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The Natural Verve Has Moved!

I’ve had so much fun getting to know you all on this blog. Alas, all good things must come to an end…thankfully, The Natural Verve is not one of them!

I hope you’ll all follow me to my new blog home which can be found here!

There’s lots of exciting things to come on our brand new website. Make sure to enter your email and subscribe so you don’t miss a beat!

You can also find me on Instagram and Twitter! Be sure to follow me: @naturalverve

I can’t wait to start this new chapter with you all.

Lots of love,

Kristen

Our Transitional Twenties

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By legal standards, they tell us we become adults at 18. While we may have had the esteemed honor of registering to vote and buying lottery tickets, I think it’s safe to say the majority of us were a far cry from “adults” at that age.

Then we enter our early twenties and by all accounts that should, in and of itself, make us adults. At this point, however, a decent number of us are still focused on late night cram sessions and scoring big in the next beer pong tournament. There are a couple of blasé years in the middle where we’ve graduated college and are edging our feet into the water that is first jobs, new apartments, and sophisticated drinking aka cocktail hour after work.

Then suddenly, if you’re anything like me, you are on the cusp of thirty and realize you still don’t know what you want to be when you grow up. At this point, many of us are married with at least one child, and it suddenly hits us like a ton of bricks. Over the past couple of years, something changed and we really did become adults.

Who knows what made us realize it…maybe it was your child entering school, being called ma’am or mister at the grocery store, or that unfortunate moment when you officially used the phrase “back when I was a kid” and have begun to pity the poor children being raised in today’s day and age who just don’t understand what it means to be young.

Despite the fact that we are now the grown-ups we’ve always known we’d become, things still feel kind of uncertain for most of us. I don’t know about the rest of you but sometimes I feel like I’m living in a strange void where things don’t make a lot of sense. I sense the maturity that comes with age and feel confident in my capability to make respectable decisions, but when things go bad I often find myself still wishing I could crawl into my mommy’s lap and have her tell me things will be alright.

I sometimes look down on myself for not having it all together. But what does that really mean? Is it essential to have your dream job by the age of thirty? Is it so terrible to still be working towards that perfect degree? Should we be completely confident in the decisions we’ve made for our lives? Is it wrong to think back to the not so distant past and wonder if we could have, should have, done things differently?

I don’t think this is a time for regrets and disgruntlement. Despite our encroaching adulthood, we still have the chance to make changes in our lives…to figure out where and who we want to be.

Rather than spending our time Facebook stalking those individuals who really do seem to have it all figured out (damn them), maybe we should allow ourselves some more time. Give our still young minds the chance to grow and develop until we reach the point where we’ve forged our way to the answers we’ve been so desperately seeking. There’s no timeline to this. If we make it through our thirties and forties and are still waiting to “figure it out” that’s okay, too. Spend some time nursing a bottle of wine and a gallon of ice cream on the couch while you Netflix…it’s ok. As long as we’re happy with the roads we’re on, that’s the only thing that really matters.

So let’s just give ourselves a breather, revel in the fact that we’ve already lived almost thirty incredible years, and keep dreaming of whatever the future holds.

 

12 Months, 52 Weeks, 365 Days

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Today is a day that I’ve been anxiously awaiting and dreading all at the same time. Today is the day that our little girl turns one! While watching her grow, learn and change has become the greatest thrill in my life, it breaks my heart to see her moving further and further away from that little baby we brought into the world a year ago. It really does happen in the blink of an eye. Thankfully, however, all sadness is erased when I realize how extraordinary that daughter of ours really is.

I know all parents think their child is perfect and wonderful and brilliant, but I swear Haddie is spectacular. She has the brightest smile and sweetest personality. She is incredibly smart and amazes me day to day with the things she’s capable of.

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While I was pregnant, I can remember thinking – what if I don’t like this kid? Yes, that’s a terrible thing to even consider and I should have known better, but it was a serious concern. Everyone tells you what you’re supposed to feel, and I had an overwhelming fear that something would be missing. From the moment she came into the world, high pitched screams and all, I knew there was nothing to worry about. Within seconds of seeing that gorgeous face, gravity had shifted. Everything before that moment was the gone with the past and this incredible creature was all that mattered for the future.

Hadley Sutton, you are my life, my love, and my unwavering happiness. I vow to do everything in my power to protect your dreams and give you the most beautiful life possible. Things will not always be easy. There will be scrapes and bruises, bullies, and break-ups, but I will use every ounce of my strength to build you up and help you through…kissing away your tears and reminding you of the possibilities. I want you to live the life that brings you joy, and I promise to always be your biggest fan and cheerleader.

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Each day, you remind your daddy and I just how blessed we really are. You truly are our miracle.

Happy First Birthday, Haddie Girl.

Infertility Awareness Week

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For so many of us women, we start to dream about our fairy tale lives at a very young age. There will be Prince Charming, a beautiful wedding, and the arrival of a gorgeous, bouncing baby girl or boy to make our family whole. Unfortunately for a large majority of us, that sweet little baby will not come easy.

The National Institutes of Health has discovered that 1 in 6 couples will struggle with infertility. If you have never dealt with the uncertainty and heartbreak that comes with this disease, I will tell you this…There are simply no words to describe it. Whether you have dealt with miscarriage, stillbirth, or simply the inability to conceive, there is no way to explain to someone how you feel. In honor of Resolve.Org’s National Infertility Awareness Week, I offer this post as an ode to all of my fellow warriors in this journey.

