Sunday, November 1, 2015

Josie Jo - 5 Month Update

Happy Halloween! This cutie is 5 months old today! She's SO much fun and we love her to pieces. Here's a little bit about her lately:

  • 18 lbs. & 26 inches
  • Loves food! She drinks about 7 oz of formula every 3 hours and gets some rice cereal mixed in with her last bottle of the night to help tide her over until morning
    • She has tried rice cereal, green beans, and sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes are definitely her favorite of them all (she's her mama's baby), but she'll chow down on just about anything you give her. The faces she makes eating are THE BEST. We get a lot of laughs at every meal. She also loves to chew on the spoon. She'll chomp down and won't let go. It's pretty cute.
  • Loves baths and has learned to splash! She loves to kick her legs and slap her hands on the water and she giggles and smiles every time she does it.
  • Best. sleeper. ever. (Pleeeeeease let that last!!!) She goes down around 8 p.m. and doesn't usually get up until 8 a.m. and takes about 2 45 min. naps a day (usually in my arms...I don't care if you think that's spoiling her. It's spoiling ME, and we both love it).
  • Loves to play with toys - her ball and her lion teething toy are her favorites, but apparently burp cloths and blankies are also great toys.
  • Still VERY much a mama's girl (ahem...see above post about spoiling). I get nervous every time I take her anywhere to be babysat because she usually screams for everyone. Our family has a really great schedule - Sean takes care of JoJo while I teach in the mornings, then when I'm done with work, I come home and take over and he goes to work. This is great, because we don't have to pay for childcare, but it also means that Josie spends ALL of her time with mom and dad, so she's not really down for hanging out with anybody else. I can't really blame her, we're awesome and all, but I do feel bad for grandmas and grandpas and aunts and uncles.
  • She can roll over from tummy to back, but doesn't do it often, although she spends a pretty good amount of time on her belly throughout the day. She is close to rolling from back to tummy, but hasn't done it yet.
  • She scoots around in a circle on the floor when we put her down on her tummy. She can go 360 degrees, haha. 
  • Still just has 2 teeth, and they're so cute. 
  • Loves to talk and has long conversations with daddy all the time. 
  • Has the best laugh ever! She squeals and does these big belly laughs that are so funny.
  • She's ticklish, especially under her chin and under her arms.

I could go on about her all day. She is the light of my life, for sure. I love her so much I could cry just thinking about it. Even though being parents can be tough and there are days when both of us wish we could have a break, I still get excited for her to wake up every morning and I'm reluctant to lay her down in her crib every night. I miss her like crazy during the 4 hours I'm at school and I just want to hang out with her all day. She's just basically the best baby ever. 

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Breast vs. Bottle Battle...a.k.a. A Really Long Post That Probably Gets A Little Too Personal

Breastfeeding was so important to me. It wasn't even a question, of course I was planning to breastfeed my baby. How could you not want to?! I took a class, read Pinterest posts with tips and stories, etc. etc.

It was hard at first, we both cried, but within a few days, we got it figured out. Then she started to grow and grow! She was eating so often and never seemed to be satisfied. Then we both got Thrush (a yeast infection that affects baby's mouth and mommy's breasts). She seemed to fuss every time she nursed and I think her mouth was sore. I started giving her a bottle with pumped breastmilk, and that seemed to be more comfortable for both of us while we dealt with the Thrush, but then she lost interest in breastfeeding. The milk didn't flow as quickly as it did from the bottle and she lost her patience fast. I tried and tried for a while, but then I started almost exclusively pumping. Then my supply started to seriously diminish. I'm not sure if it was from my Thrush, or the exclusive pumping, or what, but I could barely get 2 ounces per side during each pumping session. I had never really overproduced, so I didn't have any freezer storage to fall back on. I started supplementing with formula. I cried and cried when I made that first bottle for her, but she ate it with gusto and I could tell that although it was foreign to her little tummy and made her gassy at first, she was full and satisfied for the first time in a long time.

Now, a few months later, I'm still struggling with it all. My supply has steadily decreased, JoJo will only nurse when she's calm and not too hungry. If she's really got an appetite, she'll just cry when trying to nurse because she's not getting enough food fast enough. I have truly and honestly tried absolutely everything to increase my supply. I drink the recommended amount of water every day, I get enough sleep, I try and manage my stress and stay calm and happy, I've taken 3 capsules of Fenugreek 3 times a day for months, I've used essential oils, I've tried different breast pumps, I pump ever 2-3 hours including sometimes in the middle of the night, I drink lactation tea, I eat oatmeal every day, I've tried massage, I've tried more frequent nursing, I've tried more frequent pumping, I've tried praying, I've tried sobbing, I've tried begging, and nothing is working. As we sit, I only get 0.5-1 oz. per side, per session. Josie drinks about 5.5 oz. per feeding, every 3 hours. She gets whatever breastmilk I produce + formula, mixed together in a bottle. JoJo seems to be handling Similac total comfort formula pretty well, although we had to try several types to figure out which one seemed the best for her tummy. I am trying so hard not to be upset that she is pretty much a formula baby at this point, but I really am upset. THIS IS NOT WHAT WAS SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN! I know that I've done everything I can to provide her with breastmilk, and I'm proud of every half ounce I have been able to give her, and I will continue to do that for as long as I can, hoping and praying that she's receiving some of the important benefits.

Providing food for my baby takes twice as long as it does other mothers, whether they formula feed or breastfeed. I have to pump, then prepare a bottle, then wash everything, etc. It really is tough.I have learned a lot, and I have some ideas to try for our next baby that I hope will help me have a more successful breastfeeding experience next time, but I just don't know that there's any way of turning this ship around at this point.

Really, I just feel like I am a disappointment. Other mothers (and grandmothers and neighbors and friends and total strangers) seem to think that it's okay to ask if you're breastfeeding (which I kind of think is personal and not really their business to ask about...haha, obviously I feel like volunteering that information is different...if *I* bring it up, then we can discuss whether or not I'm breastfeeding...haha), and when you tell them that you're trying, but that you're giving formula, the disappointment and concern on their faces is really hurtful. I know the benefits of breastfeeding. I am not giving it some half-hearted effort. It's not that I don't want to breastfeed. I don't know what's wrong with me or why my body won't cooperate, but that's my situation.

I'm not worried about the aspect of bonding with my baby. When I feed her that bottle, I snuggle her close and look at her beautiful little face and talk to her just like I would when breastfeeding her. We are bonded, she loves me, she knows I love her. I am, howeverworried about her immune system and future susceptibility to diseases and conditions that breastfeeding seems to decrease the risk of, and that's why I continue to pump and give her the feeble amount of milk I'm able to produce.

It's just hard. I'm not a patient, carefree, easygoing person. I am an uptight, anxiety-ridden, perfectionistic person. Failure (or perceived failure) is so hard for me to handle. Criticism is also hard for me to handle. Those character flaws make this situation so frustrating and hard for me to let go of. This has been weighing on my mind so heavily for the last few months and I just needed to put it out there into the world. Maybe I'm hoping for support and for people to say, "don't listen to anybody, you're doing what's best for you and your baby," or, "I feed my baby formula, too. I know how you're feeling," or something. Maybe I'm hoping someone will tell me I am a bad mom so that I can get mad and defend and rationalize my choices, I don't know. But there it is.

3 Month Update!

Okay, she's 3 1/2 months old. I stink at this monthly updating business.

