Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Birth of our Second Daughter

For now we will call baby number 2 "Belly".

“Belly” was born on Sunday, October 13, 2013 at 12:03 am, eleven days past her due date, just like her older sister. As far as similarities of birth's go, that's about it. This story actually starts though, on September 13, 2011, the day after I had given birth to a 6 lb, 13 oz baby girl via emergency c-section. When my Dr. came in to my hospital room to discuss my surgery the next day I asked her if a was a potential candidate for a VBAC, a term I had learned during my pregnancy. She said that she would give me about a 60% chance of success. That was all I needed to hear to make my decision. If God ever allowed me to become pregnant again, I would do my best to try for a VBAC, or vaginal birth after cesarean. We were encouraged by our Dr. to wait a year between pregnancies to give my scar plenty of time to heal. A little before my daughter's 1st birthday we stopped trying to prevent pregnancy and decided to just see what would happen. As I was still nursing, nothing did until a few cycles after I stopped. It took about 5 months of actually trying, but by the end of January we found out we were pregnant with number 2! Right from the beginning I was already focused on the end. I went ahead and made an appointment with my current OB/GYN to confirm the pregnancy and begink the process, but I had a strong feeling that I would be switching providers. At my first appointment I asked about VBACs and how long they would let me go past my due date as I knew this would be a determining factor for me. They confirmed what I suspected, they would not let me go past my due date. Knowing how late I went with my daughter, I decided that was not a battle I wanted to fight and went in search of a provider that would be more sympathetic to my wishes. I knew of a birth center that my best friend had given birth at and made an appointment with them. Although I could not legally deliver at their center, I still had options with them. I could either birth at home with their assistance, or they had just had a mid wife join their practice that had hospital privileges, meaning I could see them for my prenatal care and then deliver at the hospital. I also found out that this hospital was the most VBAC friendly in my city and would be willing to work with me. My plan, if all went well was to hold off going to the hospital as long as possible so that their wouldn't be much to debate on anyways. My pregnancy was pretty uneventful and  sure enough, 40 weeks came and went. I made the decision to have the midwife check me at that appointment to see if I was even dilated any, and if possible sweep my membranes. I was a soft 1 at best. Fortunately, I had 2 friends with me so it was a little easier to hide my disappointment. At my 41 week appointment, a Wednesday, I was a little more dilated and she was able to sweep my membranes. Although the baby was in the right position and had been for some time, still nothing happened. I went about the next days trying my best to keep spirits up and rest and hoping against hope that I would not have to go in for my appointment on the following Monday to have my membranes swept again. On Friday I woke up to the sheer delight of the beginning of the loss of my mucus plug. When you are that far along, I think it's safe to assume that loss of your mucus plug means that labor is imminent! That night we went to my parents house for dinner and I pretty much took it as easy as possible. The next day, Saturday, both my husband and daughter woke up sick. I sent my husband back to bed, “just in case” and cuddled with my daughter on the couch, watching cartoons. My husband slept until almost noon. When he got up I had a burst of energy (and frustration) and wore myself out cleaning up the front porch. After lunch I tried to take a little nap myself. I was having Braxton Hicks, but they weren't painful, just a little uncomfortable and they weren't super frequent, maybe 5-6 an hour, but they were enough to keep me from resting well. I more or less tried to find comfortable positions for the rest of the afternoon, including sitting on an exercise ball. At about 5 pm, I went to use the bathroom, when I stood up I felt a pop and had a little gush. It wasn't a big gush but I still was pretty sure it was my water as the same thing had happened with my first child. I went back and sat on the ball (on a towel!) and called the midwife. We had quite a long chat and made the plan that if I hadn't gone into labor by 5 the next morning that I would need to head to hospital by then. We also decided that if I felt like things were progressing, that she could meet me at the birth center and