Thursday, December 20, 2018

Thankful Thursday


I have been blogging for over half my life. I began blogging before blogging was even popular. I have always enjoyed working through my thoughts by writing. I write in two blogs; this one which is public and a more private, more anonymous blog elsewhere. Looking back at my entries in my private blog recently, I discovered that I tend to use my blog to complain. There are few entries filled with gratitude and thankfulness which saddens me. I have much in my life to be grateful for and I need to show it better. Therefore, I'm turning Thursdays into "Thankful Thursdays". On Thursdays, I will write ten things I am thankful for and why I am thankful for them. Feel free to participate! If you do, be sure to comment on this entry with a link to yours so I can check it out!

Today I am thankful for...
  1. My baby boy. I always wanted to be a mother. When I was in high school, I decided I would be married and done having my children by the time I turned 25. This is laughable as I didn't figure out who I was or meet the love of my life until I was over 30. I am thankful I was able to have a normal pregnancy and childbirth experience at 33 years old. I'm thankful my son is healthy, smart, funny, and growing wonderfully.
     
  2. My husband. My husband is my soulmate. I honestly don't know if I believed soulmates existed before I met him. He is my perfect complement and makes me strive to be a better person. He is hardworking and supports our family so I can stay home with our son. He is loving and endeavors to make me as happy as possible. He is funny and can make me laugh on some of the roughest days.
     
  3. My family. This time of year where I realize how amazing my family is... this includes both immediate and extended family. Many members of our family go above and beyond to help us out when we need it. We are forever grateful for any help we receive no matter how small.
     
  4. My pets. I love my pets. My cat tends to annoy the heck out of me, but he's adorable so I guess that counts for something. He's only two and has so much energy to burn! I've had my dog since he was about two months old and he's now nine years and three months old. He's turning more and more gray which makes me sad. When we got the cat, he and the dog didn't really get along, but look at them now!!!


  5. My home. When my husband and I married, we lived in a little house in a run-down town. We were about half an hour from his parents, but about an hour and fifteen minutes from my parents. The town had nothing in terms of stores or restaurants. Before we were married, we decided we wanted to live in a certain town. This town has many great stores and restaurants, an amazing school district, and is right in the middle of both sets of parents. We sold our first house eight days after listing it and quickly searched for a home in our dream town. We stumbled upon one and made an offer. We've now lived here almost two years and we've put a lot of work into it. I love our home, though. I'm excited to raise our child(ren) here.
     
  6. Christmas. Christmas is my favorite holiday and always has been. My maternal grandmother absolutely loved Christmas and her love rubbed off onto many of her children and grandchildren. I love Christmas because of all the quality time spent with family. I love giving gifts and seeing the reactions of people as they open what I have purchased for them. I love the decorations and the snow. I love the carols. It's hard for me to believe Christmas is in five days, but I'm excited for our first Christmas with our son.
     
  7. Winter. While Fall is my favorite season and is followed by Spring, I am happy it is Winter. Here in east central Illinois, we really don't get a Fall or a Spring, but we do get a Summer and a Winter. I despise being hot. It makes me super cranky. Therefore, I enjoy Winter much more. The beginning of December had lots of snow and really cold temperatures, but for the last week or so, temperatures have been more mild (in the forties) with no snow. While I'd love a white Christmas, the chances of that happening are slim to none right now, but hey... at least I'm not hot!
     
  8. My UBAM business. I became an independent consultant for Usborne Books & More back in February. My first few parties went amazingly and created an excitement in me to spread literacy to as many children as possible. However, my pool of hostesses and contacts quickly became a puddle and I struggled to find people to host parties and buy books. I took a little bit of a hiatus from my UBAM business, but have found a new excitement it!
     
  9. My vendor friends. The new excitement for my UBAM business comes from the help of two friends. I have been looking into vendor booths locally and also am in my first online multi-vendor party on Facebook which starts tonight. I am super excited about these opportunities and hope it helps me gain some new host prospects. I love throwing parties!
     
  10. Books. I have read a ton this year. I have read thousands of books in my life! I love books and reading. I am thankful my parents instilled a love of reading into me and that Kindle Unlimited exists.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Holiday Preparations


The past week has been hectic with holiday preparations. On Wednesday, I located and busted out all of my wrapping supplies – wrapping paper, boxes, bags, tissue paper, bows, gift tags, etc. I also rummaged around the house and located all the gifts we bought for family members this year. I set up a wrapping station on our dining room table in hopes of being able to begin the process of wrapping presents. I believe two presents were wrapped before my five-month-old son demanded my undivided attention and wrapping was put on the back burner.

On Thursday, the orders from our wine party were delivered. We were taking three of the five orders to my parents' house, one was being picked up by our wine guide, and the final order belonged to my cousin who happens to live in the same town we do. I sent her a text to let her know her wine was in and said it would be a good day to visit the baby if she wanted to come by after work.

She got to our house around three o'clock in the afternoon and stayed for a couple of hours. While she was over, I got to work on making Hot Cocoa Cones to give out as small gifts to some people. We bought all of our supplies on Amazon and were planning to make 50 of them. The supplies made slightly less – around 42, if I remember correctly. The price each had we been able to do 50 of them as around $0.50 each which is awesome! Regardless, we made plenty cones to give to the people we had decided to gift them.

My first task was to cut out the tags I created. I made them in Microsoft Word using an Avery label template and printed them on heavy paper. I found a free clipart image of hot cocoa in a mug, matched the text colors to it, added the directions, and finalized it with "Merry Christmas!" with our surname beneath it. (I removed it for privacy purposes on this post.) Using a hole punch, I added a singular hole next to the "H" in the word "hot". Here's a peek at the tag:


Next, I got out all my supplies to make the cones. This included Swiss Miss hot cocoa mix, Nestle milk chocolate chips, mini marshmallows, and twelve inch piping bags. After looking at the serving size of the hot cocoa mix, I decided to use one quarter of a cup in each piping bag (the suggested amount to mix with eight ounces of liquid) topped with two tablespoons of chocolate chips and one third cup of mini marshmallows. I twisted the remainder piping bag and knotted it, took some red and white braided twine, cut a piece, strung it through the tag, and tied it on under the knot.

The cones turned out so cute! I didn't get a picture of them after I put them together, however, the idea came from a "recipe" on another website. The cones I created looked very similar to the ones below other than I used slightly less chocolate chips, added the tags, and used the red and white twine instead of the gold ribbon. This image was borrowed from the site where I found the recipe and a link is under it:

Source ~ Simply Jessica Marie
After finishing the cones, I wrapped a few more presents which had to be wrapped by Saturday as we had our first Christmas party of the season. It was at my parents' house and completely atypical of our normal Christmas celebrations. A normal party at my parents' house runs from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM on Christmas Day. My husband and I would usually stay all night there Christmas Eve. We would have stockings from Santa, breakfast of biscuits and gravy, open presents, and then have a big lunch including steak or prime rib and numerous delicious sides.

