March 30, 2013

dear ryann

Dear Ryann,

Oh my little miss.  I meant to write this yesterday, on your actual birthday, but it just plain didn't happen.  Between hanging out with you, taking care of your sister, and going with your Daddy to do some stuff, there just wasn't time.  Seems to be the trend lately.  Life has been rather hectic.

These last several weeks have been kind of tough on you, on all of us really, but especially on you.  I definitely get it.  You went from being the center of everyone's world for almost three years, to having to share a lot of the attention.  But the whole situation has been getting better every day.  And oh my do you love your sister.  Seriously, you are too sweet with her.  You hate that she has to sleep so much, you always tell me she isn't tired because you want to play with her.  And you talk to her like I do, "hello sweetie!  how are you?  oh miss elsie belsie.  there's my girl!"  It is just the cutest thing ever.  And she loves you right back.  No, she can't say it yet, but when you're in the room she tracks you like crazy, and now that she can smile she saves some of her biggest ones for you.

You and I?  Sometimes we have a hard time getting along.  You are quite the strong headed opinionated girl.  And I can't say you always express said opinions in the most appropriate or friendly manner.  But I absolutely LOVE that you are so much your own person.  You march to the beat of your own drum.  Sometimes that beat is a bit awkward :o), but you have a certain confidence about you that makes it absolutely perfect. 

All of the sudden you seem so grown up to me.  I know part of it is that now we have your sister to take care of, and she is just so little.  But you've really changed over the last month.  Your speech and vocabulary have always been above average, but now I swear you sound like a teenager, or a little mini adult half of the time you talk.  It just kills me.  I think your daddy and I look at each other at least three times a day after you say something funny or witty, and say "oh I love her."

Girlie, you are still my bestest little friend.  I hope that never changes.  I love you so much, and I hope you love me too.  Even if we don't exactly like each other all of the time.  I pray that you keep growing up into the strong and confident girl I see you becoming.  There is a whole lot of amazing packed into your little body.



At first Ryann was directing me on different animals I needed to be.  And then Bruce (the shark, like on Nemo) had to get in on the action.  At first I was annoyed, because of course I just wanted some 'nice' pictures of the two of us, but I think Bruce really makes the pictures.  :o)

March 28, 2013

this and that

... and a whole lot of pictures.  Totally dumping a couple weeks worth of photos from my DSLR into this post.  Sorry.

::  By some miracle Elsie went back to sleep by 6:45am, and Ryann is still sleeping at 7:30am.  Seriously.  No idea how this is happening.  I'm can almost guarantee one of them will wake up before I ever finish this post, but still.  I managed to put on make-up and straighten my hair.  Small victories people, small victories!

::  Alright help me out with this one.  We've been reading stories out of the bible, no biggie.  Except, there are mean kings who kill people, and people who die in the bible, and now all of Ryann's toys are dead or dying.  Or getting attacked by a mean king.  I mean honestly, I can't win can I?  I've tried to explain that we should play like that, and pointed out that the dinosaurs on Dinosaur train are nice to each other (what she has been acting out a lot lately) and they aren't dead.  But no dice.  Obviously it is natural for her to play out what she has heard, but how do I teach her the bible stories without her talking about everyone being dead?


::  Speaking of Miss Ryann, tomorrow she turns three.  How on Earth did that happen?  I know we just had her party and all, and I should be prepared for this, but three?  Completely insane to me.  As is how grown up she has seemed lately.  Oy.  Hopefully tomorrow is a special day for her.  I'm trying!

::  I think I'm going to have to go dairy free for Elsie.  We aren't 100% sure, but there seems to be a slight correlation between her fussy days and the amount of cheese I eat (my main source of dairy, I don't drink milk).  Hold me.  I know I've been talking about cleaning up my diet, but dairy free wasn't something I was really interested in.  BUT if it helps the little miss I should try, right?  Right...


::  Well, that lasted 10 minutes.  But still.  Ryann slept until 7:40!!!  How is that even possible?  Currently Elsie is sleeping and Ryann is in her room having 'quiet time'.  Usually she falls asleep, but today she is being anything but quiet.  Throwing books out of her bed, playing with her stuffed animals, coming out of her room every five minutes because she NEEDS something.  I told her the next time she comes out I'm taking all of her stuffed animals.  Hopefully that will keep her in there.  Because I want to finish this up (I can't even remember what else I wanted to say).  And my house is a disaster, per the usual.  And we are heading to Topeka for Ry's birthday and I haven't packed anything.  Whoops.  Gotta make this quick...

::  Last night Elsie slept from 10:00pm to 2:30am (and the last time she had eaten was 8:15pm, so six hours between feedings), ate, slept until 6:00am, ate, and slept from 6:45am to 8:45am.  Now it would be even more awesome if she wasn't such a pill about going to bed in the evenings, but still.  Slowly but surely we are seeing some longer night stretches.  Ohmygawd the toddler is yelling at me and now Elsie is squirming and I'm going to lose my shit.  I love sleep.

::  Ok just photo dumping the rest and resisting the urge to go lock the toddler out of the house.


::  Oh wait these photos?  Remind me a wee bit of this picture and these photos...


::  And the toddler just came out of her room yet again.  LOSING MY MIND.  Send chocolate.  Except I'm trying not to eat chocolate.  Eff.

March 27, 2013

a day in the life - nicole

Nicole was way on top of things and sent this over Friday night.  I was way not on top of things (well and busy, but you're already aware of that) and completely spaced that she sent it and totally forgot to post it this morning.  Sorry Nicole!  Nonetheless I hope you enjoy reading about a day in her life!


