Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Ultra-Fast Update Post

Ok, I haven't even touched the laptop since Eliana has been born. I know I owe you all a birth story post, but I'm just not there yet--maybe later this week. I've been pretty busy since she's been born, helping Ezra adjust and trying to take care of Ellie and myself. She's been pretty easy, but I've had mastitis (breast infection) and that pretty much took all of the little energy I had away. I am so thankful for the help from my mother and my husband's mother during that awful time! Also, I've learned the past two days, that chasing and spanking a two year old will not be kind to your post-pregnant self. I've done well and stopped with all the post-partum ickies, but I lifted Ez yesterday and today and both times, it tried to start up again. No thanks!

Ezra Update: He's doing okay with the transition to big brother/no longer the only child, but it has been very difficult. From him laughing at me as he disobeys because I'm busy nursing, to him purposely being loud to wake up Ellie, it's not been smooth sailing. I've always loved how much he talks, but lately, he is just talking to hear his own voice/wake up the baby. I'm trying to stay calm and think about it honestly before snapping at him--Would this have bothered me before Ellie was here? Is he really being that loud, or are my nerves just on edge? etc. This is helping some.
I have really had to be "mean mommy" lately to get him to take me seriously. I don't like it at all, but he can't run wild, either. Josh texted me this morning to see if he was acting better today and I said he'd had a few spankings. Josh replied that it was before 9 am--he was really being a go-getter. I just said I hoped the strong beginning would mean he gets the idea early today. Josh said I was an optimist. I said I was a "desperate-for-hope-ist." :)
All that aside, there have been some really sweet moments between Ez and El. At first, whenever she would cry, he'd come say, "It's okay, baby, I'm back. Ezra's here. It's okay," in this really sweet, soothing voice. Now he's used to her crying, so he usually just ignores it or tells me "the baby's crying."
Then there was the time I realized I didn't see him and it was quiet. I rushed into the bedroom where Ellie was asleep on our bed and found this:
He said, "I sleep by the baby. I like him."
Don't worry-he then told me she is a girl.
Just a little pronoun confusion. ;)
Eliana Update: Eliana has been in a word, awesome! She's adorable, of course, but she also eats wonderfully (breastfeeding has been great, aside from my issues--mentioned later) and -- get this! -- she SLEEPS! Unless you were around or knew us well when Ezra was an infant, you cannot possibly understand the greatness of that statement.
I've never liked that when people know you have a new baby, the first thing they always ask is if they are a good baby (meaning, Do they sleep?) or if you are getting any sleep. Um, no. I'm a new parent. We have a newborn. Exactly why is this question being asked, again?
Ellie sleeps for 3 hour stretches at night, meaning if we go to bed after nursing around 9, she wakes up around midnight and 3 am before waking up again around 6. This is like a vacation compared to Ezra, bless his heart. He had much more trouble eating, which I think compounded our sleep issues. He would wake up about every hour to nurse, which took him about 20-30 minutes. This meant that by the time he finished, I had around 30-40 minutes to sleep before he woke up again. Add in diaper changes and burping, and that added up to a pretty frazzled mommy. I really think his feeding issues also added to his 'colic.' He would cry so much, for so long. And there was no 'crying it out'--he was zero to a zillion in one second and it didn't stop. It was the awful, he's hurting and there's nothing you can do about it cry, too.
So far, Ellie cries when she is hungry, gassy/making a bowel movement, or tired and can't get to sleep without cuddles. Also, while sleeping, she may start to fuss and then stop within a few seconds, fast asleep again. I'm pretty sure this never happened with Ez. Like I said, zero to a zillion.

NOTE: I don't want anyone to think I am comparing my kids constantly. I'm just so thankful for what I have now, because I know how it can be instead. And I've always loved Ezra with my whole heart and then some, even when he was screaming his head off for hours and all I could do was cry with him.

