Monday, June 17, 2013

Chalk paint

This is almost an intro of a post that is to come because I am just so excited!

I am using chalk paint to redo a wooden high chair. I can't wait for it to be finished because it will be great to use as a photography prop for birthday and cake smash photos. This is my first project using chalk paint and I have to say, I am impressed! At first, I was intimidated with the whole idea of waxing a piece after painting it but, it is really very easy. I love not having to sand the furniture first, and love look and feel of the paint and wax.

My one big complaint was that NONE of the brands carried a true black color. I found slate colored blacks, but those wouldn't work with my decor. I have a hutch, dining room table, chairs, and possibly a kitchen hutch to paint black and I have been seriously dreading the entire process! Without a good chalk paint option, I would have to sand each piece of furniture and move it outside to paint it (because of all those icky fumes and chemicals). With chalk paint, I avoid the sanding step and I can paint inside, without any worries. Sounds like a much better project doesn't it?

I started scouring the Internet for other chalk paint brands. I knew I couldn't be the only one frustrated with the lack of black and was hoping someone had created one. After much searching, I came across a brand called Van Gogh Chalk Paint. I scrolled through the color choices and came cross one called mascara. I stopped scrolling and instantly contacted the closest distributor for the paint. A woman named Scottie (who sells awesome furniture and is located in Virgina), responded back soon after. She told me that mascara wasn't a true black, but the color Revenge, is! Be still my beating heart. I quickly messaged her back and asked her how I could order. Turns out, she would be visiting Annapolis in a few days, and we arranged to meet. I bought the sample size to try out and Scottie threw in the beeswax sample as well. She was just the sweetest person! I will explain the paint and wax further on in the post about the plant stand, but I LOVED it! The beeswax was just amazing and I had to really fight the urge to taste it...which really would have been safe to do LOL. I love that it is safe to use on items food would be placed on, and I am planning on using it on wooden blocks for the baby. If you would be interested in learning more about the Van Gogh paint, let me know! I am sure Scottie would love to give you more information on it, or I can answer questions as well.

Dropped off the face of the earth

But I managed to climb back up ;) It has been a crazy few months, filled with family emergencies, friend emergencies, first birthdays and more. I have been working on various projects and hopefully will remember to blog them for you soon!

Friday, March 22, 2013

What a week!

My sister and her boyfriend came all the way from Arkansas to visit this week! It was her first time meeting Little Man and we were all so excited to see her. We did a few fun things during their stay, including a trip to Hershey and the DC Zoo. I want bore you with all of the details, but I figured I would at least let everyone know where I disappeared to!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Natural goo be gone

So a few weeks ago, I was on this kick to try to use more natural personal hygiene products and make as many of them as possible. One of the ones I wanted to try was a recipe for a homemade deodorant. I read online that it worked great for seem people, but for others, their skin was too sensitive and couldn't handle the baking soda. I decided to try it out and see how my skin would do. The stuff really worked great at preventing any smell, but my skin was too sensitive to it and I broke out in a minor rash :(

I hated the idea of throwing it out and decided to give myself a few weeks to see if there was any other use for the concoction. Low and behold, Pinterest had the answer. One day while scrolling through, I saw a pin for a natural goof off. I hate using goof off because I worry about what is in the stuff and was excited to find that this natural recipe was exactly what I had made for the deodorant! Score!

I put the stuff to the test on the bathroom mirror. I had taken the price sticker off two years ago when I bought it, but never quite got around to getting the sticky stuff left behind. This recipe for natural sticky removal worked great! I used it on some pot lids in the kitchen next that had tape residue left on the top, and it worked great there too! I love not having to worry about any nasty chemicals now when I remove sticky, gunky stuff :)

Here is the final recipe I used (since I tweaked the one deodorant recipe I had used)

Natural goof off (or deodorant!)
1/2 cup baking soda
1/2 cup corn starch
About 1/4 cup of coconut oil, melted (I melted some, added, and added more as needed to get a good consistency)

combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Add more coconut oil if mixture is too dry and thick or add more backing soda if it is too watery. Put mixture in a sealable jar or container and place in fridge to harden. Because this uses coconut oil, the mixture may melt a bit if left out of the fridge. I removed my jar once it hardened up and now keep it in the cleaning cabinet. Remember to label the jar so you remember what it is for!

