Friday, December 8, 2017

Reliving Myspace, Christmas Edition

One time I saw Cady Heron wearing army pants and flip flops, so I bought army pants and flip flops. other bloggers doing this survey, so I'm doing this survey.

1. Real tree or fake tree?
FAKE, and preferably pre-lit. And then I burn my Bath and Body Works Fresh Balsam candle so we can still have that pine scent. Ain't nobody got time to vacuum pine needles all day and night.

2. Favorite Christmas cookie?
Tough call. I'll go with molasses cookies. Not gingerbread cookies...molasses. Like the round, crinkly, chewy kind. The spicier the better.

3. Home on Christmas morning or travel?
Normally, I much prefer to be home on Christmas morning. This year, though, we're flying to Seattle to be with my mom and sister on Christmas. Should be fun, though I can't say I won't miss our nice, quiet, calm Christmas morning at home in our living room.

4. Clear or colored lights?
This is a tough call, and I'm pretty sure the reason for divorce amongst many couples. My husband is firmly in the "clear lights only" camp. I could go either way, so clear lights are generally fine with me. The one time kind of colored lights I really, really love, however...those large-bulbed, retro ones. I could probably be happy with Christmas decorations strictly from the 50s and nothing else. Give me all the mercury glass ornaments/tree toppers, large glass bulbs, bubble lights, ceramic Christmas trees...I love it all.

5. Send Christmas cards?
Absolutely! We've done a photo card every year since we've been married. I usually post a screenshot of our card here on Christmas day so stay tuned if you want to see what this year's card looks like!

6. Favorite Christmas present received?
Everything Isaiah buys me. He always comes up with the most thoughtful gifts, half of the time things I didn't even know I wanted, or things I've mentioned I want but forgot about by the time Christmas rolls around.

7. Favorite Christmas present given?
I don't know if I have a favorite...I like giving gifts in general. Though this year Isaiah and I bought my mom a duvet cover she's been saying she wants for like a year now, and I'm excited for her to open it. We also splurged and bought Imogen a slightly expensive doll for Christmas this year. It's kind of a keepsake type of item, and dude...it has her name. We also bought her a doorway jumper and I'm super excited about that, too. Lately she's been alllll about jumping up and down while we're holding her under her arms, so I imagine the jumper is going to be quite a hit.

8. Stockings or no stockings?
Stockings! We never did stockings growing up for financial reasons, but Isaiah and I have always done them and we really enjoy it. I just ordered Imogen her first stocking and I can't wait for it to get here! Ideas for stocking stuffers for a baby who'll be almost 6 months old at Christmastime?

9. Christmas PJs?
Of course! Every year, I buy a new pair of flannel PJ pants from Old Navy, because they're usually dirt cheap and they have some fun patterns. I totally spaced it this year, though, with everything going on. And even if I were to order a pair right now, by the time they arrived (#alaska) we'd already be gone to Seattle for Christmas. Maybe I'll make a pit stop at Old Navy once we get there, who knows. So far, Imogen is the only one with new Christmas pajamas...

10. Favorite Christmas carol?
Hands down, O Come Emmanuel.

11. Favorite holiday tradition?
Since we do 95% of our Christmas shopping online (#alaska), on Christmas Eve Isaiah and I go into town, brave the crowds, and buy each other a Christmas Eve gift. We set a strict budget limit and see what we can find.

12. Early shopper or last minute?
Early shopper...again, 95% of my shopping has to be done online because again, #alaska.

13. Favorite Christmas movie or t.v. show?
I have a LOT of Christmas movies I really like (Elf, Christmas Vacation, Home Alone) but my two favorites have always been A Christmas Story and It's a Wonderful Life.

14. Favorite holiday beverage?
This year, the drink of the season seems to be hot apple cider. I can't get enough of it.

15. Cookies and milk for Santa?
Santa, schmanta. Cookies and milk for ANGI.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

These Are My Confessions #2 (Christmas Edition)

+ I got a little salty this year toward people decorating for Christmas before Thanksgiving even happened. I know it's a commercial thing for stores, so they get a half-hearted pass, but people...what's so wrong with Thanksgiving that we have to completely overlook it and skip straight to Christmas? Maybe I'm just annoyed with this giant effort on the part of half of America to get rid of any holiday that they consider even slightly offensive (Columbus Day, anyone?). It makes me want to celebrate those holidays even harder, so there.

I think gift guides are useless and I have never once been inspired by one. First of all, they're so stereotypical. Wives want makeup, purses, cashmere scarves and fluffy bathrobes. Husbands want flasks, ties, socks, and some sort of electronics gadget. Except not. Second, what are with these "stocking stuffer" gift guides where nothing is under $50? I'm sorry, but $500 watches and iPhones are not stocking stuffers.

+ Get your pitchforks ready...I think that the Elf on a Shelf is ridiculous, and kind of wrong. Maybe I'm a little too opinionated on this, but I think I would just feel so extremely weird flat out lying to Imogen and telling her an elf doll is alive, watching her (um, creepy), and reporting back to Santa. I know people who go all out with the elf and that's fine, whatever, but I will forever hate it. We also don't do Santa (cue the collective gasps and "you're ruining your daughter's childhood" comments).

+ I don't really like "new" Christmas songs very much. There are some artists who do newer songs that I would consider more of a winter song than a Christmas song (for instance, look up The Sweeplings...bomb!) and those are okay, but overall, just give me the classics. Remixed, just fine! But entirely new songs tend to be cheesy, and I don't love cheesy Christmas songs. Unless it's "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer," in which case bring on the cheese.

+ I don't think I'm going to do my annual Christmas craft this year. Maybe I will. We'll see. But I kind of don't think I will. There's enough going on with remodeling bathrooms and keeping a 5 month old alive and making travel plans, busting out the hot glue gun and paint and whatever else just isn't at the top of my priority list. Again, we'll see...on a related note, I can't even believe it's been an entire year since we announced we were having a baby.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Life Lately #13

Reading: I've been on a little bit of a reading stall lately but I have two books started that I want to keep plugging away at ASAP...one is Eve in Exile which I've seen recommended by several friends/bloggers lately, and the other is The Devil in the White City. I'm excited to continue reading both!

Watching: Nothing much at the moment, but Isaiah and I just bought the final season (6) of Grimm and we're going to start it this weekend. Series finales are always bittersweet. I'm excited to see how it wraps up, but super bummed we won't have it to look forward to every fall anymore.

Listening to: Christmas music. I've become that person who listens to it before Thanksgiving. I wasn't going to, normally I try and wait until after Thanksgiving, but Isaiah was playing a Christmas album the other day and I got really into it and now it's been all Christmas music, all day. Anything new this year I should be aware of?

Wearing: My mom uniform: Jeans and a sweatshirt. 

Smelling: This pumpkin scented candle I bought from an Etsy shop. It's WONDERFUL. It's a little pricey, but so are Bath and Body Works candles if you don't buy them on sale, and they charge $20 to ship to Alaska anyway...basically the price of a full size candle to start with.

Eating: Angie's Boom Chicka Pop kettle corn. Only 70 calories per cup means I can eat like, five cups. For LUNCH, obviously.