check me to see how things were going. Either way, I would be having a baby in the next 36 hours. I then called my parents so that they could make plans to come get my daughter. We asked them to stop at Mcdonald's since we hadn't eaten yet. I had been sitting on the ball for about 30 minutes at that point and when I stood up again I had a major rush of fluid. If there was a question if my water had broken, there wasn't anymore! Timing starts to be a little bit of a blur at that point but it was then that I started having a bit more serious contractions. My parents made it to our house by 7 and around that time I ate a cheeseburger, thinking it was the last thing I would eat for a long time. My parents were probably gone by 7:30 and by that time I wasn't really wanting to talk much to anyone through contractions. They weren't crazy by any means, I could talk if I needed to, I just preferred not to. I had sort of been timing/counting them, so after they left I decided to try to time them for real. At that point they were about 4 minutes apart and about a minute long so after half an hour we decided to call the midwife and head to the hospital. It was a 15 minute drive that I really didn't want to make while having a lot of contractions. By the time we got there I had to stop for every contraction as we made our way into the hospital. As we were filling out the paperwork I had my head on the desk, trying to answer questions the best I could. I finally got checked in and settled in triage and the on call doctor checked me around 9:30 PM. I just remember thinking how young she seemed, my age maybe! When she checked me I was 3-4 cm. Not good. Here I am thinking things must be really progressing with how much pain I'm in and I'm only that far! Not even active labor. All along my midwife had told me that epidurals were not the enemy so I decided to get one. I figured that since my water had already broken that they were going to have to use pitocin anyway and I did not want to be on it without an epidural. Well, things really get fuzzy from here on out. I think they had moved me to labor and delivery by 10:30 and I remember just hanging on for dear life on the ride over. It wasn't a crazy ride or anything but my contractions were getting really serious. I was also stuck in the bed this whole time because it seemed like we were always waiting on something (waiting on the doctor to check me, waiting to get an IV, waiting on blood work, etc.) and also, that they wanted me to stay on the monitor. I did not like the monitor as I had to be somewhat still for it to work but at the same time I knew that it was important to make sure the baby was tolerating labor well as distress is one of the signs of uterine rupture. I knew that it was a very low chance of that happening but I still wanted to be safe so I did my best to stay put. I don't remember when they took my blood but I knew that it took an hour for them to process it for the epidural. The anesthesiologist came in and started asking questions and doing his paper work and it seemed like it took FOREVER! I don't know exactly when he finally started working on me but when he did, I was really hurting! I think my nurse was as ready for me to get that epidural as I was. I remember thinking that I was such a wimp! I was making a lot of noise during contractions now and really wanted to yell, but was just a little too dignified for that. When the anesthesiologist had me get into position I just went into this zone because I knew I had to be perfectly still. As I was having contractions I remember thinking that the only way I was going to be still was to bear down through them. On the fourth one I realized that I was pushing and told the nurse that it was coming. “What's coming?”, she said. “The baby's coming!” At that point things happened really fast. She told the anesthesiologist that done or not, he was done and made me roll over to check. Sure enough, she was coming. Suddenly the room was full of people and I was having a baby without an epidural! In less than five minutes, our daughter was born. I definitely remember thinking “Ring of Fire!” but only once. They threw her up on my chest and I couldn't believe that I had just had a baby. She was born at 12:03 AM, just 7 hours after my water broke. I was on top of the world after that. I was shaking like crazy but I didn't care. It was also a good thing that the epidural was in place as they were able to set it so they could sew me up as I had torn pretty badly. During that time she was cleaned up and weighed and then Daddy held her. When they finished me up I was able to nurse her for the first time and she took to it right away. Looking back, the whole thing was such an amazing experience! I'm so grateful!

