Carseat Shopping with Preschoolers- Britax Endeavours

As you know, I’ve been confined, a prisoner, if you will, on bed rest for the last month. For someone who LOVES baby things and happens to be pregnant…and in need of baby things…this was torture. So, one of my first stops on my first day of freedom was Buy Buy Baby to check out all that has changed since Bug was cooking in my belly. And, woah! It’s a LOT! One of my favorite things we checked out was the new Britax Endeavours infant carseat. This seat goes from 4-35lbs, which for a mama with a high risk of birthing a premie, this is great news!

 

Obviously, Bug exceeds the max weight limit! But he approves the comfort level!

With the steel anti-rebound bar, there is 30% less rebound in a front or rear crash.

Even Chuck could maneuver its user-friendly design.

“Baby” the cabbage patch doll appreciates the safety measures present both with or without a base. With latch or auto seatbelts, Baby is riding with exceedingly high safety standards.

Chuck really enjoyed learning about how she can help take care of her new baby sibling in this #1 safety-rated seat. Bug, on the other hand, enjoyed torturing his sister. What can I say, they were stoked to get out of the house, too! I dare you to watch to the end without laughing!

Carseat Shopping With Preschoolers- Video

 

*I was compensated to check out this rad seat. All children and their wackado behaviors are my own.

30 Days

Thirty days of confinement, rest, restrictions and caution. Thirty days of figuring out a new normal and a new sense of purpose. Thirty days to dwell in my thoughts and fears and hopes for this baby and our family.

I haven’t done them well. I don’t know how one does. Two young children who need every piece of me that I can’t physically give and one deep-rooted character of pride sitting in my heart; these have been my companions. I didn’t realize how dependent I am on being INdependent until this last month. Ladies from bible study asked 10 times before they finally TOLD me they were coming to clean my kitchen. A meal train that ended up being a literal lifeline for my family was set up without me signing off…and I am so, so glad. Several friends grocery shopped, played mom-taxi and entertained my minions…all just by DOING. Because, you see, if there is one thing us moms are great at, it’s LOOKING as if we have it all under control….even if that’s not logistically possible. So, I dedicate the last thirty days to those who just DO. Thank you.

Now, the next thirty days? Who knows?! I was tentatively released from strict bed rest! It turns out the complete placenta previa that was aggravated by a pretty large subchorionic hematoma just…moved. I mean, last week it was bad. Really, really “you’re gonna have a c-section if you don’t go into preterm labor before,” bad. And this week, God said, “move!” and it did! Even my high risk doctor was surprised at the level of progress. The hematoma is still there and relatively large, but without the concern of the previa, it’s not as big of an issue right now. I am still on “light duty,” but I am able to leave the house. I can take Chuck to our Classical Conversations community day without reprimand and I can resume our normal dance/Awana/mops routine. Most exciting to me….TARGET! I know, so basic, right? But really, Chip and Joanna have been waiting for me. I must go!

I am 18.5 weeks at this point and while spending so much time with my own thoughts, I began to count down to different milestones. The most pivotal of these to me is 24 weeks. Twenty four weeks…the point of viability. The placemarker in gestation where I will never hear the words “there’s nothing we can (will) do. Just go home and manage your expectations.” Those words still burn in my ears after our traumatic night in the ER in Vegas. So, 24 weeks comes, get this, on Dec. 24! My little minnow will be statistically “viable,” a saveable miracle on Christmas Eve. How’s that for divine?!

This Sunday, Bug turns three and I can’t help but remember these milestones with him. His pregnancy was easy, for the most part, until the end. When I was 18 weeks with him, we were camping out in the mountains near Kern river, roasting marshmallows, blissfully unaware of just how much could go wrong. And here we are with this one, thanking God for each day closer to viability. It’s that way with life in general, right? We go along whistling until someone bumps us…and then someone bigger, then maybe a car or truck and then the whole dad-gum train runs us flat over and we are like, “good grief! I get it now! Life isn’t promised. Each day is a complete and utter gift. I get it.”