Hey there! I'm Nicole and I blog over at Chappell of Love. I am a twenty something stay at home mom to three kids ages 18 months, (almost) six, and eleven. My eleven year old is my stepson but he is really mine in my heart and I have raised him! We have a baby, one in kindergarten, and one in middle school. I just recently started my own photography business and I am enjoying branching out into the outside world a little more (I have stayed at home for six years). We are a super busy family, so busy that it was actually pretty tough for me to remember I was doing this post as the day went on! Our two boys play baseball, so the ball field is our second home in the spring and summer. I love photography, crafts, reading (when I find the time), and I wish we lived on a farm. Come visit me at Chappell of Love. :)

6:30 am: Alarm clock goes off. Time to rise and wake the boys. I grab Lucas some clothes and help him into them usually because he is so out of it. I fix his hair and head to the kitchen.

7:00 am: Breakfast. It is usually cereal, fruit, waffles, or toast. I get Lucas' lunch together while the boys eat. Then I set the coffee pot and go change and brush my teeth. I have the boys brush their teeth and get their shoes on.

7:30 am: I wake Paisley. She is not amused (ever). Ha! I usually just change her diaper and let her ride to drop off the boys in her pajamas since we typically just head straight back home. I make her a drink for the ride.

7:40 am: We get in the van and leave for school. First stop is the elementary school followed by the middle school.

8:00-8:10 am: Paisley and I arrive back home. I make a cup of coffee and make her some breakfast. I am having a hard time getting her to eat meals. She wants to nibble all throughout the day. So I usually cut her up some strawberries or make her some eggs and I am lucky if I get her to eat a few bites.

8:30: Disney Junior time. I know this may sound silly, but she requires about thirty minutes of snuggle time in the mornings. This time I am usually having coffee and she is having milk. We watch Sofia the First or Mickey Mouse.

9:00 am: We play and play. She is the child that pretty much doesn't let you out of her site. So we play. I usually wear her out by around ten or so.

10:00-10:30 am: Nap time. My kids do not mess around with sleep so she is pretty good about letting me know when it is time for a nap. I lay her down and while she is sleeping I try and get some things done. It is usually cleaning, laundry, editing pictures... things of that nature. This particular day I spent some time party planning. Lucas is having his sixth birthday party this weekend.

12:00-12:30 pm: Paisley wakes up and I get her dressed. I know it seems late but if we don't have anywhere to be I usually just let her play in her pajamas in the mornings. She is happy and it makes it easier for me! We  have lunch. I have a Healthy Choice meal and she had a few chicken nuggets and some green beans. 

1:00-1:15 pm: I leave to go get Lucas. This is typically between 2:00 and 2:15 but it is conference week so they had early release.

1:45 pm: We return home. I check his school folder and empty his lunch box. We talk about his day a little and the kids have a snack. We study sight words and he reads for homework.

2:30 pm: I turn on The Lion King in the living room while Paisley and Lucas play. Today they played with his new cars and track that he got as a birthday gift from his Grammy and Grampy. I do another load of laundry and vacuum. 

3:00 pm: Blake's bus pulls up. We talk about his day for a little bit and then he heads out to tend to the chickens. He feeds and waters them and gathers the eggs. We go outside for a little bit and come back in because the March weather is so unpredictable. Our yard is also under construction due to a small tornado that came through on Monday afternoon (stupid March and your unpredictable weather). 

3:30 pm: The kids are being silly so I pull my camera out and try to get a few pictures of them. I am pretty much addicted to my camera.

4:00 pm: Paisley is ready for another nap and she is letting me know. She likes to take a short nap in the afternoon. I told you, my kids don't mess around with sleep. While she sleeps I run around the house picking up the random things that are out of place. I start getting both of the boys ready to go to baseball. This particular day Blake has practice and Lucas has team pictures. I get Paisley's bag ready to go and make sure all of the baseball equipment is in my car.

5:00 pm: Wake Paisley and get her dressed.

5:30 pm: We load everyone into the van and head for the ball field. We left around fifteen minutes early today because I am dropping off a CD of photos for a client. They watch Finding Nemo in the car. Again. I have it memorized along with a few other movies.

6:00 pm: Arrive at the field and make sure Blake gets with his team. I take Lucas and Paisley and head for the opposite side of the park so I can get his pictures made. I try my best to keep Paisley still and fail. After being there for only ten minutes I am exhausted. Finally the pictures are done and I see the hubs pulling in the ball park. The kids and I meet up with him and I let him see them for a few minutes before he heads out onto the field at Blake's practice (he is an assistant coach).

7:00 pm: I take Paisley and Lucas and we leave. It is freezing cold at the field and we just aren't in the mood. We head to the beauty supply store for a few things before heading to Target for no specific reason. We buy  Les Miserables and decide we are starving. 

8:00 pm: We meet the hubs and Blake at a local favorite for dinner. Stevie B's. You can't lose with a pizza buffet. Boys know how to EAT. Their potato pizza is out of this world. 

9:30 pm: We arrive home and bathe the kids. This is a team effort. He bathes them and I take Paisley to get her ready for bed while he does Lucas. Blake gets a shower while we are dealing with the other two kids. They are usually ready for bed earlier than this but it is a Friday so we are hoping they sleep in a little in the morning. 

10:00 pm: The kids are all in bed and now the hubs and I are too exhausted to think. I take a long bath while hubby watches some ESPN. He takes a shower while I pick up the house for the tenth time today.