This year, my parents are taking a cruise over Christmas and will be gone so we celebrated early. We got my niece a present and small gifts for my parents. For my siblings, we had a white elephant gift exchange with new gifts and a $10 limit. We bought this awesome large coffee mug with a donut warmer on top and a decorative pillow. I ended up getting a gold Christmas-themed wax warmer. It's really pretty and I like it! My husband got a mini shop-vac that connects to the AC adapter in the car. We ate the equivalent of Thanksgiving dinner – turkey, mashed potatoes, noodles, dressing, corn, cranberry sauce, and rolls.

We also celebrated the birthdays of my niece, cousin, and brother's girlfriend. My husband and I created a four-layer cake with each layer a darker shade of pink. I made homemade buttercream frosting for the first time. The cake was amazing in taste and appearance. I really wish I had taken a picture!

Anyway, as of now, we may have a party to attend on Saturday and my husband's side of the family is celebrating on December 26th. After Friday, my husband is off work until January 2nd. I'm so excited to have him home with our son and me for so long! Should be a pretty relaxing Christmas break.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Hey, It's Okay

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Hey, it's okay...

... to have hosted a wine party at our house on Sunday. I'm not a huge wine drinker, but it was still a lot of fun and we got a great deal on some awesome wines and accessories for hosting. Have you heard of Traveling Vineyard?

... to kind of miss being pregnant when I see posts on social media from friends or family who are expecting. A friend's daughter-in-law posted a video of her baby moving in her belly and watching it made me miss that. My baby is about five months old so we're not planning to add to the family quite yet, but I look forward to feeling a child move in my belly again.

... to be proud of myself for writing so much so far this month! As the baby is getting older, I have a little bit more time to do things because he can entertain himself somewhat. I'm glad because I really miss it when I don't write!

... to feel a bit anxious when I think of our schedule for the rest of the month. We have so much going on, but I will enjoy seeing family regardless of my anxiety over it all.

... to not enjoy every book I read. I'm a part of a program called First to Read where I can read new releases for free before they hit the shelves. My title this month has drawn me in and out of it the whole time. Right now I'm out of it so I'm not wanting to read it. I need to finish and review it soon.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Review: Traveling Vineyard


Have you heard of Traveling Vineyard? It's a direct selling company, but instead of selling sprinkles or make up or books "wine guides" sell wine. A former coworker became a wine guide earlier this year. My mother hosted a wine party back in June, but it was the day of our baby shower and I was exhausted after so we didn't go. A family friend hosted a wine party back in October, but we were unable to attend that one too. I decided we would host a party ourselves.

We set a date. About two weeks prior, our wine guide brought us an information folder. It included all the information about hosting a party along with foods that pair well with the wine. As a part of hosting the party, you are in charge of providing snacks that pair with the wines to your guests.

These are descriptions taken from the Traveling Vineyard website of the five wines which were brought to our party:

  1. Zapatazo Torrontés: Brilliant pale lemon-yellow in the glass. Nose of white flowers and stone fruits, peach fuzz & ripe apricot. This wine tastes as it smells, plus a hint of minerality. Good acidity and feel, light bodied and crisp, with a lingering freshness.
  2. Hoot White Blend: Brilliant pale straw, medium body. Slightly vinous white flowers nose over nuts and approaching spicy stone fruits, nectarine-to-apricot. Good fresh acidity and acid/sugar balance, richer-than-expected mouthfeel, good extraction.
  3. Rayado Cabernet Sauvignon: Herbaceous black earth fruit nose over toasted plank, baker's chocolate & black earth; with smoke & black pepper touches. Integrated, balanced & concentrated black fruit over the nose flavors, lengthy finish. Juicy, fruity, smooth & quaffable as a burgers-on-the-grill red, or with beef stew and Italian red sauce dishes.
  4. Never Have I Ever Pinot Noir: Translucent garnet-to-brick hues in the glass. Aromas of dried strawberry and raspberry. A whiff of warm spice and dried herbs/violets. Soft on tannins, light-to-medium bodied, clean, balanced and accessible.
  5. Fissata Blonde Fizzy White Wine: Gently sparkling with notes of peach, white flowers, mandarin orange and nectarine. The palate also shows hints of ripe melon and dried apricot.
Our wine guide also brought a Caramel Apple Sangria made with the Zapatazo wine, caramel vodka, and apples. I'm sure there was more to it than that, but I don't have a copy of the recipe. We started the night with the sangria. It had a very strong caramel flavor. It also tasted strongly of alcohol to me. While I could have drank the entire glass of about 4 ounces, I only drink about half of it. I did like the flavor, but after not drinking much for over a year due to pregnancy and breastfeeding, I didn't want to risk ingesting too much alcohol right off the start.

We then began the actual tasting. This included looking at the color of each wine, swirling, smelling, and tasting. We tried the wines in the same order listed above. 

The first wine we tried was the Zapatazo. This wine was also used to make the sangria. It was a little drier than I normally like when it comes to wine, but I drank my two ounces. We paired this wine with cream cheese topped with spicy red pepper jelly and club crackers. While I didn't feel the pairing actually improved the wine, the crackers were delicious!

We moved onto Hoot after that. This is a wine our guide thought I would really like. After the first sip, I wasn't sure how much I liked it. Our guide mentioned something about needing to eat something salty to get the sweetness of the pepper jelly out of her mouth to fully enjoy the wine. We paired this wine with buffalo chicken dip and corn chips. After eating a corn chip with dip on it, the wine tasted much better. I thoroughly enjoyed this wine.

The next two wines were red wines. I am allergic to red wines and have a pretty severe gastrointestinal reaction when I drink them. I didn't try either of these wines because of that, but I did eat the pairings. We paired the Rayado with fudge brownies. My husband wasn't a big fan of this wine, but after our wine guide poured it through a decanter, he enjoyed it much more. I guess the decanter made it more light and airy. The Never Had I Ever was paired with cheddar cheese and crackers. My husband and my mother loved this wine. 

The final wine we tried was Fissata. This wine was paired with barbecue chips and orange juice. The chips were the main pairing as the orange juice was used to make mimosas. I really enjoyed this wine. It made super yummy mimosas too.

Our wine party was a lot smaller than expected because six of our twelve expected guests cancelled last minute. They all had good reasons for being unable to make it, but I was a little disappointed. Once our party was underway, though, I enjoyed the small group. We had more wine and snacks to share among the eight total people who were here. All of the food except for three small brownies and about a cup of the buffalo chicken dip was eaten. There was barely any wine left either.

Everyone who attended our party ordered along with two people who weren't able to make it. We ended up getting a pretty good deal ourselves. We ordered a couple bottles of the Never Have I Ever as my husband really enjoyed this wine. Because of this order, we got a free bottle of wine and I wanted to get a bottle of Hoot. We also got two half priced accessories. We ordered the Magic Decanter Aerator which I'm gifting to my husband for his birthday (from back in May!) and the Wine Saver. Because we ordered three bottles of wine, we also got a great deal on some tulip wine pourers.

