Saturday, January 21, 2012

Daniel's birthday.

Yesterday we celebrated Daniel's 26th birthday! I tried to make it special for him, I made some baked ziti for him and his whole family and also some cupcakes.  We had his parents, his brothers and their wives and our little niece.  It was a good time of just hanging out with the family-- I like moments like that. Here's the cupcakes I made for him-- I tried some new recipes.  We had peanut butter cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting.  I also piped some cute little chocolate decorations.

 The little chocolate decorations are the number 26 and hearts if you can't tell.  Last night a few people thought that they were butterflies, or upside down bows. Haha.

Leeland loved his peanut butter cupcake.... And made quite a mess with it!

Happy birthday Daniel! I truly hope that we made you feel special and I hope that you had a great time celebrating. We love you!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Toy storage bags.

I have become obsessed lately with blogs that have DIY projects and tutorials.  Since I have been staying at home with Leeland, I have found myself with a little extra time to actually craft and make things for our home, and also with the cut in an income, it makes a lot more sense to come up with sensible budget friendly solutions when there is a need around the house.  One blog that I have found in the past few months and I really enjoy is Make It and Love It.  I have discovered some really cool projects (mostly children related) that have pinned and plan to come back to later, and there is one that I have already made that I would like to share with you.

Just before Christmas, I did some serious cleaning out of Leeland's toys and wanted to do some organizing in preparing for Christmas.  I knew that Daniel and I hadn't gotten Leeland much, but I knew that Leeland has Grandparents, and cousins, and Aunts and Uncles that were going to spoil him.  (And they did.)  One of the things that I was struggling with was that I knew he was going to get several sets of blocks for Christmas and also several puzzles which would need to find a home.  At a perfect time, a tutorial was posted for some clear vinyl storage bags over on Make It and Love It.  You can find the full tutorial here

So far I have made 5 of them-- 1 large bag for Leeland's "Mega Blocks", and 4 of them for puzzle pieces.  Each puzzle has a bag of pieces.  He still has several more puzzles so I would like to make a few more. 

I must say that I found the tutorial REALLY easy to follow and once I got the hang of the 1st one, they were super quick and easy to whip up.  My OCD kind of wants to get annoyed at the fact that there is SO much room in the puzzle ones, I probably could've made them a lot smaller, but I just have to say that I was slightly limited by the size of the mixing bowls that we have.... Because, you know, I can't draw a circle, so I traced mixing bowls. I found the vinyl on sale 50% off at Joann, so I paid $3.00 for a yard and still have a ton, and all of the fabric I had on hand already.  I did purchase some little plastic cord pulls to secure the bags, but I later returned them.  I think that I made my drawstrings a little too thick, and my cord pulls were too small so I couldn't get them to fit.  It still works as a drawstring bag without those though. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Leeland's Birth Story.

As the weeks continue to pass and we patiently wait for the time of Hayden's arrival into the world, I find myself reflecting on our sweet, handsome 1st born Leeland.  He will be 2 in April and I cannot believe how much he has grown over the past few months.  I am baffled each day by what he is doing and learning and saying.  Today I found myself clearing out my iPhone of photos, because it said that my memory was getting full and the other day refused to take a cute picture when I wanted it to-- many of the photos I found when I was going through the memories were of Leeland as a baby.  He was a baby at one point in time. And as I looked at those tiny little baby photos, wondering where the past 2 years went, I found myself thinking about his birth and what we have to look forward to with the birth of Hayden.  And then it dawned on me that I have never written out Leeland's birth story, so here it goes. 

Leeland's due date according to our doctor and the ultrasounds was April 11, 2010.  Honestly I was always weary of the date and never quite sure if it was right because my cycle had been so irregular.  They picked the date based off of his size in the first two ultrasounds that we had.  It was always very confusing to me though because at nearly every appointment in my last trimester, I was told that I was measuring too big.  In all actuality, the date is just a guess and technically he could come at anytime, but it was my first pregnancy and I was VERY attached to the date. 