Here's the latest about our little princess:

  • Um, she has 2 TEETH! We noticed them on 9/16 - exactly 3 1/2 months old. She has been drooling and chewing on everything for several weeks now, so we thought it might be coming, but it seemed like all of a sudden, I looked and saw 2 sparkly white, sharp little chompers in there! 
  • She's enormous! She's so chubby and adorable. She's wearing mostly 6-month size clothes, although some of them are too big in the shoulders and arms and the pants are usually too long. She needs the extra width in the belly and thighs though! Her best chunky feature is her cheeks. In fact, "Cheeks" is her nickname from her grandpa Jim.
  • Still eating about 5.5 oz at each feeding, usually every 2-3 hrs. apart.
  • Still sleeps through the night! Plus a good nap in the morning and a short one in the late afternoon.
  • Tries SO hard to sit up. Great at holding up her head and always looks like she's trying to do crunches because she's pulling her head up when she's sitting or laying down.
  • Smiles and laughs!!! Her laugh is absolutely the best sound I have ever heard! She's totally ticklish. She also loves to talk, blow raspberries, and make spit bubbles.
  • Still loves baths and walks, the jury is out on car rides at the moment. She either sleeps and is great, or fusses the whole time.
  • She got to visit me at school a few times this month and my students love her, of course! They're working on teaching her Spanish, Russian, and Finnish :) We didn't get a whole lot done in our Choir Council meeting because her cuteness was so distracting...
  • Does okay with tummy time. Sometimes she seems to like it and does good, sometimes she hates it and cries until I pick her back up.
  • Still a total mama's girl! In fact, I get so scared to take her to be babysat because I'm so worried she'll just scream the whole time. She does love her grandmas and grandpas, though! :)
  • Has zero interest in rolling over. I think she's too fat maybe, hehehe :)
  • Loves cuddling and taking naps with Daddy. He can snuggle up with her and get her to fall asleep at almost any time of day. It melts my heart!
  • Spits up kind of a lot. My mom told me it's payback since I was a big spitter too.
  • HATES having a wet or poopy diaper. 
  • Still hates to turn her head to the left. She can, she just doesn't like to. She's got a pretty good flat spot on the right side of her head. We try to get her to turn to the left as much as possible. She eats bottles turned to the left and we put her to sleep lying with her head to the left (and I prop her up a little bit with a rolled up blanket to keep her that way...haha). I really hope it evens out and she doesn't have to wear a helmet...I guess we'll see.
  • Loves music and hearing singing. She smiles and stares when I sing to her and she LOVES to play air drums with Daddy.
I could go on all night. She's the most beautiful, funny, sassy, chubby baby I've ever seen and we love her so much!!!

Josie - 2 Months

Oh, look! Another late blog post!

Josie is 2 months old! Here are some updates:

She had her 2 month Dr.'s appointment and we found out that she is just under 13 lbs. and just under 24 inches long! She has gained about 5 pounds and 4 inches since birth. She got her 2 mo. shots, which she handled pretty well. She screamed for a couple minutes, but then she was okay. It was definitely one of the saddest things I've seen to look at her face after those shots...she just looked so sad and mad and I know it hurt. I kind of had to laugh at her a little bit...that pouty face was just so cute (in the saddest way).

We had a little scare with her shots later in the day. Sean was changing her diaper and noticed that one of her legs where she got the shots was really swollen and hard and red. She would SCREAM if you even touched it. I called the Dr.'s office and they told us to come in to check to see if she was having an allergic reaction or something. We headed there, but by the time the Dr. got in and looked at her, the redness had gone away. The reaction wasn't because of an allergy, she had fallen asleep after we got home from her shots and since she wasn't moving around, the fluid from the injection hadn't had distributed throughout the tissue very well and it got swollen and sore. We just gave her some Tylenol through the night. She was totally fine the next day.

She eats ALL the time. She is drinking about 5 oz. every 2 hours, except at night. She gets about 50% formula and 50% breastmilk (because I can't seem to keep up with her demands!).

She sleeps through the night (has been doing this for almost a month now and we SERIOUSLY hope it lasts!). She goes to bed around 10 p.m. and gets up around 6 or 7 a.m. Occasionally she wakes up around 4, but will eat and go right back to sleep. Also, after she wakes up at 6 or 7, she'll usually go back to bed for another hour or so. I know how lucky we are that she does this...and I am so glad.

She doesn't nap much during the day, surely because she sleeps so much at night. She just 'cat naps' for 15-20 minutes at a time several times a day. It's very strange (and wonderful) if she naps for more than 30 min.

She loves: food, snuggles (my favorite thing on earth is to hold her up on my shoulder - she snuggles right up under my chin and just wants to stay there forever), MOM (I'm definitely her favorite, hehe), prune juice (Dr. recommended we give her some each day because she's not pooping as often as she should), baths, when mommy sings and talks to her, going for walks and car rides, being swaddled, her puppy swing, and her binkie.

She is SMILING! It's the most wonderful thing in the world. I just melt into a puddle of happiness every time she smiles at me. She is starting to coo and make noises. I love that she seems to startle herself sometimes when she makes a noise. It's so cute and funny.

Depending on who you ask, she looks JUST LIKE ME or JUST LIKE SEAN. Hahahaha. I think she's just a good combo of both of us and we'll have to see which features she really got from which parent as she grows. It is fun to compare our baby pictures to her though...there are definitely some similarities!

She has been able to spend lots of time with both of her grandmas and grandpas and lots of extended family this month. She has been on lots of adventures too! Walks by the river, lots of lunch and dinner dates with friends, being babysat by Gma and Gpa Morris, lots of car trips to visit family, meeting lots of friends and cousins, lots of shopping trips, celebrating the 4th of July at Willard Bay, the Peterson Family Reunion (Sean's Peterson side, not mine...we're both Petersons, but we're not kissin' cousins...I promise), a family pool party, and more that I'm sure I'm forgetting.

She was blessed on Sun. 8/2 by Sean in our ward in Ogden. SO MANY of our friends and family came! This girl is very, very loved. We were so grateful to have so many people come to share the day with us. She got to wear the same blessing dress that my sisters and I wore. It was made for my mom for her blessing out of the same fabric as my grandmother's wedding dress. She also got to wear my mom's bracelet - a pretty gold bangle that was given to her for her blessing by her great-grandmother. My mom also made Josie a sweet little beaded bracelet that I know she will treasure forever. I bought her some cute little booties and she wore a headband that she got as a baby shower gift from a friend of mine at work. She looked like a perfect little angel! I recorded her blessing on my phone so that I could type it up and put it in her baby book for her. It was a beautiful blessing and I know it will be a treasure for her when she gets older.

I had a cool experience with her blessing that I wanted to write about. When Sean and I started thinking seriously about trying to have a baby, I remember praying and saying, "I know this world is a scary place to raise children, but I also know that there are many of Thy children who are still waiting for their chance at this earthly life. I want to be a mother and I want to raise up a child that will change the world for the better and be a warrior for Thy kingdom." I didn't really talk much about those prayers to anyone, even Sean, but in her blessing, she was told that she will be a light in the darkness and an example that people around her will look to. I just felt a strong witness that Josie is a very tough, special girl. She has a purpose and a work to do in this life - a work that God has chosen her for. It was a neat thing to hear, and even from what little of her spirit and personality we have come to know these past 2 months, I know it is true.

She is a beautiful, healthy, strong-willed girl and I am so proud of her. I love her with all my heart and am trying to cling to this newborn stage for as long as I can. I'm trying to soak up every snuggle and spend as much time just holding her and looking at her as I can before she changes even more!

Josie Jo's 1 Month Update

Well...I forgot to post this when I actually wrote here it is, just a couple months late!

Josie Jo is one month old! Well...actually she's almost 6 weeks old...but who has time for blogging when you don't even have time to take a shower? Anyway, here is some info. about our little monkey!

FOOD! - She is ALWAYS eating. I am not producing near enough for her, so she gets both breastmilk and formula (hopefully this is just temporary...we both have thrush, and it's affecting my supply and her ability to nurse). The formula seems to make her gassy, even though I give her gas drops every time she eats it. It does seem to fill her up better than breastmilk, so she's sleeping better, which is nice.

Snuggles - She just loves to cuddle. She loves being wrapped up in her swaddlers and to be held close. I'm trying to take advantage or every baby snuggle I can get!

The Swing(s) - We have a Mamaroo and a Fisher Price Snugapuppy swing (why do we have 2 swings? Because Dad couldn't resist the Mamaroo technology...that's why *eyeroll*), and she likes them both. They're also lifesavers for Mommy and Daddy...haha.

Going Out! - We joke all the time that she's easier to handle at the store than she is at home! She loves loves loves going for walks in the stroller. It's probably her absolute favorite thing. She also does pretty well on car rides and loves to look around and figure things out when we take her out to the store or wherever.

Grandmas and Grandpas - We've been able to spend lots of time with both of Josie's grandparents and she just loves them. I love to see her snuggle with them!

Movement - Whenever she's being held, Josie loves to be bounced, rocked, swayed, patted/burped, etc. In her bassinet, she loves for the vibration setting to be turned on.

Baths - She was not a fan at first, but now Josie loves being in the bathtub.

Getting out of the bathtub, having her diaper or clothes changed, taking her Vitamin D supplement (she shudders every time), and wearing her mittens (she has been scratching her face SO badly, but I'm too scared to do her mittens it is)

Here's a list of things I've learned in Josie's first month:

  • Huggies. Don't even bother with anything else. The Up & Up brand from Target are okay too, if you must.
  • If you put baby down on a surface without a burp cloth underneath her, she WILL spit up on it. 
  • It will take you twice as long as you think it will to get out of the house.
  • You CAN eat dinner in 30 seconds. It will already be cold by the time you have that 30 seconds to spare, though.
  • 4 hours of sleep in a row can feel like a luxury. WHAT?!
  • Breastfeeding is hard.
  • Resolve brand stain sticks...they will save the lives of all the cute outfits you bought (both hers and yours).
  • Hormones, anxiety, crying, endless questions that keep you up in the middle of the night, and a general lack of well-being are the new normal.
  • Boobs are no longer a private part. Nearly everyone who has spent any time at my house since she was born has now seen mine....but I don't even care.
  • I both love and hate Sean more than I thought possible. He's the best daddy and husband in the world, and Josie and I are so lucky...but at 3 a.m. when I've been up for 2 hours and he's snoring away next to me, I tend to forget that...
  • Being a mommy is wonderful. It's pretty amazing to be someone's favorite person in the whole world.