11:00 pm: We are finally in bed and decide to watch a little television. We are both asleep within ten minutes.

What is the most surprising thing to you about being a mom?

I am shocked at how natural it came to me. It was an instantaneous feeling that came over me and will never leave. I never before thought I could feel so much love. I only thought that I knew that feeling before they were born. It completely overwhelms you in the best way possible. I am also quite surprised at how much I don't mind snot, wiping booty's, and watching the same episode of Mickey Mouse over and over. ;)

What advice would you give to new or soon-to-be mamas? 

Do what is best for you and YOUR family. You simply cannot please everyone and trying too hard to do so will only put stress on you and yours. The sooner you realize this, the smoother the ride will be. Also, do not beat yourself up. This kind of falls into the same category as doing what is best for you. Don't compare yourself to other mothers. It is the worst thing you can do for your self esteem. To your child, you are the PERFECT mother and that is all that matters. Don't let someone convince you that you aren't doing right by your child just because you aren't growing everything that your children eat yourself in your back yard or because you don't cloth diaper or vice versa. 

What are your top three baby products?

1. Dr. Browns bottles. I breastfed and also pumped for certain occasions and I loved, loved, loved these bottles. I used them with all my babies and had amazing results as far as gas issues went. Worth the money!

2. Boppy pillow. Amazing. I could move it anywhere in the house and just prop the baby up and they were content. 

3. Sophie the Giraffe. I only had this with Paisley but it helped her through teething like a champ. She chewed the poor thing to death and loved every second of it. Everyone I know that had one of these said their baby was addicted to it too.

I hope you enjoyed the little glimpse into our daily routine. Come visit soon! 


Thank you for sharing your day with us Nicole!

March 26, 2013

safe and sound

One night last week I was rocking Elsie to sleep.  She had been fighting sleep ALL DAY, barely giving me a minute to spend on anything else, let alone myself.  I stared down at my clothes.  Honestly?  I couldn't remember the last time I'd changed them.  I'm pretty sure I had worn them, slept in them, and worn them yet another day.  There was a pile of laundry in the corner that needed to be put away.  Curtain rods sitting on the floor waiting to be hung.  A dirty diaper that needed to make its way to the trash.  And that was just in Elsie's room.


I was beyond frustrated.  Angry that I didn't have the time to do the things that I needed and wanted to do.  I thrive on schedule, routine, order.  I get anxiety when I'm not in control.   Babies and toddlers?  They don't care.  While Elsie drifted in and out I googled 'getting your baby to sleep', 'how to get a six week old to sleep', 'getting your baby on a schedule'.  Desperately seeking some information I might not have read before.  Ignoring what I knew to be true, that this is a phase and sleep and schedules and routine will come.  And then my phone moved on to the next song in my playlist...

Can't believe you're here now
Tiny dream come true
The answer to a prayer now
I'm so in love with you
Couldn't wait to meet you
Hope you like your name
I get the funny feeling
Life will never be the same

Safe and sound
You're here with me now
Like I'd hoped you'd be
Safe and sound
You're here with me now
And that's all I'll ever need...
'Safe and Sound', Matthew West 

Tears welled up in my eyes.  A year ago I would have done anything to trade places with my sleep deprived self.  I was aching to be pregnant.  So badly wanting a newborn baby to hold.  To add another piece to our family puzzle.  For a moment I completely forgot how much I wanted to be right there in that chair, rocking my sweet baby.  Those clothes would still be there in the morning.  Elsie doesn't care if her curtains aren't hung.  But Elsie?  Will never be this old again.  She is going to grow much faster than I want her to.

Of course it is hard to see the bright side, the big picture, when I'm running on fumes, my house is in shambles and I can't remember if I've even brushed my teeth today.  But the truth is life is exactly what it is supposed to be right now.  Snuggling Elsie is really such a treat, I can't wish it away.  I need to savor it.


Jumping to a different but similar topic... I've been lucky, this time around breastfeeding has been incredibly easy in regards to pain on my end.  And Elsie took to it like a champ, gaining nearly three pounds in a month.  Yet, even though it has been easy, it really hasn't been enjoyable.  We're still on the fence about whether or not Elsie has reflux, every feeding comes with tears and spit up from her and frustration from me.  It is hard to feel like it is a positive experience when it is by no means comforting to her.  She often seems frantic at every feeding.  She'll choke and seem frustrated.  I know that a strong let down could be causing the issues, and I'm doing my best to combat that, but overall it seems like nearly every feeding is a pathetic circus.  But I have no excuse to give up.  Like I said.  Overall it has been easy for me, and Elsie is very healthy.

The one thing I am grateful for about breastfeeding?  (Besides of course the lack of bottle cleaning, I don't miss that one bit.)  It has forced me to sit down and spend time with Elsie.  Had we opted to go the bottle and formula route, I have no doubt that I often would have passed her off to someone else for a feeding so that I could play with Ryann or get something done.  It would have been so easy to do.  So even though nursing doesn't give me the warm fuzzies by any means, it is indeed a time for Elsie and I to bond in its own way.


Being a parent is incredibly hard.  You don't have to give up who you are, but you definitely have to give up a lot of your self.  Sometimes every day I feel like I'm failing. But when I really stop and take it in, the feel of Elsie's head nuzzled under my chin, the weight of Ryann's hand resting on my leg while I read a story, it is all worth it.  I love my babies.  I thank God they are here.  I will keep them safe and sound.  And that is all we need.