I should also mention that I was very miserable the last few weeks, and I was SO SO SO anxious to meet my little boy.  In the last four weeks leading up to the due date, I was checked at each appointment to see if I was dilated or if there was softening of the cervix.  This is where things got to be VERY frustrating and VERY confusing.  When you go to a large OB practice, they rotate you through the various doctors because they want you to know each one, not knowing who will be on call for the delivery.  Each week I saw someone different, and each week I was told that I was progressing.  I went from 1cm, to 2cm, to even 3cm at one visit.  When they told me I was 3cm was when I had called in the last week and told them that I was feeling some unusual pain and had an increase in fluids and thought maybe I was leaking amniotic fluid.  They had me come in, checked me out and tested the fluid.  They said it was nothing and had me return home, but they must've felt sorry for me, or understood how ready I was to have the baby because they went ahead and set my induction for the following week.  The day before my due date, I went to the hospital and tried to be admitted-- I was having a few contractions here and there (nothing regular) and in my head, if I was at 3cm, then maybe, just maybe, they would decide to keep me.  I got in, undressed, was strapped to the monitors, and was checked..... I was then told I was only 1cm.  I tried to argue with the nurse at first explaining that just days before my OB told me I was a 3.  She played the "don't worry, he'll come when he's ready card."  I didn't like that, I was disappointed, I felt lame for embarrassing myself and coming in, I felt silly for getting my hopes up that they would keep me, I was ready to be done, I was uncomfortable, I wanted to meet my baby.... and I cried.... and I went home.

The next day was April 11th, a Sunday, we went to church.  We had been visiting some different churches at the time, trying to find our church home.  I remember being approached by several people in the congregation just introducing themselves and asking us how we heard about the church, what brought us there, etc.  I was pretty large at the time, so it would always come up, "when are you due" in which I would follow with, "today."  They always seemed so shocked, like I shouldn't be out of the house.  It was humorous, but what else did I have to do to pass the time?

As the few days before the induction came passed, I tried everything in my power to kick start labor.  I went on walks with our dog Lilly.  In fact, the Friday before his birth, I had walked 3 miles one afternoon at our local park. By myself, which probably wasn't too smart being so far along but in the end it did no good so it didn't matter.  I ate everything that the internet suggested, spicy food, eggplant, balsamic vinegar.  Nothing changed, and I didn't feel any different.  It was time to come to terms with the fact that I was being induced, and that I just needed to look forward to meeting our little guy in a few days.

The induction day came, we were to be admitted to the local Women's Hospital the evening of April 13th.  I think I was expecting to have him within a few hours that night, but that's not how it works.  We packed our bags, got checked into the hospital and settled into our labor and delivery room.  That night I was given Cervadil and was told that it would "kick start" labor, and also a sleeping pill to help me get some rest.  Not sure what I was expecting, but I didn't feel anything through the night.  The next morning the only change was that my cervix had softened some more-- apparently that's all that was supposed to happen with the Cervadil.  Around 8am I was hooked up to an IV of Pitocin and then sometime between 830 and 900, my doctor came in and broke my water with a large hook.  Immediately it was noted that my water was not clear, there was a large amount of meconium which essentially means that Leeland had pooped in the womb.  We had went over the dangers of meconium in our birthing class and I was a little worried by it, but my doctor and the nurse assured me that when it came time for delivery, Leeland would be suctioned and cleaned very thoroughly to ensure that he didn't inhale any of the meconium. 

As the day went on my family and Daniel's family were in and out of our room visiting and checking in.  My original goal was a "natural" childbirth.  In my head, I was still counting this as a natural childbirth because up to this point I hadn't had any pain medication.  In all actuality looking back, my natural childbirth was thrown out the window as soon as I accepted being induced. About 4 hours after my water broke, I began to get sick, as in throwing up.  We had been told in our birthing classes that this was fairly common, and I assumed I would be one of those lucky ones because I had been sick so much during the pregnancy.  Let me just say, that I can handle a lot of things.  I would consider myself at least somewhat tough, but when I get sick it is SO over.  I remember my morning sickness days early in pregnancy-- I'm talking about when I would curl up in the fetal position in the bathroom floor and cry for Daniel.  I'm a total sissy when it comes to sickness!  With all of that said, just because I was getting sick, didn't stop the contractions.  I had been able to stay on top of them and cope somewhat but suddenly, I found myself sitting up in the bed, hurling into a trash can and throwing in  the towel.  I remember saying the words, "I NEED and epidural."  Within 20 minutes the anesthesiologist was in to take care of it for me.  The rest of my labor, I layed in bed on Facebook  on my iPhone and watching TV.  The nurse came in every hour or so to check in on me and check my progress.  Just after 530pm it was time to push.

Pushing was a breeze.  I mean, I couldn't feel anything.  They had to tell me when to push because I had no idea when I was having a contraction.  The nurse was astonished by how well I was doing-- within 20 minutes, Leeland was almost out.  She had to halt me for us to wait on the doctor to come in.  The doctor arrived, I gave a few more steady pushes and out came Leeland around 610pm.