So, on Sunday, we will celebrate another gift of a day with our baby (middle) boy and we will once again get on our knees to thank our Heavenly Father for all the days we’ve had, and hope to have, to bring glory to Him, raising our tribe, sewing seeds of grace and mercy and working so very hard on clipping those ties to pride. Grateful for days and the ways, He shows us gently (or sometimes not SO gently) the reflection of the parts of ourselves we need to give to Him. I do get it now.

 

Secondary Infertility and losses

Last summer, I decided to take a break from facebook. We had just experienced the heartbreak of our second miscarriage. The ridiculousness of political rants and petty complaints became a very unwelcomed distraction from processing our pain. Leaving was good for me. I learned to cling tighter to my Savior, instead of drowning my mind in constantly refreshing my feed. Brent and I worked through our raw hurt together, again, this second time, and came out on the other side stronger than ever.

Then, it happened again. And again. And again. And again. During this year hiatus, we have grasped to a tiny life, five different times, only to be shattered as it slipped away. That’s six in total. Six babies in heaven. I’m still jaw-dropped at those words. Our most recent beloved went to be with Jesus this month, almost a year to the day of his sibling.

I’ve been reminded over and over again that God put us on this earth to live in community, to glorify Him. His love is only reflected by ours. So, this village, the people who’ve brought coffee or embraced snot-drenched sobs on their shoulders…these are the Hands and Feet. These are the ones who, without always the right words, show with action, the cross. Thank you.

There’ve been other tragedies and joys and endless hours of news, both personal and public, through the last year. It’s documented in my heart, instead of my page. Our actions, and inactions, haven’t always been understood or appreciated by those around us, and that’s ok. Healing and grieving and growing are processes, undertaken in intimacy with Jesus. Everyone does it differently. But, all you who’ve suffered, too, know, I know. And I love, too.

My babies all have names. They’ve all been loved for every second of their existence. Every bit of their being was felt and cherished. They will be remembered at due dates and loss dates…even if I have to reference my “list,” because there are so many. What mother doesn’t remember her baby’s birthday? I’m trying.

So, I suppose the point of this is…well, I’m not really sure. Maybe to try to express courage? Or insight for those who’ve wondered? Or just to document some late night, wine-induced rambling from an aching mama-heart.

Chuck and Bug are our world. They perfectly stretch our parent wings and if they complete our family, we are joy- filled. But, we stand in utter confusion at God’s plans for our family. It’s a sense of paralysis. So, I humbly ask, for those who’ve walked through the fire of secondary infertility or recurrent losses, please reach out. I need some anecdotal hope, one way or the other.

And to my husband, thank you for being mine. Thank you for holding my hand so tightly when I’m crashing to the ground. Thank you for carrying the weight this year. You have. All of it. This life hurts, but it’s also full of sweet, sweet joys and I’m so glad you’re the one by my side for them.

 

We lost another

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I struggled with whether I should write this. It’s been eight months since my last personal blog post and perhaps such a depressing topic is not the best note on which to launch myself again. Yet, here I am. This is part of me now. It’s a strange reality to have a child you’ve carried, but never met. We have four children, two living.

We were traveling to see family when I had my first clue I might be pregnant. I have always been super in tune with my body, even to the point of knowing the day, time and from which side I ovulate. So, when the headaches started and the weird motion sickness sprung up, I knew it could be a possibility.

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Still, a couple of weeks passed before I felt I should test. But, there it was, plain as day…two thin, pink lines. We’ve done this enough times now that I know what I’m looking for! There’s no doubt. But, because I’m a born skeptic…eight tests later….we’re pregnant! It’s not news we were trying for, but it was completely welcomed and celebrated and absolutely embraced. I decided, since it would be our last, this time I wanted to document breaking the news to Brent. The reveal went so perfectly and I will forever be grateful to Tiffany Nicole Photography for keeping that very HARD secret with me for two days in preparation for our family portraits. It was the sweetest. Our BABY was coming! Our baby. Our third addition was so, so loved. Charlotte patted my belly and asked if the baby would get bigger, because right now, in my tummy, it was far too little to share her room. Such joy.