Thinking: That it's safe to say Imogen has finally noticed the cat. She sat in her little activity center (Isaiah calls it her "command center," hahaha) STARING at him sitting on the kitchen table licking himself for a solid ten minutes. 



Loving: The cold but SUNNY weather we've been having the last week! I don't know how long it's supposed to last, but I'm refusing to look at the forecast so I don't get depressed when it tells me we're back to rain and/or snow soon. 

Annoyed with: My still-limited wardrobe. I'm trying not to buy too many new clothes while I work on getting back down to my pre-pregnancy weight but it's hard. I used to feel like I didn't have enough clothes. Now I look in my closet and I'm like, I HAVE SO MANY CLOTHES!!! And I can't wear 80% of them.

Creating: Does remodeling bathrooms count as creating something? I'm going with that. We wanted to do both bathrooms this past weekend, but ran into some snags with the half-bath downstairs (old house + people who didn't know what they were doing when they built the place = every project taking twice as long). It's done now, and hopefully next weekend we'll be able to knock out the full bathroom upstairs relatively quickly now that we know what we're up against and how to fix the problems we're sure to run across.

Nervous about: The fact that I just got summoned for grand jury from January through March. That means I have to report to court every single Thursday (possibly) for three entire months. I had to fill out a questionnaire online after I got my summons and in the comments, I requested to be excused on account of the fact that I will have a 6 month old baby for whom I am the primary caregiver and my husband is a police officer and cannot leave work last minute if I have to serve. I'm hoping they have mercy on me, otherwise I have no idea what I'm going to do.

Laughing at: This video. I have no idea how I even stumbled across it, but the line "it takes me ages before I decide what my dolls should wear" had me rolling. Is this a thing people actually do for a hobby!? ADULTS, I mean?? I had no idea, and I kind of wish I still had no idea.

Anticipating: CHRISTMAS IN SEATTLE...for the first time since 2008!! To say I'm excited would be an understatement. I love, love, LOVE our quiet Christmases at home, but Imogen will be almost 6 months old and I'm so excited to take her to look at Christmas lights and see her (hopefully) crawl around my mom's house.

Friday, November 10, 2017

I have thoughts #3

The last time I wrote an "I have thoughts" post, Imogen had just gotten her 2 month vaccines. As luck would have it, this time around she just had her 4 month vaccines. I was hoping she'd get through them unscathed, but good grief. It was so much worse this time around. Last time she had a low fever for about a day and a half and was really sleepy the day of the shots, and that was it. She was fine. This time, she started feeling feverish that same afternoon, and the entire next day and night. She was tired. She was fussy. She wanted to sleep. She wanted to be awake. She wanted to eat. She didn't want to eat. She has only had two dirty diapers since then (TMI, sorry, but it is Friday and her shots were on Monday and that's not comfortable for anyone) and both were really runny thanks to the Rotavirus vaccine. Yesterday she went on a feeding strike and it was all I could do to get her to eat the bare minimum for most of the day. Today she is refusing to nap longer than 30 minutes at a time. I don't know how much of this is vaccine related and how much of it is age-related, since she just turned four months, but good grief. I'm exhausted from this week.

I attempted to make homemade apple cider today, and it. is. DELICIOUS. I posted the recipe on my Instagram story but if you missed it, let me know and I'll send you the recipe. It's so stinking easy, I don't know why I've never tried it before. I used honeycrisp apples. I can't wait to heat some up later this evening.

I've been on a book-buying streak for the baby lately, which isn't weird or anything but I need your recommendations for board books. We don't have nearly enough (is that possible, though?) There are only two shops in town that sell board books and they're all overpriced; I can get them cheaper on Amazon. Problem is, then I can't look inside them to see if I like them. We like really good illustrations, and a cute story. Examples of books we have and love: The Quiet Book, Red Wagon, A Lullaby for Little One, anything Peter Rabbit-related, and so on and so forth. Send me your suggestions!

Speaking of Peter Rabbit, is it too early to start planning Imogen's first birthday party? Don't answer that.

I bought a chalkboard and chalk pens recently and I've been obsessed with changing it up almost every single day. More often than not, it displays either a Ron Swanson quote or a Michael Scott quote. Today I plan on surprising Isaiah with a hot apple toddy (hence the apple cider experiment) when he gets home from work, so here's today's board:


With my spiced apple toddy candle burning, of course.

Is anyone else already feeling the pressure of Christmas gifts? I think it's because my mom is already asking me for gift ideas, but I feel like it's much later in November than it actually is. Like, is it really only the 10th? Surely December is like, next week. Daylight saving hasn't helped. I know, it's "the thing" for everyone to complain about, but I really hate it. I hate that it gets dark at like 4pm now, I hate that I'm ready for bed by 6:30, and I really couldn't care less that it's light at 8am again. Yay, that'll last all of a few weeks before we're down to about 6 hours of daylight. Take your daylight "saving" and shove it, Benjamin Franklin.

We're going to remodel our bathrooms and laundry room this weekend. Lord, beer us strength. Both bathrooms and the laundry room are getting new flooring; the downstairs half-bath is getting a new vanity, faucet and toilet; the upstairs full bath is getting a new vanity, faucet, medicine cabinet, lighting, and toilet. I'm not too worried about the two bathrooms, but I'm d r e a d i n g moving the washer/dryer and the hot water heater so we can do the floor in the laundry room. We just replaced the hot water heater a couple months ago and it was a complete pain in the you know what, and I'm not excited to move the stupid thing yet again. At least it should be easier to drain this time...the old one hadn't been replaced since it was originally installed in the 1980s, and the bottom was so full of sediment that we had to rig a drainage system to one of the element holes using the hose from our ShopVac. It was an adventure, and not one I'm wanting to repeat any time soon. That said, once the bathrooms and laundry room are finished, our house is DONE in the remodeling department. Five years of projects...anything after this is just bonus points.

Last thing: Thank the Lord it's Friday. Isaiah has been working a crap ton of overtime lately, and I am looking forward to a few days of family time. I may even have a spiked apple cider tonight, myself.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Baby recommendations: 1-3 Months

So, I never thought I'd be the type of person to write a post like this, but then I discovered how much I actually really liked and appreciated recommendation posts when I was pregnant and figured I'd throw in my two cents. You don't even have to be pregnant to like posts like these - all of these would make great baby shower gifts as well!

I know there is a crap ton of gear and recommendations out there, and a lot you really don't actually NEED (though some things are nice to have) - but these truly are some of my favorite things from the first three months of having a baby. I hope it helps if you're either having a baby or trying to buy for someone having one!

Oh - and, as always, none of these links are sponsored because mama don't play like that.

Feeding

+ Boon Grass drying rack. I didn't originally intend to mostly bottle feed Imogen, but out of necessity, it happened. At first, I just had a towel laid out on the kitchen counter to air dry bottles, but it was an eye sore and didn't work that well. Enter the Boon drying rack. I know it's kind of quirky looking, but I like it, and it works well. It's dishwasher safe so I run it through every few days, and it holds a lot more than you'd think based on its size. Even if you aren't bottle feeding and just have pump parts, or other baby items you need to air dry occasionally, it's a nice item to have.