I'm not so happy that my original "natural childbirth" goal was thrown out the window and I'm really the only one to blame for it.  Sure I could point fingers at the doctors and their need to intervene and schedule things, but I was the one that didn't stand my ground.  I let a date get in the way, I was so focused on that date, and so focused on just getting it done.  As I look back, though I'm a little disappointed in myself, I know that it all worked out in the end.  In the end, I had a happy, healthy, handsome, 8 pound 6 ounce little boy in my arms.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Love & Envelopes

Love & Envelopes is a birthday girl club that I joined back in the Summer-- see the button to the right.  Unfortunately if you click the button, my blog adds in my web address before the appropriate web address over at the Marine Parents blog, but you can cut nestofkrohs out and still get there. (Side note: If anyone knows how to fix that, please let me know!)

The gist of the club is that you commit to sending 1 birthday card through the mail for a year.  I receive an email at the end of every month with my birthday girl's information including her address, birthday, and her blog.  I'm able to meet some new people and spread some cheer.  I personally LOVE to receive mail, especially when it isn't bills so this was right up my alley. I have also been totally surprised by how fun it is to actually SEND the cards-- it gives me great joy to go to the store and pick out the perfect one and then write a sweet little note.  I hope that everyone else in the club enjoys them as much as I do.

So I just want to give a little thank you for the birthday cards that I received.  A special thanks to Kristy for the sweet birthday card.  So kind of you to send me a special note, hope that your New Year's was awesome as well.  And also a thank you to April for the birthday card and sweet message.  Did you make the card by the way, so cute!? And a special thanks to Tea for the awesome card!  I definitely needed a carefree day for my birthday and was happy to get one!  Thanks ladies!

I also want to wish my fellow January girls a happy birthday, so HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU, Melissa, Mary Kay, and Blanca!


Hopefully you aren't sick of hearing about New Year's resolutions yet because I wanted to share mine with you today and also give a little update about how last year's resolution went. Last year's resolution involved "greening" our family and saving money.  They kind of went hand in hand.  I am happy to report that becoming a more green family has been a blast! There are some definite things that we can do to improve further but so far, we are learning a lot and enjoying the new lifestyle with a smaller footprint.  We of course cloth diapered Leeland all of last year and plan to cloth diaper Hayden this year as well.  I began using sea pearls last year for my monthly cycle, and this year hope to give the diva cup a try-- I have been limited in my greening of this area because, well, I've been pregnant the past 33 weeks. We gave up paper towels! And one more thing that I would like to invest in is some re-usable snack bags like these  and of course they make some that don't have prints and they even make nifty sandwich wraps

This year I again have 2 goals or resolutions-- I don't know why I can't just pick one, but I have two which is fine by me.  The 1st one is to take better care of myself which is to encompass several things.  First off, it's no secret that I struggled with post partum depression a few months after Leeland was born, which tragically ended in no milk supply and the end of breastfeeding for us.  I was trying to be super mom-- I was trying to clean the house, cook dinner, run the errands, take care of a newborn and take care of everyone else.  I had unrealistic expectations for myself and my body and all I did was wear myself down.  Going into this labor and the birth of Hayden, I refuse to allow that to happen again!  I need to take care of myself so that I am able to take care of our children.  It will no doubt take work lowering my expectations, and I have already enlisted the help of Daniel to hold me accountable to getting the rest and time I need.  I'm excited to give breastfeeding another shot and I don't want to go to that dark place again. 

I also intend to take better care of myself in a physical way as well, not that I'm necessarily trying to lose weight or jumping on that band wagon of millions who rushed out and joined a gym the 1st of the year, but just simply taking care of myself.  I find pleasure in running, I started running in 2008 and even ran my first half marathon back then.  I'd like to run another one eventually. I didn't run during either pregnancy because I was too afraid to so it will be a hard road getting back into it, but it will be some good Mommy time.  Daniel and I would also like to eat a little better as a family-- not that we eat terribly now, but just to include some fresher whole foods in our diet, and cut out some snacking (we have sweet teeth).  And lastly, it sounds silly, but I want to remember to wash my make-up off every night. Don't we all? 

So my second resolution is again to do better at saving money.  Not that we failed at saving money last year because with our greener lifestyle, we were definitely saving.  But this time it's a little different.  We knew that money would be tight during the schooling part of Daniel's new job-- 27 weeks of training is mandatory and it's pretty impossible to have a second income during that time.  With that being said, our savings is pretty shot, so we definitely need to build up our emergency fund again.  I'm doing what I can staying at home with couponing and managing the best I feel I know how-- so we hope to continue on that path and build our savings back up again.  Along with this just for curiosity sake I hope to keep track of how much money I save with coupons this year. I do most of our grocery shopping at Harris Teeter and they print on the receipt each time I shop how much money in coupons was tendered (including the doubles and triples) and also how much was saved with my VIC savings card.  They print at the bottom of the receipt how much you save that year in VIC savings but they don't do the same for coupons.  Last year I saved around $1200 with my VIC card! I think that's pretty awesome!  So this year after each shopping trip, I want to write in my coupon organizer what I saved in coupons that trip and I'll add it all up at the end of the year.

