a hearty serving of motherhood with a side of somewhat decent food.

The Big Boy Bed

This post was originally shared on FIT4MOM Chapel Hill / Carrboro for a tribe of women I’ve come to love and admire. The story in this post means so much to me, that I felt it needed to be shared here, too.

When I was pregnant with my first baby, I tried to imagine what each of those baby milestone moments felt like for first-time parents. It must feel wonderful. The pride, the joy, the sheer awe that comes with realizing that you created a tiny human that can accomplish a feat as riveting as rolling from back to front. Amazing! I told myself that every single moment must be documented, celebrated, and remembered, because all of the old people in my life just kept telling me “they grow up so fast”.

Colin’s nursery was ready for him months before he arrived. Meticulously planned and decorated, it was the most perfect room in our home. Literally, all I wanted to do was sit in that room (on that beautiful chair), admire every sweet little detail, and wait for him to arrive. Of course, Colin arrived late and with a bit of drama (emergency Cesarean), but that only made me appreciate him even more. He was here, and we could finally enjoy that gorgeous nursery together.




My husband and I were fortunate in that Colin was some sort of rare “dream baby” or “golden child” because he was an amazing sleeper from the beginning. I’m not saying he slept through the night (that didn’t happen until after he turned 1), but he just went down easy. Bedtime was so peaceful and fun! It was never a struggle.

… Until the day he climbed out of his crib.

It took us completely by surprise. Our son, the freakishly amazing sleeper, had never shown any interest in vacating his crib. Hell, I nodded in agreement with the moms who joked “yep, crib until high school” and found myself silent and unable to relate when moms expressed exhaustion over toddler sleep issues. This was uncharted territory and we were not at all prepared.

We’d purchased a secondhand twin bed frame from a neighbor, but had no mattress for it yet. Desperate for sleep, we scrambled to come up with a plan. Oh, did I mention we had another baby who was 8 months old during all of this?! #Exhausted. While waiting for the twin mattress to arrive, we did the “toddler bed” conversion on his crib. On that very first night in his “big boy bed”, I must have read a dozen books while attempting to stall the inevitable “mommy, don’t go” meltdown. The crazy thing is, I knew it was going to be hard, but I wasn’t ready for how hard it would be for me.

I sat on the floor next to his “toddler bed”, held Colin’s tiny hand in mine, and sang all of Jingle Bells at least 20 times through. Cozy and snuggled up beside his pillows, Colin was unaware of the silent tears that had begun trickling down my cheeks. As I began to sing, my voice cracked and I started to cry. He just listened. When I squeezed his hand, he squeezed back. I asked him for a hug, and he gladly got up and gave me a huge one. He also made sure that I sang both verses by piping up “now the ground is white!” I could physically feel my heart swelling with so many emotions as I gave him a thousand kisses, and left the room.

The next few days were hard. Colin had some awful nights, and I had some terrible days. One afternoon, while my husband was at work, I had scrolled through my Instagram and phone camera roll and texted him a bunch of photos that I’d captured of Colin sleeping when he was a baby. Looking back at those photos brought so many emotions to the surface. “I don’t understand. How is he ready? I’m not ready. It’s not fair. I didn’t have any warning. Why is this so hard for me?” I found it insanely difficult to accept that his crib days were over.

To me, that crib marked the beginning of our mother-son relationship. It wasn’t just a piece of furniture, it was the care that went into putting it together, the time spent washing and preparing the sheets, the special blanket chosen to match the room, the hand-crafted felt crib mobile, and of course, his beloved fox stuffed animal. It was as if none of that mattered anymore. I found myself sobbing on the couch and struggling to accept what was already happening.

In the midst of the sheer exhaustion and just our normal day-to-day, I found myself slowly starting to change my mindset. He was growing up, and I needed to try to view this as an exciting change, and not dwell too much on the nostalgia of it, for those should remain cheerful memories. Colin had a few really rough nights before we finally set up his twin bed and put a baby gate in his doorway. (To anyone going through this transition: the gate was a game-changer! We can leave his door open, but without him escaping all night!) This mama has found that she doesn’t need to wear a strong facade all of the time. The crib is important to me, and that’s okay. I have so many precious memories of ginger-haired, squishy-lipped Colin sleeping in that crib.

And while he may have outgrown it, his baby brother will get to use it now.


36 Weeks!

I am sitting here trying to figure out how TOMORROW marks a mere 3 weeks until we meet our new baby boy — that is, unless he decides to arrive before the scheduled Cesarean! I have to keep reminding myself to slow down and enjoy these sweet moments with Colin. He’s been a bit more clingy / snuggly / needy lately… and I am taking every opportunity to hold and cuddle him, since I won’t be able to hold or pick him up for a little while post-surgery. He’s usually not very snugly, so this has been an unexpected (and well-timed) treat.

Weeks: 36

36 Weeks

Weight gain: 20-22 lbs

What I’m wearing: Do pajamas count? Seriously, if I’m not leaving the house, I will wear comfy pjs all day long. Who cares?! For days where I must be out and about, I’ve been wearing a pair of maternity leggings (pretty much on repeat) from A Pea in the Pod as well as occasionally squeezing into my cute designer maternity skinny jeans! I’ve worn the Liz Lange and Ingrid & Isabel maternity dresses from Target with boots a few times lately, too.