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And then it started. I clinched and sat so still and willed it not to. I prayed and slept and prayed some more. I drank gallons of water and begged God not to take this child; to let me be one of those rare women who just bleed throughout their otherwise completely normal, uneventful pregnancies. For several days, in pain and sorrow, I felt her slip further from me. I couldn’t save her. Lord knows I tried. Please, God…. not again. WHY, again? We were content with our two precious blessings. Why give us another child, only to take it away? Again? Wasn’t this pain enough sacrifice the first time? I can’t do this again. I WON’T. Please, please don’t make me watch my husband crumble at my feet. Please don’t make me so, so angry with you. I love you. I LOVE you.

It happened anyway. Our baby is gone. All that is left of my daughter is that thin pink line on the stick. So many tears, so much grief. To lose a child is the deepest of wounds. I know our baby is resting the arms of the Holy One, but I can’t help struggling with the question of ‘why?’ I may never know, I suppose, but I do know I am supposed to rejoice in my Lord through ALL circumstances. 1 Thess. 5:18 says, “give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” I would be lying if I said that was easy. In fact, I would be lying if I said I had yet THANKED God for any of this. I WANT my baby. But, I am thankful I have two beautiful, healthy, living babies. I am thankful I am blessed with a Godly example of a man as my partner in life. And, I suppose I am thankful that my two heaven-bound babes never have to suffer the pains and evil of this world. Maybe THAT is the blessing in all this. Maybe I can see it all more clearly when I’m not so mad. And sad.

I’ve also experienced once again the saints that walk among our circle. A meal, when I hadn’t the emotional strength to choose chicken or fish, was medicine to my soul. A beautiful bouquet sits wilting in my window right now because I don’t have the heart to remove the LOVE it represents. Words of encouragement, even when not easy to hear, and a good cup of coffee served with a dose of dark humor…these are the tiny glimpses of God’s kingdom that lift up my heart to the reality of His glory. I know He loves me…even if it all makes no sense sometimes. Thank you, each of you.

I love you, baby girl. You and your sister. I miss you both everyday. You will be loved and celebrated and acknowledged here until the day I get to meet you face to face. Take care of each other for me, will ya? I love you.

 

 

He’s one!

 

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Aww! So sweet and demure! (Yeah, right! You know how hard I worked to get this shot?!)

It’s happened. Of course it would. But, somewhere in the pained corners of my heart I hoped he’d stay a wrinkly little squish forever. Alas, my handsome boy is one today. He’s funny and engaged, adventurous and determined. He climbs anything and everything with gusto and melts me with his tiny, “thank you.” He is one thing, though, that I was not prepared for. He’s a boy.

 

That sounds odd, right? Well, I keep getting it. “He’s all boy.” “He’s just a boy and boys are so different from girls.” “Get ready! Boys give you a run for your money!”

And it’s all so true. When I was a nanny, other childcare workers on the playground would talk about how so and so’s mom didn’t allow him/her to wear blue/pink for fear it would impose false gender identity on them. Tommy’s mom only let him play with dolls because toy trucks are so stereotypical for boys. Sally’s dad thought she should be allowed to pee standing up if she desired so as not to squelch her budding gender exploration. I even had one family for whom I personally worked tell me to only refer to their child by name and never with “him/her” since those are “pronouns that project societal ideals on a child.” HE was 18 months old.

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Notice the giant flap of flesh missing from his forehead…he tried to jump to his own demise ON his first birthday! So much for a photoshoot!

I call bologna. Since when is being a boy, BAD? Why are we feminizing the acceptable role of men and boys in our society? It’s just not real life. I had a lady tell me once that children don’t form “gender” specific attributes until society teaches them to. I would like to submit exhibit A. My very physically motivated son has been challenging himself to conquer literal mountains since the first day he could army crawl…at 4 1/2 months old. He throws himself from the top of toys just to see how it feels. He takes risks for the thrill of the wind in his two wispy hairs. Things that excite him are trucks and mud and growling. He prefers meat to just about anything else and he farts. Constantly. Stereotypical…for sure! Truth…absolutely. After all, aren’t most stereotypes born in some truth?