Monday, November 18, 2013

A Few Things I've Made

Baby stuff is expensive so rather than pay $10th for car seat strap covers that I didn't even like, I decided to make some! I found an easy tutorial and had all the supplies on hand. After making the first set I decided to make some more for my friend's babies. I used stuffing instead of batting and it worked just fine.

Speaking of babies, I also threw 2 baby showers and had one thrown for me. The one given for me had a book theme and my awesome friend made the paper wreath as part of the decor. I loved it so much I took it home! I also had burlap that was used as table runners left over from one of the showers so I used that to make some more wreaths to go along. Now when I see them on my walls I think of both my closest friends!

Postpartum Style

I'm trying the Blogger app on my phone for the first time as well as "typing" this post using Swipe. We'll see if I can handle it. If so, I may be back in the blogging game. My husband is using my laptop currently and it needs to be replaced anyways. I got my first smart phone a few months ago and I know I'm not using it to its full potential. Basically I use it to text, browse Facebook and play Solitaire, so here goes.

I had very little interest in style posts for a while due to having few clothes that actually fit for a few months, but Baby Belly (not sure if this is going to be her new nickname but we'll use it for now) is 5 weeks and things are getting back on track. I will be posting all about her and her birth soon. Meanwhile, I still have 10 lbs to go to get back to pre pregnancy weight so style is still a challenge. This is an outfit that I put together via Pinterest for a lunch with family and then driving to a meeting. Until further notice, all outfits will be nursing friendly.

You can see the outfit inspiration here:

Hopefully I can figure out the finest points of phone posting soon!

Denim shirt, skirt: modified, sweater: Vanity, belt: Rue 21, shoes: Payless 

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Style: All Neutrals

I came across this inspiration photo on Pinterest and knew it would be pretty easy to replicate. It wasn't until that I got a new camel colored necklace and shoes though that I decided to try it, with some modifications for summer and pregnancy.
Tee - JC Penny
Vest: - Wal-mart
Gaucho's - Wal-mart
Shoes - Payless
Necklace/Earrings - Flea Market ($1!)

I can totally see myself wearing versions of this again and again when we travel as these are all great pieces that I can use with other outfits!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Date Night!

Because we have traveled sooo much in the last several months, the last time we went out without our daughter was in April. And that wasn't actually a date because we were out with a group of missionaries and pastors. So a real date night? Just the two of us? I honestly can't tell you the last time that had happened. Recently, we were staying in a missions house in the U. P. for about 5 days and the pastor of the church we were out offered to have his daughters watch ours so we could go out. My first thought was, "And do what?" I hadn't seen much of the town we were in but I knew it was pretty small. Never-the-less, we decided to take him up on it. We ended up having a really nice time. First we went to the Three Seasons Cafe. The hubs got "Broasted" chicken which was really good and that we later found out was a middle eastern thing. Go figure. I got a cheese steak sandwich. Told ya I liked 'em!
After that we drove over to a little stretch of Lake Michigan beach that also sported a lighthouse that you could walk out to. At this point I was glad that we were solo as I would not have enjoyed walking out there for fear that my daughter would fall off the edge!
The weather was beautiful, if a bit cool for July, so I was wearing the $2.15 Old Navy shirt that I had gotten from Goodwill the week before. Every Goodwill should have a daily half price color! But I digress. Although the lighthouse looks really far away, it actually wasn't that far so we walked all the way out to it. The wall was lined with rocks on either side and turned at a right angle to help make a marina. 
It was neat because occasionally the waves would be a little bigger and would make a big splash against the rocks sending up a really pretty spray. Not enough to give us more than a mist if we stayed on the far side. My husband had a good time trying to predict when a big wave would come. I tried to be artsy with the camera. I don't think I will ever be that good at photography but I did think this one was pretty cool!
After our walk we went to the nicest grocery store in town and picked out some dessert. We started doing this after we got married when we realized that we could get just as nice of a dessert from the Publix bakery for half the price of the restaurant dessert which we were never hungry for just after dinner anyways. Then we took it home and shared it with our daughter while we all watched a movie. I'm glad we were able to go out alone as I don't see us getting in more than one or two more dates before our next baby comes. Do you date your spouse? Do you think date nights are important?

Thursday, July 25, 2013


One of the perks of deputation is getting to see things that you would probably NEVER otherwise see. For me, the Upper Penninsula of Michigan is one of those places. I have to tell you, I am truly glad that we are here in July though. The weather has been pretty cool. The high today was 64. In July. The hottest time of the year. But, third trimester me doesn't mind so much right now! Not sure I would be up to coming here if it was much cooler though. There is not much to do around here, but there are some beautiful sights. One that we decided to check out was Kitchitikipi at Palms Book State Park. It is a natural spring that connects with Indian Lake. I have always wanted to see a natural spring so we decided to pay the $8.50.