Sleep: The last couple of weeks have been a little better. I’m getting up roughly 3-4 times per night to pee, but I bought a new pillow, and LOVE IT. I also took our heavy duvet off (I know, this seems strange, since it’s started to get cold in NC…) and swapped it for this quilt. It’s white, lighter, and easier to launder. I love a beautiful fluffy duvet as much as the next person… but I see lots of crumbs, coffee drips, and milk spills in my near future. And if you have a duvet with a cover, you know how much of a pain it can be to launder and put back on. Especially for our king bed. THOSE DAMN TIES IN THE CORNERS UGHHH. This quilt can be washed and dried MUCH faster!

Miss anything? I miss running. This weather (night temperatures getting down into the 20s) is my love language. I’m also ready to enjoy some good dark beers. Winter is my jam.

Baby movement: SO much movement! Kicks, squirms, wriggles, hiccups… It feels like this baby is doing somersaults in there sometimes.

Currently craving: Hummus and naan bread, salads, ice cream, porters… ha!

Annoyances and symptoms: The Zantac helps IMMENSELY, but I still get the occasional heartburn from spicy food. Lower back pain.

Belly button: Kinda innie / almost just flat?

Emotions: Too busy cleaning, purging, organizing to even get emotional about anything! So many little things that I’d like to get done before baby arrives on 12/1!

Best moment in the last week: Colin now says his first multi-word phrase! He has a little doll and he “feeds” the doll a bottle, pats the doll’s belly, and says “Night night, baby”. MELTS MY HEART.

Looking forward to: A little neighborhood baby “sprinkle” happening on Sunday!

Stay warm, my friends!

xo Cassie

I Will Do Better

Today, I had a moment where I totally lost my patience with Colin.

The day started out like this…

Colin slept until 6:50, which was actually pretty awesome. He “helped” Richard and I make our “tah-chee” (coffee) while simultaneously grabbing everything breakable in sight. Richard left around 7:20, and I felt a pang of jealousy as he walked out the door. I was jealous that he was dressed up for work and heading outside into that perfect cold, crisp morning air that I love so much… and with a hot coffee in-hand, about to enjoy a solid 35 minutes of a podcast or music on his commute. My morning was some kind of blur that began with “don’t throw that car at the kitty” and ended with “do you really need to sit on the coffee table and touch the television while you watch that?” Somewhere in there, my coffee got cold (and nearly spilled 600 times), my clothes were smeared with oatmeal, and the floor was a smattering of spitty Halloween stickers that I had pulled out of Colin’s mouth.

He fell asleep for his nap quickly (win!) aaaaaaaaand woke up about an hour and a half later (which is not spectacular for him). In that hour and a half, I managed to clean up the mess downstairs, take a shower, and relax on the bed for a bit. I hadn’t gotten dressed or tried to start looking like a decent human being for our impending (and super necessary) grocery store run that would take place when he woke from his nap. I usually get a few minutes of “okay, he’s awake, but he’s content” to do that sort of thing.

Not today.

He woke up crying. I sighed, lifted myself off the bed, and began perusing shirts in my closet, trying desperately to determine what would actually fit my now 34-weeks-pregnant belly. The crying got louder and more intense. He was crying so hard that he was making himself gag. I could see him on the monitor – he was fine. Not being strangled by a blanket or stuffed animal. Not sitting in a puddle of pee or vomit. No limbs caught between the bars of the crib. Just tons and tons of crying. I began to move faster. I put on the exact same thing I wore yesterday, threw my wet hair in a bun, took a quick glance of my tired and makeup-less face in the bathroom mirror, and went to go get him.

Walking toward his room, I felt angry. My relaxing day wasn’t going at all like I had planned, and the crying brought back memories of those devastatingly difficult days when Colin was only a few months old. Anxiety washed over me, and I knew that I couldn’t spend what was going to be a LONG afternoon (since he woke up early) with him being this cranky.

I walked in, turned his sound machine off, opened his curtains and blinds, and grabbed a long-sleeved shirt from his closet. Without a word, and without even really looking at him, I reached into his crib, helped him stand up, and changed his shirt. He stopped crying, but was catching his breath. Ugh. Those post-cry gasps. Another anxiety-inducing sound. I quickly carried him downstairs, grabbed keys, my backpack, and shoes for us both. And we left.

It felt all too familiar.

I can’t count the number of times I used “let’s get out of the house as quickly as possible and go for a car ride” to soothe Colin when he was small. It always works – and it gives me a chance to think about absolutely nothing except for the stretch of road in front of me. When he woke up from today’s nap, I immediately needed an escape from the please-don’t-knock-my-coffee-over clingyness and constantly grabbing things out of his mouth. I couldn’t do it today. I woke up with the urge to spend a little bit of time on myself today, and when that didn’t happen, I let it get to me. Without a destination, we drove.