March 25, 2013

making a plan

Good news, at my six week check-up my doctor said everything was all good.  I have full clearance to resume all activities.  Woot woot!  Which means I have no excuses not to squeeze in a workout.  Well, other than limited time and lack of sleep... but you know.

So now I'm just trying to come up with a plan.  A plan for how I'm going to squeeze in a workout, and a plan for how to adjust my diet.  Because that certainly hasn't happened yet.  As far as exercise is concerned, I really hope I can get in four good workouts a week.  I know that might be wishful thinking right now, but at the same time it seems like it shouldn't be that hard.  I just have to decide what my priorities are.  In my alone time I have to choose between chores, blogging, exercise and if he is around, spending time with my husband.  Plus any other random thing I might want to do, like crafting... or online shopping...  I think I could pull off a short workout while Elsie is awake.  Surely watching me do the 30 Day Shred would be highly entertaining for her, right?

Now the diet thing, that is a whole different ball game.  I want to eat healthier, I really do.  But right now I'm lacking the will power.  Thankfully Christopher is on board with trying to clean up our food choices, it is just a matter of implementing it, and deciding how strict we want to be.  I've browsed a bit about Whole 30 (eating whole foods for 30 days), looked a little at Paleo, and started exploring the 100 Days of Real Food website.  Initially I wanted to go all out and do the Whole 30 challenge, but ultimately I don't think that is going to work for me or my family.  There are too many times I'd want to cheat, and after a few cheat times I'm sure I'd just give up.  Focusing on eating real food, or less processed food seems like it will be much more promising.  I never see us giving up dairy, legumes or grains completely.  But we can be better about which ones we choose to eat.

I can't bring myself to immediately toss all of the current stuff in my home.  That just seems too wasteful.  But Chris and I have both agreed to stop bringing overly processed food into the home, and once what we have here is gone, it's gone.  Right now it sounds easy enough, but I know I am going to be SOOOO tempted to buy junk (I can already hear mini cadbury eggs and cookie butter whispering to me from the stores).  Thankfully after Easter there aren't any holidays that come with candy for a bit.  For some reason the holiday stuff really gets me, "But it is only going to be around for a little bit!!"

A huge reason I want to cut out the processed food from our diet is because lately Ryann has been eating way too much junk.  She won't eat meat or vegetables, but loves fruit snacks and chips.  She is a good fruit eater, but when she knows that crackers or something is in the house as a snack option, that is what she wants.  I want her choice to be between blueberries or carrots, not fruit snacks and cheddar bunnies.  Those things don't bother me in moderation, but the amount she consumes isn't great.  And I can't blame her, I can only blame myself (and Christopher, but hey).   Again I also know cleaning up my diet will probably be better for Elsie.  Good enough reasons to work on it.

This is looking like I'm going to start rambling and making no sense (I probably already have) so I'm just going to wrap it.  I've had a six week grace period, now it is time to start cracking down.  Time to get healthy and get fit and get back to loving my body and being confident in my skin.  I want to lose 12 pounds.  I want to run another half marathon.  I want my arms to look great in tank tops this summer.  I want to be a good role model for my daughters.  Let's do it.


Link up your health and fitness related posts below!

March 20, 2013

a day in the life - laura

Quick!  The baby is asleep!  The toddler is... watching TV... Do all the things!  Clean!  Blog!  Eat!  Brush your teeth!  The good news is Laura had a post for me today, so the blogging part didn't take too long :o).  Enjoy!


Hi everyone! My name is Laura and I blog over at Stories from Austin. I'm a first-time mom to baby M, who was born Thanksgiving weekend. Our little family lives in Austin, TX and we absolutely love it here! I'm a stay-at-home mom, but I also work from home about 12-15 hours a week. It's a great set up because I get to spend lots of time with M, but am also able to keep my foot in the workforce world. I blog about love, life, and parenthood, so come say hi over at Stories from Austin!

I like to stay active with M, so we try to get out of the house and do something fun about 3 times a week (mommy & baby yoga, story time, play dates, walks, etc.) and I also do a little bit of work 5-6 days of the week. Here is a how we spend a typical day!

3:30am: M wakes up, wanting to eat. We've been dealing with sleep regression recently, but she just slept 6.5 hours straight so I'm thrilled! I feed her, and then she needs a diaper change (yeah...). She fell asleep as soon as she was done eating, and now I have to wake her up. Crap. She's smiling and cracking up while I change her. Kiddo is WAY too happy for the middle of the night. I rock her to settle her back down.

4:00am - I lay M back down. 98% of the time our middle of the night wake-ups are literally 10 minutes, but it took me awhile to get her back to sleep since she was so rowdy.

7:40am - My husband and I wake up and chat for a bit. He typically goes into work between 8am and was going to be more like 9:15am.

8:00am - M wakes up, laughing, kicking, and squealing. We have the crib in our room, next to my side of the bed. We LOVE this set up. She's SO HAPPY when she wakes up in the mornings, it's hilarious. She's also ravenous, so I grab her and feed her in bed. Husband gets up, makes coffee, and hops in the shower.

8:20am - M and I finally pull ourselves out of bed and she gets a diaper change!

I need to give M a bath (she HATES baths at night, so we do them in the mornings now), but I take a quick shower while my husband hangs out with with her for a bit. I try to shower before he leaves in the mornings, but that doesn't always happen.

8:35am - M gets a bath!