While I am not a huge wine drinker, I thoroughly enjoyed this party. I would attend one if hosted by someone else and may host another myself sometime next year in hopes more people would be able to attend. I learned a lot about wine tastings and pairings. I also got to try some wines I wouldn't have had the option to otherwise. The wines sold by Traveling Vineyards is not available anywhere else. The guests we had also enjoyed the party which is always great to hear! If you have an opportunity to go to or host your own wine party with Traveling Vineyards, I would highly recommend it!

Friday, December 7, 2018

Christmas Tree Shopping

Growing up, I don't really remember having real Christmas trees. I know we did on a few occasions, but I only remember helping my dad put together the artificial tree each year.

The first year my husband and I were together, we were engaged at Christmas. I was living with my parents an hour and twenty minutes southeast of where my (then) fiancé lived. Because we had a tree at my parents' house and he had a tree at his parents' house, we did not decorate at his house. This also meant he did not have a tree there.

The following year, we were newly married when it came time to decorate. We went with my new in-laws to get our first real tree. There is a store near where we live called Prairie Gardens. This is a home decor store and is mainly full of holiday decorations this time of year. There are several locations within Illinois and their decorations are amazing. When we went shopping for a tree that year, Prairie Gardens did not have a great selection. There were a few nice trees, but nothing any of us wanted to buy at that moment as they were more expensive than we had planned. We left Prairie Gardens and went to Menards to look at their trees. We ended up buying a Fraser fir at Menards as they were cheaper and looked better than the trees at Prairie Gardens. We later learned this was a big mistake because the tree was super dead, didn't drink any water, dried out, dropped all of its needles, and basically became a big fire hazard.

Because of the troubles with the prior year, last year we looked into a tree farm. There are several well-known trees near us, but these trees become overrun and its hard to find a good tree unless you go early in the season. After some research, we found one pretty close to us which wasn't as well known. We went there and it was awesome! The weather was cold, windy, and terrible, but we enjoyed our experience anyway. We were with my in-laws again and both families found trees we wanted quickly. The farm shook the needles out and netted the trees for us while we paid. Our tree was gorgeous. It was some kind of a pine tree, smelled citrusy (almost like oranges), and was vibrant and alive the entire Christmas season. It hardly dropped any needles and I loved it!

We were planning on going back to the tree farm last weekend with my husband's parents. We met for breakfast first. The weather was rainy so my mother-in-law suggested we call the farm before heading there to make sure they were allowing people in their fields. My husband called and heard a recorded message saying the farm wasn't open at all during the 2018 holiday season. Bummer! We ended up going back to Prairie Gardens because my father-in-law heard they had gotten in a thousand trees from Canada. We searched through their trees for a while and bought the second tree we had seen. It's a Balsam fir and is very pretty. Here it is once we got in the house before we started decorating:


The first thing we did was put on lights. In previous years, we had put one strand of larger bulb lights on the tree. We had three strands of regular lights, but last year we put those lights outside. We are not going to have time to put up the lights outside this year, so we decided to put them on the tree. I love how many lights there are!!! With the lights only:


After a short break, we decorated the tree. I love decorating and looking at the ornaments we have accumulated over the last few years together... along with the ornaments we had prior to meeting. Since I moved out of my parents' house at 19, I have always topped my tree with a Santa hat and my husband is fine with this... I haven't found a topper I like better. Anyway, here's our finished tree prior to having presents under it:


It's so pretty and I love it! I love getting the occasional whiff of real Christmas tree. It smells awesome. I hope having a real tree each year can become a family tradition for us. Hopefully, the tree farm we used last Christmas opens back up because, again, that farm was amazing. It would be a great place to take our kids (our current one plus any others) in the coming years!

We finished decorating our whole house that night. I love Christmas! I have my grandma's Christmas village, but we aren't putting it up this year. We put it up the first year we were married, but haven't in the last two years as I have been unsure where it should go at the new house. However, I'm hopeful we can put it up next year as I think I've figured out where it will go. This collage has a picture of all of our decorations merged into one:


What are your holiday traditions? Do you get a real tree or have an artificial one?

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Hey, It's Okay

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Hey, it's okay...

... for life to have, once again, gotten in the way of blogging. Now that my son is getting older, I will have a greater chance of being able to blog regularly. We shall see, I suppose!

... to be done with Christmas shopping already. We're waiting on several gifts to come in the mail yet, but I'm pretty sure we're done! We may have one small gift/thing to do for a group of friends we game with, but other than that, we're done!

... for my husband and I to decide our gifts for each other will be a "mommy day" and a "daddy day". This will be one day while my husband is on winter break (December 22nd through January 2nd) where we can each do whatever we want while the other will take sole care of our son. It will be nice to have a day to do whatever. It will stink a little bit on my part as I will still have to break from my "mommy day" to pump.

... to have decided to take up crocheting. I really love doing crafty things. I know how to piece quilts, but that makes such a big mess. I wanted something with less of a mess so I did a little research. My aunt, a family friend, and one of my good friends all crotchet. It seems like something I would really like to do. I put a beginner's kit of yarn skeins (basically just a bunch of colors) and a set of aluminum hooks on my Amazon wish list for Christmas. The entire thing would be about $20. If no one buys them for me, I may buy them for myself. I watched a couple of beginner's videos on YouTube and it looks easy.

... to feel a little anxious about all of the stuff we have planned between now and the end of the year. We don't have a weekend free until after Christmas. It will be good to see family though! I do enjoy seeing people.

... to have thoroughly enjoyed hosting our gaming group at our house this past Sunday. Our normal hosts were unable to welcome us into their home because of illness. We didn't want to miss a chance to game (we play Pathfinder) since we usually miss several sessions due to the holidays coming up and possible bad weather so we offered to host. It was a fun session and we were able to play a little longer than usual since we were able to put the baby in bed when he got tired and we didn't have a 45 minute drive home.


Saturday, December 1, 2018

December Currents


As a way to start each month, I want to keep track of what's currently going on in my life by discussing several different topics. I hope to post an entry like this the first day of each month. Hopefully I can keep up with a post as easy as this each month. Haha!
  1. Current book.
    I am currently trying to read Outlander by Diana Gabaldon as I've been watching the television series. However, the beginning is kind of dull with all the history of Frank's ancestors. I understand those who haven't watched the series would need that information in order to know what's happening, but to me it's boring. I'll keep at it whenever I have a chance.
     
  2. Current music.
    Right at this moment, we are listening to Christmas Radio on Pandora. It's the first of December and we just bought our Christmas tree. We will be decorating it soon and the music is to help us get into the Christmas spirit. Otherwise, I haven't really been listening to much music. When I do, my favorite is listening to a station on Pandora my husband has been working on perfecting for years. We have similar tastes in music and the station is quite enjoyable!
     
  3. Current TV show.
    I've been watching more TV lately. I have really been enjoying New Amsterdam and A Million Little Things as new shows this fall. As usual, I love This is Us and Grey's Anatomy too. The husband and I have been "binge watching" The Librarians lately. By "binge watching", I mean we're watching however many episodes we can while we're together and not super busy.
     
