The End

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When I was 24 years old, I wrote my very first post.  I said hello, uploaded a picture of my dog, and said I wanted to share things that I was passionate about.   And for 7.5 years, I did – and it was so good for me.  This blog challenged me to figure out who I was.  It shaped me.  In this space, I shared everything that excited me…

 

Wedding planning. Marrying an incredible man.  Figuring out how to have a healthy life. Enjoying the small moments in life.  Running.  Wrangling a house of cute pets.  Eating delicious food. Feminism.  Vegetarianism.  Writing a book.  Writing another book.  Writing ANOTHER book.  Writing half a book and quitting on it.  Having a baby.  And ANOTHER baby.  Discovering triathlons.  Somehow pulling off a Half Ironman.  Vowing to never do that insanity again!  Reading.  Sooo much reading.  Photography.  And cooking – a lot of cooking.

 

And I will NEVER, EVER forget how supportive you all have been through those experiences.  I know there are people out there who have been reading since the beginning.  So many you of took time out of your lives to offer me advice or support or just a nice comment.  I was always SO grateful for you.  That’s what I tell a lot of people about when they ask me about blogging as a profession – I tell them about my readers.  You guys have been great to me – so sweet and so supportive – and I will never forgot the human connections I made by typing on a screen.

 

Because you guys were lovely enough to read what I wrote, I was able to do something I was passionate about… for a living!  Seriously, I cannot write this post without stating how grateful I am to my readers.  I got to travel, explore, learn, cook, photograph, and write for a living.  But most importantly, without you, Operation Beautiful would not exist.  I am so incredibly awestruck with what Operation Beautiful did for so many people, and if it wasn’t for my readers supporting the idea, it would not have happened.  So – thank you for helping.  (I will continue my efforts with Operation Beautiful – you can follow the movement on our various social media platforms.)

 

Blogging was not always easy. To share 7.5 years of my life on the Internet – there is bound to be some low points. But I wouldn’t change that.  The bad taught me a lot about the world.  It also taught me who I am, and I’m pretty happy with me.  Plus, with the bad came so much good. An overwhelming amount of good.  On a day-to-day basis, I loved my work in this space. I loved creating and conversing and brainstorming. I loved seeing posts come to life.  Heck, I wrote over 5,000 posts!  Goodness only knows how many pictures I took.

 

But even as I lovingly worked on this blog nearly every day for the past 7.5 years, I always said that I wouldn’t do this forever.  I knew it would have a natural conclusion from the very start.  And now that my kids are older, that moment is here.

 

I loved sharing my early motherhood experience with you, and I love sharing photos/stories of my kids, but as they get older, I crave more privacy for them.  I struggle to write about my life without writing about them.  And I want more privacy for me, too.  If you can believe it, after so long, I’ve finally run out of things to say!  I like to think, “Maybe one day I’ll be back,” but I probably won’t.  And it’s a hard feeling to explain – that I’m done – but it’s been creeping up on me for a while.  It’s like when you’re reading a great book, and the pinch of pages in your right hand is getting smaller and smaller and smaller until you can feel your fingertips through the paper.  You can tell that the end is coming.  And here it is!  The End.

 

It’s hard for me to explain what being a blogger was like, but I can sum it up in one word.  Adventure.  This was a grand adventure, from start to finish.  Thank you for reading along, and I wish you nothing but the best.

 

Love,

Caitlin (and the whole family, too)

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How I Stop Temper Tantrums (this trick still works very, very often!)

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Post-Birth Review of Bradley Method Natural Birth Classes

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The Case for Waiting (to find out the baby’s sex)

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Henry’s Birth Story, Part I and Part II

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Claire’s Birth Story

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Why I’m Stopping Breastfeeding HenryStopping Exclusively Pumping, Part I, and Stopping EP, Part II

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Breastfeeding Claire – How It Was Different

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Side note:  As we approach her one year birthday, we are still breastfeeding champs.  I have no plans to stop anytime soon.  I had a pretty rough experience with breastfeeding, pumping, and eventually switching to formula with Henry. Looking back, the transition to motherhood was hard for me (although I couldn’t really pinpoint that at the time).  I felt an immense amount of pressure to be the “perfect” mom in all sorts of ways.  That mentality sabotaged my breastfeeding efforts with Henry.  With Claire, I tried hard to accept the steep learning curve of breastfeeding, minimized stress, and took a metaphorical chill pill when it came to the rest of my life.  I gave myself permission to stop breastfeeding at any point and (ironically) that helped me continue.  This was a huge factor in having a successful breastfeeding relationship with Claire.  For anyone who wants to breastfeed subsequent children but struggled with it initially, please know that it can be completely different from child to child.  It has been different for me, and it is such a blessing – I am very thankful for our breastfeeding relationship.

 

Parenting Books I Love

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7 Concepts that Guide My Parenting

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New Mom Survival Stations

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Things I Learned About Having a Newborn

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Panic-Free Pregnancy: Round Two

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What’s your #1 pregnancy, baby, or toddler tip?

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I <3 Frozen Veggies

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I have gotten SO into frozen veggies.  They are so quick and easy (no chopping, no mess) and way cheaper than buying the organic fresh produce.

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Plus – they help make awesome omelets… or messy eggs when I forget to mix the eggs before pouring them into the pan.  Ha!  When I have two kids clawing at my legs, a fast breakfast is pretty much a necessity.