+ Dr. Browns Options bottles. Along the same bottle train, these are the bottles we have been using and I really like them. They're a little more of a pain to clean because of all the parts, but Imogen was an extremely gassy baby and these are the only bottles we tried (and we tried several) that seemed to really actually help her gas issues. It's possible she just happened to start growing out of that phase when we finally bought these, but we're still using them and I still really like them.

Bedtime

+ Little Unicorn muslin crib sheets. I know, I know everyone raves about Little Unicorn products and they're basically the new Aden and Anais, but it's for a good reason. Their stuff is bomb, that's why. Aside from their muslin swaddle blankets and their diaper bags, I absolutely love their crib sheets. We have this hedgehog one and it's probably my favorite crib sheet we own. It's soft, it washes really well, it fits the crib mattress perfectly, it doesn't cost fifty dollars, and it's darn cute. I want ten more of them.

Hatch Baby Rest sound machine/night light. I won't go into excruciatingly long detail about all the features this sound machine/night light has, but we love it. You can connect it to your phone via Bluetooth, you can program favorite light color/sound/volume combos, and the metal ring on top is the on/off "switch" (there are buttons on the bottom, too) so in the middle of the night when you're feeding your infant for the 15th time all you have to do is tap the top to turn it on instead of fumble with finding the on/off switch. It's not fugly like so many other sound machines are, and it even has an "OK to wake" feature for older kids. You can buy patterned covers for it, too, but I like it just plain white.

Bathtime

+ Puj Flyte baby bathtub. There are a TON of options for baby bathtubs out there, but I really wanted one that would fit in our kitchen sink to make bath time really easy. This Puj bathtub has been perfect - it's great quality, rinses clean and folds flat so we can keep it in a closet when we aren't using it. Imogen is in the 90th percentile for height (not sure where she got that) and at 4 months, she is just now starting to look pretty cramped in there. We'll probably be able to use it for another month or two, and then we'll have to graduate to something that fits in the actual bathtub.

+ Shower caddy tote. When I started accumulating baby bath items, I wasn't sure where I was going to store them all. We have really tiny bathrooms and very few closets and I needed something I could cart back and forth to the kitchen from Imogen's bedroom. This shower caddy has been the perfect size to hold her baby shampoo, lotion, hairbrush, Nose Frida, nail clippers, a few washcloths...basically everything needed for baby spa time.

+ Bamboo baby washcloths. Don't get me wrong, you do NOT need to buy special washcloths for bathing your baby. Regular washcloths work just fine. But these are some of the softest washcloths I've ever felt, and for sensitive baby skin, they're wonderful. They wash well and stay just as soft, and they aren't expensive.

+ Tom's of Maine baby lotion. There are tons of baby lotions out there you can choose from, but this has been my favorite by far. You can get fragrance free if you desire, but I really love the lightly scented one. It isn't terribly greasy, it hasn't caused any kind of a reaction on her skin, and it's extremely moisturizing. After I put it on Imogen, I rub the rest into my hands and elbows.

Diapering

+ Earth Mama Angel Baby Bottom Balm. Every baby needs a good diaper cream, right? I really like this one. It's cloth diaper safe if you're going that route, it has a really nice herbal smell, and it's all natural. We've not only used it on Imogen's booty, but on her cheeks when she gets a little bit of a breakout, on the inner creases of her elbows when they get a little bit red (from sweat? I have no idea) and underneath her chin/between her neck rolls when she got a tiny bit of a rash in there. It clears all of the above up within a day or two.

+ Munchkin waterproof changing pad liners. I know some people scoff at using a changing pad and sheet for diapering, but I really like using both. Our changing pad sits on top of the dresser, and I honestly like keeping it covered with a sheet just so it's not so ugly to look at. These waterproof changing pad liners make it so I rarely have to change the actual sheet. I will let you know that they need to be washed in COLD water and air dried, otherwise the plastic backing WILL melt. I found that out the hard way, but thankfully they're cheap to replace.

+ Be Bundles snap flip lids. Our favorite wipes are Water Wipes. Unfortunately, the packages don't come with an actual lid, they come with one of those sticky sheet things that after a few times opening and closing the wipes package, lose their stickiness and you end up with dried out wipes. These plastic flip lids have been awesome for getting rid of that problem. They're not too hard to "install" and they seal nice and tight so your wipes don't dry out. I don't know if other brands of wipes have the same type of sticky sheet instead of a lid, but for those that do, I highly recommend getting some of these snap lids.

Things to Wear

+ Zutano fleece booties. These aren't the cheapest baby "shoes" on the market, but I would recommend them a thousand times over if you live somewhere cold. Here in Alaska, I really needed something I could put on Imogen's feet that she couldn't kick off, and so far these are the only things that actually stay on. We have the gray with the pink lining and Isaiah calls them her "elephant shoes." Word to the wise - the sizing is a little different. "3 months" means 0-3 months, not 3-6 months. Imogen is 4 months and I'm going to have to size up very shortly because I bought her the 3 month size a month ago thinking that meant 3-6 months and they'd fit at least until Christmas. Nope.

+ Carter's folded cuff socks. I have a crap ton of socks for Imogen. These are by far my favorite, because they're some of the only ones that (again) she can't kick off. I can un-cuff them and pull them up almost all the way to her knees, which helps them stay on. And, they're stretchy enough that they will likely still fit her when she starts learning to walk, and the little grippy things on the bottom will be nice in a house that is 95% laminate wood flooring.

Playtime

+ IKEA Leka cat rattles. These rattles were perfect when Imogen was first starting to show interest in toys but wasn't very coordinated and had a hard time actually grabbing them. They're small and soft and easy for an infant to grip, and she also loved sticking the tail/feet in her mouth to chew on them. The rattle isn't loud, either (bonus).

+ Skip Hop Activity Mirror. Imogen hated tummy time for the first few months. Like, literally HATED it. She would do well for about thirty seconds and then she would just smash her face into the ground and cry. We tried everything - laying on the ground in front of her, putting small toys in front of her to distract her, propping her up on a pillow or rolled up blanket...nothing worked. Finally, out of sheer desperation (and paranoia that my baby would be the only one in kindergarten unable to hold her head up) I ordered this mirror, knowing that she loved looking at herself in the bathroom mirror, and it worked. She still didn't last a very long time, but being able to look at herself was enough of a distraction to at least get several minutes of tummy time out of her instead of several seconds. Of course, the mirror is an unbreakable one so it's not super clear and everything looks really distorted, but it's not like she was trying to do her makeup in it.

Other Gear

+ Fisher Price Rock and Play. If there's one thing you splurge on, I would highly recommend this. I had more than one person tell me I needed one when I was pregnant, and did I ever. Imogen loved the cradle-like feeling vs. laying flat on her back, and she even slept in it next to our bed for the first three months of her life. I still use it, too - she lays in it and plays with toys in the doorway of the bathroom every day while I shower. We didn't spring for the auto-rocking version, but if you don't mind the cost, there's that option as well.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

These Are My Confessions

+ I really, really hate the acronym "AF." If you don't know what it means, it means "as f***" and it's stupid. It also doesn't even make sense. "Married AF." "Tired AF." "Hungry AF." That means nothing.

