a very Christmassy break pt.1

Can this blog just be my journal from now on? There is so much I want to write about, but it takes a lot longer to say everything with the old pen and paper! Anyways, that's basically all this post is. One big journal entry of memories for our little family, complete with sub-par phone pics haha, because the last week has been AWESOME.

From January to April, Christian's schedule is pretty insane. We learned that the hard way last year, so we went in to this break knowing that we needed to stock up on family time so that we have a well to draw from for the next 4 months haha. It's the worst, but what can you do? Anyways, we started to festivities last Friday when we went out and celebrated 5 years since getting engaged. Holy cow time flies! And yet when I look at how much has happened since then, we feel like "it's only been 5 years?" haha. We had a lot of fun together that night. We finally went to Current, a great seafood place downtown that Christian has been dying to take me since he went there for work last year. It did not disappoint! We shared a plate of mussels (it sounded horrible but they were INSANE. In the best way), and enjoyed our respective dishes: fish and chips for her, and shrimp and grits for him. It was so awesome to be at a nice restaurant with just Christian. Of course we talked about the kids (we can't help it!), but we also discussed future plans and dreams, the holidays, new family traditions and just life. I'm still just so head over heels for that man. Every time we do things like that together, it just further cements my feelings for him. We finished the night with a Target run and some last minute Christmas shopping haha. I tried so hard to have it all done but alas. Maybe next year :) All in all, it was a super fun way to start a week of having dad all to ourselves!

Gotta have the Christmas Eve jammies shot!

Christmas Eve day is a bit of a blur. I think we just cleaned a ton, did some wrapping, and prepped for our dinner that evening: the first annual Carter family Christmas Eve Fiesta! Christian made and perfected his horchata recipe, I made tacos and coconut rice and of course we had chips and salsa. Nash couldn't even handle how great that was haha. The dinner turned out great! Christian had put together a fun playlist (mostly we just listened to "Donde Esta Santa Claus" by Guster. Give it a listen! It's actually a great song, but I swear I don't think I will ever get that out of my head now haha), and even though we were all pooped by the night's end, it was super fun. After we put the kids to bed, we wrapped presents for each other and finished watching the Grinch and probably like 3 episodes of Suits haha. We can't quit that show, even with all the Christmas movies in the world at our fingertips! Then we went to bed, because next was CHRISTMAS DAAAYYY!



We loved the thought of getting Christmas cards out this year, but with a new baby, family pictures was about as much as we could muster haha. Oh well, maybe next year!
For now, here's an update on things this past year. Obviously the biggest event was the arrival of little sis! But here are some little tid bits about each family member:

Christian: Man I could just gush and gush about our cute dad and my sweet husband! So I think I just might ;) Christian has been a champ this year. Between a rough pregnancy and huge adjustment to a new baby, things haven't been super easy, but he's been our rock through all of it. He's been doing amazing things at work, and receiving lots of great recognition for it. I honestly couldn't be more proud of him. He works in a very high stress, high pressure industry, and he just excels. It's a huge blessing for our family! He's also been serving in the bishopric in our ward for the last 6 months, and while it's added an extra dose of crazy to everything, it's also been a really neat experience for him. Our bishop is one in a million, and it's great to have that influence in our lives. We are feeling very grateful that the church time is changing next year and that he hopefully wont be in meetings all day anymore haha. Christian keeps us all happy and laughing, and the best time of the day is by far the second he walks in the door. Thanks for taking such great care of us dad, we love you a ton!

Brooke: Well, I grew and birthed a human. Haha! But seriously, it was so huge to get Faye here! It's been quite the experience adjusting to having two kids, but I honestly love it so much. This definitely feels like the spot our family needs to be in right now, and while it's difficult, it's so FUN being the mom to our two babies. Not much else is going on for me honestly. Just getting my head above water as we've passed the 6 month mark. Faye can go to the daycare now, so I'm finally making it back to the gym which is breathing new life into my soul :) I'm spending a little free time with my fellow mom friends, and looking forward to next year when there aren't so many huge things going on haha.

