Clearing it all out

I’ve started to write this post many, many times. I hesitate because I have a fear of not completing this task and looking like an idiot. But, I am a full-time working momma of two. So failure is quite possible.

 

 

Our house will look great one day and is a cluttery, dusty mess two days later. I can’t seem to find a routine that works the best for our family. Because let me tell ya, life with two is tough. Not that I was successful with one and keeping a clean house. But no one really tells you how hard two is. And working makes it even tougher. I’ve tried to get into routines before, but I never made it a habit to do so. I have big plans for 2016, including reducing all the stuff that’s in our house. But I need a jumping off point.

 

So, hear me out. I’m going to start working on a cleaning routine first. Daily tasks that are doable so I’m not overwhelmed when either company comes over or the house is just out of control. I figure it’ll take me awhile to figure it all out, but I want a place to be accountable. So here it goes:

 

Untitled-1

Tonight’s plan: start with the daily to-dos: wipe counters, do a load of laundry and put it away (my biggest problem!), declutter, spot sweep floors, and (if time permits) bathrooms.

 

A new season…

Today marks the beginning of the Lenten season – a time for reflection and meditation.  Life has been very busy lately, as life tends to get with a full time job and a 3 year old (yes, she’s now 3.  Time has flown).  And, add this in the mix, and it’s been even more challenging:

10531459_10100618792691640_6340245528106458089_o

We’re very exciting for all of the new changes coming to us in the next 4.5-5 months, but with that comes some re-evaluating of everything – the amount of items we have, the amount of money we spend, etc.

So with Lent, I’ve decided to do a few things.  One is the traditional giving something up.  For me, that’s complaining.  It’s a nasty cycle to be in, where you find fault in everything and blessings rarely.  So I’m using this verse as my meditation for the next 40 days.

Image from moretobe.com

 

It’s not going to be easy.  But I want to make this change – for my friends, my daughter, husband, and myself.

It goes beyond that too.  It goes to getting rid of the excess in our lives.  So I’m also going to embark on the 40 bags in 40 days challenge.  I’ve been wanting to do it for years, and this time I’m setting myself up for success!  I’m going to use the easy printable found over at White House Black Shutters (if you’re not starting today, she provides a link at the bottom for a printable without dates).

I feel good, and a 40 day challenge is a great place to start.  I think the biggest part of the challenge will be not complaining while going through my 40 bags 🙂

 

A day in ONEderland

First, I cannot believe it’s been a year since Tori was born.  There’s a Walgreen’s commercial right now that I feel completely captures how fast I felt the year went – 30 seconds!

To celebrate the milestone of one year old, and look forward to the next, what I have no doubt will be, wonderful year, I planned a time where all of our friends and family could get together.  Through the next few posts, I’ll showcase a different vendor or design idea.  But first, I want to give a sampling of fun pictures, taken by the wonderful Meghan at Meghan Scott Molin Photography (website, Facebook).  Meghan’s based out of Ft. Collins, Colorado and has done some wonderful pictures for us in the past, so I didn’t hesitate when I thought of who I would get to capture the day (because, let’s be honest here… I didn’t want to have to worry about hosting AND taking pictures!).

The first week

So on our way home from the hospital, we took a quick detour and went to Target.  We got used to a few things at the hospital which we didn’t prepare for and we decided they were must haves for a new baby at home.  Some were things for me to help me cope with my recovery, and others were to make our lives as new parents a little easier.  I’m in the middle of putting together gifts for two of my friends, who are both due with their first in the next couple of months, to help them get through the first few days after birth (I’ll be sure to take photos and provide more info as I get them together and mailed out… I don’t want them to see their gifts on here first… what’s the fun in that :))

Before we even got home, S took one of the swaddle blankets to the house to leave on the floor for the cats to get used to the smell (yes, we took a blanket from the hospital.  Don’t act like this never happens or that we’re bad people).  I don’t think it worked that well, but it’s ok.  Haley is coming to accept V being around… not that she likes it that much.

So we got home in the middle of the afternoon on Monday, and the first night was not fun.  She was still proclaiming “I’m not sleeping unless I’m being held”, and that made S and I extremely tired.  S took the first shift while I got some sleep.  I was on second shift, and after about a half an hour I realized I couldn’t stay awake.  It was then I got the great idea to lay down with her on the floor.  This way she wouldn’t roll anywhere, and I didn’t run the risk of smothering her by falling asleep.  By laying right next to her, we were able to get a good hour and a half of sleep, followed by another two hours of sleep after her feeding at 2-3 am.  I then realized we were going to have to co-sleep… something I didn’t plan on.  But we had to sleep, and if this was how it was going to happen, then so be it.  All bets were off with a premie anyway.

