Friday, August 23, 2013

2 Finishes this Friday!

This week has been great for actually getting stuff done!

One day during nap time I was planning on folding clothes, but as I opened my closet I saw the pile of WIPs sitting on the shelf and just HAD to finish one. The funny thing is that this is a pretty small quilt that should NOT have been neglected in the pile for so long.  I got the whole thing basted and quilted during nap time Wednesday and finished the binding during nap time on Thursday.
I've had the top and back done for - dare I say - years. :/  The front is the disappearing 9-patch pattern. And the fabric is Flights of Fancy by Paula Prass.

I love the way the stripe binding turned out!

Not the best picture of the back of the quilt, but I love that my daughter was "helping" me take pictures. She brought her own camera outside and actually took a couple of good ones! And you get the idea for the back. 5 7x7in blocks to showcase the fabric from the front. I love having a good amount of white in a quilt and there isn't any on the front, so the back was just begging for all that white!
And my second finish for the week is this dress for my daughter to wear to her first day of preschool! The alphabet print is adorable and my daughter loves the ruffle on the bottom. I'm excited and oh-so-nervous for September 3rd - sending my first baby out into the world of school. She is beyond thrilled and is counting down the days!

I'm linking up with Finish it up Friday over at Crazy Mom Quilts. There are so many awesome finishes over there already! I can get lost for hours just jumping from blog to blog checking out all the fantastic projects - which is perfect for this rainy Friday night!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Friday Fragments

I've been honing my super power of thinking in fragments lately. Luckily I have a wonderful place to keep track of them all and then share them with the world. Half-Past Kissing Time has got insider info on all the folks with this particular super power so I'm linking up there!

  • Boys and girls are so different! Obviously I knew this before, but having one of each has really driven the point home for me. Caroline got a doll house for her birthday and she loves to set up the furniture, fix dinner and put the family to bed - normal doll house stuff. Nathan also loves the doll house! But he uses the roof as a ramp to launch his cars across the room! Love 'em!!

  • Just hanging in my living room I happen to look out the front window and see 2 cops following a bloodhound through my yard, to the neighbors yard, down the road behind my house and circle back around to our circle. They were here sniffing around for a good 15 minutes. For someone who likes to be in the know - this made me pretty nervous! Found out later that 2 people were robbed at gun point one street over 4 days ago. No bueno!!!

  • I just finished buying all of Caroline's very first school supplies. She is soooo excited about school. And I looooove school supplies and back to school everything. But this was bittersweet indeed. How can my tiny girl be old enough to go to preschool?! Kindergarten is going to be a hard one for this mom!

  • Pintrest is great and I spend a lot of time dreaming about all the things I could decorate, make, eat & wear. But I discovered something this week. It is even more fantastic if you actually DO some of the stuff you pin!!! I made 5 different pintrest recipes this week! 1 breakfast, 3 dinners and 1 dessert.  I'm blown away with this revelation!!  Game changer for me and the way I actually use pintrest!

  • Nathan lost a shoe during our vacation a month ago. I still have the other one. It's not like I'm going to drive 4 hours to go back and search for the missing one again. It's not like he can only wear the right one. It's not like I'm going to go to the crocs store and they are going to say, "Why yes! We do have an extra size 5 left shoe. Here ya go!" But I just cant throw it away. It seems like a waste. I have hoarder problems!

Half-Past Kissin' Time

Friday, August 9, 2013

Mickey Mouse Rag Quilt

A friend ask me to make her a Mickey Mouse Rag Quilt. Her niece is having a little boy at the end of the summer and is doing the nursery in a Mickey theme.

Finding Mickey fabric that I liked (that wasn't going to have to be shipped from Japan!) was a lot harder than I expected. At one point I even ask her if she really wanted an image of Mickey in the quilt or if a red, yellow and black quilt would be close enough. She said either would work but she thought her niece would like it better if Mickey was actually in the quilt. The vision in my head had me looking for red fabric with just a classic black Mickey head - that was IMPOSSIBLE - so my final requirement was that it be the more modern Mickey and not have Minnie on the fabric.

I still wasn't completely sold on the Mickey fabric I found.  Mostly because it has blue in it and I'm just not a blue & black together kind of girl. But the Mickey sure is cute! In the end I'm glad I used actual Mickey fabric in this quilt. I think it ties it all together perfectly.

I think it turned out really nice and my friend's niece loves it! That's the most important thing!!

I love when friends ask me to create something special just for them or their loved ones! It is absolutely my pleasure to take something they are envisioning and make it a reality.
I'm linking up with Finish It Up Friday over on Crazy Mom Quilts. Have a great weekend everyone!!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

mixed up words

Just a couple funny things that Caroline says that I want to remember forever:
  • She calls all skirts, curtains. "I don't want to wear a dress or pants today. Can I wear a curtain and shirt?"
  • She loves glitter glue but calls it sprinkles. "My project needs some purple and green sprinkle glue."
  • Back when she was potty training she use to get tic-tacs for her potty reward. She still likes to get them out of my purse every now and then. From day one she has always called them "chapsticks." (But she knows what chapstick is and uses the term correctly when she wants lip balm.)

Monday, July 22, 2013

Mini Vacay

We went on a little mini family trip the end of last week and over the weekend. Here's what I learned...