My Thoughts On... (AKA What I've Learned So Far)

So, I've been a mom for 3 whole weeks, which makes me basically an expert now ;) hahaha. Here's what I've learned so far...

My Thoughts On:

Labor & Delivery
Everyone's experiences will be different - from person to person and child to child, but, in my experience, it's NOT AS BAD AS THEY MAKE YOU THINK IT IS! My labor and delivery was so smooth. Yes, contractions are painful, but by no means were mine excruciating, and I was at more than 8 cm and 100% effaced before I got an epidural. BTW, my epidural was not scary at all. It didn't hurt, it didn't take long, and it was definitely a wonderful thing to have. Not being in any pain helped me to have a calm, peaceful, happy birth experience and I loved it.

It's hard. It really is. The first few days really were the worst. It's hard because it's frustrating if it doesn't work out easily from the beginning, it's hard because it's painful sometimes, it's hard because it feels like all you ever do is sit on the couch nursing your baby, it's hard because you want your baby to get plenty to eat and get all roly-poly like the Michelin man and you're just not sure if you're giving her enough. Also, breastmilk....everywhere. Just everywhere.

Cute Things
Why do we put cute changing pad covers over the waterproof changing pad? That's dumb. It will just inevitably get poop, pee, and spit up all over it, and you will change it every single day at least once. Also, it's unfortunate that babies can't just be nekked all the time, because their poop, pee, and spit up will also get all over their adorable clothes and stain them beyond redemption.

**Update: So, now I've been a mom for 3 whole MONTHS! So, I'm for sure an expert now if I wasn't before. Ha ha ;) Here's a few more things I would add to this list at this point:

Diaper Bags
I bought a cute, sort of expensive diaper bag. Then I found out it was really too small to fit all of the stuff I needed (*cough* firsttimemom *cough*). So, I ditched it and bought an equally cute, waaaaay cheaper, and much more useful diaper bag from WalMart. WalMart ftw.

Favorite Products
Here's just a gigantic list: muslin swaddle blankets, Avent natural bottles & binkies, Burt's Bees baby wash (best smell everrrr), Boudreaux's Butt Paste & diaper rash preventer spray, Huggies little snugglers (seriously THE BEST), Similac total comfort formula, Angel Care baby monitor, vinegar (I know, you didn't think that was a baby product...but it is. I use it in laundry, washing bottles, cleaning, etc. It's my favorite thing ever), binkie clips, Grow With Me socks.

The first few weeks of JoJo's life were so hard. Now I understand that what everyone tries to tell you really is true: you really do know what your baby needs better than anyone else. Your mother's intuition IS enough, you are doing a wonderful job, and everything WILL be okay. And the stress does get easier to manage. It doesn't go away, you just adjust and learn to be happy through it all and not take life too seriously.

In my experience, most of the "judgy-judgers" aren't actually trying to bring you down. They usually have good intentions when they make little comments or give you unsolicited advice. Listen to them, then decide for yourself whether or not it's worth taking to heart. If you don't feel like it is, or if you're somehow bothered by it, learn to brush it off and say to yourself, "Well, I'm the best mom ever, so I'll just do things my way, thanks." ;)

Friday, June 19, 2015

Josie's Birth Story

Okay, here come ALL the details! Josie's birth was such an incredible, surreal experience. I love re-living it and remembering everything that happened, so I'm excited to have it all written down for the future.

I first started having contractions on Sunday, May 24th. Sean and I were in Orem celebrating my dad's birthday and were driving home to Ogden that evening. The contractions were about 7 minutes apart and slightly painful, but not bad. I was hoping that it was the beginning of labor, but by 10 p.m., they stopped completely. They started up again on Tuesday that week and continued until she was born the following Sunday! It was crazy. The contractions would last for hours in a row, and then disappear for a few hours. They were painful, but not bad and they didn't get more intense or closer together than about 5-7 minutes apart. By Saturday, I had learned about prodromal labor...yeah, that's a thing...but I didn't know about it until I was experiencing it.

Friday afternoon, we had a doctors' appointment. The doctor checked me and told me I was at 4 cm. and 90% effaced. I told her about the contractions and her eyes got big. She got a big smile and said, "Well then maybe we'll see you again tonight!" I hoped she was going to be right...but no luck. Friday night was pretty much uneventful.

Saturday started out the same as all the previous days that week, with mild contractions 5-7 min. apart. Sean had a lot of work to do at his shop in Brigham City, so I told him to go and work...I was sure nothing was going to happen at home. Before he left, we went for a walk around the neighborhood to see if we could get anything going, but still no luck. When we got home, Sean left for work and I settled in for a long day of 'false labor.' Contractions varied in length and intensity and ranged from 3-10 minutes apart all day.

By the afternoon, the contractions were pretty steady at 7 minutes apart and getting more painful. I was starting to wonder if something was wrong, since they still weren't getting any closer together and by this point, I had been doing this 'false labor' business for 5 days. I decided that when Sean got home, we would go in to the hospital just to get checked out. I was sure they would send me home, but at least we would know that everything was okay and progressing normally.

When Sean got home around 7:30, we went for another walk to see if it would do anything to make the contractions either stop or pick up a little more. In the 20 minutes we were walking, the contractions became a lot more intense and got to be about 4 minutes apart. I had to stop walking during contractions and hold on to Sean and breathe through them. We got lots of funny looks from the neighbors, but I'm pretty sure they all knew what was going on and were actually pretty excited for us. We got home and Sean gave me a beautiful blessing. Then, we put our bags in the car and headed to the hospital!

When we got there, I had Sean take a picture of me by the car in the parking lot before we went in. We walked up to labor and delivery (stopping along the way for a few contractions), and checked in around 9:00 p.m. I got changed into a gown in the triage room and a nurse came in to check me. I was already at a 7 and nearly 100% effaced. I looked at Sean, then looked at her and said, "So I get to stay?!" She laughed and said, "Uhhhhh,'re definitely staying."

In the triage room, they put in an IV block and then we headed to the delivery room. My mother-in-law arrived soon after that and we all hung out for a while. Around 11, I was at an 8 and asked to get an epidural. I felt like I was handling the contractions really well and wasn't in excruciating pain or anything, but I was sure that I would want to be numb down there for whatever was coming next. The anesthesiologist came in and looked at me (pardon my bragging...) and said to the nurse, "Are you sure she's at an 8? She looks too calm and relaxed to be that far." Then he asked me if I was sure I even wanted the epidural. I was just pleased as punch to hear that it seemed like I was doing a good job and hanging tough, but I definitely still wanted the epidural...haha.

The epidural was super quick and easy, not painful or scary at all. After the epidural kicked in, my contractions slowed down a lot. My water still hadn't broken though, so we decided to have them go ahead and do that. Since it was now officially the middle of the night, the nurses decided to wait to call the on-call OB until I was ready to start pushing. A residence Dr. came in and broke my water around 1 or 2 a.m. and then labor picked right back up. Everything went pretty fast after that.

At 3:00 a.m., I started pushing with my labor nurse (who was AWESOME! I just loved her! Best nurse I had the entire time in the hospital). At about 3:30, the on-call OB arrived, and at 4:10 Josie Jo Morris was born! 7 lbs. 7 oz., 19 inches long and came out screaming. She was the most beautiful, smushy, cone-headed little monkey I've ever seen in my life! :)

It was the best possible birth experience I could have imagined. I wasn't afraid or in pain or anything the whole time. I really loved it and honestly love to think back on it. Sean was amazing...right by my side the entire time. We had a pretty crowded delivery room - my sisters were there too, taking pictures and crying...haha. My mom and mother-in-law were also there, and I am so glad they stayed for her birth. I think they were both hesitant to do that, and I told them they didn't have to stay if they didn't want to, but it was such a neat experience to have so much joy and excitement in the room when she was born.