8:45am - M plays on her floor mat in her diaper, I blow dry my hair, and my husband and I eat breakfast. He has to leave in a bit, so he finishes getting ready and I pick up the house and start the cloth diaper laundry (I forgot to start it the night before and now I have to use disposables for part of the day until they are finished....lazy mommy!). Husband leaves for work at 9am.

9:10am - M starts fussing and rubbing her eyes, so I swaddle her (she's a swaddle addict who STILL has a high startle reflex...I'll probably need to swaddle her in college) and quickly rock her. Within 10 minutes she's sound asleep.

9:25am - I lay M in her bouncy chair for a nap. I finish my coffee from earlier, check and respond to some work emails, and finish getting ready because we're going out to the park for a playdate in a little while.

10:00am - M is awake after about 45 minutes. Her morning nap is always super short, but she wakes up in a good mood so I never try to lengthen it. I feed her and she spits up all over herself. Arg! I change her diaper, clothes, and finish packing up out gear and we head out to the park.

10:20am - Leave for the park! We are late, of couse. It's going to be nearly 90 degrees today (in the middle of March!) so I had to make sure we were both equipped to handle the weather.

10:35am - There is a wreck on the highway and M is having a total meltdown in the back of the car. I try to just focus on the road because there isn't anything I can do at the moment.

10:50am - Well, a 15 minute drive turned into 30 minutes. We finally arrive at the park and M gets to see her baby friends. She is VERY fussy, this is not like her. We experienced this yesterday for HOURS too, but since she woke up in a good mood today I thought we were in the clear.

12:30pm - M fussed off and on the entire time we were at the park. I tried everything--feeding her, diaper change, walking in the K'Tan, trying to get her to sleep, feeding again, NOTHING worked. The general consensus from the other mommies is that she might be teething. I've actually suspected this due to the amount of drool, chewing on things, and hysterical crying. She would calm down when I let her chew on my finger. Hmm. I guess we will see...

12:40pm - I try to feed M in the car before we leave since she refused to eat the entire time at the park. She ate a nice big meal, and seems a bit happier. We drive away and she starts fussing, but passes out in the backseat. Since she's been super fussy, I decide to go through Starbucks drive-thru, chill in the car for a bit, get gas and hope she stays conked out for awhile.

1:15pm - M is awake and is YELLING in the backseat. She is making her very distinct "I'm still tired" cry, so I rush home, change her diaper, swaddle her, and rock her back to sleep. I want to make sure she naps well today since she's so fussy. She falls asleep around 1:30pm.

1:40pm - I rocked her for awhile to make sure she was really OUT. I put her in her bouncy chair and make a quick lunch. I watch a little tv, and read a little bit more of "The No-Cry Sleep Solution". We aren't really having many sleeping issues, but we are trying to help her develop healthy sleep habits NOW and encouraging positive sleep associations.

2:20pm - I do a little bit of work since she is still sleeping.

3:20pm - M is still sleeping--wow! I didn't have a lot of work to do today luckily, so I close down for the day. I check FB, twitter, and blogs for a bit.

3:40pm - M is awake, finally! We do a quick diaper change and M eats.

4:00pm - M gets another diaper change. Ha. That happens a LOT. M plays on her changing table while I stuff cloth diapers next to her.

4:15pm - M plays on her playmat while I pick up the house a little bit and answer a few more work email that came in over the last hour.

4:30pm - M is hungry again, and then starts rubbing her eyes. I try to get her down for a nap around 5pm. She fights this nap often and today is no different.

5:30pm - I set M in her bouncy chair. I was reading a book on my iPad, so I ended up holding her for like 25 minutes after she fell asleep. The snuggles are nice :) After this, I watch a little tv, check the mail, repack my diaper bag (I was low on diapers, wipes, and burp cloths). Talk to a neighbor for a few minutes outside.

6:00pm - M is awake! Super short nap, but whatever. We do a diaper change and practice sitting up and have a little tummy time. She can sit up unassisted for about 10 seconds now! Big girl! She shows no desire to roll though, and despises tummy time. She also decides she wants to eat the remote control.

Then she wants to eat again---little piggy!

6:40pm - Daddy is home! He's usually not home this late. He plays with M for a bit while I read some blogs, check the news, and other things like that.

7:00pm - I warm up some soup and make salads for us for dinner. Usually my husband makes dinner, but when it's this simple, I offer to do it so he can spend some more time with M. He opens some wine for us, pours himself a full glass and about 2oz for me since M will want to eat.

7:30pm - We sit down to eat and put M in her high chair. She plays with her Winkle toy while we eat and chat.

8:10pm - M is over the highchair and is starting to fuss. I can see that it's getting time to get ready for bed (we don't have a set bedtime, it's usually between 8:30-9:15pm). I feed her, change her, swaddle her, and then pass her off to my husband. They read a book, and he rocks her for about 10 minutes. We are trying to get her to fall asleep in her crib because when she falls asleep in our arms she almost always wakes up about 45 minutes later screaming. We think its because she can't figure out how she got there. We've been trying a no-cry way of doing this and it's going okay (we know it will take time) and tonight she was awake when my husband put her down and she grunted a few times and then shut her eyes! She slept from 9pm until 6:30am! I was shocked.

9:00pm - M is asleep so I have a little wine and we watch tv until about 10:30pm. We head to bed at that point and cross our fingers that M has a good night. I fall asleep quickly.

11:50pm - I wake up to someone grunting and laughing in the crib next to me. I know M is awake but since she isn't fussing, I leave her be to see what happens. 5 minutes later she was back asleep---go M!

