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Friday, November 30, 2012

Reusable nursing pads (DIY)

If there are two things I absolutely love using this time around as a new mommy, they're homemade nursing pads and burp cloths. The nursing pads are so much more comfortable than the disposable kind, not to mention cheaper and more cute too. I just used extra receiving blankets that I had  and some baby flannel fabric scraps left over from past projects to create the layers. I made thinner ones for day use and thicker ones for night time. The important thing is to make one side of white fleece. White so the pattern doesn't show through your shirt and fleece because it is water resistant. I used [this] tutorial to get me started.

The burp clothes are easy enough and I'm sure there are tons of tutorials out there if you are interested. I made some from cloth diapers and old receiving blankets and fabric scraps, and was gifted some as well. They're functional and they're fun to look at!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

Our daughter was born the Friday before Hubby's week long spring break last year; our son was born the Saturday before the week of Thanksgiving break this year! Perfect timing as he was able to be home with the family both times. We were fortunate enough to have his mom in town from out of state to celebrate Thanksgiving with us; I really appreciated her doing all the cooking! With a newborn around, I would have settled for a bowl of cereal to feast on but as it was we had delicious ham and potatoes and amazing pumpkin pie! We all really enjoyed Grandmas visit. She cooked and cleaned and shopped and bounced the babe so we could catch additional hours of sleep. And, she played... lots. Our daughter loved all the attention and silliness.
Grandma and her 28th grandchild.
Just checking on brother.
The onesies I made them for the occasion.
Happy first Thanksgiving sleepy head!

It's amazing that a person can be too small for newborn size clothes!
Yep, this is as (not) impressed as she was by her turkey attire!
Our two little turkeys, and by golly we're sure Thankful for them!

Grandma can sure make this little girl laugh!
Grandma and her 26th grandchild. Such a good picture too!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Baby Boy's Birth Story

The end was in sight! 
At 39 weeks, I was going to get to hold my sweet baby boy in my arms instead of in my belly! 

Thursday- Doctor stripped my membranes and I just knew this was going to do the trick! Labor, here I come!

Friday- Woke up pregnant; cried and cried and cried! Then, we walked and walked and walked. Labor didn't come on, but I consoled myself by focusing on the Back Up Plan (i.e the induction set to take place the next day if I hadn't already delivered...)

Saturday- All I had to do was call the hospital at 5:30 in the morning, and they'd tell me when to come in and have my baby. It was going to be a dang good day! One phone call later and I was sobbing my eyes out! They were just too full and couldn't do an induction when they needed to reserve their last few rooms for women who were truly in need.  My sweet, sweet husband was so good to me. He just held me and let me be sad. I tried to reason with myself and thank God for unanswered prayers; tried to trust and rejoice in his timing... But, I grew increasingly emotional and uncomfortable until 9 o'clock rolled around and I decided to visit my doctors office. I just wanted to know if all this discomfort was from the membrane stripping, or if I could perhaps be progressing towards labor. Maybe I could even get the doctor to take pity on me and arrange for the hospital to give me one of those last coveted rooms... I was alas a blessed 4 centimeters dilated and the doctor assured me that one way or another I'd be having this baby today.

At 12:30pm my contractions were strong enough to make me cranky while they lasted. Since my awesome mother in law had made it into town from Colorado, we left her with our toddler and drove to the hospital.

By 1:00pm we were checked into a delivery room, and chatted to the nurse while we waited for the doctor to finish up in surgery.

At 1:50pm I was dilated to 5 centimeters, Doc broke my water and very soon after I decided that though I really, really believe in natural child birth- I absolutely wanted that epidural. Hey, I believe in healthy eating but I still eat cake! That epidural would never come, contractions were coming one on top of another and there wasn't going to be time for any sort of pain killers. Heck, the nurse was just hopeful that the doctor would make it back in time to deliver as he was again caught up with the surgery patient.

In the meantime I tried everything I could think of to get out of having to go through with this labor and delivery. I would tell the nurses: I'm too hungry, I changed my mind, I'd rather go home, I don't actually even want this baby...They just smiled and nodded and encouraged me to breathe. At one point, there was a general cheer in the room that the doctor had arrived. I won back the undivided attention by letting out a dramatized little sob of pain. I vaguely remember starting up a conversation with my husband about vasectomies.