To use, take a towel (or paper towel) and scoop out a small amount of the mixture. Use a circular motion to lightly cover the area of sticky. Leave on for about a minute, and then use a circular motion to rub the gunk away! I found that letting it soak in a bit, made it way easier to remove the stickiness.

Monday, March 4, 2013

What to do with those stinky diapers...

Now that little man and his friend are eating baby food, those diapers are stiiiiinnnnnkkkky. My husband has been taking out the trash each night, but the trash is awful during the day. I have one of those diaper trash cans, but it is in my sons room.

It just hit me the other day...why am I not tying up the stinky ones in a plastic bag? This was a no duh moment for me, and I am sure most other mommies do this already. I am a little bot of a crunchy mom, and I try to recycle or reuse what I can. The produce bags and the bag my weekend paper comes in are just perfect for those stinky diapers! I have been tying the poopy ones all day and my trash (and house) are stinky no longer!

Anyone have any tricks to share that I may also be late on figuring out?

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

When I write...

When I write, I am always so critical of myself. I know I make errors with the grammar and spelling. I also know sometimes, what I write doesn't flow as well as I want it to. I often find myself over thinking, instead of just letting the writing happen. Sometimes, I wish I could just think all of these thoughts I have inside of my head and find them magically written down on my iPad later. Maybe technology will get there one day but, for now, I will just have to keep typing my thoughts down myself.

I have tried to start blogs in the past, but never stuck to writing posts for more than a few weeks. For whatever reason, I have managed to run this one for about six months now. I am proud of myself for sticking around this time. I wanted to start this blog for a few reasons...

1. To have an outlet
2. To share some of the things I have created
3. To have something to look back on from this time in my life
4. To become a better writer

Number four was my main reason for writing this blog. I have written (well I always start writing) stories. I am decent, but not great. I would find myself getting discouraged quickly, and give up. I know great writers practice every single day. I may not ever become great at writing, even if I practice every day until I die, but at least I will continue to improve.

Since starting this blog, I have had several occasions where I considered posting some of the stories I have started. I can't ever seem to bring myself to do it though; I enjoy it too much and am not ready to be heavily critiqued.

I don't often share my blog on my Facebook page. I like it being a little hidden from the world. I have some craft projects that make their way around Pinterest, but for the most part, these personal posts stay pretty much unseen. It is kind of weird, because as much as I love this blog feeling so personal, I also want people to read it to. I also want to wake up in the morning and be one of those bloggers who finds new comments to approve. I know, it is a bit of a contradiction...wanting it to be a secret, while also having a fan base. When I really enjoy doing something though, it is hard for me to share it with others. When I share, I open myself up to criticism and I would much rather just enjoy the process. Throughout the last few months, I have been feeling more confident with my writing.

I appreciate anyone who takes the time to read any of these posts that aren't the crafty ones you found on Pinterest and those who do take the time to comment <3

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

You want the truth?

Being a mom can be hard work, but it is the most enjoyable job I have ever had. I wouldn't trade staying home to be a mom for anything in the world. I feel very confident in my mommy abilities and know that it is something I am great at. However, there are days I call my husband once (or twice on a really hard day) to find out EXACTLY what time he will be home; I pace the floor around that time, ready to hand my son over as soon as hubby walks through the door. Those days don't happen often though, thank goodness.

On those hard days, I feel like disaster and look like one too. There are days where I don't get to put a brush through my hair. There are days I don't remember to eat breakfast. There are days where my sink stays full of dishes. Those days, I feel like a hot mess, especially when I see everything all the other mommies seem to be accomplishing.

A day in the life of "other mom" looks something like this..

6am- Mom works out for an hour
7am- Baby wakes up. Mom prepares a gourmet breakfast
7am-Mom and baby play
9am- Mom and baby meet up with another mommy for a play date
Noon- Nap-time for baby. Mom eats some homemade soup she made the day before
1pm-Mom and baby play, laugh, and sing for hours
5pm- Mom prepares dinner and sets the table (candle light and napkins folded into swans included)
7pm-Baby goes to bed. Mom and dad relax with a glass of wine in front of a fire.

"Other mom" will also find time to do charity work, have a hobby, and keep up her personal appearance (hair, nails, tan etc.). She will post pictures and status updates on Facebook of all of it. It is hard sometimes to not feel a little "other mom" envy, especially as I sit contemplating how to handle the poop explosion my son just had.