Since then, we had good nights and bad nights.  There’ve been periods of time when she didn’t want to sleep unless she was being held, but it started to get better.  During the first week, her cord fell off, she had her first bath, and had already gained enough weight to surpass her birth weight.  Not to mention I made her pose for newborn photos… both weekly shots (that I hope to continue and get better at taking) and my attempt at some newborn photos (I’ll link those up in a different post – I want to get a few different poses, even though she’s already bigger).

What was even more exciting than all of her milestones that she hit was that we survived the first week, and didn’t kill each other or hurt V.  At the end of the first week, the visitors started arriving – first S’s mom.  It’s been nice to have family around to help out after we got used to having a newborn and all that comes along with it – diaper changes, breastfeeding, and the massive amounts of laundry that comes from cloth diapering.

The first two nights

I have to say that having our little one in  Boulder was one of the best experiences.  I don’t think I could imagine anything better.

When we were going through our birthing classes, in addition to the physical preparation, we learned a lot about making choices for ourselves and standing by those choices.  As I’ve learned through not only our instructor, who is a labor and delivery nurse, but through friends and family who have delivered else where, it’s really important to decide what you want and make it known – because not every place is as pro-parent choice as here.

One of the amazing things about the hospital is that the babies are placed directly on mom’s chest after they’re born (that was the photo in my previous post).  This isn’t the norm in many places, and when we sent the texts to family that she had arrived (sorry to my friends who found out on Facebook instead of through texts like we originally planned – things went so fast we didn’t get a chance to get out the list), the questions of what she weighed came back just as fast.  We didn’t know her weight until at least two hours after she was born.  It was important to not only us but the hospital that moms, dads, and babies spend time together first.  Measurements aren’t going to change in two hours.  She also wasn’t bathed right away, and we declined the Hep B shot (we’ll get it for her when she gets her other shots… not looking forward to that).

The first night had its ups and downs – and was different than what I imagined it would be.  I imagined that we would get no sleep, and that she would cry the entire time.  After her first feeding (which lasted nearly an hour and a half!), she didn’t want to feed again for nearly 12 hours.  Believe me, I tried.  However, as we found out, because she was born so quickly, she didn’t have a chance to expel the amniotic fluid that had built up in her lungs like most vaginally birthed babies do.  So she spent the rest of the night coughing it up, and she wasn’t interested in feeding.  Not that I blame her – if I was coughing up all that fluid I wouldn’t want to eat either.

The next morning for me started out tough.  It was then that the pain from the birth started to set in.  I was lucky and the tear I had wasn’t too bad, but it still was pretty uncomfortable.  We spent the day just enjoying our time together and learning how to change diapers (S was the one who did them – and the first baby poos are NO joke.  They warn you they’re super sticky, and they’re not kidding).  We enjoyed the Ravens/Texans game, and had some friends come to visit, and ordered food that was on the no-no list before.  We were hoping for another night like the night we had before – although I wanted her to eat.

She did NOT want to sleep unless she was being held.  The nurses said that it’s probably because she was premie, and was having a bit of separation anxiety.  So S took her first, then I took her.  We decided at one point to change her diaper, and we didn’t call the nurses for help.  Let me tell you what an experience that was.  She was screaming (she still does not like being changed – and screams like you wouldn’t believe), and we were sleep deprived, and running around like chickens without heads.  Looking back now it was hilarious (and I wish we had video taped it), but in the moment we realized we had no idea what we were doing.  But we worked together, got her dressed and swaddled again, then the knock on the door came.  The night nurse (who was amazing) came in to take her for a little bit so we could sleep.  She took her for about two hours and it was amazing.  When she came back at 5:30 that morning, we felt a bit more refreshed and ready to meet the potential discharge day.

On Monday, January 16, we had quite a few tests to get through in order to be discharged.  I had to be cleared by my OB, and V had to pass a car seat test because she was a premie, as well as the other medical tests (blood work, hearing).  We also met our pediatrician that morning, and he’s fantastic.  With the bed rest and quick induction, we didn’t get a chance to interview any, but he came highly recommended by a few people I work with, and we couldn’t be happier.  By 10 am, all tests had been done, and our little premie was showing full term babies… she passed all her tests with flying colors and impressed everyone!  We changed her into her own diaper and outfit, and  headed home.