A little bit later I felt that urge to push and doc saw it in my eyes. Up until this point I had been laboring standing up. I found that being able to move around, and have my husband apply counter pressure to my lower back during contractions, was the only way I could handle all the pain. But now, Doc was trying to argue me onto the hospital bed. “I can deliver your baby with you standing,” he told me, “but- it makes for sort of an awkward delivery…”   

No, I didn’t want to deliver my baby standing and risk him falling into the world head first. But, I didn’t want to get on that bed because getting on that bed meant I’d have to push and pushing a baby out hurts like nothing else! (I remembered from the last time I had to do it!) The nurses joined in the argument by telling me that pushing is a better sort of pain because I could do something about the hurt, I could be in control of it to an extent. I gave in and climbed onto that bed. I asked if this was going to take me five more minutes, or an hour. Doc's response that it was all up to me was the motivation I needed to put my whole self into those last few pushes. I was startled over the woman screaming; even more surprised when I realized it was me! In all of 12 minutes I pushed my baby into the world. 

At 3:09 My beautiful son was born. We heard him cry, his daddy cut the umbilical cord, and our little S.J. was placed into my arms. 
My favorite part: “Did you all see that?” my doctor was the first to speak, “that mom moment?” I glanced up at him and I saw the reason he is a doctor reflecting in his eyes as he delivered my placenta and finished his thought, “that instant in which she went from worrying all about herself to caring for nothing else besides that baby.”And, he was right. Nothing else mattered except for that tiny infant in my arms. 
Cutting the umbilical cord.
 I love this little boy!
The awesome team who helped bring my son into this world.
First bath!
One exhausted, and very proud father.
Kisses from big sister; what a happy first meeting!
First Family Portrait

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Happily Stretched

Bear with me... this post really isn't about a naked Jessica Simpson, or a naked anyone else for that matter! 
It's about... well... stretch marks. My ugly, beautiful stretch marks. 
And yes, I am posting pictures.

Isn't pregnancy a beautiful thing? Doesn't every woman out there hope for that "glow" someday when she decides to carry around a little miracle inside of her? And, don't all women hope for those stunning maternity pictures seen on the cover of various magazines? Maybe even secretly want those sexy poses to keep for themselves...
Of course, what girl wouldn't also want to get her rockin' pre baby body back effortlessly, walk out of the hospital in her normal jeans, and step right into her picture perfect first family pictures...
It should be easy! After all, women do it all the time! You want to know the secret? Watch this short, tell all video [HERE]
"Fotoshop by Adobe"
Beauty is effortless. Perfection is reality. If you fall short, if you have a genetic flaw or choose to wear sweat pants instead of six inch heels for the majority of your pregnancy then clearly there is something very, very wrong with you.  Maybe you ought to invest in the product that will photo shop your life advertised above, because then- and like the video says- "You don't have to rely on a healthy body image or self respect anymore!"

Unfortunately, we live in a world that lies. We have been trained from a really, really young age to, "compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else's highlight reel" (Steven Furtick). We have a pretty screwy idea of what beautiful is, heck we have a pretty screwy sense of what normal is! But guess what- I'm normal. And, I'm beautiful. There I said it. And I believe it. I've been told on several occasions by different people, "Well- you won't be wearing a bikini ever again!" And maybe I won't be. But, why not? Why can't I? What about me, and my sacrifice, and my decision to bring a baby into this world is so darn offensive to other people? Why shouldn't I be confident enough, and proud of my body and the scars it bears enough, to rock any type of swimsuit I want to?

Anyway, some women really do find their glow during pregnancy, rock the high heels the whole time, and bounce back into shape with no evidence of having just carried a baby for 9 long months. Other women, (I think- I cannot be the only one like this out there!) suffer through the unfavorable pregnancy symptoms, and/ or gain weight in undesirable places, and/ or have to trudge a long road of recovery from tears and stitches and even broken tail bones, and/ or will forever carry a scar, or two, or thirty as a result of their pregnancy.

I cried a lot during my first pregnancy as my body changed and disappointed me over the months. I cried once or twice about it this second time around too. But, through lots of love and confidence building from my husband and general maturity on my part- recognizing that the happiness I feel as a result of my children makes everything else, every silly vanity I cling to, non important, I have come to love the way I am! So, I had my husband take a few pictures of me and I am about to share them here. I realize that I will be judged, but this is about me loving me just the way I am. And, if you stretch or have other unfavorable happenings during pregnancy, or any time in your life, I hope you love you just the way you are too.

Has anyone seen the movie What to Expect When You're Expecting? Moms- which character best represented you during your pregnancies? I am totally right there with the glamor-less Wendy (played by Elizabeth Banks) though I have to say I never did pee my pants in public!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Pregnancy in Review

It was way back in April when I introduced the latest and greatest project I'd been working on. Oh- how I loathed those months of morning all day sickness! I actually got my very first bedsore from all that time spent laying down!
What were my first symptoms?
 Increased appetite, like embarrassingly huge appetite, and extremely tired.
Who did I tell first? 
My husband. "No way. Babe!" I yelled from the bathroom, "Apparently we're pregnant."