What is the most surprising thing to you about being a mom?
 I am surprised how quickly I fell into the "mommy" role. I absolutely love it. I thought it might take me a few weeks to "settle" into it, but I absolutely loved it from day one (even though I had no idea what the heck I was doing and was terrified of this tiny being). My entire outlook on everything has changed---M is the biggest factor in all of my decisions now.

What advice would you give to new or soon-to-be mamas?
Starting with your birth all the way through childhood, do what's best for YOUR family. All families are different, all situations are different, all babies are different. Natural birth wasn't for me (I could write a love song for my epidural), but we turned out to be extremely "crunchy" parents (I must emphasize PARENTS)---we lean towards attachment parenting, we cloth diaper, room share, I breastfeed, etc. These things work for us and make us happy, but those choices are NOT for everyone. We've gotten some flack because we have no plans to move M into her own room. What people need to remember is that these may not be right for their situation, but they are right for ours. Don't second guess yourself.

What are your top three baby products? 
1. Halo Microfleece Swaddle Sleep Sacks - I'm really good at wrapping these so M has a hard time busting out. I don't like the cotton ones--the microfleece is the way to go!
2. The Happiest Baby on the Block - Best baby book ever. We buy it for all of our friends who are expecting.
3. A cute purse/diaper bag - I stopped carrying a purse when I had M, but I adore handbags. I bought a diaper bag that doubles as my purse and I LOVE it. I have the Mamie Bag made by Ness.

Hope you enjoyed reading and come visit me over at Stories from Austin!


Thanks for sharing with us Laura!!

March 19, 2013

elsie joann - a birth story

written February 13th
all photos by Adrienne Maples, except the first two

Trying to be on top of something and write out Elsie's birth story before I forget too many of the details.  The short story?  I labored for a little over 8 hours, pushed for maybe 5 minutes, and Miss Elsie Joann made her entrance into the world on February 8th.

Now for memory's sake, and for all of you out there who want all the details...

Thursday evening (February 7th) I did my best to finish up some stuff around the house and spend some time with Ryann.  Chris still had to work another night shift, and had to go in at 10pm, but after dinner we snuck in a quick trip out for ice cream with Ry.  I surprised myself and didn't get too emotional that night.  Not really sure how I held it together, but I did.  Ryann was pretty funny.  I was trying to snuggle her and such before bed, and she was just pretty tired.  So she was essentially shooing me out of her room, saying "Ok night night Mommy!" multiple times.


I considered trying to get a bunch of other stuff done, but knew that ultimately I was supposed to be on 'bed rest' and Grey's was on, so I went with that.  After the show I decided I should at least get the laundry sorted and start a load, and then I wanted to finish my 38 week blog post, so by the time I finally made myself go to sleep it was maybe just after 11pm.  Probably not the best choice knowing I had a day of labor ahead of me, but oh well.  What are you going to do.  I ended up sleeping pretty terribly even after some Benadryl.  Had to pee twice, and my mind was racing.  So it was no problem getting out of bed before my alarm.

One thing I was definitely thankful for was getting to shower in my own shower, and having time to get ready before a long labor filled day.  With Ryann I didn't have that luxury.  I stood in the hot hot shower for a little longer than necessary, just trying to process it all.  I managed to get ready before Ryann woke up, and then we went about our morning the same as usual.  I had already planned an extra day of MDO for her that week, because Chris was supposed to be working nights and I thought my mom and I could use an extra day to finish up some of my 'nesting' list.  So I packed up all her stuff for the day.


Christopher made it home in time to change his clothes, and then he and I took Ryann to school.  I'm proud of myself, somehow I managed to make it through dropping her off without turning into a big sobbing mess.  She freaked a little when we left her, only because all her usual friends weren't there because it was a different day, but it broke my heart.  I didn't want her to have a crappy day coinciding with her world getting turned completely upside down.  Thankfully two of the kids who come on her day also come on Friday's, so she calmed down a bit.  As we got back in the car to head to the hospital Chris joked that it was almost as if we were running errands.  Drop Ry off at school, head to the hospital to have a baby, you know.  The perks of being induced at 9am.

We made it to the hospital right at 9:00 am, and were immediately taken to my labor room.  My nurse, Jessi (who was awesome by the way), told me to change into my gown and she'd be back in to start my IV.  It was so weird.  I felt like we were just nonchalantly going about everything.  Chris commented that he felt like I should have looked sicker or something, that it really was just so weird to kind of show up at the hospital to have a baby without labor or something sudden sending us in.  Not that 12 hours notice is a ton in the grand scheme of things, but knowing the day before that you are going to have a baby the next day is quite nice.


So I got myself into my annoying stupid awkward hospital gown and got into the bed.  Jessi came back and went to work getting my IV started.  Unfortunately I tend to have crappy veins, and she was having a hard time getting the IV in.  I started getting really lightheaded and nauseous.  She tried laying me back and continued trying to get the vein on that side, but it just wasn't working.  So eventually we had to take a break and lay me on my left side.  After a bit she tried again on my other arm, and was able to do it while I was laying down so I didn't feel like I was going to die.  Then I had to sign a whole bunch of forms, and we had to sit around for a bit while they push a bag of fluids.  At some point among all of that the lovely Miss Adrienne Maples joined us.  I am so incredibly thankful that she was present at the birth.  The pictures, as you can see, are amazing, not to mention she entertained me when my post call sleep deprived husband couldn't.