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SO, perhaps because of the feedback I got from reading too many opinion pieces on Huff Post, I was not prepared for what would actually lie in my future if I had a boy. I grew up with three brothers, but surely their “machismo,” if you will, was thrust upon them by our folks, right? My child would be whatever, WHOever he wanted because I would be a totally free-range parent. Surely that would make for a sweet, soft-spoken, well-mannered, totally-in-tune-with-his-feelings little dude, RIGHT? Well, I AM a pretty free-range-y mom and this is what I get. A kid determined to kill himself before adolescence!

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I’m not discounting the exceptions. Chuck likes bugs and dirt and running naked and free in the backyard….all traits commonly attributed to the masculine. And Buddy has a sister so he is absolutely familiar with dolls and headbands and tea parties. But, overall, she tends to be more sweet and sassy than stout and steady. And I posit…that’s good!

 

 

Why are we so eager to blend in to one gender, while at the same time screaming out for recognition of our individuality? Shouldn’t the sexes be celebrated for their obvious specific strengths?

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It’s quite the honor to be the mama to my boy. I cherish the role I have to help mold his sense of chivalry and moral fortitude. I don’t want to live in a world where men don’t open doors for their date or feel the responsibility to take care of their families. Where will it get us? It definitely won’t guide the state of the family unit into a harmonious lot. And, I mean really, are little boys not just the cutest, scariest, most exhausting form of love joy there is? And I don’t want to squash THAT!

Club MomMe Springfest

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Spring fest red carpet

Bug and me, rocking the red carpet.

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The Diono Ranier, in the color “Storm,” is the car seat we chose for Bug. Although, this “houndstooth” is pretty dapper!

Its’s that time of year. It seems like every weekend in April and May is filled with baby showers, sprinkles and births! Well, one weekend last month I got an extra special treat when I was invited to attend Club MomMe’s Springfest and learn all about the new and improved baby gear those mamas-to-be will be coveting!

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We got to test out some pretty awesome car seats, from the Britax Click tight which installs in 30 seconds to the Diono Ranier with its 45lb rear-facing limit! Jujube did a show-and-tell for their BFF diaper bag and boy, is that thing versatile! I could totally see carrying it post baby, laptop and all! Not to mention the prints are cute. Look at the anchors! Bug checked out the Halo “bassinest” with interest. I definitely see this becoming the new must-have cosleeper for new parents as it provides more maneuverability in those middle of the night feeding sessions. And, of course we had to say hi to Lansinoh, the maker of the world’s most leak-proof (and Bug approved) breastmilk storage bags!

 

Baby products weren’t the only things to be educated about. Several panels took place throughout the day with topics ranging from moms in media to childhood milestones. The one I found most informational was this one on vaccinations…a charged topic, indeed!

 

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Then came the really fun part…for this tired mommy, anyway! The Club MomMe folks provided a pamper lounge complete with massages and manicures! I got a relaxing bacbackrub while baby boy slept peacefully in the Bob. Then, it was my turn for a manicure and the G man worked his magic on the ladies of Ella Mila! They loved his bald head and dimpled grin.

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To complete a really perfect, educational day, we went home with a trunk-load of goodies! We won a travel crib from Bjorn and a walker/toddler table combo from Combi! I have won things only a handful of times in my life, so needless to say I made a fool of myself jumping up and down when my ticket number was called!

 

Thank you Club MomMe for a great event and for providing access to these timeless baby brands. I really learned so much.

 

You can get involved with Club MomMe and their full roster of events by visiting the website at ClubMomMe.com .