  4. Current film.
    Oh, man. I can't even remember the last time I watched a movie. I don't watch many. My husband and I keep wanting to set up a date to go see Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. Not sure if that will actually happen or not. I'm supposed to go with my mom to the movies next weekend... to chaperone three girls between the ages of 7-9 for my niece's birthday. I'm not even sure what we will be watching. It's now December so I'm sure I'll start watching Christmas films on TV, too.
     
  5. Current website.
    With the upcoming holidays and Christmas shopping, I would have to say I visit Amazon more than most other sites right now. We have a Prime membership and do the majority of our shopping on Amazon so yeah... I visit the site at least once daily right now looking for gift ideas.
      
  6. Current blog.
    Is it wrong to say my own? I've been redesigning and working on my blog lately. I felt like I needed something new in order to stick with the blogging. Hopefully it helps, but we'll see. I mean, I always have high hopes of getting into blogging more, however, my four-month-old mini-boss doesn't always agree with me sitting at the computer and writing.
      
  7. Current app.
    I love the Post Secret app right now. I get up around 1:30 in the morning daily to pump breast milk for my son. On Sundays, I always check Post Secret at that time... just after they've been posted for the week. I really wish secrets were posted more often!
      
  8. Current project.
    My mom's side of the family has a big Christmas party the Saturday before Christmas each year. As we're on more of a strict budget this year, we're making our stocking stuffer gifts for everyone over age 5. We've been slowly working on buying all the necessities for putting these gifts together. That is my current project. In regards to our house, we're still working on remodeling the half bath and putting finishing touches on the kitchen. We tore everything out in the kitchen and half bath almost eight months ago. I feel like we'll never be done working on our house!
     
  9. Current relationship.
    I suppose my relationship with my husband. We're happily married, but we have our disagreements like any other couple. Luckily, we discussed how to handle arguments when we first started dating and agreed to not let bad feelings fester. I was feeling annoyed on Wednesday morning and let him know. We talked about ways to fix the issue causing me stress and now we're great. I love having a mature relationship that is always growing.
     
  10. Current outfit.
    We went to get our Christmas tree today and it's rainy. I'm wearing skinny jeans, a black nursing tank with a sheer pink sweater (with a multicolored sheath which sticks out the bottom) over it, and some winter boots to help protect my footsies from cold and rain.
     
  11. Current clothing thoughts.
    This outfit is way better than my normal daily SAHM outfit of pajama pants, a nursing tank, and house slippers. Haha! Leaving the house always makes me want to dress up since I'm stranded here with a four-month-old all the time.
     
  12. Current self-image thoughts.
    I feel pretty good about myself lately. Granted, I am almost always without makeup and with natural hair wearing pajamas, but I still feel pretty good about myself. Basically any time I leave the house, I "dress up" meaning I curl my hair and wear makeup. I only leave the house about once a week, though, because we currently only have one working vehicle which my husband takes to work with him.
     
  13. Current guilty pleasure.
    Baby smiles. I love making my baby grin. He has the most adorable gummy grin. Also, the Snickerdoodle Cookie Dough Blizzards from Dairy Queen are amazing! When I was a child, I would eat vanilla ice cream with cinnamon sprinkled in. The Blizzard tastes like a fancier version of that. So... so... SO good!
     
  14. Current food.
    I'm not currently eating anything, but my newest kick is toast with peanut butter and sliced bananas. This has been the "morning snack" my husband and I have been eating before breakfast for a couple of weeks now. It's so filling and delicious. The last thing I ate was some Dulce De Leche Owls (Girl Scouts chocolates). They remind me of those Carmello candy bars. So good!
     
  15. Current drink.Chamomile tea. Once the weather turns cold, I love hot tea. I can't drink it during the warmer months. I have been drinking tea each morning and chamomile with honey is my favorite. I also have an Apple Cinnamon Spice tea and a black tea with currants in it. Occasionally, I'll have some hot cocoa.
     
  16. Current feelings.I'm excited it's December. I love the Christmas holiday and all that comes with it. We picked out our tree today and will more than likely decorate it later as well. We have been looking into gifts for people which is always fun. Also, the baby is beginning to interact more with people as he's getting older and I can't wait to see what comes next for him.
     
  17. Current wants.More money? My husband just got a promotion at work which came with a bit of a raise, but we literally split our income in half when I became a SAHM. Losing half your income is hard and we're having some minor issues with sticking to our new budget. It will take some getting used to, but I know we can figure it out. Still... more money would be great around the holidays.
     
  18. Current needs.
    A nap would be heavenly. The baby was very cranky and overstimulated last night. He didn't go down until 9:30 which means the husband and I didn't get to bed until around 10:00 PM. We were both up at 1:30 AM so I could pump milk. We were back in bed by 2:30 or so, but I struggled to fall asleep again. The baby woke us up for the day at 6:20. The baby is currently napping and I'm taking the break to write this post.
     
  19. Current annoyance.
    Hmmm. I don't know that I'm currently annoyed about much. I'm home and wearing real clothes which is unusual. My skinny jeans are a little snug around the middle because of the way I'm sitting. I guess that is annoying. *shrugs* Life is pretty decent right now.
     
  20. Current triumph.
    Our Christmas tree. We have had a heck of a time finding good live trees each year of our marriage. This is our third Christmas together as a married couple. The first year, we couldn't find a good local tree farm so we went to a holiday store in a town near us. They didn't have any decent trees for a good price as the ones that looked good were too expensive. We ended up buying our tree at Menards and it was a terrible tree. It was old and wouldn't drink water so it became super dry and dropped all of its needles all over our house. Last year, we found a nice little Christmas tree farm nearby and found the cutest, nicest, great-smelling tree. We planned to go there again this year, but my husband called this morning to make sure we could go through their fields because of the rain we got and heard a recorded message saying they weren't open for the Christmas season this year. We ended up going back to the holiday store we went to two years ago because my father-in-law heard the store had shipped in over a thousand trees from Canada. We found a gorgeous Balsam fir for a really great price. It's currently standing in our living room waiting to be decorated. I love decorating the tree!!!

Monday, October 8, 2018

Hey, It's Okay!

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Hey, it's okay...

... to be moving my Hey, It's Okay entries to Mondays in the future. It's just going to work out better for the potential flow of my blog and what I have planned.

... to have taken an unexpected trip to Michigan a couple of weekends ago so my son could meet his great-grandma. My grandmother passed away a few weeks ago and I regret she never got to meet my baby. My husband's grandma is the last grandparent either of us have so we wanted our son to meet her. She's in her mid-90s so anything could happen at any time.

... to be happy our niece is here today. She's eight and out of school for Columbus Day so I'm watching her. The baby is currently napping, but weather permitting, we may walk down to the park later so my niece can play.

... to be excited we will have our niece (the only cousin our son has on my side of the family) next weekend too. We're going to a birthday party for a niece on my husband's side of the family. My niece gets along so well with my husband's nieces so it will be great! My husband's brother's family has yet to meet our baby. He'll be just three days shy of three months old when we go to the party so I'm happy they will be able to meet him!

