April 30, 2010

forgive me

We've been celebrating birthdays, grilling and enjoying time as a family. I've got recipes to share, and this little lady turned one month old yesterday. I'll be back on Monday with more!

April 29, 2010


So that adorable white headband with the felt flowers pictured in my previous post? I'm in love with it. It actually fits Ryann's head without me having to tie a knot in it, and it doesn't leave a dent in her scalp.

The good news? You can grab a beautiful flower headband of your own from the Hairblooms etsy shop. The bad news? She is closing her shop May 1st. So you would have to act quickly. But I highly recommend ordering one or two, or ok three. The quality is great and the shipping was incredibly fast.

April 23, 2010

happy friday

This little lady just wanted to say hi!

April 22, 2010

just thought I'd share...

...a few things I have learned about my daughter.

1. She enjoys sucking on her index finger. I try to encourage the binky, because I know I can take that away later on, but sometimes she just wants that finger!

2. She LOVES to sleep with her arms by her face or above her head. Ever since we came home from the hospital swaddling her was a waste. She would either bust out, or if she was in a swaddle she couldn't get out of, she would freak out because she wanted her arms.

3. She has a distinctive poo face. (She'll thank me later in life for posting this on the web. Right?) Sometimes she will grunt and make noises, and whoever is around will ask uh oh, is she pooping? Unless you get this face, she isn't. I promise.

April 21, 2010

a beautiful family room

So awhile back I mentioned how I wanted to add a touch of spring to my fireplace mantel. Um yeah, still hasn't happened. But that is beside the point. In reality I want to brighten up my entire family room for the spring and summer. And thanks to Caitlin of Caitlin Creer Interiors I now have some inspiration. This week she posted photos of this fun and beautiful family room.

I NEED those pillows on the couch. NEED. Specifically the green lattice? pillow, the yellow rose pillow, and the pillow with blue, yellow and green wavy lines. They are a great summer alternative to what I have in my family room now. I also love the yellow flower pot, but with my cats, and live plants just aren't realistic. Ask Chris how many times they have knocked over vases of flowers...

So does anyone have any more suggestions of how to spruce up my family room? And now, those pretty flowers are no longer on the coffee table. Actually if I posted a picture of my family room now, oh boy. It is a total mess complete with a pack and play, play mat, and oh yes, my big desk top computer and giant printer on top of the bar.

April 20, 2010

tarragon chicken pasta

Yesterday I mentioned that I actually cooked dinner, so I figured I should pass along the recipe. It pretty much follows the recipe trend in my house... chicken, pasta, mushrooms broccoli. Just add sauce :o).

1-1.5 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch cubes
all purpose flour
6 tablespoons butter, divided
1/2 pound sliced mushrooms
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 cup chicken broth
1 1/4 teaspoons minced fresh tarragon, or 1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon
1/2 cup half and half (I used milk)
salt and pepper to taste
your favorite pasta noodles

1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Add broccoli to boiling water for last four minutes of cooking time.
2. Dredge chicken pieces in flour. Brown in 3 tablespoons of butter, then remove chicken from pan, set aside and keep warm.
3. Saute mushrooms and garlic in remaining butter. Sprinkle with two tablespoons flour and blend well.
4. Gradually add chicken broth, then add the tarragon. Cook until thickened.
5. Slowly add half and half, then season with salt and pepper. Return chicken to pan and heat through. Sauce should be only slightly thick.
6. Arrange over bed of noodles and sprinkle with fresh tarragon (optional).


April 19, 2010

3 weeks already?

Our little baby girl is three weeks old today. I seriously can't believe it. Some days I feel like we just brought her home, and others I feel like Ryann has been here forever. But it is true what everyone says, they grow so fast.

It is crazy how much Ryann has changed in the last three weeks. She is still a newborn who just sleeps most of the day, but she is so much more alert than she was. We usually have two to three 90 minute awake periods a day. Otherwise she is only up for 30 minutes for a diaper change, a feeding, and if we can get it in before she passes out again, a burp. Most of the time she is great and will sleep pretty much anywhere. Somedays though, she just really wants to be held, and at this point I have a hard time not giving in.