I struggle with anxiety and have for most of my life. I have always been nervous about having a baby, and as I thought about what I wanted my labor/delivery experience to be like, I had 2 major goals. 1.) Labor at home for as long as possible. I wanted to be home with my husband with all my own stuff and be able to labor however it felt comfortable to. I watched lots of TV, went for lots of walks, ate good food, sat on my exercise ball, used a heating pad, and made it to 7 cm. on my own! Mission accomplished! 2.) Keep the mood in the room  happy, positive, excited, and not too serious. I knew that having my sisters, mom, and MIL there with me and Sean would help with that. Everything worked out perfectly and I couldn't have been happier. I felt happy and calm the entire time. I wouldn't change a single thing about Josie's birth. It was just perfect.

When I saw her face, I immediately thought how much she looked like Sean. She has his eyes and his face shape and a good amount of fuzzy brown hair. As soon as they laid her on my chest, she stopped crying and just looked up at me. It was one of the most magical experiences of my life. I said her name and she lifted up her head and turned toward me like she knew her name! It was so neat!
I will absolutely never forget those precious moments of holding that little baby on my chest with Sean standing over us. We all 3 just looked at each other and was like there was no one else in the world but us.

It took about an hour for the doctor to finish patching me up (2nd degree tear, bled a lot, lots of fun...). After that and after Josie got all cleaned up, they put me in a wheelchair and we headed to recovery.

I have to say...I would rather do labor (all 5 days of it) and delivery again than the first week of Josie's life. My anxiety level during those first several days was just off the charts. I know it's normal for new parents to be nervous, but with my anxiety issues, it's like taking those typical new mom worries and doubling them. Thank goodness for my wonderful husband, who knows just how to take care of me and is endlessly patient. He is such an amazing daddy. Also, we were so blessed by our families and neighbors. Our ward brought us several dinners and both my family and Sean's came down to visit and hang out with us that first week.

Now that we're going on week 3, life is easier. There are still difficult moments every single day, but we're all figuring things out together. Josie is growing perfectly and is healthy and strong, I'm feeling better physically and mentally, and all 3 of us are adjusting to our new lives. Josie is just so perfect and beautiful and I know she was meant to be a part of our family. We love her so much and are so blessed and happy that she is here. I have loved watching her grow and change already, but have also tried to soak up every moment of her baby-ness and enjoy every newborn experience (even the tough ones). I just can't believe we're's still so surreal.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Parenthood Playlist

JJ's birth story is coming soon, promise...I just need the time to use more than one hand to type, and so far, that is pretty rare...since I'm either holding a baby, wiping up something that came out of the baby, or trying desperately to sleep. So, we'll get to that eventually. For now, here's this:

So, JJ is 8 whole days old now...say WHAT?! Time has flown, and at the same time, I feel like it's been an eternity. Sean and I have been joking around this week about songs (titles only...not necessarily lyrics) that describe our parenthood we've created a Parenthood Playlist. Here's what we've got so far. What other songs would you put on here?

"We Will Rock You" - Queen
"Pump it Up" - Joe Budden
"Rock the Night" - Europe
"Crazy Train" - Ozzy Osborne
"Crazy Little Thing Called Love" - Queen
"Hard Day's Night" - The Beatles
"I Need You Now" - Firehouse
"Hungry Eyes" - Eric Carmen
"Push It" - Salt 'n' Pepa
"Baby Love" - The Supremes
"Brown-Eyed Girl" - Van Morrison

I know I had more, but I can't remember (mom brain is totes for real...)

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Best Chicken Noodle Soup Ever

I love homemade soup, especially chicken noodle. Here's the recipe for the soup I mentioned in my last post!

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or you could use shredded rotisserie chicken)
4-5 stalks of celery, diced
4-5 large carrots, peeled & diced
1 small onion, diced
Olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic (I just use minced garlic from a jar)
Fresh thyme, oregano, and parsley (or dried versions...fresh is just prettier and tastier)
Salt & Pepper, other seasonings to taste (like garlic salt or garlic powder, etc.)
1 lemon
Your favorite kind of pasta (I like rotini, shells, or egg noodles)
Chicken stock

I like to roast the chicken in the oven instead of boiling it with the soup - the flavor and texture of the chicken is just so much better. You could also just roast it in a skillet on the stovetop, but I usually do it in the oven. Season chicken w/ salt, pepper, and other seasonings to taste (I like to use oregano and thyme), drizzle with olive oil, and bake at 400 for 25 min. (Baking time will vary depending on how big the chicken breasts are. Make sure to butterfly them open if they're extremely thick).

While chicken is roasting, start the veggies.

In a giant pot (really, use the biggest one you have because this will make a lot of soup), heat about 1-2 T. each of olive oil and butter (the flavor combo is the only reason for using's just good, trust me). Add garlic and sautee for about a minute.

Add veggies and stir together. Sautee for several minutes - until onions and celery begin to turn translucent.

Add chicken stock, water, and noodles. I honestly don't measure the stock/water. I use however much stock I happen to have around (a box or 2, or several cans), and then supplement the rest of the liquid with water. Of course, you could also use chicken boullion to turn your water into broth. You want the ratio of liquid to veggies/pasta to be about 2 to 1 before the pasta is will absorb a ton of liquid. If you use more stock than water, you may not need as many seasonings, if you use more water, use more seasonings.

Slice lemon in half add all the juice to the soup - it just adds a freshness and brightness that is so delicious. It doesn't create a strong lemon flavor at all.

Add herbs and seasonings to taste.

Cook that stuff until the noodles are cooked and the veggies are soft, then enjoy. You will need bread - I love to eat it with sourdough toast with butter and some parmesan cheese.

Colds During Pregnancy

Well, here I am at more than 39 weeks pregnant and sick with a cold...again. I just had a cold a month ago! The only upside I can think of is that it's a good distraction and has made me quit wishing I would hurry up and go into labor. Now I want her to wait until I'm, there's that.

Anyway, having a cold is the pits when you're NOT pregnant. But when you ARE, it's even worse! Since most cold medicines are off-limits, you have to get creative about managing your symptoms and finding ways to knock that virus out. Here are my tips...since I'm pretty much an expert now:

  • Drink plenty of water (duh). Plenty means like, 80-100 ounces a day. Yes, you will be parking yourself on the toilet a lot. But if you're pregnant, you're used to that anyway. You want to flush that sickness out of your body.

  • Sleep (duh). Take a benadryl at night and say adios, world. Also, naps....naps are underrated!

  • Hot water w/ honey and lemon. I think 8 oz. water + 2 slices of lemon + a spoonful of raw honey is the perfect ratio. It soothes the throat, and honey and lemon both have germ-killing properties that might help tackle the virus.

  • Tissues w/ lotion in them. Yes, you need them, trust me. Spring for the lotion kind! Isn't that raw, red skin around your nose the worst? Aquaphor ointment is a must-have too. It's the BEST ointment in the world. Put it on that red, raw skin if you have it, and use it to moisturize your lips, since you're now a mouth-breather and your lips are surely chapped. Bonus: you can use it on baby too, once he/she gets here! It is safe and effective on sensitive skin and will help with dry skin and diaper rash.

  • Halls sugar-free cough drops. I hate cough drops. They're just yucky. The ones that taste good don't do anything to sooth your throat and sinuses, and the ones that feel like they make a difference are just icky-tasting. Bummer. I like halls sugar-free strawberry flavor because of the menthol (and they taste the best of all the halls varieties, I think). Since nasal decongestants are probably first on the list of pregnancy medication no-no's, you will need all the help you can get in that area. I like that halls has the sugar-free option because I hate sweater know what I'm talking about.

  • Essential oils. I'm a doTERRA fan and already have a lot of these oils on hand. It's recommended that you put a small amount of Melaleuca on your tongue when you first notice cold symptoms, and then repeat this several times. Melaleuca tastes terrible, but I did it anyway. I also rubbed melaleuca and lemon oils on the bottoms of my feet. They're both oils with germ-killing abilities, too, so I'm hoping they're helping to kill the virus. I also like to rub eucalyptus/peppermint/Breathe oil on the bottoms of my feet, then sleep with socks on. It works wonders for nasal congestion. You can also diffuse the oils in your room while you sleep, and can rub them on your chest or under your nose to help clear your sinuses. Another great place to use essential oils is in the shower. Put a few drops of eucalyptus/peppermint/Breathe on the floor of the shower then get the steam going and enjoy being able to breathe through your nose :). A bath would be nice too - toss some Epsom salts in with your bathwater, add some essential oils, and soak for a while.

  • Simply Saline spray. It's just saline and baking soda, and it will help to clear your nasal passages when nothing else will!

  • Tylenol & Benadryl. Yay! 2 medicines you can actually take. Tylenol has helped take the edge off the headache/body aches and Benadryl has helped me to sleep, mostly, but also stops the sneezing. 

