Sugar and Spice and Everything Twice

The Huddleston Family is growing and it's another girl! We are over the moon and can't wait to meet our newest addition later this Summer (due August 26th)

A few important memories of this pregnancy so far:

- I found out I was pregnant just before Christmas. I got a positive test moments after I finished reading the entire Bible in a year and cried some pretty big tears of thankfulness.
- Carson is pumped. She's been into babies since a very young age and is excited to have one of her own. She includes little sister in family conversations and also thinks she may also have a belly in her tummy to match mine.
- Much sicker this time around -- about 16 weeks of nausea. I've turned a corner here and am very thankful!
- My thyroid meds have had to be changed a few times. We are monitoring it closely and the obgyn isn't concerned, so I won't be either.

How far along: 17 weeks
Gender: A girl! We are close to a name selection.
Maternity clothes: I for sure feel bigger than I look. Started the old hair tie trick this week.
Weight gain: None yet, but I'm sure I'm just around the corner.
Movement: Yes, I mostly notice them when I'm still. Sean felt a little kick this week, too. 
Sleep: Lots of it. Sleeping like a champ so far. Sean says I snore a lot more when I'm pregnant and I have crazier dreams. He said I was talking about nachos last night. :)
Symptoms: I've been much sicker this pregnancy than the last, but the past week or two have been much better. My main symptoms are a growing belly, food aversions and sensitivity to citrus. I'm also pretty sensitive and weepy.
Best moment this week: We celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary this week with a date night while Carson had her first sleepover. Very thankful for Sean and the way he cares for me and the girls. He's been a champ since I was so sick for much of early pregnancy.

Sweet baby girl, 
Little miss, we are filled with love and thankfulness for your precious life and look forward to you completing our family. I'll go ahead and warn you that your big sister might smother you with kisses a bit when you first arrive. I hope the two of you become life long friends. When we found out you were a girl, I was surprised but your daddy says he knew all along. He is very excited to be a daddy to two girls! We love you so much and are praying for the rest of this pregnancy to go smoothly. We are thankful for the opportunity to grow our family and think you will be the perfect fit! Looking forward to life full of loving you and your sissy. 


Carson at 2.5

Carson Ruby is 2.5 and really is such a joy. Sean describes her as "aggressively affectionate" and I'd say that's pretty accurate!

Somethings about Carson recently:

- Her vocabulary has skyrocketed and she's a great communicator. She understands emotions and will let us know how she's feeling in pretty descriptive terms.
- Her love language is for sure physical touch. Girl loves to cuddle, give hugs, and hold hands. Our church had an event centered around your child's love language and after really realizing hers was physical touch, we've avoided a lot of disciplinary type issues by just offering more snuggle ("nuggle") time.
- She has a lot of friends, but some of her favorites are: Aspen, Caroline, Harlow and Levi. She's a social butterfly and loves to be around others.
- She does ok with eating -- she will usually try about anything, but doesn't seem to eat a ton of any one particular item.
- She potty trained herself. :) Right around her 2nd birthday we officially started and she had it down with only a handful of accidents. A couple months after that, she was good to go all night, too.
- She typically gets sassy when she's hungry or when she has to leave somewhere she doesn't want to.
- Her favorite toys right now are baby dolls, coloring, playing pretend (princess, doctor), and her play kitchen.
- Her favorite TV show is Sophia the First and she asks to watch it all the time! Kiddo is persistent.
- She's very smart -- picks up on things very quickly, memorized new songs/books/bible verses after just a couple of times. Her memory is way better than mine!
- She has just recently taken to talking on the phone. She wants to call family/friends and have a little chat, but the conversation usually ends pretty abruptly ("ok, bye bye!"...click)
- She naps for around an hour at daycare and usually two hours at home, sleeps from about 8-6:30.
- If you ask her what she wants to be when she grows up, she will say "A Mommy!" (and I know she's going to make a great one!)