Feedings can be quite the event with Ry. A lot of times it is a struggle to keep her awake long enough to finish a bottle. She is still only getting at most 2.5 ounces every 2-3 hours. I would try and increase her feeding amounts, but sometimes she will only each 1.5 ounces. Hopefully her tummy will get a little bigger soon :o). We have also turned to gripe water to help her with gas issues. When she is eating she gets really worked up (as if I may never give her another bottle or something) so she sucks down a ton of air. It is kind of hillarious though, when I try to burp her in the middle of a bottle she'll start picking her head up off my shoulder and making her 'hungry bird' face. She is basically head banging on my shoulder, and I swear cussing me out because she wants to finish the bottle. We will have to try and get that one on video.

Ryann still only fits in the Carter's newborn clothing. She also has a couple of outfits from BabyGap and Gymboree that are for babies up to 7 pounds, but those ones are a little short in the limbs, and WAY to small in the feet. Ryann definitely has her daddy's big feet. Even though I don't want her to grow too fast, I can't wait until she fits into all of the adorable 0-3 month clothing that is in her closet. She has so many cute dresses!! In due time I suppose. She is also still in newborn diapers... the first five days or so we had her in preemies.

Our little girl ROCKS at tummy time. It seems that lots of babies hate it, but Ry will stay there for 15 minutes at a time pushing away with her little legs and trying to pick her head up and turn it from side to side. She also loves to lay on her playmat or a blanket and stare at her snail toy. It lights up and plays music when you hit it, something that she often accidentally does on her own. Maybe she is making the connection that she can do it...

oops, lost the binky :o)

Here is the TMI section of this post. Last week I got to experience my first diaper blowout. Ry was lounging in my lap just hanging out, and she started making her poo face (and yes I have pictures of said poo face. Maybe I'll post one sometime soon... ha ha). I thought she would, you know, gracefully go about her business when all the sudden splat... poo comes out the side of her diaper and is now all over her onesie, and all over my shirt. It was oh so lovely. I ended up changing her/cleaning her up on my bathroom counter, because I wanted to find a surface I could just wipe down and disinfect. It was quite the experience. Hopefully that doesn't happen on a regular basis.

Something I never knew about baby girls? They too can spray their pee quite the distance. Or at least my little Ry can. One night I was changing her diaper and she started peeing, not the end of the world except for somehow she managed to spray the wall. I just stared in disbelief as it dripped down behind the dresser. Seriously? That is ridiculous.

Overall I think I'm starting to get the hang of this mom thing. Today I managed to take care of my daughter, go grocery shopping with my mom (and Ryann of course), do a couple loads of laundry, make dinner, work on printing invitations and blog. Today has been a very accomplished day! We shall see if I can keep it up...

April 18, 2010

i'm in love

Yesterday we celebrated my sister and I's birthdays. Thanks to my amazing parents (ok my mom does the shopping, but my dad's name was on the card :o) I am now the proud owner of an awesome new lens and a fabulous camera strap.

The lens is the Canon EF-S 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6. Now that I have such a fancy shmancy lens I am going to have to really learn how to use my camera. Actually, speaking of learning about using a camera... Meredith over at La Buena Vida is running a series called 12 Weeks to Better Photography. She has shared some great tips!!

I first saw the camera strap on Kelle Hampton's blog, Enjoying the Small Things. (As a side note if you've never checked out Kelle's blog you need to. She is an awesome photographer and an amazing writer.) You can find the strap here. Chris is slightly less than thrilled that my camera has gone girly, but I love it!

I'll leave you with a pic of our family of three from dinner last night. Have a good one!

April 17, 2010

things loved during pregnancy

Thought I'd pass on some links to some items that I enjoyed or found useful through out my pregnancy. Hope you find some of them helpful!

1. Be Maternity tank
When I got pregnant everyone told me to invest in the BeBand (I think there are five different ones with different names from different stores, but oh well). I absolutely hated the BeBand. It didn't really help hold up my unbutton pre-pregnancy jeans, or my maternity jeans. It was always rolling up or riding up. It just didn't work for me.