The park itself was just beautiful, if a bit small. The real attraction was a boat that you could take out over the water for a better view. It was attached to a pulley system that took it in a straight line over the spring. You could make it move by turning a large wheel. We had about 30 people on it with us and did not have to even worry about making it move.
Our daughter loved looking down into the water from Mommy and Daddy's arms. She kept saying "fish" and "boat" very excitedly!

I was told that the water was about 45 feet deep but you could see all the way to the bottom the entire way. There was a cut-out in the middle of the boat so you could look straight down. One side had a railing and one had plexi-glass, but even with Mommy by her side, our daughter still wasn't too sure about it.
Funny story: I stepped out of the house that morning and thought, wow, it's a bit chilly. I should grab jackets. Then I thought, nah! That's silly. It's July! When we got there we were the only ones without them! If you ever find yourself near Manistique, MI, you should check this place out! Just bring your sweater!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Philly Cheesesteak Croisants

Ever send your husband to the grocery store and have him come back with things totally not on the list? Eh, at least he did the shopping, right!? Well that's how I ended up with this:
A pack of frozen cheesesteaks. We had real Philly cheesesteaks in Philadelphia for our anniversary 2 years ago and I have loved them ever since.
 Apparently, a "real" one has cheese wiz on it. I tried it and didn't think it was that bad.
This version calls for all real cheeses however. I had pinned it pretty recently, so it was the first thing that came to mind when my husband brought his prize find home! 
You can find the original recipe here, but I did make a few modifications and would make a few more. I started by cooking up some onions. Mushrooms and peppers would be good too, but peppers we all I had on hand. Next, I started on the meat.
The package suggested that I break the meat up and microwave it but when I tried that it didn't work very well, so I just threw in into the pan with the onions and it cooked up great! Next I added the broth and cream cheese. I would not use as much cream cheese next time as it was a tad overpowering. And that is coming from someone that loves cheese! Next I rolled out my crescent dough and put some shredded mozzarella on each one. I prefer mozzarella to Swiss. I then crammed as much filling as I could into each one, but after cutting the recipe in half I still had more than would fit in 1 can of jumbo crescent rolls. NBD, I just ate the rest of the filling! I justify those kinds of things at this stage of pregnancy. Then I baked them at the magic 350 until they looked like this (about 14-15 minutes).
For once, a new recipe that my husband loved! We had no problem finishing these off in 2 meals. He can be a tough critic so this one is a keeper for sure!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

4th of July - 2013

This year the 4th of July again saw us traveling. Honestly, being away from family and friends on special occasions is one of the hardest parts of deputation for me. But, we always try to make the best of it and we usually do. I decided to try something crazy for packing this time and for our two week trip I packed the three of us entirely in clothes that were red, white, blue or gray. Don't worry, not every outfit was patriotic for the whole two weeks! I ended up wearing mostly blue. July 3rd was a Wednesday so I dressed my daughter up in the outfit below and thought she was absolutely precious! (I can say that even though I'm her mother, right?) We even had matching hair flowers. She didn't end up wearing the play necklaces to our meeting but she enjoyed playing with them. 
The next day, the 4th, we had about a two hour drive to our next destination. We stopped at a McDonald's for lunch and Dida very much enjoyed her .50 cent "I-seam" cone.
We then had a few hours to settle in to our next place and shop for groceries before we headed out to a local golf and ski resort to partake in some festivities and watch the fireworks. We only knew to go there because the pastor of the church we were at also happened to work there and her gave us the tip.
 I was so thankful that we had purchased a shower curtain to sit on because about an hour before the fireworks there was a big rain storm so the ground was pretty wet. Instead of feeling silly for having a shower curtain instead of a blanket, I was feeling pretty smart! Dida also enjoyed the bounce house and being in grass where she didn't have to worry about being bitten by ants!
 Sadly, we found out the hard way that our daughter is NOT ready for fireworks. This was the first time we had taken her and we really weren't sure what she would do. About 3 explosions in, she was done! Daddy had to come to the rescue and take her inside, where, he later told me she kept pointing as far away from the fireworks as she could get and saying "No wan-ne!" (meaning I don't want . . .) I'm still not sure she has forgiven us as she now clings to me every time she hears a lawn mower or motorcycle! We'll try again in a few years I guess!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Third Baby Shower