 

I will be running with Chuck and Bug in their next event, the Stroll ‘n Run 5k. Will you join me? Use code “run” for a discount on registration check out at strollnrun.com!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It tastes like ice cream

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We started keeping Chuck accountable for helping around the house. She turned 3 last month and Hfoe and I agreed, with that sassy personality of hers, she is more than capable of maintaining a short list of responsibilities. On the list are chores like helping feed the dogs and making her bed. She gets the holy grail of stickers to mark the square for “staying in bed all night” because that is such a monumental event on the rare occasion it actually happens! The final space on her Mickey Mouse chore chart is reserved for “extra helps through the day.” She gets to place the coveted Sofia the first stickers on this space when she helps clean her sticky fingerprints off the floor to ceiling mirror in the living room (whoever installed that did NOT have toddlers) or she brings me buddy’s diapers, etc. She’s the quickest to remind us of these little extras throughout the day and has even started trying to negotiate her way into stickers for brushing her teeth and eating dinner. Nice try, pal! My favorite part of this chore chart, though, is the little “memo” section which allows us to write notes and goals for the week. Never mind that our goal for the week has remained the same for the 5 weeks we have been doing it…”no whining, no crying, no being mean.” A lofty goal, for sure. We must repeat this mantra often, but repetition is the key, right?! Along with our goal for the week, we have been choosing scripture verses for C (and us if we are being honest) to memorize. So far, she has memorized Luke 6:31, Phil. 4:13 and 1 John 4:19. I couldn’t be prouder! Besides, my little sinner is going to need all the guidance she can recall because this kid is mischievous, let me tell you!

 

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Who me? I am a perfect angel.

 

 

Her recent antics prove that perhaps we shouldn’t be spending so much time on verses about “doing unto others…” as we should be on something more like “thou shalt not bear false witness.”

 

I  mentioned that one of her chores is to help us feed the dogs in both the morning and the evening. A couple days ago, as Chuckles was carrying the cup full of food outside, I ran ahead of her to find the dog’s bowl that had blown away with the Santa Anas. When I turned around to bring her the bowl, she had a smug grin on her face. And the tiniest kernel of kibble on her lip.

“Kid! Did you just eat dog food?!”

I know we all did it at one point or another, but she’s THREE! We aren’t talking about an early walker here!

Just as emphatically as I proclaimed my disgust and astonishment, she rebutted, “I did NOT!”

Perhaps the art of discretion is lost on her, but the evidence was literally written on her face.

“You did, too and now you just lied about it! I hope it tasted gross!”

We eat organic in this house, for crying out loud. What could possibly drive her to desire processed chicken byproduct and ground corn meal?

“Nope. It tasted like ice cream!”

And the lie of lies, she blasphemed ice cream….

Whatever, kid. I just hope you don’t get worms. And next time you beg and whine and plead for ice cream, you better believe you’re getting one heaping cupful of pro plan!

 

Maybe we need to add a sticker line for refraining from taking food out of our puppy sisters’ mouths. Next week’s memory verse will be Deut. 14:3. She needs the lesson.

Dairy free and surviving, plus a recipe

 

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I don’t believe there is a single person on the face of the earth who loves ice cream as much as I do. Or cheese. Or creamy, cheesy pasta with buttered bread on the side. I know, it’s a heart attack waiting to happen, but the heart wants what the heart wants. Alas, this heart is on restriction because the tiniest love of my life is allergic to all things dairy and delicious. I wanted to ignore it or deny that the positive test result COULD have something to do with why my boy was projectile vomiting across the room. There was no way that me cutting dairy would stop his eczema from spreading like the pox. But, the day of truth came when the GI asked if after a month of me limiting dairy, had baby Bug’s symptoms lessened? I had to undeniably say yes. So, because I’m eating for two, here we are, he and I, restricted to the watery sweetness of almond and coconut milks.

 

It’s been this way for two whole months now and I am pretty proud to say that I have figured out some cooking hacks to psych myself into believing I am still indulging in creamy goodness. For example, did you know you could boil raw cashews and then purée them with water until you reach the creamy consistency you need for pretty much any recipe that calls for a “cream of” soup? Also, butternut squash can be steamed and puréed to the consistency of cheese sauce…and you can kind of pretend it’s the same thing because it has the same color and sweetness, too! All this to say, I am surviving. I only sort of cry a little inside when I see someone bite into a big, cheesy burger. And it doesn’t hurt so much now to watch my girl eat her frozen yogurt if I have a nice heaping bowl of dairy free sorbet from Menchies. I mean after all, isn’t that face worth it?!. image

 

 

In an effort to help others, here’s one of the recipes I have conjured up. I think even the lactose-lovers in your family won’t notice what’s missing!