However, the makers of the BeBand also have a tank top made out of pretty much the same material. Those I absolutely love. For me, once my regular jeans and pants no longer fit, it worked best to wear maternity pants, and then wear the tank to hold them up. I still like to wear my tanks under shirts. They are really comfortable and kind of hold everything in. I got mine at Target.

2. the snoogle
If you hadn't gathered, I'm a tummy sleeper. Once that was no longer a possibility, I was miserable. I just couldn't get comfortable on my side at night, and kept rolling on to my back while I was sleeping (which is apparently a pregnancy no-no). The snoogle helped me stay on my side, and definitely made sleeping more comfortable towards the end of my second trimester and the beginning of my third.

(that is one hot picture isn't it? ha ha)

I won't lie, towards the end of the pregnancy, the snoogle became more of hassle than a help. When you're peeing 3 times a night, and you have no abs, and everything in your body hurts, navigating that giant pillow is near impossible. Lots of times I would go to sleep with it, and then the first time I got up to pee in the night I would just chuck it on the floor. Usually by that point in the night I was so tired that I didn't notice how uncomfortable I was. :o)

3. What to Expect When You're Expecting
Pretty much everyone has heard of this lovely informational book. Sometimes it sounds silly, but really almost everything you could need to know about pregnancy is in there. That book is where I learned that stupid symptoms like my carpal tunnel and changing vision were indeed normal.

4. Belly Laughs by Jenny McCarthy
Another great book on pregnancy. Jenny's book makes for a quick and humorous read that illustrates the good, the bad and the oh so ugly of those amazing nine months. If you want to get the nitty gritty on all of the ridiculous things that can happen to your body while baking a baby, definitely pick this one up.

5. thebump.com
On this site you can find lots of information on getting pregnant, pregnancy, babies and more. They have some tools and gadgets, and I personally enjoyed the 'how big is baby?' section throughout my pregnancy. Also there is a section called 'community' full of different message boards. Sometimes the posts can be a bit ridiculous, and girls can get worked up about random stuff... but overall I really enjoy the message boards. You can get quick answers to questions you have, and it is nice to be able to chat with a bunch of women who are going through the same thing you are.

Other things I loved? My husbands sweats, Snickers ice cream bars, fuzzy socks and raspberry hot chocolate from Starbucks. Oh, and all things chocolate. But hey :o)

April 16, 2010

ribbons and bows

I can't wait until her head gets a little bigger, so that I can actually put all of the bows we have on her. She just looks so cute with accessories :o).

Happy Friday!

April 15, 2010

chocolate covered rice krispy treats

There are two things I miss about being pregnant... the first is being able to feel Ryann move inside me. That was absolutely amazing. The other thing? Being able to eat whatever I wanted without really feeling guilty about it :o).

Something I managed to eat several of while I was pregnant (thanks Kenzie :o) was chocolate covered rice krispy treats. I would love one right now! There is a recipe on the rice krispy box for these, but Chris brought one home that he printed off that I used, so I thought I'd share.

1 cup of sugar
1 cup corn syrup
1/4 cup butter
1 cup peanut butter
6 cups rice krispies
24 oz milk chocolate chips

1. Chill a 13x9 pan in the refrigerator.
2. Heat the sugar, corn syrup and butter until it comes to a boil.
3. Remove from the heat and stir in the peanut butter.
4. Stir in the rice krispies.
5. Press the mixture into your 13x9 pan.
6. Melt chocolate chips and spread on the bars immediately.
7. Spread melted chocolate on top of the rice krispies. Chill in the fridge.


April 13, 2010

i love her eyes :o)

She uses those crazy little eyes to melt my heart.

Wait, is that a dimple I see?

Chris and I weren't convinced that she had any dimples. Other people had claimed they saw them, but we hadn't. BUT, when I looked at this picture, I started to believe my little girl just might have inherited her daddy's adorable little dimples.