  • Mild exercise. If you feel up to it, do something to get your blood flowing. Go for a short walk, do some chores, etc. Even just getting up and taking a shower will help you feel better.

  • Comfort food! I don't know if orange juice and chicken soup really do anything to cure a cold, but they sure make me FEEL better, and that's important. Last night when my symptoms started, I made a big batch of chicken noodle soup with lots of veggies, garlic, roasted chicken, and herbs. I served it up to myself with a couple pieces of toasted sourdough bread and felt better almost immediately. Also, can't go wrong chasing that soup with a glass of OJ! Tropicana makes a bottle with extra Vitamin C & Zinc! That's juice made for people with colds! Also, did you even need another reason to keep popsicles and ice cream around? If you're pregnant, you probably have them in your freezer already...haha.

I'm going to go follow my own advice of luck! If you have more suggestions for managing a cold while pregnant, please share! :)

Wednesday, May 20, 2015


That's what I'm calling these 2 weeks off from work...NestFest2015. I feel it's an appropriate title...

Can I brag about my nesting accomplishments now? Okay, good:

  • Air ducts cleaned and sanitized
  • Carpets and nursery rocker cleaned and sanitized
  • Fridge/Freezer cleaned out and wiped down
  • Nursery done
  • Hospital bags packed
  • Car seat installed (correctly, even! Had it checked at the husband is so great at following instruction manuals)
  • Car vacuumed and wiped out
  • Bathroom deep-cleaned
  • Groceries stocked up
  • Baby clothes washed, sorted, folded, ooh'ed and aah'd over, put away
  • School/substitute plans made
  • Dog/iguana sitter arranged
  • I even went through our closets, took boxes of old clothes to D.I., and organized our closets. And, my clothes are now sorted into 3 sections: maternity clothes, tents designed for hiding a post-baby body, and "maybe again someday, if you're lucky."

Yay! Aren't my obsessive-compulsive, first-time-mom tendencies impressive?! I thought you'd think so...

Monday, May 18, 2015

38 Weeks!

2 weeks until my due date?! What?! How did that happen? It feels like it's come up fast. Here's how I'm feeling:

  • I think I have carpal tunnel issues with my hand. My middle and ring fingers on my right hand have been tingly (feel like they're asleep) for a straight week now. Sometimes it radiates further up my arm, but it's not painful.
  • Feeling baby dropping - can't wear non-maternity pants without them falling down!
  • Lots of cervical pressure and occasional lower back and lower abdomen pain/cramping.
  • Getting huge. I just feel enormous. I can't roll over in bed without a whole series of grumblings and groanings, and it's like comedy hour watching me get up from sitting on the floor.
  • Sooooo much excitement! I get excited whenever I feel a twinge of pain, hoping it might be the beginning of labor :) 

More updates:

  • We celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary on 5/13. It was very low-key - we went for a long walk by the river and had dinner at our favorite Italian place, Rovali's. It was a fun night and we reminisced a lot about everything we've been able to do in the past 4 years. It's a great feeling to know that we have crossed so many items off our bucket list and feel ready to start the next chapter as parents.
  • Sean's business is starting to take off. He has been working on his own business for the past year and it has made huge progress in the past few months. He's got such an amazing mind and I'm so proud of all he's doing. It's so exciting and at the same time, such a relief, to see that his business is becoming successful. We've put pretty much all our eggs in this basket, which is very scary, but we have always had the feeling that this is the right thing for us to be doing and that he is meant to have this business.
    • Side note: his business is called Take Shape Systems and it's a CNC machining company. Currently, he's specializing in large sheet plastics/safety guarding, but can also work with metal, wood, foam, etc. and is getting into 3D printing.
  • Post on the nursery coming soon, because I'm so proud of how it turned out.
  • I'm officially on maternity leave! Yay! No more teaching on my feet all day! It's nice to be able to sleep/nap whenever I want (yeah, yeah, yeah, I know that won't last long....thanks for reminding me) and not have to time my bathroom trips around a class schedule. Also super nice to not have to wear actual pants (maternity leggings ftw!) and no shoes...cuz cankles.
  • I love getting to snuggle my dog baby and hang out with him all day every day. He's my buddy and I've missed him while I've been so busy the past few months (, since the beginning of the school year).
  • I WILL tackle the to-do list that my little nesting self has created. It's a beast, but I finally have time and motivation to work on it. I'm glad to have so much to keep me busy while I wait for this baby.

Monday, May 4, 2015

36 Weeks

"OhmygoodnessI'mhavingababy!" I had a little freak-out this morning. And I might have had to call my mom. I am so excited for baby girl to come, but today it hit me hard when my friend, whose due date was 2 weeks before mine, had her baby! I remember thinking, "When she has her baby, I can start getting excited because I won't be far behind!" Now, I'm trying to convince myself that baby will be a week late so I'm not frustrated when she doesn't come early...but still, she could come next week! It's just crazy!

Here's what's going on:

  • I'm nesting. Turns out that's a thing. I have been cleaning, organizing, laundry-ing, and mommy-fying things all over this place all week. I even got up at 6 a.m. on Saturday... SATURDAY...just think about that for a sec. I cleaned my car (inside and out, up and down, for hour), I cleaned the entire house, did all the laundry I could find, finished the nursery, cleaned out the fridge and freezer, got the car seat installed (well, Sean installed it...I watched, ha), made freezer meals, worked on the most obsessively detailed lesson plans ever created, folded baby clothes, and painted my nails (priorities, people). I did a lot of stuff. Really. 
  • Achy, swollen, tingly hands and feet (I'm getting used to it though, and I have narrowed down my shoe wardrobe to only the cankle-friendly pairs. I've also given up on my wedding rings.).
  • Itchy, tight belly.
  • Heartburn (if you need a Tums, ask me....I have them hidden everywhere).
I feel great for the most part though. If this is as bad as pregnancy gets for me, I'm happy and will consider myself lucky. 

Monday, April 20, 2015

34 Weeks

Well hello there, 34-week mark! I'm so happy you're here!

I am so excited to be 3 weeks from full term and 6 weeks from my due date...I am amazed by how fast time is flying. I hope it keeps up that way until she gets here, haha.

I had a baby shower this past weekend, hosted by my sisters. It was so fun to see family and friends and get to talk all about babies all afternoon. We ate yummy food and played pregnancy jeopardy (um, I LOVE Jeopardy! I may have it set on my DVR so I never miss an episode...) We got such wonderful gifts and it has been so much fun to go through them and think about using them here soon.

Also this past weekend, I filmed a pregnancy fitness video. Hahahahaha, please laugh aloud along with me over that. But for reals, I did. The nurse who taught our childbirth class runs a pregnancy fitness business on the side and was filming exercise demo videos for her website. She needed pregnant women to demonstrate the exercises, and after our class, she called me and asked if I would do it. I went to a few classes to learn all the moves, then we filmed them all this weekend. It was really fun! It was nice to feel like I was in decent enough shape to demonstrate exercises for other pregnant people...because I feel like a whale. If you're in Ogden and pregnant or recently post-partum and looking for a good workout, look up Mia Mama Fitness. Shauna is a great instructor.

We're getting pretty close to having the nursery done, and I can't wait to post pictures, but I'm waiting to be able to show you the finished product! The nursery is gray, white, coral, and gold. The walls were already gray, but Sean painted one of them a bright coral for me. Her furniture is all white except for the rocker, which is a dark coral color, and the ottoman, which is gray. There are lots of pops of gold everywhere else, and I know it's a trendy color scheme, but I really love it....I can't wait to get it finished.

In other news, here's my list of pregnancy complaints:

  • I waddle
  • Gotta go....24/7. Have to get up at least once a night, usually more
  • Need 5  pillows to sleep comfortably. Got a wedge pillow though, and it helps so much! Definitely worth the $15, and makes me glad I didn't spend more on a big pregnancy pillow, although they still look amazing and I'm sure they are awesome.
  • Swollen hands and feet - can't wear my wedding band anymore! My engagement ring still fits though, because it's always been a little big.
  • I'm always hot, especially my feet.
  • I get winded just walking the dog, and I'm so slow!
  • People are ridiculous. Every time I say something like, "the time is flying by!" or "I think we're just about ready for her to come!" or on the other end of the spectrum, "I'm not sleeping well," or "I just wish she could come right now," people are SO QUICK to jump in and tell you how naive you are and how you have absolutely no clue what you're in for. It's just so....irritating. Just let me be happy when I'm happy, let me complain a little if I want, and go get me a cookie cuz I'm 8 months pregnant, you jerks. Ha ha. Oh well, I guess in a few months, it will be my turn to torment pregnant women with unsolicited advice and "Oh just you wait"'s. Mwahahahahaha. Jk, because now that I've witnessed it firsthand, I swear I will not to it to someone else.
I really do feel so excited for her to come, I'm not nervous about labor or delivery and I just want to hold my beautiful baby girl. I want to see my husband's face when he holds her for the first time, and I want to show her off to everybody, because she's going to be amazing.