  • A 3 year old and a 1 year old can not successfully nap or maintain a bed time in a one room hotel room.
  • The hotel pool is awesome to entertain and exhaust children, but MY children are TERRIFIED when anyone goes under water. They will cry & scream like they just witnessed a beheading!
  • All the gross hotel reports that you've seen on the news but try to put out of your mind will come screeching back as you follow a 1 year old around the room reminding him not to put anything in his mouth for the love of God!
  • Going to a theme park when it is 100* is not the worst idea we've ever had. The place was empty, giving out lots of free ice water, had water rides to cool off, misting stations and the kids were entertained enough that they didn't notice the heat.
  • Going to the zoo when it is 100* IS (one of) the worst ideas we've ever had. There were NO animals out. Because, well, it's too flipping hot outside! There was very little shade. There were a lot of sweaty (read stinky - by the end, I was one of them!) people there. The hills... walking up the hills... in the heat... almost killed me! The children were NOT entertained (since all the animals were inside sleeping & eating ice chips) and therefore noticed the heat.
  • Always check & double check that the 1 year old is wearing BOTH of his shoes. Do NOT wait until you are leaving aforementioned zoo to do a shoe check because one WILL be missing and you will have no idea where you lost it in the last 2 hours of hot, sweaty, humid, animal-less torture. Shoe will be gone forever.
  • Suddenly the 3 year old will refuse to eat like normal and insist that she only likes chicken nuggets and ice cream now. There will be an aunt close at hand to make sure she never runs out of either one. Going home to fruit & veggies will not be fun!
  • After sleeping in the hotel bed with mom and/or dad for several consecutive nights, children will no longer want to sleep in their own room upon returning home. If you thought the sleep torture was over - you are wrong!
  • Sleep deprived, nutritionally defunct, hot children are not good at riding in the car.
  • No matter how long you were gone, you will come home with approximately 207,562 loads of laundry and it will take you 3 times longer than you were gone to get it all washed.
  • You will plan to do this again - soon - because you can still remember these same kinds of crazy memories from your own childhood and you don't want to keep your children from the same pleasure.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Project Life Tuesday - What works for me...

This is my fourth year doing a Project Life album and I'm more excited about it than ever before. And I think that mostly comes from me finally finding my groove. The first year I got quite behind and when I tried to catch up I ended up with a good number of pictures scattered through the book but with very little journaling after about mid-year. The 2nd year I got behind again, but would attempt a major catch up about every 4ish months or so. That album came pretty close to being done, but there were still more weeks than I would have liked that were light on the pictures/journaling. The 3rd year I tried to do it EVERY week to avoid getting behind. That worked, but only until I had a baby and then I got behind on printing pictures and putting journaling in the album again. The difference was that I didn't stop organizing my pictures. So when it was time to print it was still super easy. Having several months to do at a time is daunting, but I did it. It was my first FINISHED book. I was thrilled!!

Through trial and error over the years, I've found that the best way for me to do it is a month at a time. I print my pictures though Snapfish and if I try to print much more often than that the shipping charges start getting out of control.  I can also usually find a good print deal about once a month to help keep the cost low.

4 to 5 weeks is also a good number of weeks for me to work on at a time once the pictures get here. It makes it worth getting all my stuff out. And I can usually get it all done in 2 to 3 nights working after the kids go to bed.

It also keeps me excited about digging through my stash, planning layouts, and seeing the book develop. Usually after a couple of weeks I start really missing it and I can't wait to print the pictures and get back to it.

Now on to the pics!! For this week I am sharing the week of July 1-7.  **Please excuse my toes! :) **

This is the whole spread. I love the month dividers to break up the album and making searching for a certain week easier! This week has one insert.

The left side of the week includes a July calendar (I include one in the first spread of each month). I trimmed down one of the 4x6 date cards to use in a 3x4 space and included journaling under the date.

This is the front of the insert for this week. I used a We R Memory Keepers page that had 6 vertical spaces. Since I like my inserts to be smaller than 12x12 in some way I trimmed off one column of the pockets. I also just got a photo pen and I am loving writing on some of the pictures. I can't wait for Becky Higgins pens to become available on Amazon or at my Michael's!!

The back of the insert is just pictures of our day at the beach.
 The right side of the spread is broken into 2 columns. The left side is a continuation of the back of the insert and includes a 4x6 journaling card all about our day at the beach. Then the right side is all about our 4th of July.

I'm linking up with Jessica Turner at The Mom Creative and her Project Life Tuesday series.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Sleeping in Momma's bed

When Nathan started crying last night I was secretly excited that I was going to get to sleep with my baby and snuggle his sweet, curly little head all night.

I scooped him out of his bed and he tucked his head into my neck and quieted instantly. I briefly thought that maybe all he needed was a quick cuddle and I should put him back in his bed. But as I tried to put him back, he started crying again. Yay! He wanted to come sleep with momma!

It's been a while since he's slept with us.

Apparently he's changed some of his sleep habits since then.

He refused to lay down. He started to fall asleep sitting up and then woke himself up as he fell backwards. This happened repeatedly until he finally slept through falling over.