April 12, 2010

my birth experience

(I started typing this Saturday, continued working on it yesterday, but of course I didn't finish it until today. Surprised? I'm sure you're not :o)

In honor of it being my due date and all, I thought I would share Ryann's birth story. Before I start, I promise to keep this as clean and free of TMI as possible. But keep in mind you are reading a birth story, and in reality almost everything about giving birth is just too much information. So deal with it, alright? Oh, and its long. Sorry 'bout that.

I touched on what led us to the hospital on March 28th, but here is the full picture. As you've gathered throughout my previous posts, my blood pressure has been an almost issue since about the 28th week of my pregnancy. I started seeing 'sparkles' or floaters as the doctors would prefer to call them apparently (I'll stick with sparkles). However every time my blood pressure was checked it wasn't something to get upset about. The Tuesday before I went into the hospital was definitely the worst it had been at a doctor's appointment.

Saturday evening (the 27th) we were having friends over to grill. Chris and I were sitting on the couch waiting for people to arrive, when all the sudden I was feeling nauseous and had a pretty bad headache. Then the floaters started. We have a blood pressure cuff so he checked mine... it was around 160/100, a little scary. I layed down for a few minutes and Chris checked my blood pressure again, it was only in the 130's over around 85 or 90 I think. So we went about our evening and I just planned on mentioning it at my next doctor's appointment. Sunday morning we headed off to Babies R Us to use our completion coupon and get the last of the items we felt we needed for Ryann's arrival. While we were wandering I started feeling pretty tired. On the car ride home the headache and nausea came back. Chris checked my blood pressure twice, and told me to call the doctor. It was 150/100. The doctor on call instructed us to head in to the hospital for some monitoring, and suggested I bring any items I might need because there was a small chance I would have to stay.

When we arrived at the hospital I was put in a Labor and Delivery triage room and hooked up to a blood pressure cuff and the fetal monitors. Ryann of course was doing just fine, but my blood pressure was at least 145/90 when I was sitting up. Laying down it would drop to 118/78, I thought that was promising for me going home, plus there was no protein in my urine. They drew some blood, and the labs looked pretty good as well. So the nurse said she was just going to report everything to the doctor and she would be back with the plan. 30 minutes later I was informed that since my baby was most likely done cooking, and they didn't want to risk my condition getting any worse, we were being admitted to the hospital and I would be having my baby the next day.

I panicked. I wasn't ready for Ryann to come out. I didn't want to be induced. I was worried I would end up having a c-section. My house was a mess. I didn't shower that morning. Chris kept telling me to look at the positive, we were going to meet our baby girl soon! And don't get me wrong, I was happy about that, I was thrilled! But I wasn't a fan of the scenario. I wanted to start labor naturally, and the excitement of realizing I was in labor and that the baby was coming. The control freak in me wanted everything on my terms of course. BUT, it wasn't my choice, so Chris went and grabbed us some food (neither of us had eaten since breakfast and it was 2:00 at this point) and our stuff and off we went to our Labor and Delivery room.

my last 'bump' picture taken at 38 weeks 2 days, the day Ryann was born

Around 5pm cervidil was placed in my cervix, in the hope that the following days induction would go a little bit quicker. Although the cervidil didn't start full on labor, I definitely began having contractions. Chris and I spent the evening just hanging out in the hospital watching some of the NCAA tournament and playing on our computers. At 8pm he went home to shower and grab a couple of other things we forgot. The nurse suggested that I take an Ambien so I could get some sleep before I needed all my energy. I however made the mistake of taking it before Chris returned. I think I took the pill at 8:45, and by the time he got back at 9:15 I was in a deep sleep.

I half woke up when Chris came back, but by that point I was so out of it that I just became upset. I hadn't eaten dinner, and I wasn't allowed to eat after midnight, so in my pill druken state I attempted to fork grapes out of a fruit bowl. Not so successfully :o). I can't really remember how the rest of the evening went, but I know I was crying while the nurse was in the room, and Chris just kept telling me to close my eyes and go to sleep. Eventually I must have, because the next time I woke up it was around 3am. From that point on I didn't really sleep.