... to want to wish my mother a HAPPY BIRTHDAY today. Growing up, I was always a daddy's girl. When I became a teenager, my mom and I butted heads a lot. Now that I'm older, I consider her one of my best friends! It's crazy how that happens. She is the best mom and grandma and does so much for us.

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Friday, September 14, 2018

One Year Angelversary

My husband and I began our journey to grow our family in March of 2017. It didn't take long for us to become pregnant as we had a positive test on June 10th. We were incredibly excited. At our thirteen week ultrasound, we were so surprised to learn we were expecting twins! Two weeks later at the maternal fetal medicine doctor, we discovered our twins were identical and monochorionic/diamniotic (one placenta, two amniotic sacs). At seventeen weeks, we went to a routine sonogram excited to see our twins again. Instead of learning their gender, we were told their little hearts stopped beating. We were sent to the hospital where I was induced and gave birth to our sleeping angels on September 13, 2017.

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Wednesday was the one year anniversary of learning our twins no longer had heartbeats. The last two days have been difficult for my husband and me. While we love our son and wouldn't trade him for anything in this world, it doesn't diminish the grief we feel in the loss of his brothers one year ago.

When the twins were born, we decided we did not want to have a service for them. We did not want to bury them or have them cremated. This is a decision I semi-regret as it would be amazing to have a place to go to remember them. I know my father was sad we did not have a marker for them anywhere because he wanted somewhere to go to visit them. Last year on October 15th (which is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day), our family attended a memorial service  and walked through the Shining Light Infant Memorial Garden at the hospital where the twins were delivered.

My husband was off work due to being on bereavement leave for the death of my grandmother. We decided we would honor the twins that day by visiting the memorial garden again.


The garden has pavers which are engraved with memorials of pregnancy or infant loss babies. In the center of the garden is a statue called Mourning Rachel:


Mourning Rachel is there to comfort the parents who have losses. She lets the parents know their babies are never alone. Mourning Rachel is based on a verse from the Bible - Jeremiah 31:15.
This is what the LORD says: "A cry is heard in Ramah--deep anguish and bitter weeping. Rachel weeps for her children, refusing to be comforted--for her children are gone." (NLT)

While we were there, I told my husband I would like to purchase a paver for the twins in the memorial garden. He said he was thinking the same thing. Due to being on a budget, we talked about saving up for the cost of the paver. I mentioned this to my mother who talked to my father. They decided they wanted to pay for the cost of the paver for us. This is a huge gift and blessing! My husband and I are so thankful to have such generous parents.

While the last few days have been hard, they've also been very cathartic. We have come a long way in the last year. We are well on our way in the healing process. We will have somewhere we can go to visit our sweet boys who were taken too soon.

I know in my heart the twins are watching over their little brother. There are times when the baby will stare up at a spot on the ceiling, smiling and cooing. I always ask him if his brothers are up there and he grins really big. It warms my heart...

Happy Angelversary, Adam and Eli! You are forever loved and forever missed.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Wellness Wednesday #3 (a day late)

This past week was terrible in terms of my wellness challenge. My grandma went into the hospital on Labor Day weekend. Towards the end of the weekend, things seemed to be getting better. However, on Tuesday, things went downhill. She wound up with sepsis and her kidneys started to fail her. They intubated her and transferred her to a larger hospital. From there, things went downhill quickly and she passed away last Friday afternoon.


While she was in the hospital, we babysat my niece several nights in a row. She stayed with us on Saturday night. Sunday was spent preparing for my grandmother's funeral. Monday, my husband was off work due to bereavement leave, and we worked on getting our house in some sort of order - something which hadn't been done since the baby was born eight weeks prior. Tuesday was her funeral and a family dinner. Yesterday was spent in mourning - something I will be writing about tomorrow.

Needless to say, with all of this going on, taking care of myself and eating healthy were not on my radar. The scale showed it when I weighed myself yesterday morning. However, I'm guessing most of my weight from yesterday morning was water weight. When I stepped on the scale Tuesday morning (to get a preview of what I might see on Wednesday), my weight was right around what it was the previous week. I definitely saw 215 on the scale, but I don't remember what the decimal part was...

Anyway, here is my week three weigh in:


So, officially, I am up 2.2 pounds from last week which makes me slightly disappointed. Again though, I don't think I really gained almost two pounds in one day so I'm trying to take that lightly and get back onto eating healthy this week. Here is a list of my current weigh ins:

Weigh In Date Weight Change Total Change
August 28, 2018
217.2
Wellness Starting
± 0.0
September 5, 2018
215.4
- 1.8
- 1.8
September 12, 2018
217.6
+2.2
+ 0.4

Neither of my goals last week happened. I didn't get around to doing what I would consider a good deed for anyone. I had high hopes a moment would come up, but nothing happened so I'm hoping in the next week I can do a good deed for someone. I also did not log my food every day. I did not eat at home often which makes it difficult to log. I do hope to continue this as the wellness challenge continues.

Week Three: 

  • Mental/Emotional: Make leisure time a priority. Take one day this week and make it be all about you. Do your favorite things. Read a book. Take a bath. Limit your duties and try your best to relax. 
  • Physical/Nutritional: Try a new healthy recipe. Find a new recipe online, in a cookbook, or from a friend. Make it. Did your family like it? Would you make it again? Could you alter it to make it even better or healthier?

I think leisure time is very important, but it may be difficult with an eight week old at home. I will definitely see what I can do and enjoy each day as it comes. I have been watching a marathon of Queer Eye on Netflix this morning while the baby sleeps. I haven't marathoned  a new show in a while and it has been very enjoyable.

I'm unsure if I'll be able to try a new recipe this week. We already did our grocery shopping and we didn't get anything to make anything new. I did make a new recipe a couple of weeks ago which my husband and I loved. We will definitely be making it again. It is called Slow Cooker Caribbean Pork and is amazing and easy! It's a recipe where once you buy everything the first time, it will be a lot more budget friendly from there on out. It is also healthy!

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Wellness Wednesday #2

When I stepped on the scale this morning, I was pleasantly surprised. It was Labor Day weekend here in the United States and we spent a good portion of the weekend visiting with family. We were not in charge of the meals we ate while visiting, so I consumed foods I normally wouldn't make myself as they are higher in calories than I would like. However, spending time with family is very important to my husband and me so it was worth it.

Here is my week two weigh in:


I am down 1.8 pounds since last week which is a pretty great loss! It's been about three years since I've seen a number starting with 215 on the scale as an "official weigh in". I have seen slightly below that as a mid-week check in, but not as an official one. I'm definitely very happy with that loss as my goal while breastfeeding is one pound per week. Here is a list of my current weigh ins:

Weigh In Date Weight Change Total Change
August 28, 2018
217.2
Wellness Starting
± 0.0
September 5, 2018
215.4
- 1.8
- 1.8

My goals last week were to get enough rest and drink plenty of water. Most days I got about seven hours of sleep which is my goal right now while the baby doesn't sleep through the night. There were only two days in the last week where I got less than seven hours. In regards to my water intake, it could have been better. Most days I drank plenty of liquid, but I drank a lot more lemonade, soda, and sweet tea than water. This is something I will continue working on as this wellness challenge continues.