Funny thing is, I am sure I look like I am "other mom" on Facebook. If you were to look at my page, you would find status updates of the play-date we went to, the errands we ran and you would see pictures of furniture I have found time refinish. You won't find a status update about how I want to pull my hair out because my son has been fussy all day. Some moms that I know, seem like the "other mom" too, but I know that everything doesn't run as smoothly as it appears.

It is ok to be messy hair, covered in baby snot, haven't slept in 3 days mom. We all have those moments, even though we don't announce it on Facebook.

And in case you want to see a reminder everyday, check out this cute sign that is available on this Etsy page..

Friday, February 22, 2013

Things take...

...10 times longer after you have kids. Projects that would have taken me a few hours pre-baby, now take at least a week post-baby.

My husband has been coming home for the past week and has made fun of me each day for my attempts in refinishing a wooden plant stand. My Great-Grandmother passed away a few weeks ago and I saved it from going to goodwill. The top of it had some minor water damage and the finish was worn off. It isn't a fabulous antique or anything but it sat there with these big puppy dog eyes and just begged me to take it home. Ok, not really...but I was in need of a project and figured it might fit in pretty well with my other furniture once I spruced it up a bit.

Anyways, my husband has teased me because,I only get to sand and paint one part of the table each day. The first day, I refinished the top and bottom. The second day, I only sanded and painted down the tiny little legs. The third day, I finished one of the middle spindles. I had no time to do anything with the plant stand on day four, five,or six. It is now day seven and I have no motivation to sand the next spindle. I would rather play with babies and then be lazy during their naps!

Hopefully I will have pictures to post soon of the plant stand redo. For now, I can at least show you a before (after I started sanding the top). I am sure the suspense is just killing you ;)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Birth Story-Part 3

(note: there are probably still spelling and grammar errors galore. I want this to be perfect, but still need time to read and re-read it. I know I will remember more details as I do so, and will add/change/fix as I do so. I want to post this now, because I don't won't to forget to do it!)

As soon as I was admitted to labor and delivery, I was given a room. I put on the hospital gown and climbed into bed. An intern came in and asked if he could ask me a few questions. My husband and I had been working our way through the seasons of Greys Anatomy on Netflix and all I could think about was that show. The intern was one that you would almost expect to find as one of the characters; He was young, eager, and had no clue what he was doing. If I had to use a character from the show to describe him, he would have totally been a "George". I walked him through my high blood pressure and why they wanted to induce me that day. We finished up with the questions he had for me. Not long after the intern left the room, my husband arrived.

Shortly after my husband joined is, a resident doctor and a nurse entered. I answered more questions, most of which were similar to the ones I had answered for the intern. The resident then went on to talk about how the induction would work. She told me they would give me Cytotec. I quickly told her I would not consent to the using that drug. This drug is often used to ripen a woman's cervix, but is not intended (nor FDA approved) for that purpose. She asked me why and I explained that I wanted to use Cervidil, since that is approved for that specific use. The resident frowned, and said she was going to talk to my doctor and would be right back.

I am sure that this resident was not used to being told no. If this all was out of an episode of "Greys", she would definatly have been a Christina. She came back into the room a few minutes later, pulled up a stool and started to explain why I should use the drug she suggested. Here is how the conversation went:

The Christina-"So the drug you want costs like $800 dollars and the one we suggest you use costs pennies."

Me- "Well, our insurance covers all but ten percent so that isn't an issue..."

The Christina-"We only usually use the (cervidil) for high risk patients because it can be removed if there are any complications.

Me- (thinking...."and why would being able to remove it if there were complications be a bad thing?!"

The Christina- "Also, the drug you use doesn't work."

Me- (thinking...."Then why is it on the market still??") "I want to use the (cervidil) and do not consent to the (cytotec).

The Christina- Huffs and stomps out of the room. (ok so that didn't happen, but I think she wanted to)

I instantly went on-line and researched successful inductions using (cervidil). The first story I pulled up was from a pregnancy forum I frequented. The women told her birth story, mentioning that she was induced using (cervidil) and her body began laboring. She didn't even need Pitocin, which is usually needed after the cervix ripping medicine is finished. Many women say Pitocin causes the most intense contractions that come on so frequently. I decided I wouldn't be needing Pitocin, and that the (cervidil) would be all I needed.