Bedrest turned into a baby – part 2

At 5:30 am on January 14, I woke up to get a shower and put myself together.  I figured I was in for a long day, so I may as well feel good, right?

At about 6 am, the nurses came in to start my pitocin drip.  While I didn’t want to be medicated at all, I really had no choice since I had hit severe.  I was able, however, to talk the doctor into monitoring me instead of putting me on the horrible medicine that people in my state usually get.  So I could handle the pitocin.  I started feeling more contractions and was able to use my birthing techniques to get through them.
Speaking of birthing techniques, now would probably be the time to discuss the type of birth that S and I were planning on having.  When I started looking around for natural childbirth methods, I came across Hypnobabies.  While I side eyed the hypnosis idea, I realized that their definition of hypnosis was more relaxation and focus as opposed to the sitting on stage “when I count to 3, you’ll turn into a monkey” idea.  I thought this would be a great idea for me, especially since I am very strong mentally when it comes to physical illness and pain.  So I enrolled us in the class that would take us up through the 36th week of the pregnancy.  The class was fantastic – I learned how to focus my mind on enjoying the experience instead of dreading it.  To be honest, I was never scared of the process, but more of the unknown afterwards.  We learned all of the things that you would learn in a class that wasn’t focused on natural childbirth (such as baby positions, the different medications and their effects, birthing plans), as well as how to relax.  I left the class on Monday, January 9 feeling pretty well prepared to go through even an induction using these techniques.
So, back to birthing day.  Once the contractions started, I was able to focus, relax, and breath through them.  I thought to myself how amazing the skills were working, and that I could do this!  When I finally was checked by the OB, I told them that I wanted to know where my progress was that morning, but not again until it was time.  I labored pretty easily until about 11 am.  It was then that the doctor came in and broke my water.  They warned me that breaking my water could really make things progress and to be prepared.  This got me excited because I thought I’d be meeting my baby girl soon, and I could handle it.  Not to mention, it was a beautiful day outside and seeing a gorgeous view can make it easier to get through.
About a half an hour later, I hit hard labor.  The contractions were really intense, and were about 3-4 minutes apart.  It was also at this time that I couldn’t get into a comfortable position.  I tried everything… side laying, sitting up, sitting on a birthing ball, swaying with S, and even got in the tub.  Two and a half hours later, I started to feel the urge to push.  S went and got the nurses, and I just knew that it was time.  They called my doctor in, she checked me, and then stood around for just a little bit before leaving.  I didn’t understand.  Since I wasn’t being told my progress, I was only told it wasn’t time.  It was close to 2:30 pm at this point, and I could barely keep my head straight.  I was still working on my techniques, but I couldn’t focus through the discomfort.  I got extremely nauseous, and nothing was helping.  This was when I got in the tub and broke down.  I realized I wasn’t going to be able to do this on my own.  I cried as I asked for help.  I felt that I was letting S down, and myself down.  But there was no way I was going to get through it.  The nurses told me that they couldn’t give me any sort of time frame on how much longer I would go.  So as I cried and asked for the epidural, S left and talked to the nurses in the other room.  
Turns out I was actually starting to swell internally because my body was ready to push, but she wasn’t in position.  They had already starting to talk about a c-section for me.  Once they had called the anesthesiologist, the nurses came in and told me that I had made the best decision to keep my hopes of a vaginal birth afloat.  By 2:45 pm, I had received the epidural, and I was in a much better place.  I did not, however, allow him to put me completely out, as I wanted to continue feel the contractions – the anesthesiologist didn’t like that very much, but I was insistent.  I just needed something to take the edge off.
The next two hours seem like a blur.  I was breathing through my contractions, laughing when I wasn’t having them, and watching the Saints-49ers game with S (yes – a football game.  I wanted something we could turn off and not care).  By about 4:45, I started feeling more pressure.  The nurses called the doctor in, and I was checked again.  I had gone from no where close to ready to push in 2 hours.  It was then that the party started.  I had my doctor, my two nurses, a NICU nurse, and another nurse in my room waiting for her to make her appearance (the NICU nurse was there since I wasn’t full term yet).  I started pushing, they wheeled the mirror over, and S was holding on to my left leg.  As I started pushing more, I started watching in the mirror (which was something I ever thought I’d do).  I’ll never forget seeing her head start to crown, and then watching her be born.  I watched her be suctioned, I watched her start to cry.  I watched her fully be born, and then watched as they brought her to my chest.  I had never seen anything so amazing before.
S was able to cut the cord, something he didn’t think he was going to want to do.  We spent the next two hours just enjoying each other’s company – mom, dad, and daughter.  She even took to feeding so well.  Eventually, the nurses came back, took her to be weighed, and I decided to rinse off before we made our trip to the other side of the floor – where the moms and babies stay.  
Victoria was born at 5:14 pm.  She weighed 6 lbs, 1 oz, and was 19.5 inches long.