Source
Week Two:

  • Mental/Emotional: Do a good deed. Whether this be paying for the coffee for the person behind you at Starbucks or just opening doors for people. Do something kind for someone else.
  • Physical/Nutritional: Count your calories. Use a paper and pen. Use MyFitnessPal.com or SparkPeople.com. Count your calories all week and decide where you could cut some (if necessary).
I'm pretty excited for this week's challenges. I've always wanted to do a random good deed for someone. I don't know if it will be a monetary deed as we are tight on funds at the moment, but I'm sure I can find something free which would make someone's day. 

I have been trying for the past week or two to log my calories everyday. I normally do great at logging my meals through my afternoon snack, but don't log my dinner calories. I am going to make my personal goal to log all calories for the entire week.

Friday, August 31, 2018

Exclusively Pumping is Hard

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Breastfeeding is incredibly difficult. I had no idea how thoroughly challenging it is until I gave birth to my son last month.

When he was born, my son latched onto my breast within half an hour after his birth. His latch was great and there were no issues with his feedings. However, he wound up in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) when he was just twenty hours old because he was having issues with regulating his blood sugar and body temperature. To stabilize his blood sugar issues (which would help his temperature problem), the NICU had to introduce formula and a dextrose IV drip.

The hospital encouraged me to use a breast pump since I intended to breastfeed the baby. I was shown how to use the pump by a lactation consultant. In the beginning, I only got a few drops out during a pumping session. However, these small drops of colostrum were liquid gold and important to the baby's health. The NICU nurses made sure to feed my son what I had pumped, regardless of how small of an amount, before giving him any formula.

The baby was born on Monday and, by Friday, my milk had came in and I became engorged. I asked the NICU nurse what she thought while visiting our son. She called another lactation consultant who came to the NICU meet with my husband and me. The lactation consultant assisted us in getting the baby to feed on my breast with the help of a contact nipple shield. Once the baby was done eating, she showed my husband and me how to relieve the engorgement in my breasts. I was amazed at the amount of milk I pumped during that session.

The biggest struggle with the baby being in the NICU was the nurses would only let me attempt to breastfeed for a short time. If he became frustrated and cried too much, they would say he couldn't be bottle fed and would, therefore, feed him with a feeding tube which was placed through his nose to his stomach. He would be frustrated often because breastfeeding is more work for a baby. He became used to the instant feeding a bottle would allow and didn't want to work for his milk.

When we brought him home, I decided not to fight him on breastfeeding. I wanted him to eat, gain weight, and be healthy. When he would cry inconsolably each time I breastfed, I decided to exclusively pump. I wished he would have drank directly from my breast instead of pumping and bottle feeding, but it wasn't working out at that time.

While my husband was home on parental leave the first four weeks of our baby's life, pumping wasn't an issue. He could watch and console the baby if he started fussing allowing me all the time I needed for each pumping session. However, my husband has been back at work for two full weeks now and I'm at my wits end with pumping exclusively.

Source
After some trial and error, I discovered by son would latch on and nurse if I used a nipple shield since it resembles a bottle nipple more than the nipples on my breasts. The first time, he nursed a mere five minutes. The second, closer to ten. He's nursed up to fifteen minutes a couple of times. I have fed him solely from my breast overnight twice. We've only been working on the transition into breastfeeding for about a week and it's going pretty well.

During the day, I cannot breastfeed him. This is because my supply had started to struggle when my pumping schedule became irregular. The baby would be asleep when it was time for me to pump, but I would wait for him to wake to offer him by breast first. Sometimes he would take it and sometimes he wouldn't. If he wouldn't, I would have to wait to pump until after I had bottle fed him and gotten him to sleep. There were times when it would be four to five hours between pumping sessions when I am supposed to pump every three hours or so.

My husband and I worked out a plan to work through this yesterday. When he is home, I will try to breastfeed the baby first. Once the baby is done (whether he eats or not), my husband will take the baby and see if he wants any milk from a bottle while I pump. My lactation consultant recommended  continuing to pump after breastfeeding sessions until the baby is solely eating from the breast. When I'm home alone with the baby, in order to maintain my pumping schedule so my supply is not endangered, I will exclusively pump. This would be no different than if I was working full-time and pumping at work.

Nevertheless, pumping while home alone with the baby remains a struggle. I have searched online for tips for keeping my supply up. Some of the suggestions I have located are pumping at least seven to eight times a day, pumping for at least 15-20 minutes a session, and not paying attention to my output while I pump.

Many times, when I am attempting to maintain my pumping schedule, the baby will be fussy which makes pumping nearly impossible. Today I became incredibly frustrated and informed my husband I was done with pumping. Since then I have decided I am not actually done with it yet, but it's hard and emotionally taxing to attempt to be the sole source of sustenance for your child. I am hopeful we will be able to transition into exclusively breastfeeding instead of exclusively pumping because we are already on that journey. It is going to be extremely difficult, but it will be worth it in the end.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Wellness Wednesday #1

My weight is something I have struggled with my entire life. As a child, I remember hoarding sweets in my bedroom even though I was never without food. I overate regularly and my parents couldn't really stop it as I would sneak food without their knowledge. The summer between middle school and high school, I weighed over 200 pounds. At that point, my body hadn't matured so I wore my weight much differently than I do now.

High school gave me such high anxiety. Shortly after I started my high school career, I acquired a compulsion to not eat in front of other people. I couldn't eat breakfast because I wasn't up long enough and it made me nauseated. I couldn't eat lunch because I was at school and my classmates were there. I didn't eat dinner because I had marching band practice, color guard practice, rifle team practice, National Youth Coalition meetings, etc. Without making a conscious effort, I basically became anorexic. With the lack of eating and activity from marching band, I started my freshman year around 200 pounds. By Christmas, I weighed 130.

During my sophomore year, I hit rock bottom with my lack of eating. I remember a one week period where I consumed one single package of Nutrigrain bites which were about 200 calories. Around this time, I was in my JROTC (Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps - intro into the military) class reciting the Pledge of Allegiance when I almost fainted. My instructor had a classmate take me to the nurse who called my mom. She picked me up, drove me home, and forced me to eat two grilled cheese sandwiches. That situation scared me and my parents. I slowly began eating better with my parents monitoring my food intake. My weight began to creep back up and, by the end of my sophomore year, I had gained 35 pounds and became overweight again.

My weight increased and decreased often throughout the rest of high school and into my early 20s when I had my first serious long-term relationship. The comfortableness of that relationship caused my weight to bloom. After about ten years in the relationship, things started to go downhill and we were no longer happy. I became depressed to the point of obtaining a compulsive overeating disorder. I would sit on the couch watching hours of television and stuffing my face until I felt sick and disgusted in myself. I saw my primary care physician who prescribed an anti-anxiety medication which helped me break the compulsive binge eating episodes. I only took the medication for nine months. My relationship ended. I was forced to move back in with my parents at 30 at my highest weight ever.