Nash: Oh this boy! He's such a sweet, fun blessing to our family. Nash has grown up so much this year. He's in the stage right now where his language is just exploding every single day. He adds "mom" to the end of everything he says: "yes mom", "no mom", "what happened mom" etc. It's the greatest. He's obsessed with Mustangs (I think we own every generation of hotwheels mustang, and then some. This is not a joke), LOVES eating clementines, talks all day long, thinks his baby Faye is the funniest thing ever, loves to be tickled, has the most amazing memory, still only calls dad "Christian", and brings so much peace to our home (usually haha). We feel so lucky to be his mom and Christian dad!

Baby Faye: Our little sissy girl, as we fondly call her. She has the sweetest disposition. She's happiest when she can be close to her mom, dad, and brother. Does NOT like being left with other people haha. Shes quick to smile but keeps her laughs to herself (so far, Nash gets the biggest giggles from her! Usually when they are in the car together). Almost sitting, eating all kinds of baby food, looking like she will have a head of strawberry hair, and making us so so happy. She's the piece to our family we didn't know we were missing,a and we love her so much!

And there you have it. This year has felt totally crazy, and very mellow all at the same time. I think that's just having young kids, right? Haha. As of now, we will be here in Salt Lake for at least another year, just loving this beautiful city we are lucky to call home. If you are ever in town, come visit! We'd love to have you over to babysit...... Er, I mean for dinner.
That's what I meant.
Dinner ;)

Merry Christmas from the Carters!

welcome baby Faye pt. 2

So C-sections. Not my favorite thing in the world, to be honest.
I was really glad the whole laboring process was basically non-existent. And from start to finish (like when they cut me open to when baby was pulled out), it was like, maybe 20 minutes. So that was great! But holy hell (scuse my french, but SERIOUSLY) recovery was so so brutal. Like "why is there always a lit match spanning the width of my abdomen?!" brutal. I thought I was going to die the first couple times I stood up haha. One day, I got a little behind on my pain meds and I tried to go for a walk around the maternity ward. I barely made it out of my room before I got super dizzy, and then I couldn't hear anything and I was losing my vision and my mom and a nurse were practically carrying me back to my bed hahaha. So basically anyone who knocks c-sections has noooo idea.

Anyways, they prepped me for surgery (I will always stand by my opinion that getting an IV is so much worse than a lot of the birthing process. Like, why does that hurt so bad?!), while poor Christian had to wait to be brought in from our hospital room. This part was slightly terrifying. Nothing like being wheeled into a freezing cold operating room, alone, with a ton of strangers, and lying naked on a table while a bunch of machines beep around you to make you excited to give birth! Ha! They gave me the spinal numbing stuff (was that also an epidural? Really not sure...) and then I just layed there waiting for it to take effect. It was at this point that I felt more like a literal beached whale than I had any other time during pregnancy haha. My OB came in and she and the nurses were moving my *still naked* entire lower body around and I was like "I'll just be right here! Sorry I can't move and I'm blubbery mass!" hahahaha. Oh boy. They put up the curtain and got me on oxygen and finally brought Christian in. It was a little claustrophobic to have so much going on right around my head, with him and two anesthesiologists sitting right there and the curtain up, but I was so grateful he could be in there with me. I'm certain he kept an anxiety attack at bay haha.

Then surgery! Lots of pressure and tugging tugging tugging. The crazy thing about C-sections is they have to make like 5 different incisions because of the layers of skin/fat/muscle/organs, but they don't like to cut too wide if they can avoid it. So they end up just kind of literally pulling things apart as they go (yikes. My stomach is churning just thinking about it!). Faye was kind of stuck in my right ribcage, and they actually gave me new stretch marks just pulling her out haha. But once they got her out, it was all smooth sailing! It took her a second to cry, and when she did I can honestly say I've never been more grateful. I struggled with a TON of anxiety my whole pregnancy, so of course I was just imagining worst case scenario for everything. Huge relief to hear a cry and know that she was healthy! Before she even cried she sneezed haha which is still so funny to me because she's a super sneezy baby. They cleaned her all up, got her APGAR score, etc, gave her to Christian and then I was FINALLY able to see her.

Born 2 weeks early, June 14, 2016
Fun facts: Grandparents anniversary June 13, Faye's birthday 14th, Papa Showalter's birthday 15th and uncle Austin's birthday 16th
Also, both babies were born on a Tuesday, and Nash came the week before Mother's Day, and Faye the week before Father's Day.