At 15 weeks I thought I had a cute baby bump and could not get enough of sour patch kids candy, and tangy banana pepper rings! Oh, and zofran, big fan of that anti- nausea medicine too! 
 When June rolled around I reported a healthy baby ultrasound,
An incredible 3 D picture of babys legs, crossed at the ankles. So cute!
but held off on the gender reveal until family had all received their scratch tickets in the mail. 
 By end of July I couldn't take the hurt anymore and blogged a pitiful complaint about the round ligament pain I'd been experiencing. Second trimester was filled with lingering morning sickness, UTIs, bladder infections, and visits to the emergency room for dehydration and the labor and delivery ward for pre-term contractions. Third trimester started off less dramatic and consequently put me in the spirit of preparing for a baby boy! Quilts, onesies, car seat covers, and lots of maternity clothes...
 September brightened my spirits and I seized the opportunity to get the maternity photographs taken I'd been wanting- especially if this is going to be our last pregnancy. 
Then I hit 31 weeks and we had a big scare. Daily trips to the doctors office and/ or hospital resulted in corticosteroids to aid babys lungs, a prescription to stop contractions, and a bed rest recommendation to prevent preterm labor from happening! Despite the bleeding, baby boy is still healthy; he was playing with his toes by his head during the ultrasound!

32 weeks pregnant and I...
feel: Grateful! We are so healthy despite all the difficulties we've faced, but I also feel extremely hormonal and am more often than not either weepy or angry - or both!
crave: Butter. The more fat in the food the better, we've had a lot of hamburgers lately!
gained: 16 pounds so far. Which really is a miracle considering all that butter...
stretched: Of course. My daughter lifts up my shirt and sticks band aids on my "owies"
sleep: Hardly. Crazy dreams, bathroom visits, heartburn, and hot flashes keep me up at night though I have started enjoying afternoon naps while my toddler is sleeping.
33 weeks pregnant and my...
belly measures: 42 inches around.
favorite thing about pregnancy is: watching my husbands face as he rests his hand on my stomach and baby kicks and rolls around beneath it.
hospital bag must haves include: my birth plan, the camera and chocolate!
 34 weeks pregnant and...
I feel: Miserable! I was convinced we'd have a preemie so where is baby? Morning sickness has returned with a vengeance and  the heart burn never goes away! I am so sick of getting sick!
I eat: A lot of hot sauce! (I refuse to see a correlation between this and heart burn. In fact, my heart burn is always the worst after eating sweet, sugary treats.) My beloved hot sauce finds its way onto my hamburgers, spaghetti, tacos, chicken, salads... everything!
38 weeks pregnant and...
The doctor says: he cannot believe I'm still pregnant after all those contractions in weeks prior. 
I have gained: 27 pounds 
Babys position: Head down! 
Biggest complaint: Sciatica!  
Plan of action: Membrane stripping at 39 weeks and an induction scheduled the next day if needed. The end is in sight!
Overall, I am feeling: Excited! Cannot wait to see what this little boy looks like! Ok, that's true... But, really, I'm a nervous wreck. Ignorance was bliss last time, but this time around I know what labor and delivery is all about and I'm stressing big time. It's gonna hurt, it's gonna be messy, I'm going to be worried about how my daughter is doing at home with a sitter, I'm afraid of not being in control and not having my preferences honored by the medical staff... Oh gosh, I just want to get this over with! Fingers crossed for a speedy, not super painful recovery too and a sweet babe who gets nursing and isn't going to have colic like his sister did... Fingers AND toes crossed that I can actually handle having two kids all the sudden as well!

39 weeks pregnant and...
Belly measures: 45"
Final weight: 162 (exactly the same as with my daughter, how crazy is that?!)
Plan for labor: All natural.  
Here it goes!!!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Welcome home, sweetie!

What I should do, is modestly and casually, mention an opportunity that my dear husband (DH) had to attend an event these past three days. What I should do, is humbly express my gratitude for DH having secured himself a job even before he graduates, and note that we are so very blessed to have received this good fortune. I suppose that what I shouldn't do is announce that it is I, in fact, who has the smartest, bestest, hardest working, most determined husband in the world. I probably shouldn't brag about how well his interviews went, how quickly this company snatched him up, and how awesome of a trip, paid for by this company, he just went on was. I shouldn't go on and on and on about how excited we are for our future and how much this new company is spoiling us! So... I shall try to resist.