Since then, I have become more active and lost some weight. My weight went from 253 pounds to around 215 pounds by the time I met my husband. Once we met, my weight rose slightly due to being happy and comfortable in our relationship. Then I became pregnant and had a high aversion to most foods. I was eating whatever I could in order to consume enough to sustain my growing child. I gained around fourteen pounds during my pregnancy which was within the range of what was acceptable per my obstetrician.

Source
Now that I'm no longer pregnant, I plan on focusing on my own health and wellness again. I was overweight when I became pregnant. I am still overweight, though at a lower weight than I've seen in years due to breastfeeding. I don't want to solely concentrate on weight loss. I would like to also concentrate on mental and emotional health.

Years ago, I ran a weight loss support group on another blogging site. While running that group, we had goals each week of a twelve week round. I am going to review and possibly change a few of those goals, but use the same format as it seemed to really help motivate my weight loss back then. Feel free to participate along with me!

Week One: 
  • Mental/Emotion: Get enough rest. Most people need at least seven or eight hours of sleep per night for optimal functionality. Getting enough sleep also aids in weight loss. 
  • Physical/Nutrition: Drink enough water. Most people don't drink enough water. Water is very important to your physical self. Use this website to determine how much water you should drink each day.
The mental or emotional goal is going to be hard for me. I have a six week old infant whose sleep determines mine. I will definitely strive to get the most sleep possible overnight. I normally drink a lot during the day as breastfeeding makes you thirsty. However, I've been drinking a lot of chocolate milk, cranberry juice, orange juice, and Sprite. I will focus on drinking more water and less of other liquids.

So, my official first weigh in for this twelve week wellness challenge is:


If you're interested, here is a log of my "important" weights for this challenge. I am also posting these on the Weight Loss page on my blog here. Again, join me if you wish! The more, the merrier!

Weigh In Date Weight Note
January 1, 2014
253.0
Highest Ever
November 27, 2017
228.0
Prepregnancy
July 13, 2018
242.2
Last Pregnancy
July 25, 2018
227.0
First Post Pregnancy 
August 18, 2018
215.4
Lowest Post Pregnancy
August 28, 2018
217.2
Wellness Starting

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Hey, it's Okay

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Hey, it's okay...

... to be excited my son is growing! We had his one month appointment last week at five weeks and one day. His last appointment was exactly four weeks previously. His weight went from 7 pounds 2 ounces (20th percentile) to 10 pounds 6.5 ounces (55th percentile). He went from 19.75 inches (30th percentile) to 21.5 inches (45th percentile). His head circumference went from 13 inches (4th percentile) to 14.75 inches (60th percentile).

... to already be going through Hammer's dresser. He has outgrown most of his newborn clothes and even some of his 0-3 months. He has started wearing some 3 month clothing at 6 weeks old!!! We're going to take out everything we know is too small and evaluate what we have in the 0-3 month and 3 month size. We may need to get some more onesies and sleepers. Again, he's a growing boy!

Hammer at 1 month
... to be failing at blogging... Again, you're only a new mom once. I tend to focus on my little man when he's awake so I'm only on the computer when he's sleeping and I'm not doing anything around the house. It's not much because, at six weeks, he's awake a lot more than he was a few weeks ago. He's more fun though because he grins at his mama all the time and it makes my heart happy.

... to want to get out of the house, but also not want to get out of the house. I've been a stay-at-home mom for six weeks now. Other than my in-laws and my great aunts, we've had no visitors which is weird to me. I figured more people would want to come by and meet the baby. While I would be fine with that on days like today, some days I just want to be left alone.

... to be ready to try to get back in some shape. I have my six week postpartum appointment this week. I'm hopeful my OB will tell me I can return to regular activities. Once we get out of this heat wave, I would like to start taking my baby for walks a few times a week. It would be good for both of us. Eating healthier would also be better for us all around.
Source
... to be trying to relaunch my Usborne Books & More business. I took about two months off with the birth of my son and now I have to win back all of my customers. Usborne is books which are both educational and fun. The books are for children from infant to teenager. They're really awesome and I love them so much. Let me know if you have any questions about them!


... for the majority of these to be related to the baby. Haha!

Friday, August 17, 2018

Hammer's Birth Story

Disclaimer: Hammer is the nickname my son has had since I was 8 weeks pregnant. Also, this will be long so bear with me!



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I gave birth to my first child a month ago yesterday. I really want to have his birth story somewhere so I can remember it in detail when mom-brain makes me forget. Let's see what I can remember...

On Sunday the 15th of July, I began having pretty regular contractions. They weren’t very strong or close together. My husband and I worked on finishing up Hammer's nursery that weekend. I had a scheduled obstetrician appointment on the 16th. At my appointment the previous week, my OB had said we would need to schedule an induction if I hadn't gone into labor by the 16th. I wanted the nursery to be ready for the baby to come home should I be induced.

Around 11:00 PM, my contractions became closer together, but were still around 7-8 minutes apart. They were lasting a minute or longer, though. In order to be sent to labor and delivery (L&D), the contractions needed to be five minutes apart lasting a minute or longer for an hour or more. I was able to fall asleep for a bit.

I woke up around 1:00 AM with stronger contractions. I couldn't sleep through them anymore. I began timing them with an app on my phone. They were ranging from 4-6 minutes apart and lasted over a minute each. Around 1:30 AM, I woke my husband because I needed him to help me breathe through them. They were getting closer and closer together. Some were only 2-3 minutes apart! We decided to wait until 2:00 AM to call the after hours number for my OB's office. When I called, the OB said to head to L&D so we gathered our things and did. Let me just say, contractions while riding in a car for forty minutes are not fun.

We arrived at the hospital just before 3:00 AM and got situated in our room. The room just happened to be the same room I delivered my sleeping twins in back in September... I guess the universe was giving us a way to replace sad memories in that room with happy ones. At this point, I was two centimeters dilated and 50% effaced with the baby's head at -3 station. (For information on what I mean by station, please click here.)

Just before 5:00 AM, my nurse said the on call doctor told him if I hadn't had any cervical changes they would be sending me home. Nothing had changed. He came back within about half an hour and let us know they would be keeping me for observation for another two hours. Since I live forty minutes from the hospital and baby was at an A- on the monitor and not an A+, they weren't confident with discharging me. We later learned his heart rate was flat and didn't have the peaks and dips most babies have, but it wasn't a huge concern at that point. My mom had arrived by this point.

Another cervical check was completed around 7:30 AM. The nurse declared I was now three centimeters dilated and 50% effaced with baby at -2 station. The doctor came in shortly after this and said since my labor was progressing and I would probably be induced that day anyway, they wanted to augment my labor. We agreed.

She used a Foley balloon and pitocin on the lowest setting. I asked for an epidural immediately because I know how painful the contractions are with pitocin. I experienced a few of these intense contractions while waiting for the epidural. When a nurse tried to adjust my Foley balloon around 10:00 AM, it came right out which meant I was dilated to at least four centimeters. About fifteen minutes later, the anesthesiologist came in and did my epidural.