The "Christina" returned a little while later to do a quick check to see my current dilation. I braced myself, worried that she would intentionally make it painful,since I ignored her fantastic reasons for using her drug of choice. She didn't put me through any unnecessary roughness, thank God. She then inserted the (cervidl) and told me her shift was done and the next resident would be in soon to introduce herself. I breathed a sigh of relief, knowing that I wouldn't have to deal with her anymore that evening.

The insertion of the (cervidil) marked the beginning of a 12 hour wait, which was the max time frame to keep it in. We said goodbye to my mom for the evening and my husband didn't last long before falling asleep. I played around on my iPad, texted back a friend (and didn't mention the induction at all...I didn't really want anyone knowing, it was just easier that way), and sat there bored out of my mind. A few hours in, contractions really started to kick in. I toyed with the idea of using my Hypnobabies techniques, but honestly didn't feel in the mood to use it. I kept getting up to go to the bathroom, mostly just to have an excuse to walk around. The nurse on duty freaked out ever time I left the bed, stating that the babies heart rate was hard to read. I kept my mouth shut, knowing that the monitor belts lose the heart rate with even the slightest movement; I figured I would pick my battles.

(I was introduced to my resident doctor for the evening. She totally fit the character profile for another "Greys Anatomy" character, Lizzy. She was a sweet and upbeat girl who defiantly had a better bedside manner than the resident I had encountered earlier.)

As the evening turned into early morning, the monitors showed a dip in my sons heartbeat each time I laid in any position, other than my right side. The resident said I had the option of staying on my right side, or we could take out the (cervidil). I wanted to give the (Cervidil) as much time as possible to work, as I was wanting to avoid Pitocin, and opted to stay on my left side.

Having to stay in one position made the contractions less comfortable and I was exhausted. I paged the nurse in to ask what pain management options I had. I was only at about 3 cm and felt like I would move quicker if I could get some sleep. I decided to use (Stadol) because it was a non-narcotic, just took the edge off and didn't last too long. I fell asleep quickly after the drug was put into my IV, but woke up not even an hour later and was in intense pain. Then (Stadol) should have still been providing some relief and I knew if I was in that much pain, I must be in transition. I had Phil page the nurse. I don't remember if she came in, but do remember "Lizzy" coming in. I told her this had to be transition. She told me that she had just checked me about an hour ago, and that it was still too early to be transition. After she left the room, I told my husband that if it wasn't transition, I didn't want to face transition and may want an Epidural. The contractions were painful, but I could deal with the pain; I couldn't imagine dealing with more painful ones so well though.

"Lizzy" returned not long after our conversation and said she wanted to check me to see how far I was dilated. She was surprised to see that I had actually, in fact, in transition. She left to call my OB to tell her that she should make her way to the hospital. I don't remember how long between the time she left the room and when she visited again, but she came by to tell me that her shift was over and the new resident should be in soon. She had her coat on, but had come in to see how I was doing. "Lizzy" checked me (or had someone else check me, I can't remember), because I told her I felt like I had to push.

Sure enough, I had fully dilated since she had been in my room last. I know she reappeared in her scrubs, obviously ready to help deliver a baby. I was told that my OB was on her way. I had a nurse standing next to me, holding the monitor on to keep it in place to continue reading my sons vitals. At this point, I was LOUD. With each contraction, I moaned a low pitched, rumbling sound. My husband later described it as the sound a Ferrari makes. I am sure I scared the crap out of every mom in hearing distance; there is no way they could have not heard my moans and I imagine they thought I was in immense pain. The funny thing is, I wasn't in any pain. The contractions felt like a lot of pressure, but I felt no pain after my body was through the transition stage. I was so surprise that I wasn't in any pain at this point and apologizing to the nurse beside me, that it didn't hurt at all, but that I felt like it would hurt if I tried to hold the sound in.

With every contraction, I felt "pushy" and my body bared down involuntarily each time. I told the nurse that I felt like I couldn't stop myself from pushing. I remember someone telling me not o push, and that the doctor was almost there. At this point, the activity in the room was energetic and fast paced. Nurses ran to and for through the room, preparing everything for my delivery. When my doctor finally arrived, she was in workout style clothing, obviously having jumped into her car right away after recieving the residents call. She cleaned up, threw on scrubs and everyone took their places, ready for the big event. The resident broke my water since it hadn't broken own it's own, even though I was fully dilated.

My doctor and "Lizzy" were at the end of the bed. I was asked to scoot down to the stirrups so I could push. I asked my OB if I could push while laying on my side; I was comfortable in that position, and knew it was a more ideal one than the standard delivery position. She agreed to it without any hesitation.