Heaven, heaven, heaven! Meanwhile they were stitching me back up, which was slightly traumatizing because I could smell the cauterization as they were doing it, blegh! The rest of the day is super hazy to me, because I was like completely blitzed on my pain meds hahaha. Seriously it's hysterical in retrospect. That first day, they let you control the amount you get, and every ten minutes, you can press a button to get another dose. Well I was terrified to start feeling the pain of that surgery so you can bet I had a timer set and was juicing as often as I could and MAN I could feel it hahahaha. I was so freaking tired and out of it, I couldn't talk. I think I scarred Nash for life because he was terrified to come back to the hospital after seeing me that first day. So so funny.

I was in the hospital for 6 days, and it was like a little slice of heaven. Faye brought the sweetest spirit, and every time I looked at her it felt like my heart was going to explode out of my chest! So much love with such a tiny little thing! It's so wonderful having two kids. It's insanity, but in the best way. Somehow having another baby has let my heart grow so much that not only do I have room to just adore my little girl, but my love for Nash has grown a thousand percent too. I'm so grateful to be the mother of these precious children!


welcome baby Faye pt. 1

Life right now can be summarized in this one statement: it's taken me 4 months to write this blog post. Haha!
And without further ado, here is the first part of little girl's birth story!
(And probably don't hold your breath for part 2... at the rate I'm going, she'll be 16 and I'll finally have it finished lolololololol)

About a week before delivery. 
Being cool at the height of pregnancy brain and showing up at the gym in my flip flops

We found out at about 34 weeks that she was breech. How I didn't realize this before is beyond me, because her hard, round little head was in my ribs for couple months ha! For whatever reason (pregnancy exhaustion?), I didn't feel the need to try hard and flip her on my own. I think she was probably too big at this point for that to happen anyways, but you never know I guess. We scheduled an external cephalic version at the hospital at about 36 weeks to see if my doctor could flip her, and to no avail. With two adults putting their entire body weight on my stomach (it was as unpleasant as it sounds), she didn't move an INCH. This is seeming very consistent with her personality so far haha. She wants things how she wants them! So, we scheduled my C-section for June 20, a week before my original due date.

No baby flippage!

Honestly, I was worried for weeks that I wasn't going to last all the way to a scheduled C-section. Little miss was footling breech... both of her feet were RIGHT in my pelvis in a very precarious place. Nash and I were going on tons of walks, and every time we were out, I panicked a little because she'd kick so so much. It hurt like crazy, and felt like her feet were about to pop out haha. The reason why that was so concerning is that with feet-first breech babies, if you go in to labor or your water breaks, you have about ten minutes to get to the hospital or you and the baby can be in serious danger. Footling breech babies can get stuck in the birth canal very easily, or the cord can prolapse, which completely cuts off oxygen supply to the baby. So basically I was stressed out of my mind about going in to labor on my own or my water breaking. And my instincts were telling me that that was VERY close to happening. Turns out, my thinking wasn't too far off ha!

Sunday, at 37 1/2 weeks, I started having a lot of contractions. After hours of timing them, we were a little worried we'd be making a trip to the hospital that night. They weren't calming down at all! They finally subsided, but I was pretty sure my body was moving riiiight along. Thankfully my mom had followed her motherly instincts and left Arizona to come stay with us that weekend, earlier than she had originally planned. Her timing couldn't have been more perfect! The next day, I had my final appointment with the OB. Surprisingly, they weren't even going to do an exam, but I asked them to and they obliged. I will NEVER forget the nurse's reaction. She looked at me and said in a very worried voice "Have you been dilated at all?" I said "yes, but only a 2" thinking she was going to tell me I wasn't dilated at all haha. She then said "Well you're now at a 5 with a BULGING bag of waters" hahahaha. I'm sorry for the gross imagery, but that was just so funny (and shocking) to me. I was so so close to being in labor! The nurse asked when the last time was that I had eaten, said she was going to go get the doctor and told me not to drink anything and do NOT leave. Suddenly I realized this was HAPPENING. Like asap! So exciting and crazy! My dr. came back into the room and basically said "We'd really like to admit you tonight, but I'm not available to do the surgery. So we are scheduling you first thing tomorrow morning for your C-Section."