I don't remember much after that in regards to time. I know I napped some. I know the nurses turned off my pitocin and reduced my epidural because baby's heart rate would drop with my contractions and stay low for too long. I remember my contractions came back really strong and I had to get a bolus from the anesthesiologist. The bolus made everything more numb than the original epidural did. I know the doctor came in and broke my water because my labor had stalled with them shutting off the pitocin.

My doctor was getting ready to recommend a c-section, but I told my nurse I felt a lot of pressure and pain with each contraction. She did another check and determined I was ready to push. I pushed for 30 minutes, but was getting worn out. The nurse let me "rest" for about 30 minutes. Her hope was the baby would work his way down on his own. I was sobbing through each contraction and telling my husband I wasn't sure how I was supposed to rest when the pain was so bad. My mom was massaging my back while my husband attempted to help me breathe through the pain.

The nurse came back and told me to push again. The pain was terrible with each contraction. I kept having to stop because I felt like I was going to throw up. I cried almost the whole time saying I didn't know if I could push him out. I remember saying over and over I never wanted a natural childbirth and the pain was too bad. I know I said at least once I was never wanted to go through labor again. Eventually, I did throw up due to the pain. I'm not sure how, though, because I hadn't had anything to eat in over 24 hours. Throwing up helped me though because I was able to push harder after that.

The doctor came back and said she could see the baby's head coming out. She said it looked like he was stuck under my pelvic bone and, if I could get his head under it, he would come out really easily. Baby appeared to be under distress. There was a lot of movement once she said this; the bed was raised high, the end was taken off, and stirrups were brought out. Once I was in the stirrups, pushing was so much easier. I wish they would have set the bed up like that to begin with!

With the next few contractions, the doctor tried to use a vacuum while I was pushing. Unfortunately, it popped off the baby's head twice. The next time I pushed, she pulled and the baby's head came out.  I pushed once more and felt immediate relief! I heard a little squeak and my husband asked if I had heard the baby. My husband had planned to cut the umbilical cord, but I heard the doctor say, "Sorry, Dad. I had to cut the cord. We need to take care of him." 

The nurses took the baby to the warmer and began working on him. He starting crying loudly. My mom and husband went to see the baby while I was laying there getting my second degree tear stitched up. I heard the doctor say he came out sunny side up which is why my contractions were so intense and why he got stuck under my pelvic bone. The nurse the doctor was talking to said my epidural had failed, too.

My mom asked if I wanted to see a picture of the baby. I told her no because I wanted to see him. A few moments later, a nurse brought him over to me and I got to see my beautiful baby boy. He was born at 9:50 PM on July 16th which is also his paternal grandfather's birthday. He weighed 6 pounds and 15.5 ounces and was 19.5 inches long.



I later learned from my mom that, when he was born, he was very limp. The nurse would pick up his arm and drop it, and his arm would fall to his side. My mom was very worried, but the nurses kept telling her he would be okay.

I held him for a minute or two and the nurses took him to the nursery to give him some fluids. Shortly after, he was brought back to breastfeed for the first time. They took him back to the nursery when he was done and the L&D nurse finished with my post-delivery checklist and moved me to the postpartum floor around 11:30 PM.

I will write soon about our first night together and Hammer's stay in the NICU.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Hey, It's Okay

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Hey, it's okay...

... to have missed a ton of writing. It's not every day you become a mom for the first time. Look for the birth story of my son soon! I'll also be writing a lot of entries about my experiences with being a new mom.

... to be uncertain of what to do with a four week old. My husband returned to work yesterday so I am now home alone with the baby and the pets.

... to not want company this week. Getting used to being home alone with the baby has made things a little difficult. When my husband was on parental leave, we would split the time we were up overnight. Now I do most of the overnight wake ups so he can sleep for work. I am running on little sleep and haven't even showered today... and it's almost 6:00 PM.

... to love all of the rerun marathons shown on ion. I love most of the shows on there. NCIS: Los Angeles, Criminal Minds, Law & Order, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, and Law & Order: SVU. They show Leverage in the early mornings and I'm starting to like that show. I'm not a fan of Blue Bloods though.

... to be excited we're in the middle of August. Autumn is my favorite season and I cannot wait for the weather to cool down some. It hasn't been as hot as normal here lately, but it's still been too hot for me!

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Hey, It's Okay

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Hey, it's okay...

... to have failed miserably at my goal of writing every day the latter half of June. Being 9 months pregnant makes doing anything regularly hard! I'm going to try to write several times a week at least. We shall see how that goes. Haha!

... to be done being pregnant, but also not want to force the baby out. I was told by my OB at my appointment yesterday that no one at the hospital would bat an eye if she sent a 38.5 week pregnant lady with a history of hypertension to the hospital that day to be induced. I told her I would rather wait and see if baby comes on his own.

... to have greatly slacked on my reading of books. I have been relaxing waiting on baby and watching a lot of television (old episode marathons on ION - Criminal Minds, NCIS: Los Angeles, Law & Order: SVU, and CSI). I actually started a new book today so we'll see how quickly I read that.

... to have informed my mom she can be in the hospital room during the beginning stages of labor, but let her I know I'll probably kick her out at some point. I'm pretty modest and don't want to have to worry about my boobs and bits showing during labor.

... to be sad my puppy (he's almost 9, so not quite a puppy anymore) is getting all gray in the face. This is him snuggling on the couch next to me yesterday and his face looks so gray to me!


...

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Brain Dump: Blogging is Hard

Now that I'm a stay-at-home mom (or mom-to-be), I really need to get into the habit of writing daily. To do this, I've created some drafts of entries with random topics. When I have nothing better to discuss, I will post one of these topics so that I have something to post each day.



Source

Brain dump. What’s on your mind right now.

Keeping up with blogging is a lot harder than I thought it would be. Even without a full-time job, relaxing and planning for baby is keeping me busy. I figured I would have a lot more time. However, I do think there is a "learning curve" as to how much time I actually do have and to put some time aside each day for writing.

I am basically home alone from 7:30 AM to almost 6:00 PM. Right now, I do not have a baby to take care of, but I am 36 weeks pregnant and baby could come at any time. I really do not know what my schedule will look like then. I know it's hard to plan something like that because all babies are different. I could have an easy baby who sleeps and naps for hours at a time giving me more free time. I could have a baby who wants to be held 24/7 and cries if put down which would leave me with no time to blog...

All I know for sure is I really want to write often and get my blog going again. I find writing cathartic. I enjoy going back and reading blog entries I've written at different parts of my life. I know I will, one day, enjoy reading about this particular time in my life... where I am expecting a child in four weeks, when the baby is newborn and I'm figuring out that part of my life. That is why I'm trying to get into the habit of writing multiple times a week (or daily right now).

I will do my best to write as often as possible, but it's going to be hard to get back into that habit. Even with writing prompts already planned, it's hard to take the time to actually write. Here's to doing better at that. *fingers crossed*