and pelvic pain, being more graceful (getting off the couch or out of bed ain’t pretty), and just generally feeling like “myself”. I want to do everything I used to do when I wasn’t pregnant and I get frustrated easily when I realize I need to slow down.

What I am Looking Forward to: Meeting our baby girl. I can’t believe it’s happening so soon. I just want to know what she looks like and stare into her eyes and finally meet this little lady that is consuming my thoughts and dreams! I cannot wait to see Corey holding her. I daydream about the moment we’ll meet her and it brings tears to my eyes. I just can’t wait.

Labor Signs: Tons and tons of Braxton Hicks contractions – and my body is definitely getting ready for this whole labor thing! My doctor doesn’t think I’ll go past my due date. I hope she didn’t jinx me!

Nursery: Almost done – need a couple picture frames, a side table for the rocking chair and a lamp!


Emotions:  Yeah, they’re all over the place as is to be expected when you’re nine months pregnant, right?! But overall, feeling really great and happy!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

{Pregger Update: 20 Weeks}


I thought I’d start doing these updates here and there. Hopefully you guys don’t find them annoying, but I think it would be nice for me to have to look back on someday ☺ 

How Far Along: I’ll be 21 weeks Thursday!

Size of Baby: She’s the size of a banana – about 7 inches long and weighs about 12 oz.

Maternity Clothes: Definitely. Went on a Gap Maternity shopping spree a couple weeks back when they were having a 40% off sale and I have to say that maternity clothes just fit SO much better and are so much more flattering! 

Stretch Marks: None yet.  Crossing my fingers SO hard they decide to skip me ☺ Slathering on Clarins Tonic Body Treatment Oil and Burt Bee’s Mama Bee Belly Butter like it’s my job!
  
Sleep: Well, I love sleeping. I go to bed really early every night and I don’t even feel bad about it. I figure once this babe is born it will be a while before I get a full night’s rest so might as well take advantage now!

Best Moment of the Week:  Feeling her move around ALL THE TIME. It’s my favorite! And when she doesn’t for a while I miss her. 

 Movement:  Uh huh! Even Corey can feel her move around. We love to lay in bed or on the couch and wait for her to kick/punch. It’s so fun! Apparently this is really early on for both me and him to be feeling her move so much, but I guess she’s just in a really great position because I’ve been feeling her a lot for almost 2 weeks now!

Cravings: None really recently! 

Gender: Little Lady!

Belly Button In or Out: In

Wedding Ring on or Off: On

Anything Making You Queasy or Sick: I feel pretty good, but if I don’t eat for a few hours I feel a little queasy. But nothing compared to the first tri!

What I Miss: IPAs. And bourbon. I’m not a lush I swear!

What I am Looking Forward to: Our babymoon to Hawaii coming up in about a month! I need some sun – this Portland weather is downright depressing!

Labor Signs: Heck no. Thank goodness!!

Nursery: We have our crib, but that’s about it! Gotta start somewhere!

Emotions:  Last week was pretty rough – my emotions were all over the place, but mainly really low. The last few days have been a bit better. It’s so hard to know how incredibly happy I am yet sometimes I just can’t fight this feeling of sadness. I suffered from depression about 10 years ago, so I recognize these feelings and I know how to deal with them, it’s just a bummer they are showing up during this special time. But I’m hanging in there!

Monday, November 18, 2013

{Es Trenc Beach: Mallorca}

As our fall/winter weather is in full swing here in Portland, I couldn't help but long for our wonderful day spent at Es Trenc beach in Mallorca back in May. The water at Es Trenc is the clearest I've ever seen - what I imagine the Caribbean looks like (I've never been). I found myself in total awe for the few hours we were there. If you find yourself in Mallorca, this is one of the best beaches on the island and a can't-miss!

All photos are unedited - that is really the color of the water!

{Photo © Liz Denfeld Photography}

Saturday, November 16, 2013

{On Amsterdam.}

The time has come. I knew it would, and I’m actually surprised it took this long… I miss Amsterdam... Real bad. This week it has hit me like a ton of bricks and I must admit tears may have been shed. It’s not that I don’t absolutely love our life here in Portland, but truth be told I think I’m finally just now coming to terms with the huge changes that have happened in our lives the last 5 months. It all happened so fast it felt like we were just riding the wave of excitement. The dust is settling now and I’m looking around and realizing how much has changed. And it’s taking me a second to gather my thoughts and feelings and emotions on how I feel about it all. 