He apparently has what I'm calling "restless baby" syndrome. It seemed very much like my restless leg syndrome but allllll over his body. If I tried to move away from his twitchy little body he would cry out and wiggle closer until we were touching again.

I didn't get nearly as much sleep as I would have liked to, but I wouldn't trade the night of cuddling my sweet boy for anything! The absolute best part was when he woke up just after 5:30, sat up and realized he wasn't in his room. He climbed up on me, gave me 3 kisses, and said "Mommmmmmmma!"

And then my heart exploded!

Friday, July 12, 2013

rainbow strip baby quilt

I'm showing off my latest quilt today. I used Cluck Cluck Sew's "Strip and Flip" tutorial to create this baby size rainbow quilt. Caroline loves it and I've already been tasked with creating one big enough for her bed.  I'm so glad that I found this tutorial and that Allison is kind enough to share so many free tutorials on her blog. I've also bought several of the patterns she has for sale and I love them all as well! I would highly recommend them all.
I used everything from chevron, polkadots, flowers and stars to stripes and geometric fabrics. I love the way they all work together.

I love that the strips finish at just an inch and a half. Its a wonderful size to show off just a bit of the pattern, but still focus mostly on the color which works so well for this rainbow quilt. One of my favorite things about the quilt is the use of the white sashing strips. I just love pops of white in a quilt top!
Straight line quilting emphasizes the strips on the front and contrasts nicely with the vertical stripes of the green fabric on the back. I also used the same green stripe fabric for the binding. It was hard deciding on a backing fabric because I wasn't sure I wanted to add any additional fabrics to the quilt. I finally decided on the green because I had enough to do the back in one piece and it gives a nice neutral touch to contrast the "busy" front.

Friday Fragments

Unknown Mami

I bring you the bumble jumble of my brain...
  • Confession time: we are a paper-plate family. I know this does not jive with the current, super green, environmental trend. I don't care. My least favorite chore is washing dishes. LEAST! I'm terrible at keeping up with it and it is the norm for there to be dirty dishes in my sink. But the last time we ran out of paper plates I didn't buy any more. And even though I now have more dishes to do than before, I'm oddly keeping up with it better. Crazy! (This could & probably will change at any moment!)
  • My 3 year old will do a lot of work for a quarter. I may need to consult my local child labor laws soon! ;)
  • I've been avoiding the dentist even though I know that I'll actually feel better if I just go!!
  • I have mini-van envy. I want one. I'm a dork & I know it!
  • Back to school sales should not start in July when the kids have only been out of school a couple weeks and they don't have to go back until September!!
  • I love the region I live in! There is a HUGE military presence. We can be at the beach in 20 minutes and in the mountains in 2 hours. There are major cities with lots to do within 2 hours in any direction. But I can be in the middle of a cornfield, driving down a dirt road in 30 minutes. It's pretty  much the best of all worlds.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

reality TV obsession

You guys - I'm obsessed with the show Big Brother.

It is on every summer and I've been watching for probably 11 out of the 15 seasons. My level of obsession each summer depends on the people though and at the beginning of this season I really wasn't sure that I was going to be able to get excited.

But I am!

I've never gone so far as to subscribe to the live internet feeds and watch them all day. But I do admit to DVRing the Big Brother After Dark show and watching it the next day while the kiddos are napping & I eat lunch.

This is one of the only reality shows that I watch - and yes, I'm committed to watching all three nights a week that it comes on!

Tonight's episode was a pretty big twist and I loved it! I don't remember the beginning of recent seasons getting into the drama this early. But without it, I know it wouldn't be as entertaining!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Beep and Pinket on Etsy!!

I posted listings and officially opened an Etsy shop today!

This feels huge and completely insignificant all at the same time.
I'm terrified and thrilled simultaneously.

I'm very excited to get my work out into the world and I'm anxious to see how strangers react to my creations. It will be fantastic to get paid for doing something I love - if anyone buys anything! Between my facebook page and now my Etsy shop I hope to really start reaching people beyond family and friends. I know it will take time, hard work and patience but I'm ready to see where this path leads.

I've got 6 listings up so far. Can't wait to see what sells first... and when!!

Just a couple of examples of what is available right now... if you hurry! ;)

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda

It really sucks when you think you are making smart choices that are going to get you ahead in life and they end up coming back to bite you in the ass.

Back in 2006 we were on the brink of getting married. Hubby had a good job. I was in grad school to get a good job. We had big plans.

And one of them was buying a house. No need to rent and throw away all those monthly payments when we could "own" something! Build equity. Make our own decisions. Have an investment.

The budget of a student and a new-to-the-workforce, getting-married-soon couple is not enormous. But we found a house that was perfect for our STARTER home. 2 bed rooms, 1 bath room, tiny kitchen, huge back yard, in a neighborhood that was being revitalized.

We expected to be in this house 3-5 years. TOPS!
It's now 7 years later.

We've got 2 kids.

The housing market is in the toilet.
On one hand I'm thankful that we have a home to live in. I even kind of like being in a small house because it keeps us all close. (I'm not looking to move into a mansion - just something with 3 bedrooms and more than 2 drawers in the kitchen.) It's nice that we haven't upgraded to a bigger house because it keeps our bills lower. And "technically" we haven't lost any money as long as we keep the house.