We've been kicking our baby preparations into high gear this week, and it's making us even more anxious for her to get here!

Here's where we're at on the preparations list:

  • Stroller assembled (carseat base going in the car...soon...)
  • Baby clothes and blankets all piled up ready to be washed (as soon as I get around to buying laundry soap...haha)
  • Birth plan created and hospital registration finished (although I don't feel like you can really expect to stick to a birth plan, because who knows how it will all go down?! I felt silly writing down all these requests, because I kept telling Sean that we'd just have to roll with the punches and see what happens when the time comes...)
  • Maternity leave scheduled and substitute teacher arranged (I am leaving school 2 full weeks before my due date, because we'll be finished with all of our performances for the year by then and I still have all my personal days to use! Woohoo! Adios school! See ya next year! Now I just have to finish the rest of my lesson plans for the year...I have a feeling my sub will appreciate that.)
  • Graduated from birthing class, breastfeeding class next week.
Aaaaaand that's all I can think of. There's still a lot left to do, but I'll have those weeks of leave to get lots done. Thank goodness, because school is keeping me very busy at the moment.

I have loved/hated being pregnant, and I'm so thrilled that the end is in sight. Even though it feels so close, it's still surreal to think that there will be a baby in this house; in my arms instead of my belly, in just over a month.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

I have been so blessed, and there is no other word that describes my life more accurately. I have a beautiful home that keeps me safe, comfortable, warm, and dry. I have the best neighbors and ward family I've ever had in my life. I love going for walks through my neighborhood because, without fail, we will run into someone we know and say hi or stop and talk for a while. I live in a beautiful city where I can walk to mountain trails and go for a run next to the river. It's a city that I take pride in. It feels like home to me. I have a job that I love and that makes me feel like I am doing something worthwhile every day. I love my students and coworkers and bosses. At my school, we always say we're like a family, and it's absolutely true. I've never seen that in a school before.

I have a dog baby named Zero who makes us laugh every single day. I've never seen a creature with more personality. He has 2 settings - crazy and cuddly. He came into my life during a really difficult time, and he has an amazing ability to sense when I need him. He makes my life better just by existing. He has been my baby since I saw his face on a pet adoption website 3 years ago, and he will always be my dog baby.

I have a family who loves and supports me through everything. My siblings and parents are my best friends, and I actually really mean that. My husband's family is full of the strongest, most caring people I know. I can't even say how much they've done to help us. I know they are always there for us, and for me. They have always made me feel like I belong with them. I love them feel so lucky to be a part of their lives.

I have a husband who loves me and shows it every day. He knows me so well, and is accepting and understanding of all my quirks and flaws. He is sweet, funny, strong, handsome, patient, friendly, hard-working, humble, talented, and has his priorities in order. He makes me feel safe, we make each other laugh, and we are best friends. We'd rather spend time at home alone together watching TV and eating cold cereal than with anyone else, anywhere else. I never would have imagined that we would end up married, and in the 6 short years we've been together, we have been through a lot. We started out as complete opposites without a lot in common. For some reason, we just could never let each other go. We were meant to be together. To think about this beautiful life we have built makes me marvel. We have a house that we love, a crazy dog, and a pet iguana. We've never been to a fancy restaurant, we've never had a couples massage, and we've never been on a romantic vacation. But we will always be happier eating pizza from The Pie, giving each other foot massages on the couch, and listening to our favorite podcasts and eating junk food on one of our road trips.

We have a baby girl on the way in a few short weeks. I am so grateful for a mind and body that are healthy and strong enough to grow this life. I am amazed by every wiggle and kick I feel and still feel a shock every time I see myself in a mirror. Sometimes I sit in her nursery - which is a mish-mash of baby things and music equipment, since we're giving her the music room - and rock in the rocking chair and look through the cute little things we've bought for her. I just can't wait to meet this little person. I know she was meant to be a part of our family, and I can't wait to hold her in my arms and see her little face.

I have a loving Heavenly Father who has blessed my life so far beyond what I will ever deserve. I feel His love every day and know that He has a plan for me. I know that every good thing in my life comes from Him.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

30 Weeks!

30 weeks and feeling good! Here's a list of the latest:

  • I really do have to pee all the time. Even when I don't actually have to go, I feel like I do...
  • She is movin' and shakin' in there! I feel kicks and punches and stretches and....other inexplicable wiggles alllll the time! It's really cool mostly, but it is starting to get uncomfortable. She had a foot up in my ribs on Sunday and I thought I was going to go insane. I like hiccups though. It's only happened a couple times, but it's pretty cute to feel those.
  • You can see and feel her movement from the outside! My dr. told me that my placenta is really far forward, so it kind of blocks the baby's movements from the surface of my belly, but at this point, they're strong enough that it doesn't even matter. It's been cool to be able to have family and friends feel it and see it. I'm glad she's showing off for someone besides me now!
  • The nursery is still a work in progress....I can't wait to get it finished. 
  • I've been craving: milano cookies, cold cereal, oranges, cheese, milk, bacon....and Wendy's spicy chicken sandwiches and fries! That's the worst craving I've had so far. If I start thinking about those, I can't stop until I get me some Wendy's. 
  • I've worked out better during the past few weeks than I have my whole pregnancy! I don't know why that is. Probably fear of gaining too much weight (especially since I've already gained 20 lbs) combined with fear of squeezing a child out of my body...but it's really helping me to feel better. My back pain has been so much more manageable since I started working out more regularly and I have a lot more energy. Not to mention, I just feel more like my old self.
  • I wish I could sleep. I get up at least twice during the night to use the bathroom, and it always takes a long time to go back to sleep because getting comfortable is nearly impossible. Anyone ever use the wedge pillows before? They look like they would be amazing...I'm thinking about getting one.
  • We signed up for birthing classes :) We're taking a birth preparation class and a breastfeeding class next month. 
  • We bought a stroller and carseat. They were on a great sale and we just couldn't pass them up! I think they're really cute and I have to confess, sometimes I get the carseat out and just put it in the living room and look at it, trying to get used to the idea that there will be a kid in it soon!
  • I've had lots of weird aches and pains. Lots of side cramps and backaches and some sciatic nerve issues (I've had those before, so I wasn't surprised when they started happening in pregnancy).
  • Heartburn has returned! Not as bad as the first trimester, but I had to restock my supply of maalox and tums.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

I Feel Pretty?!

Pregnancy is a strange and wonderful experience. My body has already been through some pretty crazy, amazing changes, but it's a little bittersweet to watch. I have had countless women tell me that my body will never be the same, and of course, I'm sure that's true, but I really struggle to cope with the fear that they're telling me I'll never be fit again. I know that's not true and that I can get back in shape after baby, but I know it's going to be extremely difficult and it probably won't happen as quickly as I want it to.

I have always struggled with my weight. I started to get a little chubby around age 12, and I got steadily chubbier until about my sophomore year of college. I was never really happy with my body and always wished to be thin, but didn't let it stop me from doing much. I think I just figured I was 'big-boned' (I've always been on the tall side, too), and was never meant to be thin. During college, I gained that freshman 15 (and quite a bit more) without even realizing it. One day, I stepped on a scale and the number I saw shocked me! I'm 5'9" and pretty consistently weighed in around 155 lbs through high school, but now, all of a sudden, I was almost 180 lbs.! I was definitely not okay with that number, or the pants size I was shopping for. I decided to sign up for a PE class at school to have something to get me more active.

I ended up in an early morning aerobics class, and I loved it! I dropped about 15 lbs. over the semester and was feeling great. I wanted to take the class again the next semester, but couldn't fit it into my schedule. In fact, the only class I could find a spot for was a running class! EW! I hated running. I had always hated running. I think my timed mile time at that point was something like 15 minutes. I think I could pretty much speed walk a mile in 15 minutes! But I took the class anyway, and in time, I found out that I loved to run. I made friends who liked to run (didn't hurt that one of them was a cute boy that I really liked at the time), and slowly increased my speed and endurance. I made a goal to run a half marathon. One weekend on a training run, I ran 15 miles and decided I needed a new goal! I signed up for a marathon. I ran it and LOVED it. I did another one, and another one. I was not just thin, I was fit. I weighed 135 lbs. and wore a size 4. It was the smallest I'd ever been and by far the healthiest. Back and foot injuries kept me from running for a long time and it's been about 2 years since I really ran regularly, but I have managed to stay the same size.