Carson Ruby, your daddy and I are so very proud of you! We love getting to know you and see your personality develop. You are kind, smart and very funny. Being your mom is one of my greatest gifts and pleasures. We often pray through the fruits of the spirit over you and have seen a lot of those character qualities come out. Sweet girl, we so desire for you to grow up knowing and willingly serving Jesus. We promise to do our best to lead you into a healthy relationship with the Lord by modeling grace and ensuring our family's involvement in the Church. You are so much fun to be around, so imaginative and creative. You've just woken from your nap, so I'll leave this post to hug your neck. Love you to the moon and back, Carson!


Carson Turns Two

Our sweet Carson Ruby turns two years old today! My how time flies. To know Carson is to love her and gosh we love her so very much! This year we celebrated her birthday with friends and family with a cowgirl themed party, complete with ponies.
At age two Carson:
- Loves to play pretend
- Really enjoys reading books. Right now mommy or daddy read to her then she "reads" the books next
- Enjoys going to church, especially if we promise a bus ride (shuttle)
- Still goes to play learn during the day and has grown so fond of her teachers, Mrs. Amy and Ms. Linda
- Is a pretty good eater, though takes forever
- Has become quite girly -- as an affinity towards makeup and nailpolish and really dislikes bugs and worms
- Still sleeps in her crib, though we will probably try a big girl bed this summer 
- Her favorite people are probably my parents, her friend Caroline and cousin Harlow 
- Is really stringing words together now "I need more water, please" for example
- We've done a soft launch of potty training -- when home she usually knows to tell me and goes potty

To my main girl, Carson:

Carson Ruby -- this year your birthday and Mother's Day fall on the same day. It's so appropriate to celebrate those together, given you were the one who made me a mommy. With tears welling up in my eyes, I feel so grateful for the opportunity to hear your little voice call me mommy and to feel the snugness of your tiny arms giving me a big hug. Right now you are incredibly fun - I love your silly side and you seeing your imagination take flight. I love your snuggly side -- the way you need extra cuddles after you wake up from a nap and how freely you give hugs and kisses to others. Two years really have gone by very fast and each new stage brings a twinge of sadness for phases passing, but more joy and anticipation for the little girl you are shaping in to. Carson, I hope you know how much you are loved. Your daddy and I try really hard to make sure you are safe and know how special you are. As much as we love you, God loves you even more. As you grow older I pray that you will trust us as your parents to help guide you and trust that Jesus' plan for your life is best. Carson you are such a blessing for us -- you bring us so much joy and laughter.  We love you to the moon and back!


Here are some pictures from the birthday party:


Carson update: 17 months

We are about halfway through football season and are finally in our groove for our fall schedule (which typically means a little less of Sean!). I led a Bible study at our church this fall, so it's been busy, but a wonderful start to autumn.

Carson is now 17 months old and as cute as ever. Things she's up to now include:
  • She loves anything baby doll related. The other day she was shhing and rocking a "baby" that was a can of raisins! She swaddles, puts them down for naps and rocks them -- it's precious. 
  • She enjoys playing with her play kitchen and cooking noodles, aka headbands. 
  • She's a lover and very affectionate -- the other day at a party she made a boy cry because she was hugging him too much. Could be worse habits, haha. 
  • She's an ok eater -- I wouldn't say she really loves anything in particular, though. Still not a fan of most fruits or veggies, unless blended in a smoothie. 
  • She really loves daycare. She's always happy for me to leave her and sad when I pick her up. Today another mom told me her little girl was asking to see Carson on the way to school, so I hope that's a sign she is kind to others. The teachers love her to pieces, too. 
  • She can say mama, daddy, dog, ball, thank you, please, more, hi, bye, book and, of course...no! 
  • She knows some hand motions to Jesus Loves Me

To my dearest Carson Ruby -- 

You really could not be any sweeter. You are such an easy baby to love and care for, often waking up with big smiles and falling asleep just after sweet giggles. Your daddy and I love you so much that it's almost like life was a little black and white until we met you, then everything came in full color. Being your mom is a blessing on many fronts -- I love to love you, but I also know that this role was created for me as part of my own sanctification process, drawing me closer to Jesus. We have been praying the fruits of the spirit over you recently -- love and joy, which you embody every day. Now we are praying for peace -- peace in knowing you were created by our Creator, who has a specific plan for your life. Peace in the fact that both your dad and I will love you unconditionally. As a toddler, you lack some understanding, but the Bible tells us that Jesus can offer peace that transcends understanding -- it's not always going to make sense to you and that's ok. God can help you do big things, Carson, and we are thrilled to have a front row ticket to see how He uses you! 