But on the other hand! I'm angry at the economy for "trapping" us in this house. We outgrew this house about 10 minutes after we found out we were expecting our second baby. We didn't buy this house with the expectation that our children would go to school in this district, but we are inching closer to that reality.

At this point we can't sell without taking a $20,000 loss. OUCH! And we can't have 2 houses (even if this one is rented out) since there's no way to get approved for another mortgage with this one already on the record.

I'm a little slow to accept reality - that we can't move. It is hitting me especially hard over the last few days because I've got baby fever. BAD! In my master life plan (HA!) I wanted to be pregnant again already or at least be trying. But since we've already maxed out the space in this house with two kids, there is really no place to put a third. Hubby is adamant that we can't have another baby while we live here. And he's right. (Good thing he doesn't read this - don't tell him I said that!)

So my big life plan is on hold all because we thought we were being responsible and buying a house. If we had just rented all those years ago as newlyweds we could have avoided the big housing market crash and we wouldn't be tied to a house that is too small to grow our family.

Being a grown up is hard!

~~~~I know that MY plan is meaningless and I should be more concerned with what God's plan is for us. Apparently he is trying to teach me that lesson and as stated before, I'm just being a really slow learner. Baby fever is just so dang hard to resist!! Focusing on listening to God and being thankful for what we DO have.~~~~~

Monday, July 8, 2013

Chronicles of Caroline

We were an hour and a half into nap time and I had been listening to Caroline quietly talking, singing, reading and playing the entire time. She's 3, so not taking an actual nap, but just resting instead wasn't a huge deal. She got quiet though and I thought that she may have finally given up and fallen asleep.

All of the sudden, in a panicked voice, I hear "I'M DONE SLEEPING MOM!"

Going in her room I see...
She had been trying to get her piggy bank and it was seconds from falling, so I saved that first and then told her not to move while I got the camera!
Things to note:
  • She has never attempted to climb out of her crib before - hence the reason we haven't moved her out yet, but apparently we're about to get a big girl bed.
  • I'm even thinking of a whole room re-organization so this doesn't happen again.
  • She went to bed in just underwear and now has on only a shirt.
  • I found 7 plastic Easter eggs in her bed that weren't there before.
  • She took off her headband and put it away (behind the door - out of frame on the left) and picked out 5 bows instead.
  • Her lamp and baskets are not usually arranged up there like that - her own decorative work!
This girl keeps me on my toes and I love her for it! 

Sunday, July 7, 2013


Just a random list of things I'm "craving" right now... (in no particular order)
  • fantastic she-crab soup
  • trip to New York City
  • date night with hubby
  • long, kid-free conversation with a good friend
  • watching a good movie in the theater
  • sleeping in past 6 AM
  • live music (on the beach if possible, please)
  • a massage (90 minutes sounds just about right)
  • doing some DIY home renovations
  • having a very BEST friend (besides hubby)

Friday, March 8, 2013

Equal Parts

I'm equal parts thrilled and terrified. Today I got my very first request for a custom quilt.


I've made quilts as gifts for friends and family. During that process I keep their style & interests in mind. But ultimately, they were getting a free quilt/blanket and if it wasn't EXACTLY what they wanted, they just lied to me! HA  Generally when I give a quilt as a gift everything (fabric & pattern)about it is a surprise until they open it.

For the first time, someone is going to pay me their hard earned money to make their vision come to life. They are going to have in-put on the fabric selection and the pattern.

I am super excited for this challenge!

And super scared!

I know I can do it. It's going to be fun. And I'm going to work super hard to make sure she gets exactly what she wants!

The first quilt I ever made using quality, designer fabric. I still LOVE it and wish I had made it bigger.
A 9-patch quilt I made in 2012. This is one of my all time favorites, but it lives at my sister's house now.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Project Life Tuesday 2/18- 2/24

**I'm a day late, but Blogger wouldn't let me upload any pictures yesterday. Better late than never!**
It's been awhile since I did a Project Life post - over a year. But that doesn't mean I haven't been doing my album! In fact, for the first year EVER, I finished my 2012 album!! All pictures & all journaling were DONE by the second week of January 2013. I am super proud!
This layout is for Feb 18 - 24th. I do all my weeks Monday - Sunday to keep the weekends together. I usually wait and print 2 to 3 weeks of pictures at a time since I get them printed by Snapfish & it keeps my shipping costs down. I download all my weekly pictures off my camera on Sunday night each week so that I don't get behind & then its super easy to go back and pick the weeks I need to print. 
This year I am giving myself a lot more freedom. I'm not being as rigid about taking a picture every day and only using one picture a day. I'm also doing less journaling - most of my journaling cards descirbe more than one picture. I'm using washi tape & arrow stickers to break up the journaling and direct you to the right picture. This year I'm also using more inserts and a variety of page protectors from Becky Higgins.
 Here you can see the left side with the date card, the front of my 6x12 insert, and part of the right side.
 This is part of the left side, covered by the back of the 6x12 insert, and the entire right side page.

 A close up of the left side layout. I'm using the Seafoam kit this year.  This side has some daily pics of the kids & 1 picture I took of Caroline playing with glow sticks when the power went out one night.

 The front of the 6x12 insert. The insert -front and back- is dedicated to the quilt that I made for my nephew who is due in about 3 weeks.