We ended up at the Target in Apex, where Colin was basically an angel. Naturally, I felt guilty. He was even perfect on the drive home. We pulled up in front of our house, and Richard was home. He walked outside to greet us. As I pulled Colin out of his carseat, he noticed Richard and a giant smile appeared on his face. “Dada,” he beamed.

I pass Colin to Richard and grab Colin’s shoes. “He probably wants to go play, since he’s been in the car,” I tell Richard. He sits on the porch steps and puts Colin’s shoes on.

With an armful groceries, I watch as the two of them cross the street to go play on the green in front of our house. I smile watching Colin’s bouncy little toddler steps through the too-tall grass. He falls, picks himself right back up, and keeps walking. And here I am, standing in the street with all of these damn Target bags. My eyes well up with tears.

It’s picture-perfect. But I don’t take a picture. I just watch.

I will be more patient next time. I will smile when I open the door to his room. I will sing songs to him in the car. I will stop at the park on the way home. I will do better.

Motherhood is so hard.

And it is so beautiful.

xo Cassie

32 Weeks!

The last few weeks have flown by and it’s difficult for me to even wrap my head around the fact that there are less than two months until we meet baby boy #2! We are getting out and about more lately, as the weather is finally cooling down. Fall means even more park dates, story time at the local library, and getting lots of fresh air before bedtime on the beautiful neighborhood lawn (the “commons”) in front of our house. I’ve included some photos from our little Saturday trip to the Apex Farmers Market – they had an adorable fall festival complete with pumpkins, apple cider, and some great local vendors!

Weeks: 32

32 weeks

Weight gain: 14-16 lbs.

What I’m wearing: Maternity shorts on warm days and maternity jeans or sweatpants on cooler days. I live in my stretchy Athleta tanks (underneath shirts as an extra layer). I think I’ll finally be able to start wearing my boots this week! I’ve been wearing my TOMS, since they are easy to slip on (no bending down!)

Fall festival

Sleep: This baby is super active RIGHT when I’m trying to fall asleep… so that hasn’t been so great. Between getting up to pee multiple times per night AND having trouble falling asleep… you get the idea.


Miss anything? I definitely feel huge. Like, I feel like I felt when I was 41 weeks pregnant with Colin. So I’m not excited about getting even bigger in the next few weeks, haha! I guess I miss being more active and flexible!

Baby movement: TONS. Especially in the morning and evening. Lots of hiccups now, too.

Mama and Colin

Currently craving: Cantaloupe, prosciutto (yeah, I’m being a bad pescetarian), eggs, and ice cream.

Annoyances and symptoms: Zantac has REALLY helped my heartburn situation. I rarely need to take Tums at night anymore, so that’s awesome. (Thanks, Courtney!) My lower back definitely aches in the evenings and I find it really difficult to get comfortable for sleeping.

Belly button: Still an innie, but very shallow…


Caboose 2

Emotions: It’s starting to REALLY sink in. Like, I am realizing that I need to take full advantage of these beautiful fall days with Colin, because I want to soak up every second that I have with just him!

Best moment in the last week: We scheduled the Cesarean! Baby boy will be making his arrival (unless he shocks us all and decides to come early) on December 1st!

Looking forward to: Celebrating Richard’s birthday this weekend — even if it’s just with a quick little family outing!

I hope that you’re having a lovely October so far!

xo Cassie

27 Weeks!

It’s a dreary and rainy day here in Chapel Hill, so I figured it was the perfect time to share a little bump update!

Weeks: 27 (where did this basketball come from?!)

27 weeks

Weight gain: Still in the 12-15 lbs range.

What I’m wearing: It’s officially feeling like fall here (finally), so I’ve been wearing my go-to stretchy Athleta tanks underneath shirts for an extra layer. I also splurged and bought two pairs of designer maternity jeans, because I am kind of over wearing leggings every. single. day. I’ve been wearing my TOMS shoes (not chilly enough for boots yet) and sandals on warmer days.

Hotel in Asheville

Sleep: We’ve had the windows open for about a week now, and that cool and crisp air is definitely helping my sleep and giving me that “refreshed” feeling in the morning.

Colin and I

Miss anything? This weather has me wanting to stock up on all of the tasty porters and stouts! Ugh!

Baby movement: Lots and lots of kicks and wiggles.

Currently craving: Salads, believe it or not. And cheese and chocolate, so I guess those cancel out the salads…?

Colin is also a fan of sweets...

Colin is also a fan of sweets…

Annoyances and symptoms: Heartburn and achy feet.

Belly button: Still an innie, but very shallow…

Colin's face is everything in this photo.

Colin’s face is everything in this photo.

Emotions: I had a nightmare last night that my car was stolen WITH COLIN STILL INSIDE. So yeah. That was terrifying. Anyone care to analyze that dream?!

Best moment in the last week: We snuck away for an impromptu weekend in Asheville as a family of three – and it was a blast!


Colin 2

Looking forward to: More beautiful fall weather!

Anyone have fun plans this season? Fall is my absolute favorite time to travel!

xo Cassie

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