Although I know that I'm gaining weight like I should and that my body is doing what it's supposed to to support this baby, it's hard to watch my belly grow and grow and grow. It's hard to see that number on the scale creep up and up and up. And it's especially hard to lack the motivation and energy to eat healthy and exercise. I'm trying, and I do okay, but it's not anything like what I'm used to. I miss the fit me, and I'm scared not to see her again.

*Sigh* I know it's all normal, and that it will all take time. I know I'm not alone in feeling this way, and I know that I have the motivation and strength to get back in shape when this pregnancy adventure is over, but it does make me nervous to think about. Will my husband still think I'm attractive when I'm all post-baby flabby? What kind of clothes will I find to wear that can cover my tummy? Etc., Etc.

I know that my body is performing a miracle and I should be proud of every stretch mark and grateful for every pound that means my baby is growing healthy and strong, and I am. In so many ways, I am. I can't believe the things a woman's body can do It truly is miraculous, and I'm so grateful to be experiencing a healthy pregnancy. I know that it's not something everyone gets to do, and there are many who wish they were in my position and would give anything for a stretched out belly and tiger stripes if it meant holding a healthy baby in their arms. I don't mean to sound vain by talking about my fear of my post-baby body. It's been on my mind and I needed to put those worries into words.

24 Weeks

Happy Valentine's Day! We're celebrating by going to a Reel Big Fish concert and out to dinner. I made red velvet sugar cookies (Sean loves red velvet) and we get to spend all day hanging out together, since I'm on Winter Break and he has work off for the day. I can't wait! We're on a horrible schedule for the next few weeks where I work from about 7:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m. and he works 4 p.m. to 4 a.m., 7 days a week. It's not fun. We only see each other when the other person is sleeping. It will be worth it, and it's great to have jobs and be able to provide for ourselves, but it's hard not to get to spend much time together.

School has been great, and busy. We're a few weeks away from the opening of the school musical, The Addams Family. It really is the best musical I've worked on since I've been at DaVinci. I'm so proud of those kids! It's a hilarious show and they're so excited to get to perform it. Also, we had our annual Gender Wars assembly this week...and I got roped into participating in a rap battle against another teacher! Well....I didn't know I had such rhyming skills, but I won the battle in a unanimous vote by the judges :) It was really fun.

Baby Update
24 weeks (almost 25) and feeling pretty good. I only have 10 days left with my good buddy the heart monitor. Thank goodness! I can't wait to get rid of it. I had an incident this morning that made me even more excited to be done with it. I had the PDA transmitter (basically a cell phone that I use to report my symptoms to the Dr.) in my back pocket. I went to use the bathroom and it fell out of my pocket and into the toilet!!! I immediately grabbed it out and started to dry it off. Right now it's sitting in a bag of rice...we'll see how it looks in the morning...cross your fingers for me! I do NOT want to know how much a replacement would cost...

At my last appointment with my OB, she said everything is looking great. I've gained just the right amount of weight, I'm measuring where I should, and little lady's heart sounds great. I hope I get to see another ultrasound soon. I just love any chance I get to see her little face!

Weird symptoms
I've been having heartburn again lately, but not too bad. It's definitely not as bad as it was in the first trimester, but I think it might get worse as the end comes near and she gets bigger...

I'm feeling lots of kicks and punches and somersaults. She is movin' and shakin' in there! I love to feel her moving around. It's still at the stage where it's fun and not painful, so I'm enjoying it while that lasts! If she's this strong now, I'm sure those kicks and punches are going to be pretty intense by the end!

I've been having terrible back pain lately. I have a really hard time falling and staying asleep because of how uncomfortable I get. I have yet to find a comfortable pillow arrangement....although I keep trying! And I'm just not willing to fork over the dough for a pregnancy pillow, comfy as they look. Tylenol seems to help, and my wonderful, amazing husband is always giving me back rubs that do wonders.

I'm still craving a lot of the same things I have since the beginning: cheese, salty snacks like chips and goldfish crackers, burgers and fries, oranges and orange juice.

I'm tired! I have a pretty short window of productivity during the day, ha ha. I do okay from about 7 a.m. to about 2 p.m. After that point, I'm basically exhausted. By the time I get home from work, if I don't immediately walk the dog and make dinner, neither one will happen at all! I'm usually in bed before 9 and asleep well before 10.

I've been joking lately that they make you like a baby before you have a baby. All you want to do is eat, sleep, and cry! Ha ha :)

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Update: 22 Weeks

Bye bye halfway point! :) I'm excited to think that I'll have a baby in 4 short months! (Well...I hope they stay feeling so short...but from the stories I've heard about the joys of the 3rd trimester, I guess I can't count on it!)

Things are seeming more and more real all the time. We're starting to put together her nursery (okay... I am starting to put it together and Sean nods and smiles when I show him stuff I bought and tell him plans for where we're going to put things...). We have a changing table, crib, and glider, and I have a few cute decorations too. We're going with coral, gray and white. I have this girlie's room all planned out in my mind and I can't wait to get it all put together.
I swear there's potential for a cute nursery underneath all those piles!

My body is going through all kinds of adventures these days. I feel little kicks and somersaults all the time, and I've even been able to feel some stronger ones from the outside! Of course, it seems like every time I try to get someone else to feel her, she quits kicking the second their hand touches my belly...but I'm sure she'll show off her ninja moves to someone else besides mom before too long.

I haven't had any food aversions since early in the first trimester, so that's nice. Cravings on the other hand, are ALWAYS around. Burgers & fries, Burgers & fries, BURGERS!!! and FRIES!!!! I don't know why, but burgers are my thaaang right now. I just want big, juicy, meaty burgers with lots of pickles, onions, and sauce....all the time. Fries are also necessary, and fry sauce...because, fry sauce. In fact, can we go out for burgers right now?!

I also crave oranges and orange juice. Oranges have always been my favorite fruit, so that's not surprising, and they're in season, so I buy them all the time around this time of year anyway. But I could easily drink 2 glasses of juice in a day and eat 2 or 3 oranges if I let myself. Overall, I'm trying to stay healthy and not indulge the burger & fry cravings too often. Some days I succeed...others not so much.

I am getting bigger every day (*cough* BURGERS *cough*). I still haven't noticed any stretch marks, but stretching is definitely going on. My belly is getting tighter and more noticeable. I don't feel too uncomfortable yet, so I forget that I have this belly, until I walk past a mirror. I still do a double-take every time I see myself from the side. I love it, though! It's just still mind-boggling to me that there's a lil' creature in there.

Now for the (not-so) fun stuff. I have been having weird little heart....'episodes?' I don't know what to call them. Really, I just noticed my heart pounding really hard a lot. I heard from a few people (and a few online articles I read while panicking in the middle of the night during some such 'episode') that this was normal, so at first I didn't worry. I let it go for a few weeks, but started thinking maybe it was not so normal for it to be happening so frequently and for no apparent reason. The heart pounding can happen when I'm sitting, standing, whatever. It feels like I'm watching a scary movie...or driving in a snowstorm with my husband behind the wheel ( ya, babe! Sorry!). I am not surprised or concerned when it happens when I'm doing something active, like walking the dog or climbing stairs, but it comes out of nowhere when I'm just sitting on the couch or trying to fall asleep. Nothing seems to bring it on and nothing seems to be able to make it stop. So, after a few particularly intense episodes, I decided to call my Dr. Really, just to hear that it was all normal and that I could stop being such a paranoid-first-time-pregnant-lady. My Dr. sent me for an EKG, but of course, during the EKG, I didn't have an episode. So, now I am hooked up with an Event Monitor, which monitors my heart around the clock for 4 weeks. It's extremely annoying and I can't wait for these 4 weeks to be over! Especially because the Dr. doesn't seem concerned at all and makes it sound like this is all 'just a precaution.' That's wonderful to hear, and I'm so glad that it's nothing to worry about, but if that's the case, is 4 weeks reeeeeeally necessary? Okay, done griping. I'm glad they want to make sure everything is okay, and "better safe than sorry," etc., etc., etc. Anyway, I get to wear these little sticky probes on my chest and side that hurt like a mother (am I allowed to say that yet? probably not) to rip off. The wires are connected to a monitor that I'm somehow supposed to wear on my pants pocket...explain to me how that goes up and over maternity pants and all the way down to the pockets again?! And best of all, I have to keep a PDA transmitter (looks like a cell phone to me) within 10 feet of the monitor at all times (or else it beeps at me like I'm in trouble). Every time I have a symptom, I enter it into the PDA device and it transmits the message to 'them.'