 The back of the 6x12 insert. The back is all about the quilt in my nephew's crib. Just waiting for him to arrive and spend some tummy time hanging out on the quilt.

This is the right side layout. It's all about my sister's baby shower and then the kids & I spending the weekend at her house with my parents.

**Even though I'm late, I'm still linking up with The Mom Creative for Project Life Tuesday!**

talking it out

That feeling like you want to talk to someone. Someone that you know will make you feel better & have the right things to say. Someone that you can really open up to.

But for a bunch of reasons, you haven't talked to them in a couple of months.

And you're worried that just jumping back into the friendship will be awkward.

Do you risk the awkward, scary feelings and do it anyway? Or let more time pass, letting the potential weirdness grow?

I'm stuck.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Here's your BIG hug!

Very rarely I meet someone and hit it off right away, but it happened recently.  We just clicked. It felt like we had a ton in common even though we only chatted for a couple of minutes.

I was ready to go from, "Nice to meet you." to "Lets be BEST friends FOREVER!!!!" in a matter of minutes.

But I was worried about letting my crazy show right away.  I mean, if we're going to be BFF's I don't want to scare them off before we've even exchanged numbers or become facebook friends.

Now it's been a couple of days and I'm losing my nerve. Maybe I made up that connection I felt. Maybe they didn't feel it. I probably shouldn't friend request them now - they might not even remember me. 

Maybe I SHOULD have let my crazy show because they think I'm boring for being all "Nice to meet you." {handshake} instead of "Lets be BFFs!!" {BIG hug}

This rambling, over sharer-er, instant friends, BIG hugging, crafty girl is who I am. And if someone is going to not like me, I'd rather they at least know the real me they are not liking.  I'm working on stepping out of my comfort zone to be who I really am.


My girl can spell!!

Well, her name at least.  Which is a big accomplishment I think!!

8 letters is a lot for a two & half year old to remember!

She even has a cute little beat that she says it to.  I've got to get her to do it on video because it is my current favorite thing that she does. 
At the zoo sitting on a giant tortoise.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Beep And Pinket

Creating things feeds my soul. I feel like I've made a contribution to the world when I make things. I love being able to take a stack of fabric, skein or yarn, piece of paper or blank canvas and turn it into something unique that has never existed in that exact way before. I love being able to stretch my imagination by playing with colors, patterns, textures and designs.

This passion of mine leads to a big problem. My teeny tiny house is brimming with the products of my creative sessions. My family has more quilts and blankets than we will ever need. I've given away tons of things and most of my close friends and family are also now at capacity. It's time to find new homes for all my creations so that I can make room for all the new things I can make with my huge stash of fabric that sits and waits to become something fun.

A little over a week ago I started a facebook page to introduce all my friends to my hobbies. I'm kind of a closet crafter. Only problem - I haven't shared the page with anyone yet - except my hubby.  I've added pictures of some of my completed projects and made a couple of posts.  But like my hubby said, it is silly to keep posting if nobody "likes" my page yet because then I'm just talking to myself.

And I do that enough in person!! No need to get facebook involved!!

All this to say - if you are so inclined - would you please come over to Beep And Pinket on facebook and like my page? There are already quilts, crochet blankets, a banner and ruffle pants posted.  Tomorrow if the sunshine cooperates, I have some minky blankets and a BUNCH more banners to take pictures of and post. 

The plan is to also have an Etsy store with these items for sale.  I just need to get some pictures of the for sale stuff that will make people want to click through and look at them. 

In the mean time, if there is anything sewing related that you are looking for, please leave me a comment or facebook message! I love the creative challenge of making something special specifically for someone else. I'd love to chat and see if I can make what you are looking for!!

Thanks for letting me shamelessly self-promote! I really appreciate any and all support!!!

****And here's to being brave and sharing the page with my friends! I'm sure they'll all be as supportive as the "strangers" who read my blog!! ;) ****

Friday, March 1, 2013

Only a year tardy - Nathan's birth

I went back and forth pretty much the whole 9 months between whether I wanted to have a repeat c-section or a VBAC.  Deep down in my heart I really really REALLY wanted the VBAC, but I was also scared.

What if I went through 19 hours of labor again and STILL ended up with a c-section.
What if I just proved to myself that I really am a wuss and can't hack it.
What if I was part of that teeny tiny number of people who have complications and I can never have children again, or worse risk my life or the life of my baby.

I think if I could have quieted those fears, I would have tried a little harder for a VBAC. Instead I kinda whimped out.

My doctor was supportive of whatever I wanted to do.  He was more than willing to help me try for a VBAC if that was what I wanted. He was also fine with scheduling a c-section up to a week before my due date. Since I'm a bigger girl & Aaron is a bigger guy we were always on the watch for a big baby which would make a VBAC harder since I was considered "failure to progress" with Caroline. I decided that if I went into labor on my own before my due date I would actively try for the VBAC.  (I thought this was a good possibility since Caroline came 4 days before her due date.) However, if nothing was happening by my due date I would have a c-section that Friday.

Friday morning my sister and brother-in-law came over to watch Caroline for the weekend. Caroline was as excited as a 20 month old could be.  She knew a baby was coming and she liked babies, so we were good there. My mom was also coming over to hang out and wait for baby news.