Me Update: Well, everything went awesome with the birth! I cannot tell you all the great things here, or it would be the longest post ever, so I'll try to get that birth story post done later this week. The next day was great--I was still on my amazing oxytocin high that comes from delivering naturally. The day after that, the tiredness hit (I remember being the same way with Ez). Josh was able to stay home for a week, using a few vacation days and some (unpaid) paternity days. Small check that week, but I needed the help more than we needed the money, trust me.
That week was very challenging for Ezra and Josh. I was pretty much consumed with recovery and caring for Eliana, so Josh was on Ezra duty full-time. Ezra didn't appreciate the shift from me to Josh as primary caregiver at first, but by the end of the week, he was asking for Daddy over me. Now he thinks Josh hung the moon-and shouldn't every kid think that about their dad? :) Josh is doing better with his patience, too.
That was a hard process throughout the week, and there were times where I felt guilty for not being able to help, but I had to learn I can't do everything at once. I overdid it a few times, and paid the price with a plugged milk duct on one side and, eventually, a case of mastitis on the other. Oh my, I cannot possibly express the pain and awfulness that is mastitis. Think of a really bad case of the flu, plus your breast feels like it is about to explode, but can't! Fever, chills, raging post-pregnancy hormones--it wasn't pretty, folks.
Thank the Lord for my mother and mother-in-law. Mom came to take care of me and help with Eliana and Julia was able to take Ezra to her house to play so I wouldn't have to worry about him being taken care of. It was still really hard because I hate to ask for help and I felt like I kept having to send Ezra away and he was going to think I didn't love him anymore. (Silly? Somewhat...but remember, lots of hormones and sickness going on at the time.)

Right now we are in the midst of our daily "naptime war," so I need to get off of here and make Ezra go to sleep. He thinks it's funny, then cries when he gets a spanking, then it starts over again until he wears down and goes to sleep. I'm looking forward to this battle getting shorter and someday not happening at all (hopefully).

Monday, June 18, 2012

The results are in!

And the winner is...
Random result from!

Entry #62...
Entry #62 from the Rafflecopter form!
Jessica Boling!

Congratulations, Jessica! I will be sending your information to Cuddle Feet shortly, and you will soon be the proud owner (or perhaps gift-giver) of these adorable handmade crib shoes!

Please continue to follow this blog for more fun posts, including more giveaways! :)

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Vacation Flashback: 2010 and now

So, this morning, I was looking through my old posts and found this one from 2010 that never got published. This was when I originally started this blog and then didn't end up using it. It was right before I started teaching and then had no time whatsoever for anything but surviving (new teachers will understand). Anyway, thought I'd share. I can't believe how much Ezra has grown! I remember they didn't make swim diapers in his size (since he was/is such a squirt). Our 18 month old niece wasn't even a thought yet on this trip, and this time we'll be going with 4 kiddos and another is on the way (for a couple that didn't exist this first Mary Esther trip)!
 We went back to this house last year and are going back again this year! 
I'm ready for the boys to swim in the pool all day, get water-logged, and take long naps. I'm ready to sit in the shade and eat a cinnamon raisin bagel with cream cheese and sip orange juice with my wonderful in-laws, complete with a new daughter in my lap. I'm ready to dress said daughter in a tiny bathing suit and sun hat. I'm ready for Ezra to build a sandcastle on the beach. I'm ready to go on a very cheap date (possibly a free one where we just walk around for a while and talk) with my amazing husband--or at least a walk on the beach if the kiddos won't allow time for the other. I'm ready for Josh to dip Eliana's toes in the ocean and make her cry like he did with Ezra (I don't want this in a mean way, I am just ready for her to get to experience some of the things her brother has--and maybe she won't cry since she won't only be 2 weeks old like Ezra was).
Um, basically, I'm ready to have a sweet baby girl and take her and my boys to one of the most relaxing places--vacation with our family. Not a lot of people can say that's one of their most relaxing places, I'll bet! :) I'm pretty blessed in that area.

The original post (from Vacation 2010)
We are currently on vacation in Mary Esther, Florida (located between Nevarre and Destin). We have been having such a wonderful time! It has really been a God thing that we could even be here. He worked through all the schedules of the family and found a date we were all available, and worked to help us find the perfect house for a great price!
We have spent the last few days swimming, shopping, and just enjoying being with family. I have especially enjoyed the fact that I can shop this year! We have always lived on a shoestring budget, but now I have a teaching job, so I can buy some things we needed. :)
I have found some great deals on clothes for me and Ezra has gotten some cool stuff too. I LOVE outlet malls!! I have his first birthday present covered now, thanks to deals on clothes and shoes.
Ezra and Jack both love the pool. They are going to be wondering where their pool is when we get home! They are also going to be so spoiled after having all these people to give them attention (and bites of their food). ;)
Here is a shot of the house where we are staying:

Josh and Ez in the pool--this smile makes my heart melt!
(caption added today-2012) :)

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

"The Plan"

Ok, I am cracking myself up because whenever I think about the words, "The Plan," I hear Julia Stiles saying it in the hilarious scene from 10 Things I Hate About You. If you don't know what I'm talking about, watch the movie. If you do know what I'm talking about and just don't find it very humorous, blame my lack of sleep. :)

I couldn't find a picture from the actual "the plan" scene, but this will do. :)

Moving on...

Apparently there may be something to my husband's proclamation that I am 'addicted' to Facebook, considering the fact that I didn't post after our midwife appointment and people started to wonder if I was in labor. Press the "chillax" button people, no labor or baby yet! Don't worry, it will not be like in the movies where labor starts in a crazy fast-violent way. (Spoiler Alert: Don't you just love how in the movies women grab their bellies making "Oh!" sounds and then the next scene they are either screaming their brains out or holding their little bundle of joy? For those of you who have never been in labor, this is kind of a skewed picture of reality, sorry.)

So here is the deal with me and Ellie...

FIRST of all, she is only now (as of 6/6/12) as late as her brother was--9 days past his 'due date.' The midwife thinks it would be cool if she were born today since her birthday would be like 6+6=12. We'll see, but as of now (3:24 am), no immediate signs of such event.

When we went for our appointment yesterday, I fully expected to have her strip my membranes (more info here) and hopefully at least go into labor within the next 24 hours. This is what we had done when we were pregnant with Ezra and he was born in less than 24 hours. There were some differences this time around that made me decide not to strip my membranes--yet.
1. You never know if this is actually going to work (see link). Even though it worked last time, every pregnancy is different, so it might do nothing but make me sore and uncomfortable right now.
2. When we did this with Ezra, I was dilated to 4 cm. I am currently only dilated to 2 cm. I asked her to check me so I could further judge my "to strip or not to strip" decision. Midwives do not routinely check to see how dilated you are. This is because people can start at 2 cm. that morning and have a baby by that night or sooner, OR people can walk around for days at 7 or 8 cm. It really isn't a good indicator of when you will start labor or how long it will be, plus it is pretty unpleasant for the mommy (I am still sore). The midwife could only get the tip of one finger into my cervix tonight. I remember the sweeping of my membranes last time being much less than comfortable, so I can't imagine how it would feel with me not being dilated as much, or if it could even be done effectively. The good news was that my cervix was thick but soft, so hopefully the dilation process will be a less painful one than it could be alternatively.
3. We go back in 3 days, so I can have her strip me then if I am starting to feel desperate. Note: I don't mean 'desperate' because I am just "ready to have this baby out of me" (see previous post). I am, however, going to start getting desperate for her to be born by the 11th so we can still have a home birth.

SO, having explained all that, here is our 'plan' for in the meantime.
*Continue previous 'plan' to help encourage labor:
-Take Evening Primrose Oil once per day (3 capsules).
-Take Blue and Black Cohosh Herbs (nice little sugar pills that I put under my tongue up to every 15 minutes).
-Sit on yoga ball to encourage my pelvis to open/strengthen pelvic floor muscles, abdominal muscles, and back. I do this unless I'm awake in the middle of the night and first thing when I wake up because, let's face it, I don't have the best sense of balance anyway, and I'd like to avoid falling anymore during this pregnancy (twice at school, once at my own baby shower--yeah, I'm cool).
-Power walk daily. This has gone from me walking our cul-de-sac in the mornings while Ezra plays in the driveway, to Josh, Ezra, and I walking to Walmart and back in the afternoons. We are fortunate enough to have great sidewalks the whole way and Ezra stays in the stroller without complaining because there is so much to see. My 'coaches' don't let me slack, either. Josh doesn't slow down with me unless I tell him I'm having a contraction, and the other night, Ezra was turning around and saying, "Come on babe!" (He wants to be like his daddy, that one. :) )
-Think happy thoughts! <--This is my little addition that I'm trying to make sure I do every day. Instead of getting discouraged, I'm trying to be thankful for the extra prep time and get some projects done around the house that I've just not had time for before.
Last week I organized our hall and bedroom closets. This hasn't been properly done since we moved in and it felt very nice. The other night I organized the part of my kitchen cabinets with all my baking stuff. I was getting tired of having to dig for everything, and trust me, you drop one Pyrex bowl on your toe, and you know it is time to get organized!
I have one cabinet that still needs to be organized--the one with all the sippy cups--this is insanely chaotic and I'll be glad to have it done so that bottles, etc. can move in alongside them peacefully. Also, I have a stack of Sterlite baskets that I used for books in my classroom that I want to use to organize Ezra's toys. His room is a bit of a disaster lately. I guess I'll work on those two projects today. :)