So there it was! Baby Faye was on her way! The whole rest of that day felt surreal. It's very strange with a scheduled cesarean, because you know the exact time that it's all going to happen. So different from my experience with Nash, and in a lot of ways, I really loved it. I spent the rest of that afternoon just laying down pretty much, because literally anything could have broken my water at that point haha. We went to bed that night and it felt like Christmas eve. Our 4:30am alarm was brutal, but we were so excited.... we were finally going to meet our little girl!


the final countdown

I wouldn't say that I'm incredibly sentimental, but I am a big "last" person.
"This is our last night in x location, we need to paaarty!"
"This is the last day of vacation, we must do ALL the things!"
"This is the last time we will be able to eat at our favorite restaraunt, let's order EVERYTHING!"
And so forth.

The current series of "lasts" that I'm reveling in are, of course, my final few weeks with just Nash as my sidekick. It's making me so much more sentimental than I thought it would!

(Ironically as I'm typing this, we are having it out over a truck that he thinks needs fixing, and after pretending to do so for the last ten minutes, he's NOT satisfied with my efforts. I spoke crossly, he hurled it across the room. Sooooo you win some, you lose some)

Anyways, bad attitudes aside (his and mine ha), I'm loving my time with him right now. The last few weeks, we've been going to the park almost every day. He helps me push the stroller, runs around like a maniac, and I throw the frisbee for him to chase (like a literal dog, I know. This is how you burn the crazy energy of a two year old when you're 8 months pregnant!). Around the house, he helps me vacuum and we stack blocks to his hearts content. When I can get him to sit still long enough, we will squeeze in a book and sing some primary songs, usually before bed time. He's also loving the new JT song and music video (you're welcome, son), and we jam to it a lot of the day. It's nothing huge, but even simple errands like trips to the doctor and the grocery store are made so much better by him.
Here's to hoping it all keeps going that way with a new little one around!

a first and last pregnancy update

It's high time I did a little in-depth pregnancy update, seeing as how I've only got about 5 weeks left! Yikes! I've tried to keep track of little things in my journal, but physically writing is so much slower than typing, so that's been a bit painstaking haha. Anyways, here ya go! Let's start with a super glam belly shot, shall we?

How far along? 
Almost 34 weeks! The last time I went to the doc, I told them about delivering an almost 9 lb baby a week and a half early. They were like "yeeeaaahh we probably won't let you go all the way to 40 weeks" which is so freaking awesome. I'd love to avoid induction and just let other things do the work, but we will see. Either way, baby girl will be here sooner than later and we can't wait!

Weight gain: 
I'm not really sure of an exact number because I hardly ever weigh myself. Who really needs to feel chubby and then have a number CONFIRM "yep, you're definitely chubby"? Not me haha! Since I wasn't throwing up nearly as much as I did with Nash, I didn't lose weight in the beginning. Which was good and bad, of course. I'd guess I will end having gained about 30-35 lbs. Pretty sure I'm sitting at about 27 lbs. now. Which is fine because PREGNANCY!

So so crappy ha. Much worse than when I was pregnant with Nash. I actually don't mind too much because the shock of having a newborn who doesn't know how to sleep really won't be THAT shocking. I'm up 3-4 times a night right now as is!

Best moment of the week: 
Nash FINALLY acknowledged there is a baby in mom's tummy! I'm pretty sure he still doesn't know what that means, of course haha, but he talks about it now and it's super cute. He just runs a million miles an hour most of the time that I'm honestly surprised it happened at all. Knowing his little boy brain, he probably thinks it's a truck baby or something ;)

Weird pregnancy moment: 
All the rando aches and pains, everywhere below my belly. My body hurts this time around WAY more than with Nash. It's always strange to me when I feel something super painful all the sudden. I'm like "wtf there are nerves there?!". Also my hair is seriously out of control. I forgot how fast it grew and how thick it got with my first pregnancy, which was great when I had long hair. But I seriously need it cut and thinned out like every 3 weeks right now, otherwise I have a super poofy mullet ha! It's a good problem to have I guess, and it's a good thing I fiiinnnaallly found a stylist I love because I'm there like A. LOT. haha.