I mean, obviously I’m happy. I’m overjoyed to be home in Portland, thrilled to be in the same city with (most of) our families, and I’m ecstatic to be expecting our first baby (p.s. it’s a girl!). But part of me is mourning the loss of life in Europe. Of everything from being in this little bubble of life with Corey – just me and him figuring out a new continent with no friends or family – to hopping on planes and trains and traveling to some of my most favorite places in the world. I miss little things like fresh squeezed orange juice in every shop and market, I miss big things like the sheer gorgeousness of Amsterdam – where every corner you turn around is more picturesque and truly breathtaking than the last. I miss our apartment and I miss Christmas time in Europe. I miss walking and biking everywhere (yes, even in the cold!). I miss Sunday brunch at Le Pain Quotidien. I miss the great friends we made (and not knowing when I’ll see each of them again is heartbreaking). I’m a nostalgic person in general, and I tend to romanticize the past and long for the future. It’s something I’m very aware of – and even when I would sob for Portland while I sat in our living room in Amsterdam I KNEW that the second we returned here I would be sobbing for Amsterdam. And here I am. Doing just that. 

The most comforting thing that comes to mind is this… Well, there are two things. One, we can always go back. And we will. Our dream is to return when our children (God willing) are school age so they can live and breathe the incredible culture in Europe. But more importantly, this saying: Don’t be sad it’s over, be glad it happened. I’m trying to change my perspective and instead of mourning the fact that we’re not there anymore and we are moving on with our lives in so many ways –celebrate the fact that we were so incredibly lucky to have had this opportunity to live abroad, grow so close, learn so much and make some of the most amazing memories of our lives. 

You'll always have a piece of our hearts, Amsterdam...
{Photo © Liz Denfeld Photography}

Monday, October 21, 2013

{Finding Out...In Dutch!}

Here's the story of how we found out we were going to be parents... In Dutch ;)

Corey and I had talked about adding to our family for years. We were definitely excited to do so someday, but knew we didn't want to embark on this journey while we were living abroad - both because we didn't want to be so far from family when we did, but also because we wanted to spend our two years in Amsterdam really soaking up this adventure just us two. Needless to say, by the time we touched down in Portland at the end of June, we had one thing on our minds (okay, maybe more than one, but this was the biggest!): Starting a family!

I won't go into the details, but come the end of July we knew that it was a possibility we could be pregnant. We also knew that you really shouldn't take a pregnancy test until you actually have a reason to believe you might have a bebe in the belly (i.e. you missed your period - sorry, TMI!). So even though we were down in LA with my sisters and my mom and we knew we could be pregnant and it would be so awesome to share the news with them in person, I didn't want to jump the gun only to be disappointed. Plus, I didn't feel pregnant, and this was our first real go at this, so I felt like it would be a long shot. So yeah, long story short, we flew home Sunday evening (not so) patiently waiting for aunt flow to arrive on Monday. 

Come Monday morning, still no signs of AF, and still no indication that I was preggers, but being the impatient person I am, and knowing that technically that should be the first day I could take a test, it was the first thing I thought of when I shot out of bed that morning. I felt really silly, and like such an amateur (only first timers would be so eager to break out the pregnancy test at 6AM, right?!), so I didn't want to tell Corey I was going to take a test. I had randomly bought a box of tests in Amsterdam that of course were never opened, just sitting in my suitcase, so I figured I'd just use one of those and nobody would have to know. I waited for Corey to hop in the shower and I quickly opened the box and tried to read the instructions. Gah! They're in Dutch (and French and Italian and every other language but English... oh how I do not miss those days!), of course! So I figure, well this can't be that hard, it's a digital test so there aren't too many options. Here goes nothing... 