+ I don't mean to sound ungrateful, but why do people give so many hand me downs as baby gifts? Don't get me wrong, I've gotten some hand me downs that were extremely thoughtful and actually really useful. But we have had three separate sets of people now randomly go to either the thrift store or garage sales to buy us bags full of used baby clothes. And they look used. And they're not our style at ALL. Again, I don't want to sound like a total B and like I'm ungrateful for the things people get us, but we're set with plenty of clothes. We don't need grocery bags full of used baby clothes that we're just going to turn around and re-donate. I'd rather our family and friends say, "Hey, I would imagine Imogen is growing out of her newborn clothes at this point, is there anything you need?" The moral of the story is, if you know someone having a baby...JUST ASK. Don't waste your money. Ask.

+  Fall is not my favorite season. Summer is. Cue the collective gasps. It's just that it's cool/chilly here so much of the year that I basically live for any day over 60 degrees.

+ I don't like Halloween. We don't celebrate it and probably never will.

+ Imogen is 4 months old (tomorrow) and I'm still mostly wearing my maternity jeans. My non-maternity jeans kinda fit, but they're a little too snug around my hips, which have not yet gone back down to normal. "Muffin top" is only good when it's referring to food. My goal is to be out of maternity jeans full time by Thanksgiving.

+ I always thought that babies aren't supposed to start solid foods until they're six months old, but apparently you can start as early as four months? I never knew this until recently, and now when I look at Imogen and think we could start giving her purees/cereal any day now, I get really sad and think we might wait until six months just because I am not ready for her to be so grown up.

+ Usually I am instantly in the Christmas spirit once November 1st hits, but we're going to be traveling this year and I suddenly have no desire to decorate our house when we won't even be here. My husband vehemently disagrees with my opinion so we'll probably still decorate. I don't mind decorating. I just hate taking it all down again.

Tell me some of your confessions. I know I'm not alone.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Life Lately #12

Reading: Still plugging away at Glory in the Ordinary. I had a few weeks where I wasn't really into reading very much, but now I'm back at it and almost finished with it. I'm still debating whether to officially review it or not. It's good, though, and even though I'm not quite done, I can already recommend it.

Watching: Well, now that we've finished the current season of The Blacklist (sob), we're re-watching Parks and Rec. April is still my spirit animal. 



Listening to: The sound of a crazy downpour outside. It's been raining so hard all night and all day today, and I'm not normally a paranoid person, but I'm a little afraid of landslides these days. Did I mention that two years ago there was a landslide here that killed 3 people? And a month or so ago there was another huge landslide that blocked the road to our house and we were without power or a road into town for an entire day? Both landslides due to excessive rainfall in a short period of time. Like today...

Wearing: A hoodie, because what else does a sane person wear when the baby's napping, it's pouring rain and there's a candle burning?

Smelling: These three candles on rotation. I highly recommend every single one if you're into fall/winter scents from Bath and Body Works. I do kinda wish the "But First! Coffee" one was a little classier looking and less cheesy, not to mention the weirdly placed exclamation point drives me a little bonkers, but whatever. The candle smells like a hot mocha, so I'm not too upset about it. 



Loving: This picture of my daughter making flirty eyes at a teenage boy at a restaurant we were at this weekend. She does this hilarious thing where if she wants someone to look at her, she gives them this look and either blows spit bubbles or makes this "hehhhhhh" sound, like a half-laugh. It's hilarious and adorable and I want to bottle the sounds she makes so I can listen to them forever. God bless iPhone cameras.

I'm also loving how auburn her hair looks in this photo. I can't wait to see what color it ends up actually being...sometimes it looks medium brown indoors, but outside and in bright light there's definitely a ton of auburn/blonde in there.



Not Loving: How it doesn't matter how girly we dress Imogen, there's always someone who tells us what a cute little boy we have. The other day she was wearing pink and the lady at the post office asked me how old "he" is. Granted, her blanket was very gender-neutral and she had a Peter Rabbit stuffed animal with her, but still. It reminded me of an episode of The Office (as does just about everything in life)...I couldn't find a gif for it but it's the one where a new employee named Hannah transfers to Scranton and brings her son to work and dresses him in pink and when Pam says "she" is adorable, Hannah informs her that pink is "his favorite color." Office fans will know which episode I'm talking about.

Annoyed with: Babies R Us. I wanted to order a two-pack of leggings and a mirror toy for Imogen the other day and they wanted to charge me THIRTY DOLLARS to ship those three things here. I'm so blessed to have a mother who lets me ship whatever I want to her house (usually for free, because lower 48ers don't know how good they have it) so she can re-mail it for like five bucks.

Creating: Not much lately, but I did a quick project for my friend Anna the other day using Photoshop, and it was fun to dig back into that program. It's been a while. She and a friend needed some quick business cards made up for a craft show they were doing. I think they turned out okay for only taking thirty minutes! On a related note, check out their Facebook page!

Wanting: For some reason lately I'm kiiiiiiiiiind of wanting a Letterfolk board. I kind of hate how ridiculously popular they are and I'd totally be jumping on a bandwagon, but then I think of all the Office and Parks and Rec quotes I could put up and I think I might ask for one for Christmas.

Laughing at: This is me to a T. I will not, repeat will not parallel park. I've managed to avoid it ever since I failed miserably at it during my driving test when I was sixteen. Why start now?




Feeling: Anxious. Imogen's aunt and uncle (Isaiah's brother and sister-in-law) are coming over to babysit Imogen for a couple of hours while we go to the shooting range this afternoon. What if she cries and wonders why mommy and daddy aren't coming to rescue her? There are so many things that I scoffed at pre-child and now that I have a baby, I totally get it. A year ago I would have laughed at someone being so nervous to leave their baby for two hours with family. Now, that someone is me. I'll take that humble pie a'la mode, thanks.

Anticipating: Christmas. Yes, Christmas, and I realize it's not even November yet. But Imogen will be almost 6 months old, and I'm so excited to give her a few presents to open. I assume by then she'll actually be interested in playing with toys and not just slobbering all over them? We're also planning to visit my mom for Christmas (my first Christmas "home" since I moved to Alaska in 2009!) and take a couple of days to drive down to Oregon to introduce Imogen to her great-grandfather on Isaiah's side. 

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Reliving Myspace, Fall Edition



Well, it's been a minute since I posted anything but I can't think of anything interesting to talk about, so instead you get a survey. Because if the words "pumpkin spice" don't appear in at least one blog post, is it even fall?

1. Favorite fall sweet treat?
Pumpkin chocolate chip muffins. I don't think I made any last year. That must be remedied this year.

2. Red, yellow, or green apples?
I tend to lean toward more tart apples, but some of those can be red, so...I guess red and green?

3. Favorite fall sport to play?
Watching Netflix.

4. Best drink for fall?
I don't really have a regular fall drink. I'm still drinking iced coffee over here, even though it's 50 degrees and pouring rain.

5. Favorite fall activity?
Baking all of the things.

6. Must-have fall purchase?
Usually a cardigan or two. I fiiiiinnnnally bought a mustard yellow cardigan while in Seattle last week and I'm having to stop myself from wearing it every single day.