Bottom line is that DH was gone for three whole days. He left his tired, extremely pregnant wife home alone with his energetic, extremely hyper toddler- and we survived!!! (He wouldn't have gone on the trip, had I not urged him to do so. He would never abandon me in a time of need! But, this was too good of an opportunity for me to let him pass up!) So the laundry didn't get done, our neighbors took pity on us and fed us dinner two nights, and each afternoon I was still in my pajamas... I didn't say we thrived, but- we survived! Whoo- hoo! His absence was not easy on us! DH is extremely present around here; he is definitely our main source of entertainment! Consequently, it was a little stressful with him away; this of course means that our little girl hardly ate anything, and I ate everything in sight! But, we did well on our own. We colored lots, and had imaginary tea parties and picnics with lots of giggles, we went for walks around the apartment complex and little one even got to sleep in my bed one night. (That last bit always sounds better than it actually turns out; we're both blanket hogs and more than once I've woken up with her diapered bum in my face!) Our last fun activity took place yesterday afternoon when we prepared for DH's return by decorating cupcakes to help us welcome him home!
So, welcome home sweetie!!!! We sure missed you a lot!!!
 We love you and are so happy you're home safe!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

What to do to prepare for the new baby

Due to complications around 30 weeks of this pregnancy, I have spent several weeks thinking each week was my last week being pregnant... During those times, I have filled my days with "last minute" preparations for baby's arrival and today when I stopped and thought about it all, I realized: Holy cow! I'm really ready now. From freezer meals, to including our toddler, warding off germs, and planning ahead for some personal R&R, I think I'm all set. More than likely, I have yet another week (though this one really is going to be my last week pregnant... for real!) so I'd totally love suggestions as to what ought to be done in the upcoming days that I haven't already thought of!
Chaotically Pictured Above (and explained below):
1. Outfit bags
2. Toddler activity box
3. Toddler care instructions
4. Hospital Bags for Toddler and Mom (mine isn't pictured)
5. Clean hands sign
6. Mama's R&R eye mask and bath soak
7. Freezer meals
I should have included the following in the picture since they're done too:
1. Clean sheets
2. Birthday cards, written and addressed for the next two months
3. Christmas gifts completed and wrapped
4. Stocked pantry

What the heck am I talking about?! 

1. Outfit bags. 
I originally saw this idea on pinterst as a technique to make vacationing with children easier, but I thought it'd be perfect for this as well! It's as simple as bagging seven individual outfits with a diaper in each bag for your child. I also bagged the two pair of pajamas that we rotate through. This is going to be a life savor while I'm either in the hospital, or tending to the new baby once I am home. Who ever is looking after our toddler will only have to grab a bag to help her get ready in the morning! No need to rummage through messy drawers guessing as to what fits and what our preference is... Also, my daughter is entering that age of independence and already likes to pick out her own clothes- or at least dispute the ones I choose... This way, she can pick a bag, but she'll still have on a matching, cute outfit! This is important because our camera is going to be used a lot those first few days. Win/ win.

2. Toddler activity box. 
Our daughter is perhaps just like every other toddler out there. Demanding, easily bored, high energy, and curious. I have a hard enough time entertaining her now (and failure on my part leads to tantrums on her part) I know it's going to be even more difficult while I am nursing or rocking her baby brother. So, I put together a box of crafty, fun activities for her that I, or her daddy, or a babysitter or a grandparent can use to keep her occupied. It includes crayons and coloring books, water color paints and paint pad, props for interactive nursery rhymes and songs, play dough, cookie decorating supplies (dough is pre-made and in the freezer,) and supplies for mess free finger painting (seriously! Check it out.)

3. Toddler care instructions.
This is pretty simple; just a binder with a few pages in it that a babysitter might find helpful. It outlines our daily routine, what we do before nap and bed time. I also included some tips for communicating (remember we teach her sign language, which is great- but lots of times she won't vocalize her words, which is not so great if you don't speak sign language. Same with some words in Spanish. If you ask her to show you her hand she simple won't do it, but she'll gladly wave around her mano.) Some songs she knows, and important phone numbers: ours, family, doctors and friends.

4. Hospital bags. 
Mine has been packed for quite a while now. My three most important things to include in it were the camera, my birth plan with specific instructions as to my preference concerning fragrance free lotions, no baby eye drops, my decision on vaccinations, etc, and chocolate. I also found this hospital bag check list to be incredible, it's written by a nurse who worked on the labor and delivery floor. For the toddler hospital bag, the super cute, pink "big sister" bag sent to me by my awesome friend from A Pocket Full of Elephants has quiet activities in it to keep her occupied while visiting me and baby in the hospital. Crayons and coloring books, stickers, books and hot wheel cars.