Less than five minutes later, Corey still soaping up in the shower, I read the word "zwanger" on the digital screen. My heart started pounding. Now, I don't speak Dutch but I'm pretty sure "zwanger" means pregnant. And I'm pretty sure that if I wasn't pregnant that hugely important Dutch word would be preceded by "niet", as in "not"... "not pregnant". Holy crap! I think I'm pregnant!!!!!

I then did what any logical person would do. I knocked on the shower door. 
My poor confused husband! He had no idea what was coming. He opened the door, totally unaware that I was just about to share the biggest news of our lives with him. I held up a shaky hand (according to him - I hardly remember this!) and he squints and reads the stick. 
"What does that mean?!"
"I don't know! I think it means I'm pregnant!"
"Google translate, google translate!" he shouts, his hair filled with shampoo suds. 

I scurry over to my phone and quickly do an all too familiar google translation for the word "zwanger".

Answer: PREGNANT

Back to the shower... Phone in hand. Showing off the direct translation to Corey...And there it is. Pregnant. We're pregnant! We're having a baby!

An ordinary Monday turned absolutely extraordinary. Let's just say I didn't get much work done that day. While everyone went about their days, some with the Monday blues, I couldn't keep a smirk off my face knowing my life just changed forever.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

{We're Having a Baby!!!}

So....
{It says "We're Pregnant!!! - Too bad the flash blew out the handwriting!}

Yippee!!!! Oh my goodness, I can't even tell you how happy and excited I am that I finally get to shout our news from the rooftops! We've known for over two months now that little baby Denfeld is on the way, so it is such a relief to finally get to share the news with the world :)

I'm 14 weeks along and am just now finally starting to feel better. The first trimester was pretty miserable (aside from the first two weeks where I felt nothing and was convinced I couldn't actually be pregnant!). But all-in-all, I know it could've been much worse, so even though I was nauseous 24/7 for 6 weeks straight, I wasn't in the hospital and I only threw up, like, 10 times or something. So I'll consider that a win!

So that should cover the "How are you feeling?" question, and as far as the second question we always get - will we find out the gender. The answer is h-e-l-l yes! We can't find out soon enough! We should know by the end of this month, so stay tuned. And no, I have no "mothers intuition" of whether it's a boy or girl... I seriously have NO idea! I wish I did! So we'll all just have to wait and see :)

More to come... For now I'll leave you with my sorry excuse for a bump photo. I vividly remember when Ashlee was pregnant she would say how her baby bump would be so much bigger after eating a burrito, and I couldn't believe that could be true. Could food really make the baby belly come out? And now I can tell you with great confidence.. YES it does. This was the day after I enjoyed a huge Italian dinner, hence my more curvy state. When I woke up the next morning it was almost like it never happened. Boo! I'm excited for this little one to make more of an appearance in the next few weeks!

{First photo by Laura Nelson Photography - can't wait to share more of our shoot with her! She is ah-may-zing!}

Monday, September 23, 2013

{Kynsa Elephant Park}

Let's talk about elephants. Prior to our trip to South Africa I really didn't know much about them, but after a trip to the Knysna Elephant park I learned a lot about these gorgeous creatures. They're extremely smart and have the self-awareness and cognition similar to what we've seen in apes and dolphins. They are quick learners and will glady show off some tricks for a piece of fruit. They love attention and cuddles. Really, they're friendly giants. Within their packs they truly care for one another, and if something happens to an elephant in the pack, their loss is visibly mourned. I truly fell in love with them the more I learned about them. They are so fascinating and sweet! 

After our stay in Franschhoek we ventured along the Garden Route. One of the cities we stopped in was Knysna. We had read about the Knysna Elephant Park in our guide book and knew we definitely wanted to check it out and get the opportunity to pet and feed the elephants! The Elephant Park is actually an orphanage for elephants in need - who have either been abandoned, fallen ill, etc. My favorite part about the park is that they practice a "free-range controlled system of management" - which basically means the elephants range freely and they only interact with guests on their terms. We definitely saw this as they were not herded over to us by any means. We simple drove up into the park and waited to see what would happen. Luckily, they know we come with food, so they love to come get treats and get attention from the visitors! It was one of my most favorite travel experiences to date to interact so closely with these beautiful animals! I'd highly recommend it if you're ever in South Africa.



{Photos © Liz Denfeld Photography}