 

CREAMY CHICKEN, BROCCOLI AND RICE CASSEROLE

What you’ll need:

1 cup rice, cooked

1lb chicken thighs or breasts

1 large head broccoli, chopped finely

1 cup raw cashews

2 cups water

4 strips bacon if desired

Chives

salt and pepper to taste

 

First you want to boil your raw cashews in two cups water for about thirty minutes. Once done, strain water but set aside. Put boiled cashews in your blender or food processor and add about a quarter cup water. Purée adding water as necessary to reach the consistency you desire. While your cashews are boiling you can precook your chicken by pan frying it in coconut oil for about 6 minutes per side. Remove from heat and shred. Cook bacon and break into bits. Once your cashews, bacon and chicken are done, mix shredded chicken, broccoli and cooked rice with the cashew cream. Add salt and pepper to taste. Top with bacon and chives, cover with  foil and put in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes or until broccoli is to desired tenderness. Remove foil for the last five minutes of cook time.

 

The final step is to put this bad boy on the table for all to enjoy. It won’t disappoint!

 

 

Princess Chuck turns 3!

I was given free product in exchange for this post. As always, opinions are solely my own.
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When I received the email notification we had been chosen again this year to host a Disney @Home Celebration party, it couldn’t have come at a better time. I was sitting at the kitchen table contemplating baby Bug’s hospital stay the night before. He was still wheezing in the other room and my girly, Chuck, was squirming in my lap for the attention she so desperately needed after a night away from mama. Little did I know we would be headed back to the hospital the next day as Bug’s oxygen saturation dropped dramatically and he became dehydrated. But, amid all the nerves and chaos that happens when your newborn gets really sick, we got this exciting announcement! What a mood lifter!

 

Once the roller coaster ride of our 8 day stay in the pediatric unit had ended, it was time to start planning little Miss Fancy Pants’ birthday party! First, since I knew the theme would be “Sofia the first,” I had to figure out a way to make it coed appropriate. C has lots of little dudes as buddies and I didn’t want them to feel left out if we did a princess only tea party or something. So, I asked the most dapper of guys in our life, Papa bear! He suggested a  “ball.” Knights, pirates and princes would be welcomed to join all the princesses for a fun royal ball! It was perfect! We found a cute template on evite.com and set the date…wheels were in motion!

 

Now, for decorations, food and activities! I had planned so many fun things to do…outside. Our royal ball would be held in our backyard with a projector movie of Sofia the first playing for the duration of the party. There would be strand lights and Chinese lanterns and magical, mystical accents to make our setting perfect. Weeeeellll, the best laid plans, right?! Instead, it rained.

 

We moved as much as we could indoors (including all 60 guests in our 1000 sq. ft. home!) and scrapped the rest. In place of twinkly lights, I hung streamers from the ceiling.

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Where we would have had outdoor garden games like croquet (I really had planned to teach three year olds to play with mallets. For real.) we instead had a dance contest under our covered patio as the warm Southern California rain poured down. We played “freeze dance” and all the kids giggled as if it was the best activity ever!

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With the crayons and coloring book we received in our box, I set up a “decorate the castle” station where everyone could color a Sofia picture of their choice.

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We ate cupcakes from Sam’s club and homemade turkey wraps. I made “princess pops” with marshmallows on sticks with cupcake liners to look like ball gowns. They looked more artistic on Pinterest, but that didn’t seem to affect how quickly they disappeared! The Sofia table decorations got plenty of compliments!

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My favorite detail of the whole shindig was the photo booth I set up! I found three old shutters listed for free on one of my local garage sale pages on facebook. Then I strung together scrap fabric and tulle to make a streamer for the backdrop and placed purple pillows around an ottoman to make a “throne.” The kids all loved having their royal headshots taken!