7. Pumpkins: Pick your own or store bought?
Store bought if I buy them at all. Ain't no pumpkin farms 'round these parts.

8. Real or fake pumpkin?
Depends. If I'm decorating inside, fake. If I'm decorating outside, real. If I'm baking, real.

9. Favorite Halloween costume?
We don't really do Halloween. Just not into it.

10. College or NFL football?
NFL all the way. My alma mater doesn't have a football team. If I was forced to choose one, though, it'd be University of Washington.

11. Fall or Halloween decor?
FALL. Aside from not celebrating Halloween, I don't see the appeal of decorating with ghosts and witches and bloody Frankenstein heads.

12. Raking leaves or no leaves to rake?
Well, we don't have a yard, so...no leaves to rake, I guess?

13. Favorite soup?
Lentil. After that, either split pea or butternut squash/apple.

14. Favorite fall scent candle?
Any of the pumpkin ones from Bath and Body Works, and we just bought one called Bourbon and Sea Salt Caramel and it is heavenly.

15. Love or hate pumpkin spice?
I love pumpkin but am ambivalent toward pumpkin spice.

16. Short booties or tall boots?
Why choose? Both!

17. Favorite Halloween candy?
Anything but candy corn/pumpkins.

18. Pumpkin spice latte: Yes or no?
I could take it or leave it. However, I do like just a regular iced coffee with almond milk and one pump of pumpkin syrup.

19. Corn maze or hayride?
I've never done either.

20. Favorite fall TV show?
The Blacklist.

Linking up with The Blended Blog!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

I can't even.

I can't even with...

+ Anything on Instagram other than actual stories and photos. Why was Boomerang invented? Why? If I wanted to watch someone clink a champagne glass on a 2 second loop or watch someone take the same bite of the same donut 500 times, I would...well, I wouldn't. Also, Instagram filters. I'm sorry I feel this way, but nobody over the age of twelve should be posting photos/videos of themselves with flower crowns and anime eyes or deer faces. It's just weird and I got rid of Snapchat for a reason.

+ People who passive aggressively belittle your baby's name. Look, there are tons of legitimately weird baby names out there. But, just like you wouldn't look at someone's baby and say they look "interesting", it's not exactly polite to say someone's baby name choice is "interesting." Just smile, nod, and lie. Say it's a pretty/unique/awesome name, even if you think they should have just named their baby Dirt and been done with it. If I had a dollar for every person who asked what my daughter's name was and, when told, looks at me blankly and says "Oh, interesting," (or just a plain old "Huh??") I'd be a rich mother. For the record, we didn't make it up, it is an actual name, it's Irish, it means "maiden" and "innocent", and apparently nobody on the west coast has ever heard of it. And no, I'm not defensive at all about it, why!?

+ Waiting forever in a drive thru for someone with a gigantic order. One of my least favorite things in the world is pulling into the drive thru line at the coffee shop, then waiting ten minutes for the line to even budge. I'm sitting there wondering what's taking so long, then I see 4 frappucinos, 2 hot coffees, a smoothie, three bagels and two sandwiches handed to the driver. Look, if you're ordering for your daughter's soccer team, GO INSIDE. Drive thrus are for quick orders, not so you don't have to walk ten feet and stand in a normal line.

+ The price of some baby clothes. Look, I love Carters and Old Navy as much as the next gal, but sometimes I want to branch out, you know? There's this website full of baby clothes I just absolutely adore, but hail if I'm going to pay $30+ for an outfit she'll wear a handful of times, even if it is the cutest thing I've ever seen. Ironically, I would totally spend $30 on an outfit for a gift. But not for my OWN daughter...?

+ Loop giveaways on Instagram (coming back around to IG again). Simple giveaways from people I already follow, great! Giveaways where I have to follow 30 new small businesses and have about a one in a million chance of winning? Nooooooope. Not happening. Not ever. Mostly because I don't have the time to go back and UNfollow all those people when I don't win.

+ Mommy wars. I've seen far too many of them lately and they're getting on my nerves. Who cares if you breastfeed or formula feed? Who cares if your baby is in cloth diapers or disposables? Who cares if you choose to work or stay at home? Who cares if you give your six month old a jar of Gerber puree or do baby led weaning? Who cares if your kid watches Daniel Tiger or has no concept of what a television even is? We're all doing our best and my opinion is that we all need to make the best choices we can for our families and call it good. Be confident in your choices, and if you're not, make some changes. Getting offended only hurts one person - yourself.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Life Lately #11

Reading: Glory in the Ordinary: Why Your Work in the Home Matters to God. To be completely honest, even though I've wanted to be a stay at home mom basically my entire life, I'm already struggling with feeling like I'm not really making a valuable contribution to society or our family. I've had a job with a paycheck since I was 15 years old (that's already almost two decades of working!). I'm only like a third of the way into this book, and it's already reassuring me and convicting me that while I might not be driving to an office every day or pulling a paycheck currently, raising our daughter is valuable work. Scrubbing out bottles and loading the dishwasher and folding laundry for the fifth time this week is my job, and it's a great one. I may have more thoughts on this later. 



Watching: The newest seasons (on Netflix) of The Walking Dead and The Blacklist. I'm pleasantly surprised that this season of TWD isn't the gore-fest that last season was. Last season felt like "how many people can we kill and how quickly can we do it?" Granted, people are still dying off, but it feels like there's an actual plot and storyline again, and it's easier to watch. And The Blacklist is always my favorite. James Spader for life, y'all.

Listening to: The latest Jack Johnson album. I haven't listened to him in forever and a day, and I forgot how nice it is to drive around listening to his mellow, chill music. This time around, though, it's while the baby naps in the back seat and while I may or may not be drinking an iced coffee with coconut milk and a pump of pumpkin pie syrup. 

Wearing: Pants that aren't maternity pants!! Isaiah bought me two pairs of jogger-style pants that actually don't look like I should be going to the gym in them, and I managed to squeeze into my biggest pair of non-maternity jeans the other day, too. Granted I still have a fun little muffin top going on and a butt that's bigger than it's ever been in my life, but I know it's not forever. My goal is to start working out at least 3-4 times a week again starting this coming week, now that the kiddo is on a more reliable nap schedule. I know I can count on at least a 2-3 hour nap from her during the late morning/early afternoon hours, so I really have no excuses anymore. I bought a new pair of gym shorts and a tank top and a sports bra, so I really have no excuses.

Smelling: Cucumber Melon body wash from Bath and Body Works. Someone please tell me that was their favorite scent, too. It brings back a few college memories, that's for sure. It does make me feel a little old that they call them their "retired" scents, though...

Eating: Everything bagel flavored bagel chips. Delicious. And full of carbs, which is awesome for my aforementioned pants problem. Eating them really fast counts as getting rid of them, right?

Loving: That we're headed down to Seattle next weekend, sooner than planned! Originally we weren't going to go until Christmas, but I'm excited for my mom to get to see her granddaughter again so soon, and she's a little (ha) excited, too.

Not Loving: That the reason we're going to Seattle in the first place is so my poor baby can get a lip and tongue tie fixed. We've had a really discouraging couple of months in the nursing department, and I'm still pretty emotional about it so I won't go into it at the moment, but I'm hopeful that things will drastically improve after this little surgery (for lack of a better word) she has to get. If nothing else, it'll keep her from having speech impediments or swallowing problems later on in life, so that alone makes it worth the pain and suffering (mostly emotional, and mostly mine).