The nurse came in at 5am to remove the Cervidil. I was then allowed 35 whole minutes to shower and be up and moving around before the fun began. That shower, even though it was in a small cramped hospital shower, was seriously one of the best ones I've had. I turned the water on extremely hot and just stood there and enjoyed my last few moments of solitude (and dignity :o). All too soon I was back in bed hooked up to an IV full of pitocin. It didn't take long for contractions to begin. They weren't all that bad to start with (of course). I was uncomfortable, but not in any serious pain. Between 7am and 8am both my mom and Chris's mom joined us, and the four of us just hung out for awhile.

all hooked up to the meds, ready for the fun to begin!

It was around 9:30 when the real fun began... that is when they broke my water. I'm pretty sure that was almost the worst experience of the entire labor process for me. I absolutely couldn't stand the disgusting feeling of all that water (ok TMI I know) and after that the contractions went from uncomfortable to I wanted to throw things across the room I was in so much pain. When they broke my water I was only 2 cm dilated and I think about 50% effaced. I only lasted until about 11:45 before I decided to throw in the towel and asked for an epidural. The nurse checked me again and I had made it to 4cm and between 60-70% effaced.

obviously thrilled that Chris was taking my picture mid labor... this was pre-epidural...

Before my labor began, I was somewhat hoping that I would go without an epidural. I wasn't completely opposed, but I had a few reasons I didn't want one. For starters, my mother didn't receive any meds for both mine and my sisters births, so I thought I needed to be tough just like my mommy. (Granted she said both of her labors were only about 3 hours long...) Also, I am terrified of needles, an epidural scared the crap out of me. Lastly, I had been told that there were lots of soreness and that I wouldn't be able to get up and move around right away if I had an epidural.

I'm so glad I put those reasons aside and got the epidural. The actual experience of getting the epidural wasn't an enjoyable one, but it wasn't near as bad as I had expected. The initial shot to numb the area stung, but wasn't all that bad. The rest of the epidural wasn't painful, but it was definitely hard to sit through, especially when I would get a contraction and the stupid blood pressure cuff would go off and squeeze the crap out of my arm. Really the scariest part of the epidural was the fact that shortly after it was administered my blood pressure dropped from 145/92 to 80/60. I didn't know it at the time, I just knew that all the sudden I felt like I was going to vomit, and I got pretty light headed. Chris of course knew what was going on, I was just oblivious. The nurse pumped me full of some drugs that eventually leveled out the blood pressure and I started to feel better. 15 minutes later I was in heaven. I no longer was in pain, instead I took a nap and ate the best popsicle I've ever had. :o) Seriously, if you find the Jolly Rancher popsicles try one, they are so good.

The next four hours were rather calm and pretty boring. Basically I alternated between napping, and listening to my crazy sister's random stories. Around 2:30 the nurse checked me again... she said I was a generous 5cm, and probably 80% effaced or so. I felt like that progress was pretty slow, but she reassured me that the hardest part for me was going to be making it past 4cm and getting my cervix to thin out. So I had accomplished one part of the goal. At 4:30 I started feeling some pressure, and I could also feel some of the contractions again. No they definitely weren't painful like before, but I figured if I was feeling them something must have been going on. The nurse came back and checked me yet another time, 6 cm and 90% effaced. I felt a little defeated, I mean I was making progress, but I felt like it was going to be hours and hours before Ryann was going to make her appearance.

Just an hour later, the type of pressure I was feeling began to change again. Chris was holding my hands, encouraging me to tell the nurse. I was paranoid that I would have made any more progress, and I was just crazy thinking that I was even close to needing to push. It was probably another 20 minutes before the pressure was so intense that I really couldn't ignore it. I gave in to Chris's prompting and told the nurse what I was feeling. She checked me, and sure enough her face lit up and she said it was time to have a baby. I just couldn't believe it, I was instantly overwhelmed with excitement, happiness, and a little bit of fear of course.

Everything happened so quickly. My mom, Anita and Lorin gave me a kiss and a hug and wished me good luck. They broke apart the bed to make it ready for delivery, a giant light came out of the ceiling, two more nurses joined the room. I'm sure several other things happened but that is all I can remember. I was just saying "oh my gosh" over and over again.