**The new part of our plan is this...remember those "nice little sugar pill" versions of black and blue cohosh I've been taking? Well, apparently they have a big brother, ha. Now I have some more concentrated versions of them. They are called "tinctures" and are a stronger, alcohol based extract.

Of course, we aren't talking like so much alcohol this would even give you a 'buzz,' but the funny thing is, this girl has NEVER had ANY alcohol in her life.

I'll give some of you a few seconds to stop rolling on the floor laughing as you imagine what my reaction is going to be like. Josh was beyond amused by the thought, ha!

The instructions for using them were to do 1 black and 2 blue squirts into something small--like shotglass size. Believe it or not, I don't have one on hand. ;) I am using a medicine cup.
To make it act more quickly, you are supposed to hold this under your tongue for 1 minute. She told me it would burn, etc. and it still took me a while to understand that these were in that kind of alcohol (I'm telling you, I'm a bit naive when it comes to the subject).
Alternatively, you can mix them into a little bit of juice and just swallow the whole thing quickly. The midwife suggested I try this method first and then try the other later.

After all the hub bub my husband created around the whole thing, I decided I'd better just go for it so that I wouldn't be afraid to try the harder way if the second way was awful enough.
Sorry to say, it wasn't that interesting a reaction. It did burn, so I'm sure my face wasn't pleasant-looking, but I only ended up with it under my tongue for about 30 seconds. After that my spit glands took over and I had to swallow. I think my mouth was afraid I was going to burn it and the safety kicked in! I quickly took a few swallows of apple juice to cool my mouth, and overall, it wasn't that terrible. I guess it's like anything--if you think it's going to be the worst thing ever or you keep thinking it will get worse, you can survive it better than you thought (note: this was also true about labor for me the first time). My throat did have a slight burn for a while afterwards, but I survived. My mission today is to do that as much as I can handle it (maximum of every 30 minutes), while continuing all the other lovely herbs and exercises. I am starting to sort of feel like a science experiment at times, but it will all be worth it to get Ellie here safely and to have a natural home birth. :)

So, to wrap it all up, I'm going to be taking herbs all day, exercising, re-organizing Ezra's room and a kitchen cabinet, and sitting on my yoga ball when I take the time to sit.
Yesterday I felt like a failure as a mom since I spent about 3 hours working on my blog trying to get a giveaway set up (Go enter now!), so Ezra was left to his own devices for that amount of time and then it was time for lunch, cleaning, and a grocery trip. All in all, he didn't get much attention, and had 3 potty accidents, which wouldn't have happened had I been more aware of him.
This morning we have already toasted bagels and topped them with cream cheese and he is watching Dora The Explorer while I finish up this post (I started it in the early morning hours after my potty break, lol).

That's all for now, folks! I'll update when there is an update. Until then, go enter my giveaway--even if you don't have someone to put these shoes on, they would make an excellent gift! :)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Cuddle Feet Boutique GIVEAWAY!!

Well, here it is! My first GIVEAWAY post! Remember the adorable Very Hungry Caterpillar shoes for Ellie I was raving about? Well, the creator of Cuddle Feet, Adriene, has given me permission to give away one pair of her amazing shoes!

In case you need a reminder of her amazing work, here are a few photos to ogle... :)

Reversible apple print Mary Janes (notice the cut-out apple accent on the closure)
Punk Rock print crib shoes

More adorable reversible Mary Janes!

Don't worry, she doesn't forget the boys!
Super cute sneakers

Perfect for 4th of July!