Annoyed with: Several things at the moment. I'm actually writing a blog post about my current grievances - all in fun, of course - and that'll be up soon.

Creating: New blog headers! I ran across a tutorial I forgot I had for overlaying text with a photo, so that's what I did during yesterday's nap time.

Wanting: EVERYTHING from the Zara kids' section for Imogen. Oh my goodness, take all my money and take it now. Currently, I want this, this, this, and this. It's okay if she has a better wardrobe than me, right?

Also, I kind of want this couch, from a furniture store in town:



It's chartreuse. CHARTREUSE. WITH STUDS. Isaiah is about 50% on board, which is basically 100%, right ladies?

Laughing at: Imogen and the "stories" she tells. That girl has gotten so vocal in the last week or two, and I love it. Obviously everything that comes out can only be written like this: "Awwwhhhwhhhaaaaaaawhhwhhwwwaaaaaaahhhhhhhh"...but I love it. 

Feeling: Pretty good, actually. Isaiah's had to work a crap ton of overtime lately and since he's on night shifts, that means I'm basically alone all day and all night taking care of a 2 1/2 month old, but as she gets older she gets more fun and more predictable and easier to take care of in general, so I'm actually surviving okay. She's learned to not entirely hate her car seat, too, which makes getting out of the house a lot easier. I have yet to attempt the carseat + stroller combo by myself, but as soon as we get some nice weather (yeah, it still sucks) I'm going to venture out and try walking/jogging.

Hoping: That, as I just mentioned, we have some decent weather before winter hits. And yeah, we basically skip fall and go straight to winter around these parts. It's been known to snow on Halloween. 

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Things I Like #3

Don't worry, they're not ALLLLL baby things...

But let's get the baby things out of the way first, shall we?

These bottles have been a lifesaver for us. It wasn't my original plan to be forced to bottle feed the baby so early, but circumstances have dictated that we've been needing to supplement nursing with formula. Unfortunately, with bottles comes extra air intake, and lots of it. That translates into gas, gas, and more gas. Ever since we switched to these bottles at the recommendation of a friend, Imogen has been FAR less gassy. We still have to burp her like it's our job, but the combination of burping plus these bottles has made life a whole lot easier for all of us.

I didn't intend to go crazy with baby clothes, but I seriously cannot resist anything by Rosie Pope. We have these pants, these pants too, and these pajamas; and I'm love with them all. The sizing seems to be pretty accurate, too - she's just now starting to actually fit the 0-3 month pajamas without swimming in them. The pants are still too long because they're all 3-6 month sizes, but I imagine she'll fit them in the next month or so if she keeps growing at the rate she is. We also have some onesies but sadly the patterns appear to have been discontinued. You can see one of them in the picture of her in my last post. I call her Rainbow Brite when she wears them.

Of course I can't do a Things I Like post without mentioning a small business, so if you're in the market for some seriously cute baby headbands, visit Wuthering Iris on Etsy. I can't handle how stinking adorable and soft her headbands are. We already have a "choose your own" set of five, and I just pulled the trigger on another set because hello, it's fall, and Imogen needed some fall colored headbands.

Okay, now for some non-baby related items.

I love this trail mix from Trader Joe's. It's probably cheaper AT Trader Joe's vs. on Amazon, but I don't know how much because I just have my mom send it to me. I really like that they're individually packaged little bags, because if you're like me, "one serving" of trail mix means nothing.

These washcloths are marketed as baby washcloths, but hear me out - they are SO SOFT that not only do we have a set (gray) for Imogen's baths, but I also ordered a second set (off white) for Isaiah to use in his shaving routine. And, Natemia always includes a coupon for a percentage off your next order, which is always a bonus!

Don't worry, none of these links are sponsored - Mama don't play like that. They're just things I like, therefore you probably need to know about them.

Friday, September 8, 2017

I have thoughts #2

My poor baby had to get her first round of vaccines this week, at her two month check up. Is it just me, or does it seem like SIX vaccines is a lot for such a tiny baby? I know it's for her own good, but my gosh...three shots and an oral vaccine. She was such a trooper, though - her eyes got HUGE when they first stuck the needles in (they had two nurses doing them at one time to get it over with faster) and then she cried so hard she didn't even breathe for a good 15 seconds, but then she calmed down after only a few minutes. She did have a low grade fever later that night and the next day and she slept a TON, but she seems mostly back to normal, now. Still, tell me this isn't the saddest picture:


I have been absolutely itching to be outside lately. I feel like I've been basically housebound the last two months, despite the handful of times Isaiah and I have taken the baby out or the few times I've ventured out on my own. Of course now that Imogen is getting easier to take places and has actually been enjoying her stroller (meaning I can start going on walks!), the weather has gone to crap and we've had maybe two days without rain in the last few weeks. Story of my life. 


Somewhat against my will, I semi-recently had to upgrade my phone to the iPhone 7. Long story short, my iPhone 6 was having major battery issues, and one day finally just died and wouldn't charge at all, leaving me sans phone. I like the 7, except for one thing. It will NOT stay connected to our WiFi. I have tried just about every "here's how you fix that!" tutorial I can find online and have yet to find something that actually works. Instead, all day long I keep having to go into settings to reconnect to Wifi. It's annoying as all heck and apparently it's a known issue, so why they haven't released an update that fixes it is beyond me.

I'm getting excited for fall television. Well, not television - fall Netflix. I just got an email alerting me that season 4 of The Blacklist is now on Netflix (if you aren't watching that show, why not?) and it reminded me that it's almost fall and that means all our favorite shows should be having new seasons added. I'm looking at you, Grimm/New Girl/Portlandia/Gotham/Fuller House/Stranger Things.

We are flying down to Seattle at the end of this month for a minor outpatient surgery for Imogen and I'm really nervous about how she's going to sleep while we're at my mom's house. Thus far, she's only slept in a Rock and Play at night, next to our bed. The plan was to start transitioning her to her crib in her own room by the time she hits 3 months old (trust me, I didn't intend to have her sleeping in our room this long, even) but this trip kind of interrupts the time frame a little bit. My mom has purchased a Pack and Play for her to sleep in while we're there, and I have no idea how she's going to handle suddenly having to sleep on a hard, flat surface, completely cold turkey. I'd really like to not have some crazy sleep regression but I'm bracing for it, just in case. 

On a related note - anybody who has flown with a 3 month old baby, give me all your tips!! I already know about nursing/bottle/pacifier during takeoff and landing...what else?

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Life Lately #10



Reading: I'm kind of going back and forth between several books on sleep training right now, mostly for future reference (because you can't really sleep train a 7 week old baby). I'm also reading anything and everything Dr. Google can tell me about babies. Not a day goes by when I don't Google something along the lines of, "Is it normal for a ___ week old baby to...??"

Watching: Nothing really lately, I thought I'd have tons of time for Netflix but that hasn't been the case thus far. My mom keeps insisting I need to try the show Leverage, though - has anybody watched this?