I started pushing at 6:04pm. It was crazy, the room was so much calmer than what I thought it would be. Thanks to the epidural I really felt nothing but a little bit of pressure. The pushing was pretty easy. I was able to talk to Chris between the contractions. I honestly couldn't believe how easy it was, I couldn't believe that I was actually giving birth to my daughter. (And yes, I do feel guilty about that, I know so many women spend hours pushing and don't have it quite so easy) 18 minutes later, at 6:22pm, little miss Ryann Elizabeth entered the world at 6lbs 4oz and 18.5 inches long.

meeting my daughter for the first time

When they placed Ryann on my stomach she was just staring back at me with big wide eyes. She never really cried (which thankfully is a trend that has continued!), but just kept staring, like she was trying to figure out who everyone was and take it all in. We just looked at each other for probably a minute or two, I was trying to soak it all in, I was looking at my daughter.

A nurse then took Ryann across the room to be cleaned up and weighed, during which time I also began the clean up process, and thankfully was unhooked from probably 8 of the 10 different monitors and tubes I was hooked up to. The doctor assessed my damage... I am going to thank Ryann's small size for the fact that I had only 2 not even 1st degree tears that required no stitches. I didn't go looking, but I never saw them or noticed them, my body handled the delivery like a star.

It wasn't long before my daughter was returned to my arms, her little body all swaddled like a burrito. From then on we have been taking it day by day, hour by hour, just enjoying the precious little life that we have been given the privilege of taking care of. My roller coaster of hormones has made some of the days tougher than others, but overall our little family is happy and healthy and really enjoying every moment.

April 8, 2010

belated bump check: 1 week post partum

Obviously me blogging with a new baby hasn't gone so well. I'm working on that though... I meant to post this on Monday, and Tuesday... and well you get the picture. Here is my belly one week after birth.

I honestly can't believe how quickly my body has bounced back. Actually after they moved me to our mother/baby room in the hospital I went to the bathroom and could not believe how flat my stomach was already looking. Chris was rather surprised as well. As far as my blood pressure, back pain, hip pain and swelling were concerned, pregnancy didn't like my body very well. But when I look at how the birth went, and how I feel and look now, I am completely amazed at how well my body took the pregnancy. Currently I am actually two pounds under my pre-pregnancy weight. Not really sure how that happened, but hey, I'll take it.

This first week and a half as a mother has been quite the roller coaster. I have been blessed with an exceptionally good baby (in my opinion of course :o). Ryann rarely cries. Sometimes she wants to be awake in the middle of the night, but instead of being really fussy, she just lays there and 'talks'. She really is a Chatty Cathy.

Ryann had her first doctors appointment last Friday. That terrified me a bit. When she was born Ryann weighed 6lbs 4oz, when we were discharged on Wednesday she was down to 5lbs 15 oz, and by Friday she was only 5lbs 10oz. She was also a bit jaundiced. Neither was enough of a concern for the doctor to send us back to the hospital, but breastfeeding took a back seat to formula so that we could try and get Ryann to gain some weight. Thankfully by Monday the jaundice was gone and Ry was all the way back to her birth weight. Unfortunately she never really took back to nursing, so we are just on formula.

Ry amazes me a bit more every day. I can't believe how attentive and focused she can be. Sometimes when I am burping her, she lifts her head off my shoulder and just stares at me. If my mom is holding her and talking to her, and I start to say something, Ryann will stop and try to find me. Her strength also amazes me. I've never been around infants, but her ability to hold her head, and to grip a binky :o) are outstanding.

Some days I'm physically and emotionally exhausted, but at night when I look over at the sleeper next to me, and see my little peanut, it is all worth it.

April 4, 2010

newborn photos

On this beautiful Easter Sunday, the lovely Adrienne Maples came over to take Ryann's newborn photos. She quickly posted a couple on her blog. I can't wait to see the other photos of my precious little angel. Adrienne is amazing and these photos are priceless.

Happy Easter everyone!