So, I decided to throw my best friend a third baby shower. I'm not really sure if that's something you do, but who cares? I'm at a point in my life where I feel like celebrating as much as I can, while I can. Although we are still not 100%, it does look like my family is going to make our goal of finishing deputation at the end of March 2014, which means we will be moving to Costa Rica in April! But that story is for another day. The only relevance here is that it is making me take the time I have with my loved ones more seriously.

A little back story on the Mommy-to-be (hopefully any day now as she is already over-due): she and her family are also missionaries on deputation.When their first daughter was born they were living in a a very small (one room, one bathroom) place with no storage, so as her daughter outgrew things she had to get rid of them as there was no where to keep them. Then, we both got pregnant, her with her second, a son and me with my first, a daughter. She started giving me the hand me downs (some of which I have been able to to return to her) and our families moved in to either side of a duplex our church owns, just in time for our babies to be born. This gave her a lot more space, but sadly it was too late to hang on to any baby clothes under size 9 months (which is when she started giving them to me). So, here comes round 3 for her and it's another baby girl with nothing to wear! I just couldn't let that happen, and neither could her other friends, so I threw a baby shower asking solely for cute new outfits. Here is what I did for the shower:
I kept the food simple. The menu included perminto cheese and (store bought) chicken salad on Hawaiian rolls, carrots and cucumbers with (store bought) ranch dip, strawberries, blueberries, and vanilla waifers with Dessert Dip, chilled dill pickles, cheese cubes and Ice Cream Sandwhich Cake. To drink, there was lemonade punch and coffee punch, with extra whipped cream from the cake for topping.

For games, as an ice breaker I gave everyone a few diapers and a marker to make Late Night Diapers, and I also had them fill out their address on a envelope for a thank you card. For another game I came up with questions to ask the Dad and filmed him answering them before hand, then at the party I had the Mom answer the questions and then played back his answers. We also had a sock sorting competition with the new socks going to the Mom and the grand champ winning a prize!
 Some of the guests and all of the children!
 Games and favors table
The Mommy opening her new outfits!
While the Mom was opening her gifts I gave everyone a "binkie" and the first one to finish it won a prize. 
 Me and my two best friends, all pregnant at once!
Favors! I ended up with several of the extras but didn't mind!

I think the Mom to be enjoyed it as well as all who came so I consider that a success! In another month and a half I get to co-host a boy baby shower for the girl on the left in the above picture and I'm totally looking forward to it!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

More Maternity Outfits

I'm at the point in my pregnancy where I don't mind taking outfit pictures again, so here are a few more! We have been traveling a lot recently and then when we were home we had camp meeting at church, I put on a baby shower for a friend and I had a lot of house projects to catch up on. I haven't been doing a lot of cooking or crafting but I hope to have some time to again once I stop traveling before baby girl #2 comes!
I wore this for lunch with a friend and dinner with my family. It was sooo cool and comfortable! 
Dress: Wal-mart (wish I had gotten more than one!)
Necklace: Gift
Belt: Charlotte Russe

I put on this baby doll top one more time before putting it away. I loved it with my cobalt maternity skirt and bubble necklace. Leopard shoes seemed more interesting than black. Also, my sweet daughter has to be in on every outfit picture. I usually crop her out but she just looked too sweet (and was too close) in this one!
Top: Kohl's
Skirt: Target (maternity)
Necklace: Beall's Outlet
Shoes: Payless

I got this shirt for $4 because it was long sleeve. It looked really stupid with long sleeves they were sewn on right where mine stop) and I wanted it short sleeved anyways, so it was an easy fix! I just cut them off a few inches below where I wanted the new length to be and then cuffed them twice and tacked the cuffs down. I have loved wearing it and will continue to wear it when not pregnant as well.
Shirt - Old Navy (altered)
Skirt - Target (maternity)
Shoes - Kohl's