Finally just after 10:00 am, Jessi got the orders to start my pitocin.  Yay.  Not.  I mean I wanted to get going and get the whole labor thing over with, but pitocin is evil.  Don't let anyone tell you differently (not that I've ever labored not on pictocin, but I hear it is a little bit better...).  At 10:30 am, one of the doctors from the practice I go to came in to break my water.  Honestly, quite possibly my least favorite part of the process.  Nothing like laying in a bed while warm nasty fluid slowly pours out of your body.  Way TMI, I know.  Plus, even though he was nice, and I'm sure a great doctor, I wasn't a fan of the guy who did it.  So it was even more irritating.  It wasn't long after my water was broken that Elsie started having some variable decels in her heart rate.  No one was too concerned yet (for reasons they told me I'm sure but I wasn't paying attention or didn't understand), but they pushed some more fluids.  Hooray for fluids!  Ha.


My notes throughout the rest of the day aren't so good with the times, but I think just before noon I decided I needed to go to the bathroom.  Which was apparently one of the worst decisions I made that day :o).  It turned out to be quite the epic pee trip.  First of all I was attached to the monitors, my IV plus the damn blood pressure cuff.  So we had to unplug all of that.  Plus I was trying to contain the amniotic fluid that was still slowly leaking.  In short, I needed some help getting to the bathroom.  Whatever.  I went about my business.  Then Chris helped get me back to the bed.  He was on one side, but I couldn't push myself up into the bed with all the stuff because it hurt to support my weight on the arm with the IV in it.  So he went around to the other side to pull me in, and managed to knock my cup of ice chips everywhere.  I stood back up out of the bed so we could clean it off and a giant gush of fluid went all over the floor.  I was a hot mess.  Being the superstar that she is Adrienne popped her head out into the hall to grab my nurse, but only found some other poor unsuspecting nurse.


Seriously, the look on this chicks face was priceless.  I was trying to explain what happened through a little laughing and she just looked dumbfounded.  Like 'what the hell did you guys do?'.  I promised not to go to the bathroom again if we could get some help getting everything put back together :o).  It was during all of this that I think my mom showed up for a bit.  Fun times in my room I tell ya, fun times.  My mom brought lunch for her and Chris and they ate, but my mom had to leave pretty quickly to go back to my house to deal with the home warranty people, because of course on the day I'm being induced my main water drain in my house is also backing up.  Figures.

Just after my mom left, I think a little after noon, my contractions really started to pick up in intensity.  I was doing my best to get through them, but it sucked.  I decided I wanted to be checked, and based on where I was at would decide if I wanted to try and go without an epidural or not.  So my nurse came in.  I was a whopping almost 4cm.  Seriously?  Two hours on pitocin and breaking my water and I'd only progressed part of a centimeter?  Fuck it.  Bring on the epidural.


I was praying that the same doctor who did my epidural with Ryann would magically waltz through the door, because that thing was a dream and getting it really wasn't that bad, but no such luck.  I think the doctor's name was Marta?  Who knows.  She was nice enough.  But the procedure was not exactly smooth to say the least.  Sitting straight up plus being a little stressed made my blood pressure rise, making me feel not so great.  Thankfully I had the sense to ask them to make sure the cuff wouldn't go off while she was placing the epidural, because that combined with contractions was more than I could handle.  Anyway she got started numbing me up, waited for a contraction to pass, and then tried placing the epidural.  It was pretty uncomfortable, not painful, but tons of pressure and hitting nerves and such, and she was messing with it for a good bit.


And then she couldn't get anything through the catheter.

I tried to not get upset.  But I was so pissed.  It was so uncomfortable sitting there, and then she pulled something out a bit and tried again, but no dice.  She couldn't push any medicine through the catheter.  So she had to stick me again up higher on my back.  More numbing stuff, more contractions, more trying to place the epidural.  And the catheter still wouldn't work.  I was starting to freak out a little bit.  I was so tired of trying to hold myself in that position.  Chris was sitting in front of me, and at some point he put his legs under my feet.  I instantly felt loads better.  It took a lot of the pressure off my back and also helped get rid of some uncomfortableness in my legs.  But the epidural still was working.  She called another doctor to come in and help, and of course just as they hung up she was able to push some medicine.  Isn't that how it goes?  Oy.  So that was fun.

They had to push the medicine in really small doses at first, just to make sure they didn't tank my pressure.  It did drop down to like 80/40 or something stupid like that at one point, but for the most part my pressure actually stayed steady.  Or rather, it came into a normal range (118/76) and stayed there.  It took a little bit, but I finally felt some relief from all the contractions.  However, I could tell instantly it wasn't going to be quite as nice as the epidural I had with Ryann.  With Ryann I literally couldn't feel a thing for the rest of the day.  Nothing at all.  This time I could feel my belly tightening.  And when my nurse put a catheter in I could feel a lot more than I expected to.  Nothing painful, and I was thankful for the relief, but it was definitely a sign of what was to come.


By then it was 2:00 pm.  Everyone claimed they were going to head out to give me and my sleep deprived husband a chance to rest.  I hopped on instagram and facebook.  But of course little miss Elsie was still having lots of variable decels, so the nurse was popping in quite often flipping me from this side to that side, sitting me up, etc.  And no one ever came in quietly, startling Christopher awake every time.  So much for a nap.  Chris's mom also stopped by in the midst of all that, but left again when the nurse wanted to check me.  The nurse was sure that I must be getting close because of all the issues with Elsie's heart rate.  She figured her head must be getting low.  But no.  Still only 5cm and baby was still relatively high.  She came and checked me again at 3:40 pm.  6cm.  I was making progress, but not as fast as I was hoping.