With all my heart, 


Breastfeeding: Our Story

As this chapter of life comes to a close, it's important to me to document this milestone. Breastfeeding surprised me in a lot of ways. Given I've spent nearly 500 hours of my life with a little one attached to me, I think its own blog post is merited. 

So, I clearly know millions of women have breastfed their babies -- many longer than I did and most with more children. I'm by no means an expert on the topic, but I thought if this encouraged another mama in a tough spot or provided insight for a mom-to-be then it's worth it. 

Surprise #1
It changed my prayer life dramatically. I was forced to sit still. To be quiet. To relax. Breastfeeding opened the possibility of clearing my mind (which normally races) and seeking out The Lord at all times of day. For this I am forever grateful and this is one of the reasons I'm sad to see this season pass us by. 

Surprise #2
Babies adapt. With every milestone related to feeding -- sleeping through the night, adding baby food, dropping a feeding, etc. I was always very anxious. Was she hungry? Will it mess up her napping? There may have been a couple of odd days mixed in, but by and large she just figured it out on her own. It was always harder on me than her.

Surprise #3
God did, in fact, equip me with motherly instincts and I learned to trust them. The first few weeks after Carson was born were tough on me -- I think I may have even had some PPD. I didn't ever feel sad, but I definitely felt unreasonably anxious. I remember texting Sean that I was sick to my stomach about giving Carson and paci (which she never took anyways) -- how silly! After God delivered me from that anxiety, my confidence grew tenfold and I just started to "feel" what was right. Trust those instincts, parents -- God gives them to you for a reason.

When pregnant with Carson I was armed with the facts: breastfeeding is good for both baby and mommy. There are lots of studies out there -- from higher test scores to improved bonding, but I'm sure you've heard all of that before (I'm also sure there are probably other variables connecting those correlations). I also had a lot of concerns -- would I hate it? Will it hurt? I can't sit still for 5 minutes, how will I do this? I have to go back to work! 

Some things that really helped me along the way include:
  1. My pump. This helped my return to work easier. Most insurance plans are now required to offer a pump free of charge to members -- I encourage you to check it out. 
  2. My husband. When things were tough, he encouraged. Heck -- when things were great, he encouraged. A good support system is important. 
  3. My baby. She really was a good eater. She picked up nursing well early on and put herself on a very manageable schedule. 
  4. My job. I did go back to work after two months of maternity leave, but with a flexible schedule -- starting out just 3 days in the office. I would still come home at lunch to feed Carson and being around her instead of pumping as much as possible was important to me. Even when she started daycare the ladies were incredibly supportive and would have the nursing station all set up for me when I dropped by.
Breastfeeding brought out a lot of emotions {and sin!} I didn't know were there before. I was so thankful to have the physical ability to feed Carson. I was grateful that it came easily and that I enjoyed the time with her. I put a lot of pressure on myself to make breastfeeding work -- probably too much pressure. I felt like if it didn't work out it would be my fault and a failure, which is crazy -- not once have I ever looked at another mom giving their baby formula and thought they loved their baby any less. That was for sure silly. 

Carson started sleeping through the night at 11 weeks -- I continued to get up in the middle of the night once until she was 7 months old to pump. I could pump so much and was pretty quick, so I didn't mind getting up. That helped me build my freezer stock, which provided peace of mind for me. As I kept doing it, Sean pointed out that he thought I was becoming prideful about still waking up to pump -- he was right. Although I didn't really realize it, it was a source of control for me and not healthy, so I stopped and enjoyed a good nights sleep, but not without some internal struggles and confessions about my desire for control. 