I snuggled and kissed Caroline until she refused to let me near her any more. We took pictures of the 3 of us for the last time as a family of 3. I rechecked my hospital bag and went over the long list/schedule I was leaving for Caroline. (It was the first time I was leaving her over night!)

Around 11:30 we headed for the hospital for my noon check in. My c-section was scheduled to start around 1. On the way to the hospital we talked about names again.  We were pretty set but not knowing whether you are having a boy or girl will make you question your name choices at the last minute.  Or maybe that's just me! This hospital trip was so different than the first time. We were calm & laughing.  We parked in the far lot and walked in - one more last ditch effort to start labor with a 3 minute walk.

We went right up to L&D.  They were expecting us and had my paper work started already.  There were still about 3,794,291 questions to answer though.  I was in a room much like the one I was in with Caroline but instead of a bed they had a rocking chair.  They made me put on the lovely hospital gowns right away.  And then the waiting started.

We both sat kind of quietly.  Just letting our thoughts wonder. We did take a minute to both predict when the baby was coming, what we were having & how big it would be.  The nurse came in and reminded us that we could watch TV if we wanted.  For some reason that had never occurred to me before she said it. 

The anesthesiologist came in and went over all the risks with me.  I told her about the trouble they had with my epidural the last time and she assured me that they wouldn't have any trouble with a spinal. As I was signing the papers she got a call and had to step out.  The nurse came in and said that we were being bumped for an emergency c-section. Aaron texted everyone to let them know that we wouldn't have baby news any time soon.

Around 4 my doctor came in to ask if I still wanted to do this today. He was obviously joking but I know he had to have been a little frustrated - it was late Friday afternoon and I'm sure he was ready to get his weekend started. He said it wouldn't be much longer, they were just cleaning up the operating room.  It wasn't long before the nurse brought Aaron his snazzy blue suit to wear and told me it was time to put on my hair net. Oh goody! The nurse also made me drink a terrible shot of anti-nausea medicine. I still shudder just thinking about it.

This time I got to walk back to the operating room & climb up on the table. The anesthesiologist (a guy now, the lady doc had gone by then) started my spinal and it was leaps and bounds easier than the epidural.  Either that or he was just a MUCH more competent doctor. While he was placing the spinal and then for several minutes after I listened to the OR nurses look through several trays of instruments and comment about how they didn't look like they had been well sanitized. Thankfully they were very disturbed by this and throwing those trays out.  I did start to worry when they said they were down to their last 2 trays.

Finally more people started coming in - the baby's nurses, the doctor, my nurses, and most importantly Aaron! Right before Aaron got there I got super nauseous and the anesthesiologist had to give me some medicine through my IV to keep me from getting sick.  I ended up needing 2 more of those booster shots in my IV during the surgery.  Feeling so sick caught me completely off guard because that did NOT happen when I had Caroline.

The actual surgery took a little bit longer because of the scar tissue from my first c-section. My doctor also mentioned that the baby was still very high up in there. (This gave me some peace about my decision since they said Caroline was too high to help me progress which leads me to believe that even with labor I would have ended up with a c-section.)

We finally got to the pushing and tugging part.  I was so excited to know who this baby was.  And once again I was completely surprised when the doctor said, "It's a boy! It's definitely a boy! That's ALL boy!!" The doctor stepped to my side of the blue sheet to show me this little person who I already loved so much.

My favorite thing about this birth compared to Caroline's was that the hospital had changed policies in the 20 months since we'd been there. Healthy newborns are no longer taken to the nursery and away from the mommies during recovery.  This time Aaron stayed with me and held our tiny little man the whole time I was getting sewn up and in recovery.

I would have enjoyed it even more if I hadn't gotten violently ill.  With no more IV boosters of the anti-nausea meds I threw up for the next 2 hours. Which is a pretty funny trick since I hadn't eaten in at least 18 hours. I can tell you one thing - throwing up while you have an incision cut all the way across your belly is hell.  There's no other way to describe it. I've thought about it more times than I can count and the only thing different about the 2 c-sections is that I had to drink that terrible anti-nausea medicine the second time. Oh the irony.

Aaron got some good quality baby snuggling time sitting right next to my bed while I was in recovery. They finally took us all back to the room and it was then time for them to take our little man to the nursery to get a check-up. At this point I had only held him for about half a minute and I hadn't tried to feed him at all yet. 

While he was in the nursery, Aaron and I finalized his name and officially decided on Nathan.  We also talked about how crazy it was that both of our children had the EXACT SAME birth weight and were only born 12 minutes apart. And I threw up some more.

When Nathan came back I got a chance to nurse him a little and Aaron called our families.  Once again, we didn't tell them who we had welcomed to the family over the phone.  They'd have to come to the hospital to find out!

I wanted Caroline to be the first one (besides Aaron and I) to meet Nathan.  Since my sister, brother-in-law, and parents were with her they all met him at the same time. It was WAY past Caroline's bed time by this point and she had had a busy/unusual day so she was super tired and just wanted to lay with Mommy in the bed. But she did like to look at Nathan and wanted to touch him. She didn't seem jealous of him at all, even when I was holding him. It helped a little that Nathan brought her a present - her very own camera to take all the pictures she wanted. 