All. The. Time. It used to be way more frequent when she had a little more room, but it hasn't even slowed down that much haha. Both Christian and I feel like this little girl is going to be a mover and a shaker (in more ways than one!). She's definitely proving to be that way so far. Dare I say she even moves more than I remember Nash moving? Which is a little scary because have you seen that kid? Running. Everywhere. Nonstop. I guess it's good little sister will be able to keep up!

Lots of sugar, but thankfully I don't feel that craving all the time. Mostly just when I get too hungry. Otherwise they'd be rolling me into the delivery room.

This comes and goes, all the time, any time. This morning the taste of my cereal made me queasy! In this regard, I've felt so much worse this time around. I've definitely been much sicker through the whole pregnancy. The difference in those male and female hormones are so real, let me tell you! One more reason why I will be SO excited for baby girl's arrival.

What I'm looking forward to:
Honestly, I can't wait to NOT be pregnant. This has been such a butt kicker for me. Of course, I'm so thankful to be carrying a baby. But I've been pretty miserable this whole pregnancy and it will be awesome when it's over. That, and I can't wait for Nash and Christian to meet her. I'm pretty positive it's going to kill me with happiness.

Since I've officially dedicated one whole post to this pregnancy, can I just have this baby now or what? Because if she is any bit as precious as her big brother, than we are in big trouble... in the best possible way!


a little trip with my little schweetie

It feels so strange to be back on this blog. My journal has been staring me in the face for months now, and as much as I'd love to physically write, carpal tunnel has been giving me hell this pregnancy. So I'm resorting to this, and typing as fast as I can before my hand stops working ha.
(Seriously though. Carpal tunnel is like the WORST.)

There have been lots of things I've wanted and intended to blog about over the last 7 months. I regret it now, because life has taken some twists and I know it would have helped me to record those thoughts. However, I really haven't been in a great place to do so (more on that...... at some point......) and so I've just avoided it haha. Last week however, Christian and I were able to take off for 2 days for a little trip together and it was the best both of us have felt in a long time. With my terrible mom/pregnancy brain, I'm already forgetting a lot of what we did and it was such a sweet trip that I know I'd regret that forever. So I just wanted to take the time and record it all, boring details and everything. More for the sake of he and I than anyone else. Because let's be real, does anyone even check this dusty ol' blog anymore?

Anyways. Word vomit. Now for the fun part :)

In celebration of our 4 year anniversary, a little babymoon, and (almost) surviving this pregnancy together, we took off and went to the Fairmont Princess in Scottsdale for a few days. It was so wonderful! Our first day started with lunch at Tia Rosas, our fav little Mexican joint in Arizona. I love going to lunch with Christian. We go out to dinner for most of our date nights, so that's lost its novelty in some ways. Lunch is just fun and special time in the middle of the day that we don't normally have together, and that was such a fun way to start things off. Afterwards, we went and walked around Chandler mall together. Purchased a bath bomb at Lush, sampled a bunch of oil and vinegars... cool stuff haha. Then we drove to the hotel, and I'm pretty sure I made Christian listen to summer hits of the 90's with me the whole way, which he definitely loved ;)

The hotel was so freaking beautiful. Huge grounds with lots of gorgeous vegetation, so much so that it felt more like a tropical resort more than desert. We were upgraded to a casita when we got there, which was a fun little surprise. They were tucked away at the back of the hotel with their own little pool and everything. Our room and bathroom were huge! Not that we needed it, but it's always nice to have more space :) We hung out in our room for a little while, and then hit the town like the wild children we are (except not! haha!). We were staying pretty close to the hotel we were in right after we got married, so we ventured down to that area and window shopped a bit before dinner. It was really fun to reminisce about our wedding day and the few days that followed. We ended up eating dinner at the exact same place we ate when we were there before too, AND were sat in the exact same spot outside. Not the biggest deal, but I'm such a sucker for sentiment, and it made me (us) super happy. A lot has changed in the last 4 years. For starters, we were able to get two whole meals instead of just sharing one haha. Those were some poor, humble days! We were feeling extra healthy and adventurous, and ordered some kale-aid..... which was disgusting, in my humble opinion. Christian, ever the gentleman, finished mine and felt very energized for the rest of the night haha. It wasn't super late at this point, but super tired pregnant lady can't handle much these days, so we headed back to the casita. After indulging in the BEST bubble bath (I hate that our apartment only has a shower!), we watched a little Stephen Colbert and went to bed. Romance, people!