At 4:00 pm they decided to try sitting me up again and put me on oxygen, in hopes to keep Elsie's heart rate more stable.  But it didn't work.  So back on my left side I went.  At 4:30 pm they checked me again hoping for some more progress, they really wanted to get Elsie out, but I was still 6 cm.  They decided to turn the pitocin off to try and give her a break.  At this point, or actually probably a little before, I started freaking out.  I was worried that Elsie wouldn't be able to handle the delivery, or my body was going to stop progressing, something, and that I would end up with a c-section.  I began texting Sarah, knowing that she had gone through a similar experience with Collins' birth.  It helped 'talking' to her, knowing that Collins came just fine.


Without the pitocin my contractions started spacing out again.  Instead of every 90 seconds to two minutes apart, they were four to five minutes apart again.  I was losing hope.  Right around 5:00 pm, my doctor came over to the hospital.  Finally.  Just seeing her face calmed me down a bit.  I love my doctor, she is the right amount of perky without being annoying.  :o)  She decided to do an amnio infushion (which Chris had suggested when all of this started, not to the nurses, but just to me, saying that is what he would do) to try and help Elsie out, and take some of the pressure off her cord.  After that she checked me.  8 cm!  Finally!  I felt like we were getting somewhere.


Just before 5:30 pm, I really started to be able to feel my contractions.  A LOT.  Not in my whole belly or anything, just way down low.  I wasn't surprised knowing how I'd felt after the epidural was placed.  Chris suggested maybe I had progressed more, because I was really feeling the pressure in my rear and I wanted to push.  But again, no dice.  Still not quite 9 cm.  I started pushing the extra epidural dose button over and over again (no worries, it only allows a dose every ten minutes).  I was checked again at 6:00 pm.  I was going insane.  I wanted to push so bad.  9 cm.  Why I had the urge to push for so long I have no idea, but it really sucked.  I think I started saying "I want this to be over.  I just want this to be over."  Based on what I felt, and assuming that I'll almost always need to be induced if we have more children, I will NEVER go without an epidural.  I can only imagine how much pain I would have been in without one.


Honestly I'm not sure what time it was when my doctor came in.  By that point I was shaking and thought I was going to just push the baby out whether anyone was ready or not.  She checked me.  "She's complete.  Let's have a baby!"


And then I freaked.  They broke down my bed and put my legs in the stirrups.   I heard my doctor say she was complete occiput posterior... or sunny side up as most people would say.  She told me to push.  I said I didn't want to.  At that point I was sure I was having a mammoth baby who was facing the wrong way and I just knew that meant disaster in the tearing department.  But with the next contraction my body didn't really allow me to not push.  I had to.  Somewhere between the second and third push my doctor turned Elsie around.  Not exactly the best feeling in the world, but it happened really fast.  I waited for another contraction, and on the fourth push at 6:38pm Miss Elsie Joann made her entrance into the world.  I absolutely couldn't believe how quickly it happened.  I literally pushed for less than five minutes.


The one thing I am grateful for, in regards to the epidural not dulling all the pain, is I was able to feel the rush of relief and joy as soon as Elsie was born.  It honestly was the most amazing feeling.  With Ryann, I kid you not, I felt NOTHING while pushing.  They basically told me when I was having a contraction and I pushed when they said to.  I didn't even know she was all the way out until they placed her on my chest.  With Elsie I knew exactly what was happening, and was absolutely overcome with emotions when all was said and done.

They placed Elsie on my chest and I think I just awkwardly said hi to her a million times.  I couldn't believe that was my baby.  She was perfect.  They started cleaning her up while she was on my chest, but eventually moved her over to the warmer.  Chris stayed with Elsie while they did all of the exams and what not and I just stared in awe.  I couldn't stop shaking.  My doctor told me her cord was wrapped around her neck twice, and that combined with her position was why it took a while for me to progress.


Honestly, I'm a little scared to think how fast my labor could go if I ever happen to have another baby and go into labor on my own.  My body might not love being pregnant, but in the labor and delivery department if tends to fair rather well.  I didn't have any tearing, and even though I've been stiff and sore, I've never truly been in pain after the birth.  My tail bone has definitely been uncomfortable, and again I can only assume that was because of her position.  The worst of everything has been the bruises I have from the failed IV attempt, a failed blood draw attempt, the failed epidural, and then my arm was sore from receiving the flu shot in the hospital.  My successful IV was also a sore spot for a while, because for some reason right after I delivered it stopped working, so they flushed it with a bunch of fluid.  And my feet were pretty swollen for a few days from all the fluids that were pushed.


By the time Ryann got to meet her sister for the first time, it was a little late in the evening.  You could tell she was out of sorts and overwhelmed.  And a little tired.  So she was acting a bit crazy.  But she was excited to see her sister.  Elsie kept getting too cold so Ryann didn't get to interact with her too much because we had to keep her under the warmer.


It is so funny, while in labor, and even in the few days after with the soreness and all the mess that comes along giving birth, I would tell you that I thought maybe I wanted to be done having babies.  Pregnancy is tough.  Labor and delivery is tough.  But just a few short days later, staring at the absolutely perfect face of my newborn daughter, I would totally do it all over again.  I'm sure once the sleep deprivation really sets in I'll be questioning it all over again, but babies are magical.  Truly a gift from God.

Welcome to the world Elsie Joann.  We love you.