AAAAAAAnd last of all, I have a cold. Alka Seltzer cold medicine is my go-to, but I can't take it because of the ingredients. Any recommendations? I think the worst is over. Thank goodness for a weekend so I can just climb in bed and sleep this off...

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Sugar & Spice & Everything Nice!

He did this willingly...I swear.

We had our 20 week ultrasound this week and found out we're having a GIRL! I always thought it would be neat to have a boy first - I always wanted an older brother - but...I've really been wishing for a girl the whole time. Sean had wanted a boy, no surprise...but he seems really happy and excited. I know he'll be wrapped around her little finger :)

When our ultrasound technician started looking at parts, she asked us if we could tell what we were seeing. Sean immediately said, "Yeah, it's a girl!" I couldn't see any parts that reminded me of the anatomy I'm familiar with....but I was glad they saw and had no doubts! I can't lie...I kinda freaked out. For a long time now, I've had a strong feeling that I would have a daughter someday. I didn't know that this baby was a girl, but when I found out, my first thought was, "It's her!" I already feel like she's this little spirit that I have known forever, even though I don't know her at all yet. I know I sure can't wait to meet her!

Even greater than my excitement that she's a SHE, was finding out that our baby girl looks healthy and is growing beautifully. She has ten fingers and ten toes and everything else is looking how it should so far. It was such an enormous relief to hear those words! Pregnancy is just such a miracle! I can't believe there's a human in there with a perfectly formed and functioning body!

We got some gorgeous ultrasound images that just blew our minds. We saw her kicking and squirming all over the place and got to see our little cutie 'waving' right at us!

We both cried a little and laughed a lot during our appointment. It was so touching to see my husband, who is rarely ever emotional, get choked up at the image of his baby girl on the screen. What an adventure we've gotten ourselves into.....Sean really is my very best friend. I love him so much and I can't wait to see him hold our girl for the first time. He will be the most incredible daddy. This lil' lady is pretty lucky!

View FullSizeRender.jpg in slide show
ALWAYS wanted to get to park here!
We called our families as soon as we left the doctor's office, and they're all so excited. This will be the second grandbaby on my side of the family (I already have the most beautiful niece in the world!), and the first (maybe...if she comes on time and her cousin doesn't come early!) on Sean's side. We have had a lot of fun the past couple days talking about names, thinking about decorating the nursery, and buying some baby things.

We posted an announcement on Facebook tonight. Sean was a good sport and let me dress him up princess-style. Our dog baby, Zero, on the other hand...he was not so willing. He is apparently terrified of balloons, and did NOT enjoy enjoy wearing a pink ribbon. You can watch our struggle here:

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Is it tomorrow yet?!

I feel like a kid on Christmas! Tomorrow is our 20 week ultrasound and we'll get to see our little babe again. Hopefully we'll get to find out the gender and hear that everything is looking good and baby is healthy.

I cannot contain my excitement! I have been looking forward to this day since I found out I was pregnant. Thankfully, it's been a really busy week at school, so the time has flown by pretty quickly. I'm amazed that it's almost Friday already!

My students have been my kids for the past 3 years, and they are so excited about this baby. I get questions and comments about my baby bump every single day. It's been so fun. Tomorrow in class, we're going to take a poll and see whether they think boy or girl.

I know I won't be able to keep a secret long enough to plan some cute way to reveal the gender, so I'm sure I'll blab the news to the world tomorrow afternoon!

This is a picture from our last ultrasound at 12 weeks. I can't wait to see what it looks like tomorrow! Sean's grandma commented that in this picture, it looks like this baby is playing the drums already! Sean majored in percussion, so we thought that was pretty awesome :)

Monday, January 5, 2015

Favorite Pregnancy Products?

I'm a lover of all beauty now, of course, I have to try out all the pregnancy-specific products I've seen or heard about!

So far I really like Palmer's Tummy Butter. No stretch marks yet, but I'm only 19 weeks, so that will probably change. I'm not holding out hope for some miracle product that will prevent stretch marks, but wouldn't that be awesome?! Mostly, I love the way this butter feels and smells. It's a little greasy, but it helps with the itch and makes my belly feel really well-moisturized and it's CHEAP! $6 and you can find it almost anywhere. I've been using it pretty liberally twice a day every day for at least the past 5-6 weeks, and I still haven't run out.

They're not pregnancy-specific, but I'm a big fan of doTERRA essential oils. Lavender is such a cure-all oil and I'm so glad I can use it throughout my pregnancy. I mix it in with my tummy butter, I rub it on my feet at night, I put some on my chest at night to help me sleep, I could go on...

Aside from beauty products, the other big change I've had to make is with pants, because I couldn't button a pair of my jeans if you paid me. Luckily, I've learned that I LOVE MATERNITY PANTS. I think everyone - men, women, children, the elderly...we just should all wear maternity pants all the time. In fact, twice when I've been shopping for maternity clothes, I've seen older women (think 70ish) shopping for pants in the maternity section. I thought it was so strange at first and thought they must not have realized what part of the store they were in, but now I understand....they just know better. I've gotten a couple pairs of preggo jeans. One pair was cheap at Ross, and the other was from Motherhood Maternity. Although the Ross jeans are cute, they just don't fit as well. They slip off my butt all the time and I can tell the quality is not as good. I hate spending lots of money on pants, but I think it's worth it to have a pair or 2 of maternity pants that won't leave you yanking at your waistband all day long.

What are YOUR favorite products for pregnancy?

Friday, January 2, 2015

19 Weeks!

Ok, 18 weeks and 5 days...but I'm excited, so I'm rounding up. This weekend marks the end of Christmas Break from school (noooooooooooo!!!), but it also means only 1 week until my ultrasound! I think pregnancy is just such a miracle, I just can't comprehend how a perfect, healthy baby can be created - every body part perfect formed and functioning. That said, I am always worried (like probably every single other expectant mom on Earth) that something is going to go wrong. But that's not stopping me from getting extremely excited to see this little critter again and find out what's going on in there! I haven't had an ultrasound since 12 weeks, and I remember being so excited that the baby looked like a BABY and not a blob!! My Dr. said, "Wait until you see it next time!" Now that it's almost 'next time,' I just can't stop thinking about seeing my little one's face (and hopefully other body parts, or lack thereof, because....) I also can't wait to find out if it's a boy or a girl! I just can't handle not knowing!!! I have so much shopping to do!!!

In other news:

Not really having any cravings or aversions at this point, so nothing exciting to report there. The dreams are still can see my previous post all about that...

So far I've gained about 8 pounds  (mostly in my belly, but I can tell it's going to my hips too) and wear maternity clothes pretty much all the time, although I can still wear a lot of pants and shirts from before (loose, stretchy, flowy ones...).

I'm finally getting a little bump, and I'm starting to get uncomfortable laying on my back and just sleeping in general. I have to pee about a thousand times a day and am hungry (maybe hangry, actually) about every 2 hours.

Worst of all is the itchy skin. I've always had really dry, sensitive skin, but my belly is itchy and dry ALL the time. I'm sure it's because of the stretching that's starting to happen, and crazy hormones are no help, I would guess. Today, Sean and I went to a movie. Naturally, not even halfway through, I had to use the bathroom. I walked down the hallway, itching my belly the whole way. I saw another pregnant woman on her way to he restroom itching her belly! I wanted to high five her and say, "I feel ya sister!" I use cocoa butter cream and lavender oil every day...usually twice a day...and they seem to help most of the time, but if you have any suggestions, I wanna hear them! I'll try just about anything.

I got the coolest Christmas present ever - on Christmas morning I felt the baby move for the first time! Sean and I were in the car on our way to my parents' house for Christmas breakfast. I felt a little pressure on the left side of my belly (which I though was gas...), and then it suddenly shifted. I gasped and froze, because at first I wasn't sure if it was what I thought it was! I had never felt anything like it before! Another minute later it happened again! I just couldn't believe it. I rubbed my little bump and started to cry a little. Sean was so excited too! I can't wait until he can feel it from the outside.

Last of all, New Year's resolutions - Even though I feel great now and have my energy back, I can't seem to pull myself out of the first trimester funk. I have no motivation to exercise and haven't been eating as healthily or drinking as much water as I should. Now that I'm feeling good, no more excuses. I need to take better care of myself and this lil babe. SO, I organized my kitchen cupboards and made myself a basket of healthy snacks that are just as easy to get to as the chips! I'm also going to try and plan meals better so that I don't make the excuse of having nothing to cook and eating out instead. I have some really fun pregnancy workouts to try and can still do my Physique 57 workouts for the most part, so away we go! 2015 is going to be an exciting year!!!