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When the royal processional was ready to retreat, we sent them each home with a little something special. The princesses left with everything necessary for a pretty manicure and the princes left with either a knightly shield or a pirate band tambourine. I think they were all graciously received.

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Although things didn’t go as we had originally planned, Princess Chuckles enjoyed her special day and has woken up every morning since asking if it was time for her birthday again! Thank you to everyone who came to celebrate with us and thank you Disney for the opportunity!

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I received free product in order to write this post. As always, opinions are my own.

 

 

 

 

 

Baby Bug’s Birth Story

Baby Bug's Birth Story

Photo By Vicki Putnam Photography


As I sit here nursing the newest little love of my life, I realize I haven’t blogged in over three months! I have written dozens of editorials in my mind over that time ranging in topics from bad drivers to vaccines. But, since my hormonal mommy self is likely to incite some outrageous commentaries with those topics (and that same hormonal mommy self can’t handle criticism atm!), I thought I would just talk about the most exciting thing that has happened to me in a long time….I became mama to the most perfect little boy. Here is Baby Bug’s birth story!

I guess I should start this story in October. My body decided to be an over achiever and jumpstart pre-term labor on October 19. I was 34 weeks along and definitely nowhere ready to have a premie in my life. It was a Sunday and Hfoe happened to be working. I took the nugget to church and after service we headed to the farmer’s market. I started cramping, but didn’t really think much of it since I had been having prodromal labor for a couple of weeks and just thought maybe this is how my second term pregnancy was going to go. After the farmer’s market we went to the grocery store for a few things and that’s when the contractions picked up the pace. I decided we needed to leave quickly and go home to lay down to try to stop them. That’s exactly what we did and after an hour long nap, I was woken up by severe contractions. I called Chuck’s babysitter to come watch Chuck because I knew I needed to go in. Her mama drove me to the hospital and I was admitted. They monitored me for several hours and watched as the contractions got stronger and closer together. We called the hubster and he headed uptown toward L&D. Breathing through each contraction, I just kept praying that the contractions would stop and that bug would cook a little longer. Once it had been a little bit of FOREVER, they finally decided to give me a shot to mature baby’s lungs and another shot to slow the contractions. It worked almost immediately and within the hour I was no longer contracting. Hooray! No early baby today! Take that uterus!

I went home on orders to stay in bed or at least on the couch as much as possible. Really? With a two year old? There is only so much Mickey Mouse Clubhouse we can endure! But, I did my best and at 36 weeks, I was set free! I realize some mamas are on bed rest for months and I have no earthly clue how they due it. Mad props to you, ladies! Once I was off bed rest, I rushed around trying to prepare things for the imminent arrival of our newest addition. Because of course he/she was coming any day now since he/she had tried to break out early, right? Wrong. One week passed. Then another. All the while my blood pressure was starting to creep up and then it sky rocketed like it did when I was pregnant with C….a sure sign of Pre-eclampsia. An induction date was set for Friday, November 21 and my whole soul cried. I so, so, soooo didn’t want to go the induction route again this go round. It seemed so unnatural with Chuck and it took FOREVER because my body was completely closed and NOT ready to have a baby. This time, however, my doctor assured me it wouldn’t be so bad. When I went in for my 38 week appointment on November 17 I was already at a 1.5 and about 30% effaced. He stripped my membranes and said to walk, and walk, and walk if I didn’t want to be induced via pitocin on Friday. So, I did just that. I walked the neighborhood, the grocery store, the park. Charlie was DONE with walks! Monday ended and the contractions weren’t progressing. Tuesday came along and nothing was happening. I took C to dance class where one of the other moms professed the benefits of castor oil. I said no. Gross. That stuff is the devil.

But, desperation makes a crazy person do crazy things. So, I downed it in a glass of orange juice, willed myself not to puke and bounced on my birth ball. Chuck was napping so I wasn’t a completely psychotic, negligent parent! But, alas, NOTHING. The clary sage was diffusing in my house. The black cohosh had been consumed (which is grosser than castor oil, btw!) And I had done more walking in 48 hours than I had the rest of my pregnancy! Still, the contractions were painless and sporadic.