The next day was awesome. We were able to sleep in a little longer than normal (which was only about 8am, but still!) and went to the yummiest little cafe for a late breakfast. After we finished, we hurried back for a little R&R by the pool. We heard it was beautiful, and they weren't lying! I think we were lucky with the dates we went too, because it was relatively peaceful and quiet, which was AWESOME. I loved this part of the trip. Getting to just sit and chat with Christian, read a little, people watch, float around in the pool without my back or hips aching.... paradise, let me tell you. And if the drinks hadn't been $10 bucks a pop?! THAT would have been absolute perfection ;)

After a few hours at the pool, we headed back to our room (house?) to clean up for dinner. This is another mark of a good vacation: not showering until 4 in the afternoon ha! We drove about 30 minutes to another favorite place of ours, trusty ol' Shake Shack. We ate at this place in New York, many many times in DC, and in both Miami and Boca with our families when they were still east coasters. It's not so much that the food is amaze-balls (although, it is pretty darn good). But it holds a lot of fun memories for us. I'm so glad there's one in Arizona now! While we were at dinner, we started tackling our massive list of baby girl names, and actually made so much progress! It's so fun planning for the arrival of little miss. Christian is especially excited, and it makes my heart burst. We did a little more shopping, and ended up in Baby Gap (which is another very standard occurrence haha. Can't keep us away!). We picked out a few things on sale for both kiddos, and laughed the whole time. It's so fun doing things like that together. After getting back to the hotel, we ended up out by the pool again, and we were the only ones there! It was perfect. Swimming at night in the dry Arizona heat is one of my favorite things, and it was all the more fun with Christian. We talked about more baby names, dug around on the internet for background information, and narrowed it down to the last 4 names we like the most! (Our approach now is getting the opinions of each of our families, because we honestly like all names equally! It's been fun to hear everyone weigh in and we are definitely getting closer!). After the pool, we indulged in another bubble bath (can't stop!), watched Diners, Drive In's and Dives (also can't stop with the dumb tv haha) and called it a night.

The last morning was a little more rushed, but still so fun to just have Christian to myself. We got ready pretty promptly and walked around the grounds to take some pictures. Self timers are embarrassing, but so so handy haha. On our drive back to my parents house, we stopped at Sprinkles for some cupcakes, another favorite of ours. I couldn't even begin to tell you how many times we went there while we lived in DC, which is pretty gross haha. I was feeling very anxious and excited to see Nash again, so we hurried more than we probably should have. It's hard for me to balance between mama bear and passionate wife, but I'm working on it ;) I'm so thankful for a heaven-sent mother who was willing to watch our little crazy so we could go have that time together! It was the best marriage therapy, and exactly what we needed after a very grueling period of time for our little fam.

And this guy. Oh this guy!!!! It's really cool to watch our relationship keep changing and growing each passing year. While a big part of me pines for our newlywed days, when it was just the two of us, we were obsessed with each other, and had SO much more time together.... it's pretty amazing to be walking through each phase of life together. Building a career, raising a family, healing through heartbreak and pain, working through finances, aligning our goals, serving, playing, crying, laughing.... we are a team through it all. And while life can (and has been) one big suck fest a lot of the time, Christian has taught me a few things that I will forever cherish: First, it's so important to cling to the ones you love. He is so wonderful about wanting to set aside our differences and just work through problems TOGETHER. He never retreats, never gets mad at me for feeling a certain way, never raises his voice, and never lets things sit uncomfortably between us for too long. It's hard for me to deal with sometimes, but I always appreciate his desires for us to love each other through the crap instead of running away. He's also the best about finding ways to laugh, and making ME laugh, when things are tough. It was the first thing I noticed and loved about him, and I love it even more now because it has saved me so many times. He's not perfect and he drives me crazy sometimes, but he's perfect FOR ME and I honestly couldn't have married someone better. Since you will probably be the only one who reads this (haha!), I love you my darling husband! Thank you for whisking me away and celebrating the life we are creating together. It's really messy a lot of the time, but it's also a dream. And there isn't anyone I'd rather share it with. Love you forever!

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