As I look back over the past 13 months I have an overwhelming joy, with a twinge of sadness. How awesome that God created our bodies to help care for a baby from conception through breastfeeding! The decision to stop is multifaceted -- she doesn't seem very interested anymore, needs to learn to drink milk out of a sippy better and we have some upcoming travel. 

Yesterday -- on what I thought would be the last nursing session, I put Carson in my lap. She looked me straight in the eye, grabbed my cheeks with both of her hands, puckered up and gave me a big kiss on the lips -- as if to say, "You did great, mommy!" I teared up, fed her and knew that was that last memory I needed for our breastfeeding journey. 

I'll end with this -- moms need cheerleaders. Husbands need to encourage their wives and support them through the crazy. Raising little ones isn't easy and forming a community of support instead of judgement is so important and just one little way we can show Jesus to others. What works for me might not work for you and vis versa, but we can still understand that we all have a deep desire to do the best things for our babies and families and offer up kind words to build one another up. 


Carson: one year

I blinked and now have a one year old little girl! Carson brings a lot of joy to those around her -- all of the obvious suspects are obsessed with her (parents, grandparents), but even those who interact with her more sparingly have been won over by her. She is very loving towards others and has a sweet disposition.

We celebrated her birthday at our house with family and friends -- it is so humbling to see how others love Carson and are generous with both their time and resources. Sean and I feel very happy here in Fayetteville, surrounded by wonderful, thoughtful friends and family.

Here's a video I made with some of our favorite pictures and videos from Carson's first year!
Here are a few pictures from the party! I tried to keep things pretty simple and made most of the decorations and food.

To my one-year-old daughter, Carson --

This year you have grown physically, while I have grown more emotionally and spiritually than I thought possible. Your dad and I are incredibly proud and honored to be your parents and don't take our roles lightly. One of my favorite things about you right now is your friendliness with others -- you do no discriminate who you share smiles or waves with and it's a wonderful picture of loving others well. Thanks for taking it easy on us and introducing us to parenthood as gently as possible. While there is a small part of me sad to see this baby stage leave, I am pretty darn excited to see you continue to learn and help decipher your talents and interests. You are loved by so many, but none greater than Jesus himself.




Carson: 11 months old

Parents always say time flies and boy is that the truth! Carson is 11 months old and I have no idea how time has passed so quickly. She is learning so much right now -- her brain is a little sponge!

  • She weighs about 21.5 pounds and is 29.5" long 
  • Size 3 diapers
  • She shows a lot of interest in table food now and does pretty well with small bites of just about anything. She doesn't love picking up slimy foods herself (ie: bananas). 
  • Still breastfeeding 8, 12, 4 and 8 though I do think she is starting to wean herself -- sometimes she's not very interested.
  • This month she started walking! She gets more brave every day -- still plenty of falls but Sean and I were happy to witness her first steps!
  • She loves to wave and is really good at it. She also loves bath time and being tossed in the air. 
  • She will say "dada" "mama" and recently picked up "uh oh" -- she will mimic a couple of animal sounds if she feels like it.
  • She has two teeth, bottom front. 
  • She's doing great at PlayLearn and I love getting to spend every afternoon with her at home.
  • She is still a great sleeper, typically sleeping from about 8:30pm to 7:30am. She usually naps 2x/day at noon and 4pm, but that 4pm one is kind of hit or miss, depending on how her first nap was.

Carson Ruby -- 

How is it already time to plan your first birthday?! My love for you is so strong that it almost feels like an ache sometimes. I'm incredibly thankful for your happy, healthy self but sometimes wish time would slow down just a tad. You're growing so big! Your daddy and I enjoy playing and cuddling with you so much -- we both get excited when you wake up because you're so much fun to be around...sometimes we race to see who will pick you up out of your crib. You are the most precious gift -- how special it is to be your mom. Sometimes I feel totally inadequate but am quickly reminded that's ok and God chose me specifically to be your mommy. Thanks for your forgiving heart and many tangible reminders of your love for me. We love you more than you know.