Listening to: The Starlight Live album by Bethel, basically on repeat. Nothing lifts my mood more than some good worship music lately.

Wearing: Track pants, because a certain someone (not Isaiah) peed yesterday all over my one pair of jeans that fits and I haven't been able to wash them yet. 

Smelling: Diapers. Lots and lots of diapers. Breastmilk poop smells like fresh bread, but formula poop stinks like...I don't even know what (why we're partly giving her formula is a whole long story for another day). 

Eating: NOT ENOUGH. I was trying to figure out yesterday evening why I felt so sick (aside from sleep deprivation) and it occurred to me that all I had eaten in the last 18 hours was a fig bar and a half a piece of bread with peanut butter on it. When I'm beyond exhausted, food sounds disgusting to me, but then not eating makes me feel worse...it's a vicious cycle.

Loving: The new (to us) baby swing we bought, that I swore on a stack of Bibles I would never buy. There are all kinds of things you think you'll never touch with a ten foot pole but then you end up with a baby who doesn't appreciate naps like she should and you get desperate. And end up frantically searching the Facebook classified ads in your town for a gently used baby swing that doesn't cost an arm and a leg.

Not Loving: How much room the aforementioned baby swing takes up in our living room. Oh well, can't win 'em all.

Annoyed with: How much time it takes to stay on top of washing bottles. I wish I could hire a full time bottle prepper/washer!

Creating: A crocheted baby blanket for one of Isaiah's coworkers who is having a baby girl also. I haven't found a ton of time to work on it in the last couple of weeks (wonder why!) but I'm hoping I can finish it by mid-September when they're moving out of town.

Wanting: THESE SHOES. Mark my words, as soon as I have a little more free time and energy to start working out, these babies will belong to me. Perfect motivation to get back in shape, am I right??

Laughing at: BABY SMILES. In the last week or so, Imogen has started actually smiling for real, and it's just about the best thing ever. 

Feeling: Slightly nervous for my six week postpartum checkup on Monday. I'm a little excited because the same doctor that ended up delivering the baby is the one I'll be seeing for my checkup, but I also know that she's hardcore pushy about IUDs and I don't really enjoy having to defend my reasons for refusing hormonal birth control.

Hoping: That the baby announcements we ordered don't arrive super blurry. Shutterfly is notorious for that. And also more expensive than I remember...??

Wishing: The rain would stop! It's been nonstop p o u r i n g the last week and it's hard to get out of the house because the weather has been so nasty. It's the kind of weather we normally see in early October, only it's mid August. 

Anticipating: Imogen getting a little older and appreciating toys! I can't wait to play with her for real, and we have some stinking cute toys I'm dying to show her. Right now she just does a lot of staring and wiggling, which can be fun in its own right but it'll be great when she's a little more interactive!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

I have thoughts.



+ Taking care of a baby is hard work. You think it'll be easy - all they do is eat, poop and sleep, with the main emphasis on sleep. Right? You think the hardest part will be waking up every couple of hours during the night to feed them, and then they'll drift easily back into sleep and so will you. But before you know it, you're dealing with low milk supply and a baby with a high, narrow palate who isn't gaining weight like they should and you're going to doctor/lactation consultant/therapist appointments at least two, sometimes three times a week and on top of all that your beautiful, perfect baby doesn't actually seem to appreciate sleep and you're lucky if you manage a broken 4 total hours of your own sleep at night.

+ Despite all of the above, the deep love you have for this brand new beautiful human is like nothing you've ever known before and you would do literally anything for them, including pumping after every single nursing session in order to boost your supply when pumping is the actual worst.

+ Five weeks feels like five years.

+ Five weeks feels like five minutes.

+ It's hard not to feel a little bit (okay, a lot bit) annoyed with moms who get bent out of shape when their husbands are an hour late home from work because they're BASICALLY RAISING THE BABY ALONE, YOU KNOW. Not that that's not hard, but Isaiah got scheduled to work nights for the next two months, which means I am alone literally 22 out of 24 hours of the day. All day, and all night. We get two hours a day together when he isn't either sleeping or working, and I would give my right arm for him to ONLY be gone 8-9 hours a day.

+ I got a wild hair the other day and thought I would try on my "fat" jeans from before I was pregnant. HA. HAHAHA. If you value your self esteem at all, do NOT do that at only 5 weeks postpartum. I don't know whose hips and thighs these are, but they certainly aren't mine. Supposedly, breastfeeding will just melt those extra pounds right off your body but that hasn't been my experience so far at all. I lost 10 pounds the day Imogen was born, and another five over the next week...and not a pound has been lost since then...weeks ago. I'm breastfeeding exclusively, I don't overeat and most of my food is healthy. What gives!?

+ "They" say the hardest part of having a newborn tends to get better after 6 weeks. "They" also say 8 weeks, and "they" also say 12 weeks. I'm hoping for closer to 6.

+ If you have a kid(s) and you have your parents living close to you - even relatively close, within an hour or two - count your blessings.

+ I still laugh when we get blank stares after telling someone the baby's name. A lot of people think we made it up. We did not.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Introducing our new family member

You guys. I had a baby. I HAVE a baby.

Meet Imogen Fern!!


Two hours old.


Does the eye goop make anyone else sad?

She was born on July 2nd, eight days past her due date but perfectly on time; all 6 pounds, 15 ounces of her at 6:57 a.m. Well, according to her hospital records it was 6:57. Quick side story before getting to the main story: I vaguely remember the nurses talking about how they needed to choose whether to go by the time displayed on the monitors or the time displayed on the wall clock to determine her exact time of birth. They decided to go by the monitors because they decided it would look funny if the baby's hospital records stated a different time on paper than the time the monitors actually stopped recording her heartbeat. But, Isaiah said he looked at the monitors a bit earlier and compared them to his cell phone and the monitors were 3 minutes behind.

So, although her records state time of birth as 6:57, we're pretty sure she was actually born at 7:00am on the dot, making her birthday 7/2/17 at 7:00am. It doesn't matter in the long run but it's a funny story we'll get to tell her later.

Anyway! One other bit of housekeeping, I promised to show one more element of the nursery that was previously a secret because it revealed her name. Here's a picture of her bedroom door! The weekend before she was due, Isaiah suggested we make a banner for her bedroom with her name on it, just for fun, and this is what he/we came up with. I just love how it turned out and it's a minor miracle we found all the supplies we needed at the local craft store, which is really more like 75% household goods and tourist crap and 25% fabric and actual craft supplies.



Now the part you've all been waiting for (with bated breath, I'm sure): The birth story. I'll try to make it as short as possible, but cramming 27 long, long, long hours of labor into one concise blog post is going to be a challenge.

On June 23rd, one day before my due date, I went to the doctor for what I hoped would be my last prenatal appointment. I was my mother's first born and I was born on my exact due date, so I had somewhat high hopes that Imogen would take after me and be punctual. At my appointment, the doctor checked and informed me I was between 1 and 2 centimeters dilated. I asked if I should be a little further along than that, and she said not necessarily, that it showed my body was prepping itself for childbirth and the number itself didn't matter much (which I knew but it was nice to have the confirmation).