At Chuckles’ bedtime we cozied up in her chair for milkies just like always. I rocked and nursed her having no clue that this would be our last solo nurse-in. Because as I sat there rocking my sweet girl, those contractions finally started getting their act together! I laid her down about 8 pm, the same time I received a text from Hfoe saying he was on his way home from work. I called him and said he better get a bag ready when he got home because I thought we were going in! I called our besties who live next door to make sure Mama Jess could come stay with C. I got my things together, walked, took care of the dogs, walked, ate something, walked. By the time hubs got home, there really wasn’t much of a question. We were going to labor and delivery! When we got there, I was checked in and the nurse said I was about a 2 and my contractions were about 3-5 mins apart. I could walk the halls to see if things would progress naturally, I could go home or we could wait and see if the doctor would want to use medicine to progress things. I was not too excited about the idea of pitocin, especially since this time I had gotten to actually start labor on my own, but I definitely wasn’t going home without a baby just to come back in two days to get pitocin anyway! So, we walked….Have I mentioned I walked A LOT?! We walked the halls for an hour. Incidentally, one of my friends had just given birth to her sweet baby girl and was staying just a few rooms down, so we went to visit her. She is the quintessential “oils lady” and gave me some concoction to rub on my wrists and belly to speed things along. I think it worked! When we went to check back in with the nurse, I was at a 3. By this time it was 1 in the morning. I told Hubs it would probably take several more hours so he should go home and get a little sleep. He had been working all the previous day after all, and C would probably freak out if neither of us was home when she woke up. SO, he did.

I slept a little here and there and around 5:30 the nurse came in to check me again. I was only at a 3.5, but my water broke right before she examined me. I called Hfoe and told him he should probably come back to the hospital. He did. My labor coach was back just in time for the real business to start! He rubbed my back and held the sprayer on my belly as I moaned in the hot shower. It felt really nice, but it was getting my hair all wet and that annoyed me. Type A all the way, baby! Ha! So, my idea of the perfect labor in the shower wasn’t quite what I thought it would be. Back to plan B. My birth ball was my favorite tool during Chucks labor so I bounced and rolled and breathed on it again. It was just what I remembered, but the pain got pretty intense once I hit 5 cm. I looked at Hfoe, kind of asking for “permission” to get the epidural. He said the same thing he said the first time around, “You have already proven how strong you are. Don’t NOT get it to prove something.” So, I got it. It was 9 am when the juices started flowing (I was a 5), 9:20 when it finally kicked in (still a 5) and at 9:40 I told the nurse I felt pressure. She LAUGHED at me and said “yeah, ok. I will check you in a sec.” I said, “No, now!” She did. She wasn’t laughing anymore. “Don’t push! I have to get the doctor here!” Now, my hospital is 20 minutes from my doctor’s office. He RACED to get there. He ran into the room at 9:55, gloved up, surveyed the situation and said, “there’s a baby! Push!” I did…four times! Just like with C, Dr. N told me to put my hands down and pull out my baby. And at 9:59am on November 19, exactly a month after our pre-term labor incident and exactly nine months to the day after we lost Baby Blue, I got to help deliver my third child and lay him on my own chest like I did his sister. Seriously, AH-MAZ-ING! Because we didn’t know ahead of time whether we were having a boy or girl, Dr. N ask Hfoe if he wanted to tell me what it was. Just as he announced, “We have a SON!” I reached down to feel a completely different anatomy than what I was accustomed to! What a beautiful surprise. He scooted himself down my chest to nurse right away and his latch was perfect enough to leave any 3 month old envious.

It was seriously the easiest most enjoyable labor and delivery ever. I told Hfoe that we could have 15 kids if I could be assured their deliveries would all go like this one! He’s still processing that.

Thank you all for your prayers and blessings during an oftentimes, difficult pregnancy. The outcome is perfectly divine!

“Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward.” Psalm 127:3image