2012 is going to be exciting!  What are your resolutions?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Our Vows.

On January 3, 2009  I married the love of my life.  I truly believe that he was made for me and that the Lord put us together in His perfect timing.  I grow more and more in love with Daniel as the days pass, and I look forward to growing old with him.  I'd like to share some pictures from our special day and our vows to each other from our wedding here with you today.  We wrote our own vows, and encourage others to do the same because it was SO fun and SO special.
    I am so excited here today in front of all of our friends and family to marry my best friend.  God blessed our relationship from the beginning and put us together in His perfect timing.  This ceremony is more to me than simply professing our love to one another.  It's about my promise to you for eternity.  I am vowing today to always love you second because we will each love God first.  I promise to provide you with support and encouragement as I look to you to be my family leader.  I promise to always be by your side through the fun and games but also through trials and tribulations.  Neither of us know what the future holds but the part that I look forward to most is spending it with you.  I hope to serve with you, pray with you, laugh with you and cry with you.  Together, focused on Christ nothing can pull us down.  Today I choose you to be my husband Daniel, and I to be your wife.
    My vow, my promise from this moment on is a simple yet abused and overused word. Love.  Dana, I vow to unconditionally love you forever.  Like God made Eve for Adam, I know He made you for me.  There is no question that our love is divine and meant to be.  I promise to put you second and God first always and to this I will hold us accountable.  I will do this because I know that our marriage is just a significant, yet small part of God's purpose and plan for us in His amazing story.  I promise to choose to love you day in and day out for the rest of my life.  In doing this I will be forever patient, forever kind and forever understanding.  I will not envy, I will not boast and I will not keep record of wrong doings.  Dana, you are my best friend and my life long accountability partner and I can't wait to see the adventures God has in store for us and our life together.  So my vow, my promise is that I will  always love you as God does His church, unconditonally.  I love you and will choose to love in all that I do.  Dana, love is my forever vow to you.

 Happy happy anniversary to us!  I only pray that we live to see many many more!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Birthday Festivities.

I turned 25 yesterday! It doesn't sound like I'm that old but I am half way to 50.  I feel so much older than my actual age to be honest-- probably because I'm married and I'm a Mom.  Many people that I went to High School with are just now getting engaged (or some are still single), and here I am married with a toddler and another baby on the way.  I absolutely adore my boys though and wouldn't change a thing!

As far as birthdays go, my birthday is always pretty low key.  I think having a Holiday birthday kind of makes it that way-- not to mention one that falls amongst the chaos of other Holidays.  Yesterday we attended church, and then came home for lunch.  I was exhausted from New Year's Eve so I took a nap when Leeland took his regular afternoon nap.  Oh, I forgot to mention, I stayed up till 2am New Year's Eve!  I have to say that I'm pretty proud of that.  Last year I didn't make it to midnight-- I think Saturday was the latest I've stayed up since Leeland was a newborn.... and staying up when he was a baby wasn't by choice. So needless to say, this pregnant Momma enjoyed a birthday nap!  Once we got up from our nap, it was time to head to my parent's house.  My sister's birthday is December 28th and so we always get together as a family on New Year's and celebrate both.  We have the traditional southern New Year's dinner of turnip greens, pintos, some sort of pork, and cornbread.  It is absolutely delicious!  Each item has a meaning but I forget what's what-- health, wealth and luck for the New Year.  We also had a yummy ice cream cake! (pictured at the top).

Nothing beats relaxation and food as a way to celebrate your birthday-- especially when you're pregnant. 

The festivities didn't end there-- Daniel and I also enjoyed a nice date night tonight.  Tonight's date was kind of a combination of celebrating Christmas, my birthday, and our anniversary.  And to be quite honest, it had been far too long since we have went on a date so really any reason is fine by me.  We started the evening dropping Leeland off with Daniel's parents and then we headed out to Ulta for me to splurge a little with my birthday money.  You know it's love when your man is willing to wonder around the beauty store with you. I purchased a skincare set by Philosophy and some new make-up by Smashbox, both I hope to write a bit about once I have used them at least a week.  After that we debated about where to go eat and settled on Kabuto, a Japanese restaurant where they cook on a grill at the table.  It definitely hit the spot!

Happy 25th birthday to me and Happy New Year to all of you guys!  Hope you enjoyed your Holiday weekend as much as I enjoyed mine.