Revisiting Minimalism as a Mother of Two

The more I acquire, the more I seem to want to simplify. Now that I’ve acquired another child and we’re a family of four, this has hit me with greater force than ever.

BrothersThe need to declutter goes hand in hand with my need to destress as much as possible. Is that even possible in this season of life? I’m not sure – at least about the stress level. But what I can control are my family’s possessions, and that doesn’t just mean the tangible “things” all over the house.

Our possessions have also shown up in the form of anxieties, frustrations, over-abundance of food and convenience products, and unnecessary cultural expectations (decorating the house and keeping it immaculate for any unexpected guests that may arrive).

This past weekend was Griffin’s third birthday, but it was his first that I didn’t allow the party to completely take over my life. Yes, it was still a great party with tons of food and everyone having a great time. But I didn’t go all out like I have in the past. This could be partly due to the lack of brain cells needed to do that – having a two-month-old hasn’t allowed me to focus entirely on any one thing. But the decor was much more scaled down than in the previous two years, and I didn’t worry as much about topping myself from previous years.

I compare myself to myself more than anyone else, always attempting to one-up the previous me and what her accomplishments were.

Griffin's BirthdayI’ve found it interesting that on the days when this need to simplify really strikes me the most, I will have a mental relapse and find myself shopping online for something frivolous, or going to the grocery store and loading the cart with pre-cut fruit and vegetables. I can certainly cut a sweet potato myself and save us money in the process, but the allure of having the produce guy at Whole Foods do it for me is too strong sometimes.

I also want to cultivate a minimalist wardrobe for myself – an overhaul of my current closet, to be replaced with quality pieces that are interchangeable and can be worn over and over. But that would require alot of time and money to get started, and I fall into that trap, telling myself I’m simplifying when what I’m really doing is online shopping.

These things are all an ongoing process, just like everything else where simplification is concerned.

It’s all about this idea of experiences over “things.” Having our family spend our time and money on what is lasting – on memories we will share and always have, versus things that are merely meant to be looked at or compared with someone else’s. Franklin, Tennessee is one of the wealthiest counties in the United States, and we constantly have to watch ourselves from falling into the comparison trap. I want my sons to grow up knowing other cultures, other ways of living.

I never want them to belong to this entitlement society, even if they do live in it.

BeachSo I’m trying something new, and with a new year approaching I think it’s coming at the perfect time. We will not be spending a lot of money on things to make our new home more magazine-worthy; rather, we will be spending our money on experiences, starting with a two-month cultural immersion experience in Dublin, Ireland this summer.

More details on that to come!



Rowan’s Birth Story

Rowan Lochlan Coleman White arrived at 2:05pm on September 10th. He was quiet, observant, and quite a little helper to mommy as she worked to get him into the world.

Newborn ShootWe were supposed to check in at the hospital at 6am, so Jeremy and I left the house before the sun was up and started out in a car laden down with bags that had been packed 6 weeks before. Not wanting to arrive after anyone else that may have a scheduled induction, I asked Jeremy to speed up a bit. Approximately 30 seconds later we spotted flashing lights in the rear view mirror.

After rolling down the window and yelling to the officer that I was in labor (much to Jeremy’s consternation), the officer shown his light into my passenger side window and questioned our reasons for speeding at such an early hour. Clearly he hadn’t heard me the first time. Jeremy calmly told him that I was in labor (only a minor embellishment), to which the officer shone his light directly on my belly before asking Jeremy his age. We laughed about this random questioning afterwards, wondering if he wanted to see if Jeremy would fumble under pressure, or if we both simply looked too young to be having children. The officer must have received a satisfactory answer either way, because after a warning to be careful and drive slower, we were on our way once again.

We arrived at the hospital and were very quickly taken to the room. I got comfortable in my green gown and hospital bed and the nurses came and hooked me up to a few machines. We waited for the doctor to arrive, she broke my water at about 8:30am, and they gave me a small amount of Pitocin.