Bedrest turned into a baby – part 1

So my last post was about how I had been placed on bedrest.  I didn’t explain the reasons, and the severity of the situation, mostly because it was hard to deal with.

I developed pre-eclampsia at 32 weeks.  What this means is that my kidneys and liver had started having problems, and if left undetected could lead to a plethora of problems for me, and then in turn the baby, the further along in the pregnancy you get.  So I was placed on bedrest to keep the problem from progressing.  The weird thing about this diagnosis (and other issues I’ve had this pregnancy) was that I only had one symptom, when generally there are multiple symptoms.  As the weeks of the pregnancy went on, I was thankful for each week I was given, because I didn’t want to have a premie – I would have problems knowing that it was my body that caused problems for our little girl.

The week after the New Year, my lab work came back to almost put  me over the threshold where I would be admitted and immediately induced instead of staying at home.  I started having twice weekly lab work instead, and my numbers dropped again.  By Friday the 13th, I had another day of lab work,  OB visits, and baby monitoring (they hook me up to a machine and listen to the baby’s heartbeat

By 3:30 that afternoon, my lab work hadn’t come back and I assumed no news was good news.  I was waiting on our carpet cleaners to arrive and letting out sighs of relief that I was going to make it to term. But at 4 pm my phone rang, and it was my OB with the news… I had hit severe levels and had to be admitted and induced the following morning.  I called S and told him through the tears that it was time to head to the hospital.  We packed up all of our things and checked in at about 5:15.

I didn’t see the doctor for a couple of hours, so we settled in to the room we would eventually have our little girl.  I cherished every kick, hiccup, and bump, because I knew it would be the last time I would feel her.  The OB came in, started my pre-induction (because I was still only in my 36th week, baby girl was not ready to come), and said she would see us in the morning.

Up next… her birth story!

The close of 2011

What a year 2011 has been.  We rang it in with friends and had high expectations for what the year would bring.

We made changes to the house… by redoing the art work in the living room, redesigned both our master bedroom and the guest bedroom, had a paver patio put in on the side of the house, and decluttered the basement by buying more shelves and boxing things up.

We decided to start trying to expand our family in April, and on Memorial Day, we found out our dream of  being parents would come true in February.  I took a big hiatus from the blog, and still haven’t come back fully.

I learned how to work my DSLR camera and Photoshop, even though I still have quite a bit of learning to do (especially with respect to color… most of my pictures come out warm).  But I now have the tools to do all of this, and I know I’ll be taking a ton of pictures of our little girl to get in good practice.  I started using Pinterest and have gleaned so many ideas from the other talented individuals in the world.  Christmas brought to me a new toy… my first sewing machine.

I’ve been working hard to get our nursery ready, and thanks to my in laws and parents, it’s almost finished.

We celebrated our first year in our house, our second wedding anniversary, the third anniversary of our engagement, and our third married Christmas together.  We visited family and friends, changed jobs, and endured complications with my health during the pregnancy.  Our love for each other keeps growing, and we know it will only grow more through 2012.

We’re bringing in 2012 the only way we can this year… from our living room.  We probably won’t make it to New Years here in Mountain Time, but we’re looking forward to celebrating remotely with our family when the clock strikes 12 on the East Coast.

2012 will be a year of new and exciting challenges… the birth of our little girl sometime in the next month, and learning what being parents and partners really means.  We’ll celebrate with quite a few of our family and friends who are either getting married or having little ones of their own.

I hope as the New Year approaches, you take the time to reflect on 2011, and look forward to the new things to come in 2012.  From our house to yours… Happy New Year!

Things rarely go the way you think they will.