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Style: Using Inspiration Photos when Pregnant

I have a Pinterest board full of outfit inspiration photos that I am just waiting to try, but that is a bit of a challenge when I'm pregnant! It seems like every other day I try something on and "Oh look! Here's another one for the closet shelf that I won't be wearing again until November!" I know I'm lucky that I do have a lot that still fits though. I know some women have to buy a whole maternity wardrobe while I am able to make a lot of what I already have work for a while. So, to make it more fun, the last time we were home I tried to make outfits with as many of my inspiration photos as possible. Here are the results:

I took this inspiration photo in the window of Franchesca's. I loved the pastel colors with the cream and camel brown. For my version I paired a lavender maternity top with a blush pink cami and necklace. Sadly, my camel brown belt no longer fits so I went with the gold from the buckle instead.
Tee - Target (maternity)
Tank - Aeropostale
Skirt - Vanity
Necklace - Charlotte Russe
Belt - Forever 21
Shoes - Payless

I've had this one on deck for quite some time and you may see the color pairing again in the future. I was going to visit my grandparents at the nursing home (where my grandpa has the heat on in summer) so I wanted to keep things as cool as possible and thus went with a tank that did not need layering and earrings in turquoise instead of a necklace. I also have a bracelet on in that color which is hard to see in the pic but that ties it all together.
Tank: JC Penny
Skirt - Target
Earrings - Flea market
Bracelet/ Flip Flops - Payless

I originally pinned this after I bought a navy dress, but I liked the colors together so much that I decided to wear this version for church, but you may see this color pairing again as well!
Tee - Kohl's
Skirt - altered
Necklace - Beall's Outlet
Belt - Vanity
Shoes - Payless 

I got a compliment from a teenager working behind the Chick-fil-A counter on this outfit. It is quite possible that she was only being nice so I don't really flatter myself but it took me by surprise! I really love the chambray shirt trend and you will definitely be seeing more outfits with them from me in the future. I didn't go so much with the colors on this one, as the concept: denim shirt, floral skirt, big necklace in complementing colors.
Shirt: Altered
Skirt - Old Navy
Necklace - Gift
Belt - Target
Shoes - Payless

I didn't actually plan this one after the picture but it must have been in the back of my mind somewhere. I will be doing this one again with yellow!
Shirt - Wal-mart
Tank - Kohl's (maternity)
Skirt - Target (maternity)
Necklace - Gift
Belt - Body Central
Shoes - Rack Room Shoes

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Go Chic or Go Home - Your Virtual Closet!

Recently I found Audry of Putting Me Together on Pinterest and have really enjoyed following her blog. The first set of posts I read was her Building a Remixable Wardrobe series and I really enjoyed how she put everything in simple terms and basic rules. I especially enjoyed the post about Layering Pieces or "completer pieces" as she called them because I have realized lately that those are what can really take an outfit to the next level.
 But this post isn't about her, awesome as she is! It's about another website that she introduced her readers to: Go Chic or Go Home. I haven't had a ton of time to play around with it yet but there is one feature that I am truly excited about: the virtual closet feature! I have been wanting to have a digitized version of my closet for quite some time that I could use to keep me more organized. I knew that if I just took photos of my clothes and kept them on my computer that I would have to do a lot of work to really use them in the way I wanted to. GCOGH does the organizing for me. You start by taking photos of your clothes and then and then uploading them to the site. Then you label each piece by type and color and the site organizes them and you can drag and drop them to create outfits. You can save those outfits and access them/change them at any time. I plan to use this as a resource for trip planning as well as outfits that I want to feature on the blog. On the website you can also view outfits and clothes from other users and share/glean ideas with each other. There is also a section where you can get coupon codes for stores that you like. Here is an outfit I built and then wore recently to take my daughter to play at the mall.
T-shirt - Ross (maternity)
Gauchos - Wal-Mart
Shoes - Kohl's
Scarf - Wal-Mart

Click here to request an invitation to join the site!