DSC_0663An epidural nurse arrived and gave me the run-down on what to expect when I decided to get the drugs. He then gave me a bit too much information, telling me that in the off-chance that the needle was inserted too far I would most likely get a raging headache within 24 hours that could last 2 days. Being prone to migraines and not wanting the first experiences I had with my new child to be spend in a drug-induced haze, I was a little concerned when the nurse told me that he would be administering the epidural himself if I was ok with that. I asked if he felt confident in his abilities, and he let me know that he was very comfortable, as he had been doing it for a grand total of 4 weeks now.

He left and I resolved to get an actual doctor in the room when the time came for that large needle to enter my spine.

Soon the nurses came in to check my progression and turned off the Pitocin almost as soon as it had been turned on. I had progressed to 6cm dilated. After a total of 17 contractions I called for the epidural because it was starting to get a little more painful than I could manage.

The nurse and doctor arrived surprisingly quickly, and I just as quickly let them know that I wasn’t comfortable with 4 weeks experience. I’m so glad I made that decision, because I would have worried myself to death about an impending headache otherwise. Once the epidural had been given, I started to get the disconcerting numb feeling in my legs that would soon lead to dead weight from the torso down.

In a matter of only a few hours, I was ready to start pushing. But once I started they had me stop – he was already crowned after just one big push!

The doctor arrived quickly (thank goodness), and after 3 more pushes, Rowan very graciously stuck his arm out first, which narrowed his body and let him come right out. What a gentleman!

DSC_0725He arrived at 3:05pm with a head full of dark hair. He was also much bigger than anticipated at 7lb 12 oz, 20 1/4 inches long, and was immediately hungry and ready to latch.

Our time getting to know him while in the hospital was made even sweeter when Griffin came to meet his little brother and throw him his first birthday party. He ran down the hallway carrying huge balloons and excitedly yelling, “I get to meet my little brother!”

I hope they will always be that enthusiastic about one another.

Going Home


Life Lately

I will be induced on Thursday morning, arriving at 6am and starting the entire life changing process at 7:00. By the end of this week we will have an addition to the family that will draw us all closer than ever before.

The last two weeks have been a waiting game, to say the least. Every night I take a shower and shave my legs, just in case my water breaks and we need to rush to the hospital in the wee hours of the morning. Every morning I wake disappointed that the baby didn’t decide to come sooner than our deadline.

But I know that it’s really not the baby – it’s God. He’s up to something and certainly knows more about this child’s timing and birthday than I do.

As we wait for Griffin’s little brother, we are having fun in the process, soaking up the last days of being a family of three. Perhaps the most fun we’ve had was Friday’s Family Movie Night. It was Griffin’s first experience with so many things, and he absolutely adored it! As it was really his first movie experience, it was also his first exposure to Mary Poppins. What a wonderful movie to start with! He loved all the songs, was enraptured by Mary’s magic, and talked about Jane and Michael all weekend.

It was also his first taste of popcorn, and of course he loved that, too! I chose to purchase an heirloom variety they had at Whole Foods. Called Tiny but Mighty Popcorn, it produces smaller kernels and has a thin hull that disintegrates when popped. This meant I didn’t have to worry about anything stuck in Griffin’s teeth, but more importantly, about his choking! It is also much easier to digest. During special occasions will be using this brand from now on!

Family Movie Night

36 Weeks

9 months! How in the world did I get here? After 1.5 months of bed rest to keep this baby in until 34 weeks, he has decided he’s quite cozy and likes my belly just fine.

Now that I’m free to move around as much as I want, I’ve been doing yoga daily, working around the new house and making it a home, and even taking Griffin to fun outings like the zoo! The weather is finally starting to change for the better, so we’ve all been able to venture out and not rely quite as much on air conditioning.

36 WeeksPregnancy Stats:

How Far Along – 36 Weeks

Size of Baby – Honeydew, or a head of Romaine Lettuce

Gender – Boy

Total Weight Gain – 9 pounds

What I Miss – Being able to shave my legs easily, clean the house without feeling like I need a nap, and tolerate the heat.