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Side: cinnamon on bananas (and apples) is my current jam.

 

I saw this floating around on my Facebook page and felt really inspired by it.  I’ve been kind of grumpy lately, and the idea of taking a diet from negativity sounds really nice.  I’m going to print it out and put it on my bathroom mirror – next to the existing sign that says “UNCONDITIONAL LOVE” (which helps remind me to be nice to the kids when they are clawing up my legs at breakfast, haha).

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And last, but not least, do you like my mani?

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I’ve gotten really into the Jamberry nail wraps – they are so fun and last forever.  I love looking at my hands and seeing pretty designs.  It’s the little things in life, right?

 

Have an awesome weekend!

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Can you believe it’s November 4?  I can’t.  Where is the year going?!  Here are 10 things I want to do before 2015 is just a memory.

 

Finish all the books on my side table.  I started off very strong with Book a Week but am definitely not going to finish 52 books this year.  I have five or six books next to my bed and hope to finish them all before the year is over. 

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Do a 5K.  I may sign up for a Turkey Trot!  I’ve finally gotten back into a running rhythm (I even went on a run in the DARK and RAIN on Monday night!) and would like to commit to a race.

 

Organize my laundry room. I can’t even show a picture of my laundry room because it’s too embarrassing! So disorganized and overstuffed.  It stresses me out just to open the door.  We have open shelving, and I would really like to get cabinets installed so I can at least shut the mess behind a door.

 

Buy a new bathing suit.  We are going on vacation soon, and I need a new suit!  I usually buy one pieces from Albion Fit (best swimsuits ever) but have been lusting after this two-piece and this rash guard, both of which are from Athleta.  Cute, huh?

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Find a volunteer project to do with Henry.  I would really like to do some volunteering with him around the holidays but am having trouble thinking of age-appropriate activities.  Any thoughts?

 

Organized a Friends-giving dinner.  We’d love to have over a bunch of friends and their children over for a put luck meal around Thanksgiving.  I just need to pick a date and organize a menu!  I know that I want to make this as the vegetarian entrée.

 

Go to a Miami game.  We are only going to one Miami game this year, and it’s just around the corner. You should see my gust room – it’s covered in tailgating supplies.  I’m really looking forward to the experience!  Tailgating is one of my favorite things.

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Go see Santa.  Of course!  I’m hoping we have a Sweet Santa year, but you know that Scary Santa is just as likely…

 

Make a decision on whether or not we will go the “Real or Fake” way when it comes to Christmas trees (here’s the debate).  I waffle on this every single year – I’m so undecided.  But then I think about all those damn pine needles and lean a little closer to the Fake side.

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Work on Claire’s baby book.  I kept up her baby book for the past year, but I need to print out pictures and finish filling in some specifics.  I can’t believe she’s almost one (here’s her birth story).  Time flies!

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(This is actually Henry’s book – it makes me smile that his first word was dog and she can say cat).

 

What do you want to accomplish before the end of the year?

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Should I get a Treadmill?

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Did you have a great Halloween?  We sure did!

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Halloween is shaping up to be one of my favorite kiddo holidays.  I absolutely love going trick or treating with everyone!  Claire enjoyed sitting in the stroller and waving “hi!” to everyone.  And Henry LOVED going door to door with his friends.  A bunch of our neighbors get really into it with spooky décor, and Hen ate it up.

 

Other than the Halloween festivities, we had a pretty low-key weekend.  I scooted out of the house for a bit on Saturday to go on a peaceful solo trail run.  It was blissful.   And very challenging – my quads are super sore from this. 

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This run also made me realize that I need new running shoes – my old New Balances 880s are shot.

 

And actually, BFF Nicole and I did a little shoe shopping on Sunday.  She needs new shoes, too, but neither of us could pull the trigger – so we got pedicures instead!  Ahhh.  Now, THAT is really blissful.

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Dark red for the holidays!

 

So – as the title of this blog post suggests, I am thinking about getting a treadmill.  The Husband and I have been rolling this idea around for a few weeks, and we even went to look at a Craigslist treadmill on Sunday.  We probably would’ve bought it, but then I realized that we needed a moving truck to get it home…  That seemed too much to manage with two kids in tow.

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But the idea isn’t entirely dead.  Here’s my YES and NO list for bringing home a treadmill…

 

YES

It’s hard to find time for the adults to exercise with two littles in the house.  Just the timing of C and H’s wakeups/naps/bedtime and the Husband’s work schedule means that I can’t go when I used to go.

And it’s challenging to exercise at the gym because Henry no longer wants to go into childcare.  I don’t want to force him to go.

We feel like we’re throwing away $100 a month at the gym because we rarely go right now.

You can get a $2000 treadmill for about $350 – $450 used.

We have the space for it (spare bedroom).

 

NO

It’s really big, and even though we have the space for it, it’s not like it’s a pretty design element for my guest bedroom.

It’s going to be a bitch to get home.

If I buy a used one, I won’t have a warranty.

It may just become a really expensive place to hang clothes…

 

Thoughts?  Do you have a treadmill? Do you use it?

 

Oh, and one more thing!

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The Operation Beautiful team would like to extend a warm welcome to our new helper, Natalie!  She is helping us revitalize our social media channels. If you love the movement, please follow us!

 

#operationbeautiful

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