You are all beautiful, courageous men and women. I stand beside you and rejoice in your strength. For those of you who have achieved your dreams of a little one after a long and strenuous journey, I have so much gratitude and joy.  If you haven’t yet found your happily ever after, I offer you sweet dreams, lots of luck, and more baby dust that you can imagine.

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Our little girl is truly a miracle that I never thought possible. All of the cards were stacked up against us, but yet here you are. Our lives are so much brighter and more fulfilled because of you, little Hadley. I thank God for you every day.

5 Years Since We Said “I Do”

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Today marks five years since the first day of the rest of our lives. No matter how much time goes by, I still can’t believe how lucky we are to be living such a beautiful life. While we’ve certainly had the ups and downs that couples are so accustomed to, I still live each day knowing that I have the best possible partner by my side.

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I’m forever grateful that we found each other and I can’t imagine a more caring, compassionate and supportive person to call my husband.

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This excerpt is from my favorite book “Jane Eyre.” It was read during our wedding ceremony and every line still rings true today.

“I have for the first time found what I can truly love–I have found you. You are my sympathy–my better self–my good angel–I am bound to you with a strong attachment. I think you good, gifted, lovely: a fervent, a solemn passion is conceived in my heart; it leans to you, draws you to my centre and spring of life, wrap my existence about you–and, kindling in pure, powerful flame, fuses you and me in one.”
—Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

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Ryan is my rock and from now until forever I will continue to vow my love and loyalty. Happy 5th Anniversary to my sweet husband! You make Haddie and I’s world such an extraordinary place.

An Afternoon Snooze

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Yesterday afternoon, my daughter let me rock her to sleep. You’re probably sitting there thinking, good for you…what’s the big deal? The big deal is that she hasn’t done this in months! When she was first born, and for many months after, she loved to be rocked and cuddled like most babies at that age do. I remember long, blissful naps on the couch where I lie cuddling her and looking down at her sweet, little face. Despite the ache in my neck, and the cramp in my legs from holding an awkward position for quite some time, I didn’t dare move a muscle. There was no scenario that would cause me to disrupt her slumber and ruin such a precious moment.

Then she got big (or, at least, she thinks she is!) And in recent months, she’s decided that she no longer wants to be rocked. During the fussy period before she falls to sleep, all we can do is lay her down. Forget the cuddling, the cooing, the rubbing of her back…the best thing  to do is just lay her down and let her do her thing. How quickly they stop needing us for certain things.

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And then yesterday happened. She’s been in a funny mood the past few days where, despite being completely exhausted, she refuses to take a nap. It’s frustrating periods of fighting with her to go to sleep, only to realize that somehow your child suddenly has the upper hand. After several rounds of this delightful game, I decided to try out the rocking chair (masochist that I am.) Within a few short rocks I realized that, miraculously, it was working! She was getting sleepier and had started snuggling into me. In a few moments ,she was out, and there I sat once again cuddling my sleeping babe. It was perfection.

I have to wonder if we’ll have any more moments like that. It may seem so simple, but it’s something I miss more than words. I can’t believe my little girl is already almost a year old. She’s changed so much and is learning something new every day. People talk about how quickly time will go by, but I never realized just how serious they were. Lesson learned. It’s easy to get wrapped up in cleaning the house, cooking the meals, doing our jobs. But we’ll never get these little moments back with our kids. So hold them tight and take advantage of every opportunity you have to just sit quietly and curl up with your babies. Just like people always say…they’re only little once!

What’s in a Name?

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You know what I think is funny? The way people react when I tell them my daughter’s name. Now don’t get me wrong, I understand that her name might be slightly unconventional, but in a world full of North West’s and Spurgeon’s, I really didn’t think Hadley Sutton was that strange.

And yet somehow, whenever people hear her unique moniker for the first time they tend to look at us like we have three heads. We get questions like:

  • How did you come up with a name like that?
  • That’s kind of different isn’t it?

And my favorite…

  • So that must be a family name, right?

Because apparently, my husband and I would only choose a name so ridiculous because we have some sort of familial attachment to it. And of course, there’s always the people who simply respond, “Huh?” I guess they think it’s so weird we must have been mistaken when we spoke it. Now I’m not saying that the people who ask these questions are trying to be outright rude or hurtful, but we need to consider how statements and questions like these might come across.

Choosing a name is not an easy task. I reached a point in my pregnancy where I legitimately thought we’d just wait until she turned 18 and let her choose for herself. She could have just been kid or girl until then! What a daunting undertaking it is to determine what a person will be called for the rest of their life. The name on their report cards, driver’s license, and job applications. A person’s name is often the very first thing that we learn about them…the very first impression we have. As parents, we want to make it a good one.

Hadley’s name is inspired from a few different sources. When Ryan and I first started watching the show Parenthood, we fell in love with the name Haddie…somehow though it sounded too much like a nickname to make it official, though. When I read a book about Ernest Hemingway’s first wife, Hadley Richardson, I fell in love. After mentioning the name to Ryan, we thought on it for awhile before finally deciding it was perfect. After seeing Sutton a few different places, we both felt like it was such a uniquely, beautiful name.

When I hear the name Hadley Sutton, I think of elegance. It feels like such a strong, feminine name that will stand the test of time. To our ears, our daughter’s name is something beautiful.

While we might not always agree with the names that people choose, goodness knows I’ve heard some doozies, we should try to remember that a mom and dad worked hard to choose that name. A lot of painstaking thought and emotion went into the decision and who are we to pass judgment? And if we feel like we there’s no way around being slightly judgmental…maybe let’s not do it to their faces?