Cravings – I’ve been eating chocolate and dates more, and have planned to eat Italian (lots of gluten free pasta) for my first meal after baby. Mexican sounds good too, as does pizza…pretty much all the foods I’ve given up in order for this baby to get the best nutrition possible!

Symptoms – A few painful contractions, lower back pain (body pillows are now my BFF at night), and discharge that I’ve read is a sign of effacement.

Maternity Clothes – I have a total of about 4 outfits I can wear now. I refuse to purchase any additional maternity clothes, so “sweatpants are all that fit me right now.”

Worst Part of Pregnancy This Week – Thinking I would be having a baby at this point a week ago!

Best Part of Pregnancy This Week – Listening to Griffin talk to the baby and rub my stomach while singing to him.

32 Weeks

I’ve made it to 8 months!

32 WeeksThe rest seems to be helping keep this baby in a bit longer. I’m so glad I can move around more, but I can also say I feel it when I do too much. This week I’ve been on my own with Griffin more than usual, and taking him to the toy store was pretty strenuous on my body. I can’t wait to be able to run around like normal again!

Pregnancy Stats:

How Far Along – 32 Weeks

Size of Baby – Squash or large Jicama

Gender – Boy

Total Weight Gain – 6 Pounds

What I Miss – Walking up the stairs without being exhausted, running errands like a normal person, picking Griffin up

Cravings – I’m still craving more dairy than usual, so there’s been a lot of yogurt and Paleo granola being consumed around here.

Symptoms – Tons of Braxton Hicks contractions. Some of them have been different than the last pregnancy, also. They seem to hurt a bit more, which has been slightly scary at times.

Maternity Clothes – I’m done purchasing maternity clothes if I can help it. There’s just not enough time to wear them without feeling I’ve wasted my money. I am starting to think about postpartum/nursing attire, though.

Worst Part of Pregnancy This Week – The afternoon after the toy store, I reclined in a chair and really worried about the scary contractions I was having. I prayed the entire time – luckily they all passed with no issue.

Best Part of Pregnancy This Week – Going to see the progress on the new house and realizing that we will most likely move in before the baby arrives!

Update – Modified Bed Rest + 28 Weeks

After a week of lying prone, even a tiny bit of freedom feels like I’ve won a prize!

Bed Rest has paid off, it seems. The doctor said that I can get up a little bit more throughout the day, bathe Griffin if I let someone else put him in and take him out of the tub, and go get a pedicure if I want. I can’t go shopping or out to eat at a restaurant, and will not be able to workout until after the baby is born, but I can sit up straight a bit more. At this point she is still holding off on the steroids or progesterone, as well. I’ll take it!

We go back for another checkup next week, to see if the slight increase in activity has a negative effect on the progress I’ve made. I’m continuing to pray!

My days have started to blend into each other, but I have a few things that keep me occupied. I think I’ll save that list for the next post. For now, here’s a 7 month update!

Pregnancy Stats:

How Far Along – 28 weeks

Size of Baby – An eggplant

Total Weight Gain – Last week I had gained a total of 6 pounds (thanks Disney). But at this last appointment I hadn’t gained anything additional, so at least bed rest hasn’t made me balloon out at this point.

What I miss – Walking!

Cravings – Still craving salty foods like chips, as well as random stuff like baked sweet potatoes with tons of butter and sour cream. I’ve also been eating a lot more sushi than I generally ever do.

Symptoms – Well, laying around for the last week hasn’t been the best for my digestion.

Maternity Clothes – A few fold-over pairs of yoga pants that can be worn after pregnancy, and some comfy Gap Fit shirts that are nice and loose. I especially like this roll sleeve tee.

Worst Part of Pregnancy this Week – Restless legs in the middle of the night from lack of activity during the day!

Best Part of Pregnancy this Week – Griffin woke this morning and his first words to Jeremy were, “I’m so excited about my little brother!”