So remember in my last post, about how I would finish everything up and take pictures?  Well, as of this week, that idea won’t be happening.  🙁  I got placed on modified bed rest due to pre-eclampsia.  What is it?  It’s a pretty “normal” pregnancy complication, which effects me and not as much the baby, unless it goes undetected.  It is generally diagnosed after you have high blood pressure and protein in your labs… I only have the latter.  Other symptoms are horrible headaches, nausea, vomiting, pain, swelling, vision changes, and in its worst state, seizures.  Luckily, I’m pretty mild at this stage, and I have none of the associated symptoms, but it’s still hard to deal with.  The last doctor I talked to said they just want to get me to the 17th of January (or 37 weeks).  It’s crazy.  We, possibly, have less than a month until she makes her arrival.  I’ve started having some Braxton Hicks, and I think she’s starting to drop, so I’m happy for these little signs that we’re getting close, especially if I have to be induced.

I’m pretty lucky that the planner in me got a lot of things out of the way before this happened.  I have most of the nursery organized and just need to do massive amounts of laundry.  My mom had already asked to help when she’s out here, so now she really has no choice 😛

We just bought my new mom car

and attended and hosted holiday parties.

Most purchases for baby girl have been made, and we had just done a good cleaning job of the house.  So while this is a big bump in the road,  I can get through it, even though I’ll need help.

Maybe it’ll make me blog more 😉

The plans we make

So I know it’s been awhile again.  I wish I had some big explanation other than I’m just busy, and blogging, while on my mind, isn’t a top priority.  I need to change that.

Since I posted last, we’ve seen a change in season, a change in jobs, saw some friends get married (where I was able to practice some photography, something I haven’t really done in months!), a new focus on rooms, and a new focus on enjoying our last bit of time together before our two goes to three.  I sit here and get overwhelmed thinking about the fact that we’re about three and a half months out – and one of those months will be filled with holiday cheer, family and friends.  My goal, when S and I first found out we were expecting, was to have everything put together by Thanksgiving.  I’m excited to say that I think it will be done, but we still have a long way to go (which includes the application of 200+ vinyl leaves in the nursery… surely I thought this was a good idea at some point).

Here’s an updated picture, me at 24 weeks (and you can see a hint of the tree in the background that is pretty bare at this point):

I guess I should also mention that the little one is a baby girl.  I’ll be honest – I was hoping all along for a little girl.  I’ve never been around little boys (especially newborns) for extended periods of time, and I felt that I would know “what to do” with a little girl.  On the day of our ultrasound, I spent the morning reading up on how to avoid gender disappointment, because I just knew that with everyone else I know having boys, I would be joining that team too.

If you asked me honestly if we’d be where we are today, I probably would’ve said no.  The plan was enjoying our time together, remaining status quo in our jobs, and hoping to be pregnant by now… but being nearly 6 months along has really changed things.

In the middle of July, I was offered the opportunity to start full time with the group I started part time with in January.  It was a fantastic move for me and S, as I became more pleasant to be around and felt that my job was actually going to impact someone.  I now work for a program that encourages hands-on data collection on an international level for kids in grades K-12.  I get to meet people and get involved with really cool non-profit programs, and know that I’m helping cultivate an interest in science for so many kids around the world.

Not long after I made the switch on August 8, S ran into some really hard times with his job.  He started developing migraine headaches, and was glued to his phone/computer 24/7.  The second part is acceptable for a start up, but the first was not.  When we went away on what was supposed to be vacation to visit S’s dad and he was working for most of the time we were there, he realized he needed to put feelers out, because he couldn’t be away from his family.  Someone, somewhere, was looking out for us, and S applied for a job, had an interview a week later, and was offered the position two days later.  This switch, while completely out of the blue, is something that will benefit us in so many ways.  Benefits aside, it’s a company that truly cares about their employees, and it’s so nice to see S flourish already in this new position.

Life here, while incredibly hectic, has been bountiful with all of our blessings lately… new, fantastic jobs, a healthy (so far) pregnancy, and a healthy little one moving around as I type.  I am consciously going to make an effort to start blogging again, so that family and friends can keep up with us, especially since I’m trying not to be an over-sharer on Facebook.

So in the next few weeks, I’ll be blogging about our friends wedding (and showing off just a little bit, because I was so happy with the way some of the photos turned out) and starting to bring in some design things – both baby and non-baby things.

Thanks again for sticking around – you all are the best!