Aaron's parents also came to meet Nathan the night he was born.  We had lots of visitors for the rest of the weekend, but also had plenty of time to rest and get to know this little guy who stole our hearts right from the start.

We are so blessed with our two little kiddos. I'm thankful that they are both happy and healthy. I love that they get along so well right now. Whenever Caroline says that they are best friends my heart just bursts with love for both of them.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Two and a half years later - Caroline's birth

My sister is only a couple weeks out from having her first baby.  And my little man will be a year old in just a few days.  Couple that with several birth stories I've read lately on blogs I follow and I've got babies and birth stories on my brain!

Caroline's birth happened almost 3 years ago.  I tried to write about it once and I didn't feel like I was doing it justice and quit.  But I'm determined to get it written down and recorded before any more time goes by and all the details get fuzzy. 
As my due date got close, Aaron and I would go for long walks in the evening after work. On Monday we had walked 3 miles and Tuesday we walked 4.  During the walks both days I would get light contractions during the walk that stopped as soon as I sat down to rest.  After our walk on Tuesday we went to Five Guys to get burgers and fries for dinner and then we walked around a little more in the Town Center before getting italian ices and going home. 

Aaron fell asleep on the couch while I read some blogs, checked facebook, got some stuff ready for our Kindergarten end of the year ceremony the next day, and then watched some TV while bouncing on my exercise ball.  Around 9:30 I was sitting on the ball when I felt a pop (like a rubber band) and a small trickle of water.  It was nothing like a gush that you hear about when people tell you that your water might break.  But because of the pop & since the trickle didn't stop for a while I thought it was probably my water breaking. 

I went and checked/repacked my hospital bag, took a shower, and got some other things in order.  By about midnight I was having light contractions but they were pretty close together. I woke Aaron up from the couch and said, "I don't think you are going to work tomorrow." He was so confused and cute at first! We waited until about 2am & I called the doctor on call.  He was not very helpful, but that could have been because I woke him up. I told him that I *thought* my water had broken & I was having contractions every 5 minutes but that they were not very strong. He said I would KNOW if my water had broken and if it had I should go to the hospital.  So we went.

We had to go in through the ER and the receptionist ask my how my pain was on a scale of 1-10 with 1 being nothing and 10 being worst ever. In all honesty I was probably between a 3 and 4, but the number 7 jumped out of my mouth with no warning. They took me upstairs to L&D.

The L&D nurse did not believe that my water had broken.  She hooked me up to the monitor and I was definitely having regular contractions but they were pretty weak. She checked me for dilation and said I was at 1. DO WHAT!? At this point it was early Wednesday morning and I had been to the doctor on Monday and he checked me and said I was a 3. Either my cervix was closing or somebody was messing with me!

She told me I could walk the halls for a couple of hours to see if I made any progress or I could go home. *Here's where hindsight is 20/20 and I would have changed my plan if I had been thinking clearly.* I choose to walk.  And we did until about 5 am. When she checked me again she said I was a 4 and she would admit me! I was ecstatic about such progress! From a 1-4 in 2 hours - I was sure I was on the fast track to a baby!! She offered to let me keep walking or she would take me and hook me up to a machine & let me rest for awhile.  At this point I had been awake for over 24 hours and I was exhausted.  I should have gone home to rest when she told me I was a 1. I really think that getting some sleep then could have changed the entire outcome. (For some reason I had convinced myself that if I went home I would have to go to work the next day.  I'm ridiculous! I know!)

My plan was to lay down and rest for a little while so they could monitor the baby & my contractions and then get up and walk or rock or do anything to help manage my pain better. Somehow that never worked out. Once I got in that bed & on that machine, I didn't get up again. 

By this point the contractions were starting to get stronger but they were spacing out. I was resting between contractions - sometimes even drifting off.  Aaron was sitting on the couch across the room between contractions and he was drifting off too. 

I was feeling a little guilty that I would miss the last 3 days of the school year and especially our end of the year party with the parents. I was "dreaming" about my class when I drifted off.  Aaron said that one time I woke him up saying, "I don't care who picks them up, but somebody better pick up these crayons!" It gave him a good laugh!

At some point the contractions were getting too far apart & the doctor said that we needed to start pitocin.  It was really the last thing I wanted to do but I was too tired to argue (or form coherent sentences). And I was beginning to think that anything that would get the baby out faster was a good idea.

They started the pitocin and I hated having to be in the bed.  I figured that if they could give me something to take the edge off I could keep my mind off the pain long enough to get some more rest. But the nurse said my blood pressure was not ideal and my only pain option was an epidural. 

That was NOT my plan.

I hated being so weak in front of my husband. I wanted him to be proud of me. I wanted him to think I was strong. I wanted him to be impressed.

But I was giving up & getting the epidural. 

That was NOT my plan.
I was upset.
I cried. A lot.