Needless to say, my due date came and went...and went...and went. I had another appointment a few days later, and declined both a cervical check and a membrane sweep. I also let the doctor know that as long as everything was still checking out okay and the baby was healthy, I didn't even want to talk about induction until 42 weeks (which she understood and was fine with). I already knew that Imogen was on the smaller side based on ultrasound measurements, and I really just had a gut feeling that she wasn't quite ready yet, and God knew exactly when her birthday needed to be. Obviously if careful monitoring showed a problem we would have carefully weighed our options, but my fluid levels were fine, blood pressure perfect, placenta a-okay, and she looked perfect on the ultrasounds as well.

Plus, after lots of research I knew that, statistically, most women naturally go into labor by 40 weeks and 5 days, and almost all the rest go into labor by 41 weeks and 3 days. It's actually relatively rare to make it to 42 weeks, but it also isn't an automatic induction sentence.

Well, at 41 weeks on the dot - Saturday morning the 1st of July - I woke up at 4am with what felt like really bad period cramps. In my half-asleep stupor I remembered that lots of people said their early labor pains felt the same way, and I thought maybe something was finally happening, but I went back to sleep and figured if I woke up and still had them, then I'd put more thought into it. At 6am I woke up again with the same pain, and finally at 8am I got up and decided that I'd shower and see if THAT got rid of the cramping.

Spoiler alert: Nope.


Cat pjs for life.



After I showered, the cramps had turned from a constant ache to actual, time-able pains. They were only 30 seconds long and I was totally able to talk and function through them, but they were only 3 minutes apart. In my naïveté I was hopeful that that meant I'd have a short labor, since I'd heard so many people say their contractions started 10, 15, 20 minutes apart and didn't get closer together for many hours. Since they were only 30 seconds long, though, I figured I still had a little bit of time, and after making sure my hospital bag was ready to go, we went to a late breakfast (brunch, if you wanna be fancy about it).

All through breakfast I timed my contractions, which were staying at a steady 30-45 seconds long and 2 1/2 to 3 minutes apart. By the time brunch was over, I was having a harder time ignoring them (and talking to our server) so we went home. Since I planned on an unmedicated birth, I knew I wanted to stay at home for as long as possible. I really, really did not want to show up to the hospital too early for them to admit me, and I really, really did not want my labor to stall once I got there.

By late afternoon, my contractions were lasting about a minute long and were 2-3 minutes apart. I definitely couldn't talk through them anymore and it was getting pretty hard to talk or do anything in between them, too, which according to all the books means you should be fairly far along. At this point, both my mom and my mother-in-law were insisting I go to the hospital (lest I deliver a baby in the car), and even though I knew I probably wasn't in any danger of that happening, I called the hospital to see what they said anyway. The nurse seemed a little disbelieving that my contractions were actually that long and close together, but said we should go ahead and come in to the hospital so they could check and see how I was progressing.

So after a final check to make sure the cat's food and water bowls were full and the house was picked up, we headed to the hospital around 5:00pm. Let me tell you, car rides when you're in labor are absolutely excruciating and I was absolutely NOT wanting to be sent back home, because that would mean being strapped into a car seat three more times.

Long story short(er), we got to the hospital, I put on a gown, they strapped me to the monitors, agreed that yes, my contractions were as long and as close together as I had said they were on the phone, and checked to see how far along I was.

I was really, really hoping that after 9 hours of labor I would be at least four or five centimeters dilated. I even had hopes of delivering a baby before midnight. I figured there was no way I just spent the entire day pacing the house, sitting down only to eat brunch, only to make no progress.

I had made barely any progress. At my 40 week doctor's appointment I was told I was between 1 1/2 to 2 centimeters dilated. When we got to the hospital, after hours and hours of labor, I was only at 2 1/2 centimeters. Even though all my research told me that it didn't matter how far dilated I was, that your body can go from 0 to 10 in a matter of a few hours if it wants to, it was still pretty discouraging to hear that all the pain so far had been for almost nothing.

The nurse told us that since there was nobody else there, if we wanted to stay we could, even though they don't typically admit people until they're around 5 centimeters. She also said we could go home if I wanted to do that, since it would probably still be a while. I absolutely did NOT want to go back home, so we said we would stay there, I would get re-dressed, and we would walk around the hospital until something happened.

This was at about 6:00pm at this point...rather than bore you with the long, painful details of the next twelve hours, let's just say we basically wore a rut in the floor of a basement conference room at the hospital with all the circles we paced in between contractions. Finally, I couldn't handle walking around anymore (despite all my goals of staying upright until I was ready to push the baby out), and we made our way back upstairs where we discovered I was closer to 4 centimeters. Another "Are you kidding me??" moment.

To be honest, a lot of the night after I changed into that stupid hospital gown for the last time is kind of a blur. I know I spent the rest of the time laying in the hospital bed, doing my best to relax and breathe through contractions while also being in so much pain I had to yank on the rail of the bed just so I had some place to direct some energy. I also had no intention of being *that* laboring woman who makes a lot of noise, but at some point, it became completely involuntary.

Eventually, I have no idea what time, I hit transition. Let me spare you all the details - those of you who have had children will know what I mean and if you haven't and you want to know, I'm happy to share - but it is absolutely the strangest, most out of control, worst feeling I have ever felt in my entire life. I am so thankful that Isaiah and I did a lot of reading and I knew everything I was feeling and thinking was completely normal and I was not, in fact, dying - but that doesn't mean it's anything I want to repeat any time soon. I also knew that transition is the shortest phase of labor - generally between 30-90 minutes - and that gave me hope that I was almost done.

I have no idea how long I actually spent in transition. I know it wasn't an extremely long time (maybe an hour?), but it got to the point where my body was going to push this baby out no matter how hard I tried to stop it, and it is the most annoying thing in the world when a nurse is telling you "don't push!" over and over while they wait for the doctor to arrive. Through a haze I vaguely remember saying "I can't help it, I'm not doing it on purpose!" over and over like I was in trouble or something.

Finally, finally, the doctor arrived, checked me and said I was ready to push.

Thirty minutes later, the greatest blessing of our entire lives arrived kicking and crying and stretching her legs out as far as they could possibly go (explaining why I felt her knees/feet up under my ribs constantly the entire last month of being pregnant).


#snuglife


I can't wait until she starts smiling for real. In the meantime, she gives us plenty of teaser smiles.

Within two hours, I was up and walking myself to our recovery room, and after a mostly sleepless night full of blood pressure checks and, uh, stomach "massages", we were able to go home around noon the next day. Not a moment too soon, because hospital food is not exactly fine dining.

I can't say we've slept a whole lot better since coming home (ha), but at least I don't have to wear a hospital gown anymore and at least the food is better. 

I have a lot of other things I could say relating to unmedicated childbirth, and if that's something anybody would like to read, let me know and I'll write something up. I hesitated to talk a lot about it in this post, because I never want to make anybody feel like not getting an epidural makes me think I'm a better person (it doesn't), but I would absolutely recommend it to anybody, any day of the week. 

There are a lot of things about having a newborn I wasn't expecting and a lot I wish I had been told or warned about ahead of time, but overall, it has been the sweetest two weeks. I know I'm biased, but this little girl is pretty perfect. Life is definitely better with her in our family.