And don't forget the awesome toddler flip flops! (featuring suede bottoms)

Want your baby to have "Cuddle Feet" in the winter? No problem!

Ok, now that I've flooded your mind with the cuteness of her products, I'll let Adriene introduce herself...

Here is a short but sweet bio about myself...

I'm a married, stay at home mom to 6 little blessings. My oldest is 11yrs old and my youngest is 6 months--I have 4 boys and 2 girls. There is never a dull moment in my house but I wouldn't have it any other way. :) 

I am a self-taught sewer and the whole reason I started sewing was because I was tired of not being able to find cute clothes for my girls that were not inappropriate for their age. All of the shorts where super short, and skirts were even worse! So I decided I needed to make them clothes. My mother-in-law got me my first machine 3 years ago for Christmas, and it took me a year to take it out of the box, I was too scared of it! When I finally did take it out, I read the manual up and down, watched YouTube videos, and gathered advice from my close friends who also sew. I started easy--just adding ruffles to shirts and pants--and then worked my way up to making complete outfits, dresses, etc. 

Then I saw a cute pair of baby shoes online and at the time baby #5 was about 9 months, and she was a girl so of course shoes are a must! I bought the pattern for Mary Janes, tried it and the first time was a success! So I kept on making shoes for her and of course word/pictures  got out to my friends and family and it spread from there. Pretty soon I had people wanting me to make them shoes too.

I then decided to try my luck at some small local craft shows. I had success at those and that's really when I decided to make it a business. However, I couldn't just sell Mary Janes so I tweaked the pattern I had to make it better and started making the sneakers and crib shoes. When winter came along, I added boots to my store. 

Cuddle Feet has been around for only about 18mths so I'm still trying to get my name out. I have a shop on Etsy, my Facebook fan page and I have a store on Store Envy as well.

Now for the most exciting part--the giveaway details and the shoes you could win!

1. You must "Like" Cuddle Feet Boutique and Handmade by Deidre on Facebook to enter.

2. You must also tell me where to send your prize if you win! Your information will not be saved or used in any way by me, OR seen by others!

3. You can earn extra entries by completing the tasks listed on the Rafflecopter form.

Never used Rafflecopter? Don't worry, they don't use your information in any way (and neither will I). :) You can even sign in via Facebook. Lots of blogs use this free tool, so once you register, you'll be set to enter lots of other giveaways in the future!

Here are the fabulous shoes!

I love this gender neutral goldfish print!  Great for a boy or a girl!
There will also be a matching bag included, as seen in my review post.

Now, enter!! And share this with everyone you can!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, June 3, 2012

I'm Getting a Little Tired...

This is an ironic post to come immediately after a post on patience, but to prove I am human, I have to say there are a few things that are getting tiring in my life right now...

1. Sleeping on waterproof sheets 'just in case.' I had some of these in my birth supply box and we went ahead and set them up last Tuesday during our "False Alarm." I plan on delivering in the birth tub, but thought it was very possible for my water to break on the bed, so I might as well prepare. The problem now is that they are not super comfy (even with other sheets over them) and are definitely not breathable. I'm tired of waking up hot in the middle of the night and have just about decided to take them off the bed, since Murphy's Law says that will be when my water breaks, ha. Maybe they are even contributing to my bouts of insomnia, who knows?

2. Speaking of that birth tub...we set it up last Tuesday too. I told Josh we probably needed to take it down Wednesday before Ezra got home because I was afraid he'd want to jump/climb/dive into it, but Josh said as soon as he got it all put back up I'd go into labor and he'd have to get it all set up again. Luckily, Ezra hasn't bothered it a bit since he came home. He was curious about it, but Josh explained that it was "for Ellie" and he hasn't bothered it a bit since. He just occasionally mentions the fact that it is 'for Ellie' in passing. Now, I actually think the birth tub is pretty cool. It has the fastest (and loudest) air pump I've ever seen, and a water pump, filters, liner...this is not your little blow-up outdoor pool! Until recently, I would smell that plastic pool smell every time I went into our bedroom, though, and it was kind of a little reminder of, You haven't used me yet because you still haven't had that baby! Now I don't smell the plastic-y smell anymore. I don't think it's because I'm used to it (we keep our bedroom door closed most of the time, so it was definitely contained to there). I think it has actually had time to air out that 'new pool' smell. Maybe the midwife will be appreciative...