To add insult to injury, the epidural was a nightmare. I'm not a tiny person. The anesthesiologist had a hard time getting the needle in the right place. He stuck me literally 15+ times. No exaggeration. I cried the entire time. I'm so glad that Aaron got to stay in the room with me, because I know that is not the practice everywhere. The doc finally got it in and they laid me back in the bed saying I should be feeling immediate relief.  And I was - on my right side.  My left side was still feeling everything.

I'm not entirely sure that it was worse than being able to feel it full strength on both sides, but I do know that if I hadn't gotten the epidural I would have been able to get out of bed. Or move. And maybe I would have been able to find my own relief if I could have moved. But at this point half of my body was completely numb and half was in complete pain and I could not adjust myself at all to find relief. It was terrible.

The doctor, who I had never met before, came in to break my water around noon. He stuck the little orange peeler tool in there, fished around for a minute, then took it out and said, "Your water is already broken. It's not intact." I felt a bit of my spirit come back. I had been right! My water didn't gush, but it had broken last night.

Around 2pm the nurse came in and said I was an 8.  I saw a dim light at the end of the tunnel.  I had renewed hope that I could make it to the end.

Around 3:30 I thought I was feeling pressure and the pain had intensified so I ask to be checked again. This time the doctor came in. I was hoping and praying that he would say I was a 10 and the baby was ready to slide out! Instead he said I was a 6. SIX!? Are you kidding me!?  Is it closing up again? Was someone really messing with  me?!

He also said that he could let me go several more hours, but he felt the result would be the same. He saw this ending in a c-section.  Then he ask, "Do you want to do this now or wait and do it later?" Leading question much? I told him to just do it. I'd been awake for 36 hours and hadn't eaten in nearly 22 hours. I was done.

I don't remember a ton about getting ready for the c-section, except more crying on my part.  But I do remember having the shakes. I wasn't cold, but I couldn't stop them.  They had to redo my epidural and may have given me a spinal.  Either way, I didn't have any pain during the c-section, praise the Lord!

Aaron came in the operating room wearing the blue suit with our camera & video camera. He sat right next to my head and kept asking if I was ok as tears slipped out of my eyes and down my cheeks.

At 4:57pm the doctor pulled an 8 pound 9 ounce baby from my belly and said, "It's a girl!"
I looked at Aaron and said, "Are you sure?"
He said, "Yep, It's a girl!!"
What a complete and wonderful surprise! She had a wonderful set of lungs!!

After several minutes of tests and checks they wrapped her up for me to nuzzle.  Then Aaron went with her as they headed to the nursery and I got stitched up. 

I was in recovery for quite awhile.  The nurse kept telling me to breathe deeper.  Apparently I was really taking advantage of this time and sleeping which meant that I was not breathing frequently enough to please the machine I was on. I didn't get back to my room until 7pm - during shift change - the recieving nurse was not happy, and I felt bad, but she said latter that she was upset at the nurse who brought me back right at the most hectic time without even a warning.  

During that time Caroline got hungry and the nursery staff fed her a bottle. (This was a huge frustration for me because I planned to breastfeed exclusively, but luckily she caught on and the bottle didn't do any damage.)

By the time I got back to the room, we felt like we really needed to call family right away and let them know we were all healthy. Unfortunately we jumped the gun and all the family got to our room before Caroline. I hadn't even gotten a chance to meet her - to hold her. 

Aaron's parents & sister, my parents, and Dana & Michael came by that night to meet her.  We were sort of mean and wouldn't tell any of them whether we had a boy or girl until they got to the hospital.  I slipped when my parents came in though. Caroline had been taken back to the nursery for something and when they came in I said, "She's down in the nursery, but it shouldn't be too much longer." Mom caught it right away.  So we went ahead and shared the name while we were waiting for her to get back.

I am beyond grateful that Caroline and I were healthy and that there really weren't any major complications.  It may not have gone like I wanted it to, but I'm certain that God had a reason for the way things went and knew how it would turn out long before the journey started.

Even two and a half years later, I'm struggling with feeling like I missed something or that I haven't experienced all of womanhood because I didn't have a vaginal birth. I feel ridiculous even saying that because I was blessed to be able to carry 2 pregnancies (so far) and I have 2 beautiful children.  What difference does it make how they came into the world.  I remind myself constantly that I am thankful that I was able to have them at all.
Up next, Nathan's birth story. I've got baby fever BAD! :)

Friday, February 8, 2013

Conversations with Caroline

Multiple times a day I am reminded that Caroline is hilarious!

Tonight we were trying to decide what we were going to have for dinner. I have a long established aversion to cooking on Friday nights.  Aaron and I had narrowed it down a pizza/pasta place, a mexican restaurant, or a burger place, but we just couldn't make a decision. 

Aaron decided to ask Caroline if she had a preference. He ask if she wanted pizza, pasta, tacos, or nuggets and put up one finger with each one - ending with 4 fingers out and his thumb still bent into his palm.  She walked over to him, bent all 4 fingers back down, lifted his thumb and said, "I want a biscuit!"

She had been telling me that she wanted a biscuit since lunch time and I had explained to her that I would make biscuits on Saturday morning for breakfast.  She decided to try her luck with Daddy and see if he could make her biscuit request a reality before the morning.

After she made her request for a biscuit she got the remote, turned the TV off, and turned the lights off. "Let's go in my car now." she said like if she hurried us out the door we wouldn't have time to decide on anything else and would be forced to get her a biscuit!

*For the record - we had mexican! :)