5. Clean Hands Sign. 
When our triplet nieces finally were able to come home from the hospital I remember this cute little phrase hovering around where they lay. "Please wash your hands before touching ours." So, I made a similar print out and framed it. Right now it's sitting on a table in our entry way with a bottle of hand sanitizer. Any attempt to keep our son, and our whole family for that matter, healthy is going to be taken here! Especially since he's going to be born in the midst of flu and RSV season! Yikes.

6. Mama's R&R eye mask and bath soak.
I love my homemade, lavender scented eye mask and I really hope to be able to snag a nap every now and then using it after we bring baby home. I blogged about making it [here.] Fellow blogger and good friend Bethany of Happy Homemaker Me posted a natural healing kit for new mothers and in it was included a lavender oatmeal epsom salt bath soak. Ahhh. It's wonderful!

7. Freezer Meals.
Man, did I resist these! Oh, how they seemed like to much work, and organization, and time... But, my same friend who sent the Big Sister Bag above kept talking about them and how she has been making hers in preparation for her twins, and I finally gave in to following her lead. I'm sure glad that I did too!!! Of course, my cousin helped assemble some while she was here and that was awesome of her. I've since twinked the recipes to our liking and made more...

Fajita Chicken Dinner (recipe makes two meals)
Adapted from Ring Around the Rosies
6 Chicken breasts
3 8oz cans diced tomatoes with chiles
1 large onion, sliced
2 green bell peppers, sliced
2 red bell peppers, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 teaspoons cumin
3 teaspoons chili powder

Split ingredients equally between two large zip lock bags. Seal, mix, lay flat and freeze. To prepare, remove one bag from the freezer, let thaw almost completely and cook in the crock pot on low 4 to 6 hours. Serve with corn tortillas and sour cream.

Teriyaki Chicken Dinner (recipe makes two meals)
Adapted from Ring Around the Rosies
6 Chicken breasts, halved
6 Large carrots, peeled and halved
1/2 red onion, cut into large chunks
1 large can of pineapple, undrained
1 large can of pineapple, drained
2 garlic cloves, whole
1 cup teriyaki sauce
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 can water chestnuts, drained

Split ingredients equally between two large zip lock bags. Seal, mix, lay flat and freeze. To prepare, remove one bag from the freezer. Let thaw almost completely and cook in the crock pot on low 4 to 6 hours, adding an additional 1/2 cup of teriyaki sauce is optional. Remove garlic before serving. Serve over rice.

Gluten Free Teriyaki Sauce
Combine and heat:
1/2 cups gluten free, low sodium, soy sauce
2 cups water
1 teaspoon ginger powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 cups brown sugar
3 tablespoons honey

Mix and add to above once hot
1/2 cup cold water
4 tablespoon cornstarch

Remove from heat once it has reached desired thickness.

Spinach Lasagna Rolls
26 oz spaghetti sauce
12 lasagna noodles, prepared, rinsed cool and patted dry. Set aside.
Combine the following:
2 eggs, beaten
2 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
2 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 cups Parmesan cheese, shredded
1/2 package fresh baby spinach

Pour 1/3 of spaghetti sauce into the bottom of a greased baking pan. Spoon mixture onto lasagna noodles, roll up the pasta and place in the baking pan. Smother with remaining sauce. Cover and freeze. To prepare, thaw and bake at 350 degrees for about a half hour or until hot through.

Buffalo Chicken Bites
Bird Nest Pie (Baked Spaghetti) 
Enchiladas with gluten free homemade cream of chicken soup

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Little Chef Attire

This was such a fun project! Not only did it not take very long (only two nap times; one for the apron and one for the hat) but I think it turned out darling! Now, my little girl needs a toy kitchen to go along with it! She wore hers out trick or treating for Halloween as we went as a family of chefs.
For the chef hat, I followed a tutorial posted at Curly Pops. I wish I could have used snaps like she did, but I have no clue how to go about sewing them in. Instead, I used Velcro and it works just fine.

Simplicity 2319

The apron pattern is Simplicity 2319. Loved it! Few pieces, easy to customize, easy to understand... The pattern makers were even so brilliant as to make the arm edges finished with a casing that the neck and waist ties feed through so that everything about the apron is size adjustable! Of course, I didn't realize this until after I finished the arm edges my way... But next time, I will be sure to follow their directions more closely because I think it's a fantastic idea! Instead of two small pockets, I attached one larger pocket in the center of the apron. Better for my toddler to fill with little treasures. I added the little waistband and am still absolutely in love with the little cupcake fabric I found at Joanns. It's such a nice feeling when a project actually turns out as well as I'd hoped!