3. Yes, I realize I just gave the birthing tub a voice--and some attitude. This attitude is another thing I'm doing my best to deal with patiently. Our family has been pretty good at not being too demanding about 'when I'm going to have this baby,' but they have still had funny little things to say. I know they don't mean anything by them, so they don't bother me. It's when I run into other people--sometimes strangers--who simply have to ask, "Aren't you ever going to have that baby?!" that it starts to get a bit tiresome. It doesn't really make me mad...or even that's just that I am already acutely aware of the fact that I haven't yet given birth, and I'm already asking myself when she is coming about every second of every day. Understand--it's not that any of these people have a bad or negative attitude that bothers me--because they don't really have a bad or negative attitude. It's just that I'm already thinking about this constantly and when others mention it, it makes me that more aware of it. Also, although this is unfounded, it almost makes you feel guilty for not having the baby yet. This makes no sense at all, and I get that--I guess it's just a hormonal pregnancy thing.

The good thing is, I've been through this whole 'living past the due date' thing before and survived just fine. Ezra was born 9 days past his 'due date' and besides, due dates are estimates. They can go two weeks either way. I think in our society of instant gratification we accept that the baby can come early (how many mothers do you know who are 'ready when the baby is' once they reach 37 weeks?), but we don't want to think about the baby being 'late.' I refer you back to the '2 weeks either way' rule...if your date is off by 2 weeks, this could mean you are only 38 weeks along at your 'due date.'

Here are some positive things I think of to help me deal with the negative attitude that tries/is trying to creep up on me concerning Eliana not being here yet...

*It gives me time to finish up all the details of her nursery--I still need to hang her shelves, and a newborn will probably not appreciate the hammering this will entail. Plus, I found the perfect canvas for her room at Hobby Lobby yesterday that needs to find the perfect place on her walls--I wouldn't have even found that if she'd already been born because I probably wouldn't want to be cruising around Jonesboro on a shopping trip if she was only a few days old.

*It gives me more time to make sure Ezra and I get lots of quality time together before his 'only child' status is moot. I want him to know and feel just how much he is treasured and loved as we go through this major transition in all our lives. (Side note: I asked him last night when Ellie was coming out and he pulled on my belly and said, "It's too hard. She's stuck!" I told him it was okay and she'd come out when it was time, and he tried to 'open' my belly button--which no longer exists--and said, "I can't open it!" Just thought I'd share some cuteness. :) )

*We still have baby gear in the attic that needs to come into the house (cradle, swing, infant car seat). We haven't been in a rush to get any of this since none of it will be immediately needed, and when it is needed it will only take a few minutes to retrieve (I already put all of the baby gear next to the attic entrance a while back). Also, we have a toddler who would probably love to jump into the cradle (the one I slept in) and send it crashing into pieces or try to sit in the swing (ironically, our little man is probably not too far over the weight limit enough to harm it, ha), and the car seat would just be in the way right now.

*God knows when Eliana's birthday is. This was the number one most comforting fact when I was overdue with Ezra, and is still number one this time around. Just because we don't know when she is going to get here doesn't mean He doesn't. I told you the other day, if you say you're patient or ask to be more patient, God will hold you to it! Here I am, living proof once again, ha!
When I was in college, I completely totaled my car by running off a very large embankment (or 'cliff,' as we like to refer to it to help others understand how big a drop it was). Somehow my car barely missed hitting a culvert (we're talking inches here) that would have sent me toppling and, after a short flight, I landed upright in the bottom of a large ditch. It was, in a word, terrifying.
The most comforting words came from my mother at that time. She told me that my wreck wasn't a surprise to God. He knew exactly when that would happen and already had angels in place.
I cannot tell you how much those words comforted me. They felt like a soothing balm over my rapidly beating, panicked heart. I have remembered those words many, many times when things have gone wrong since then, and they still have that healing power. They remind me to "Be still and know that He is God."
So even though I don't know exactly when my sweet daughter will arrive, I can be assured that God already knows--what is left to worry about? She will come in His perfect timing, in His perfect way (whatever way that ends up being), and in His perfect plan for her and for us.
...I don't know about you, but that makes me feel pretty great!

Once again, patiently, not perfectly, waiting,