When I went to push for the first time, I started to do my loud moan again. My OB told me to hold the sound in to help focus that energy down to push my son out. Each time I was told to push, a nurse standing to the right of me would count to ten. There were a few occasions where I would want to stop at the count of 8, but would push through the extra few counts. Most of the time though, I felt like I wasn't done pushing when the nursed reached 10. I remember raising my left hand, signling a circular motion to say that I was going to keep going. I was so proud of my husband at this point (he was great throughout the entire delivery, he read my signals so well the entire time!) because he realized what I was gesturing and told them that I wasn't done pushing yet. I had learned about mom-directed pushing during my Hypnobabies class and was going to trust my body when it told me what to do. At one point, "Lizzy" was prepared to perform an episiotomy. My OB told her I wouldn't need one, since I was able to control my pushes. Not having an epidural and directing my own pushes most of the time, helped me avoid an episiotomy or any serious tear. I was really fortunate that my son was small, and pushing him out didn't hurt at all.

I didn't have to push more than 5 times before I felt the pressure instantly vanish. My son was born. My husband kissed me hard on the mouth and with tears in his eyes, he told me that he loved me. The doctor handed my husband the scissors so he could clip the cord, and then my baby was whisked away. I told the doctor that I had wanted skin to skin. She told me there was a concern with mismatched blood types, since I was OB positive and they wanted to check him out. She promised they would hand him right back to me.

I think I mentioned in an earlier post that I loved all of my OBs. All of the doctors in the practice are great, especially the one that delivered my son. She just naturally did a lot of the stuff we wanted to do. Along with making sure I avoided an episiotomy, she also told the resident that she liked to allow the moms to birth the placenta. This is something I wanted to do, as opposed to how some doctors push HARD on the stomach to force it out, which is apparently very painful. We sat for a minute and the placenta popped out on its own. I can't even remember exactly what it looked like, but I recall being in awe of it. It is what kept my son alive inside of me and was beautiful in a weird kind of way.

Once the placenta was out, the resident and OB set up to stich up the one small tear that I did have. As soon as they were ready to get started, the nurses were ready to hand my son to me told hold. I was about to take him when I paused and asked them to give them to my husband to hold first. I wanted to enjoy my first time holding him, and not be concerned with getting stitched up. My OB told me that they could numb the area, but she found that the adrenaline usually keeps moms from feeling any pain with the stitches. I told her I didn't need to be numbed and was happy to find out that I indeed did not feel any pain as they put in the stitches. As the resident stitched me up, I glanced over at my husband as he held our son for the first time. I was grateful yet again for something that was said during my Hypnobabies class. Our instructor had suggested that dad get skin to skin contact time with the baby too and told us how important that time is for daddy and baby bonding. If I had never been told that, I probably would have taken my son into my arms right away, without giving any thought about my husband holding him. I love giving him that chance to be the first one to hold him, and as I looked over at him from across the room, I don't think I had ever seen him happier.

This is when things seemed to blur together a bit more. I remember holding my son, skin to skin, and trying to see if he would latch on. I remember loving him instantly. I was on such an adrenaline high, that I really don't recall every moment or feeling during this time. I remember my husband seeing a missed call from my mom and he called her to tell her that her first grandson was here. Although she was staying at our house, which was about 30 minutes away, she seemed to appear in the room with us within just a few minutes. I loved seeing the look of excitement and love on her face as she held him for the first time.

As she and my husband took turns holding the baby, a nurse came in to help me to the bathroom to get cleaned up a bit so I could be moved to the maternity floor. It was so awesome to be able to get up right away and walk. I was sore, but it didn't feel any worse than my body would after a long workout. After I was finished in the bathroom, we had a few minutes to gather up our things and admire the baby. When the escort and a nurse showed up, I sat down in the wheelchair and my son was placed into the hospital bassinet. We where wheeled to the maternity section and our life with our first baby began.

I will post soon about the rest of our hospital stay, which was also a great experience. I will finish this post by saying that I would have loved to see the look on resident "Christina's" face when she learned that not only did the (cervidil) work to ripen my cervix, but it also spurred my labor and I avoided the use of Pitocin. My doctor had also been surprised that (cervidil) had worked so well. I like to think that maybe I paved the way a bit for the next mom who says she does not consent to (cytotec) because they had some proof that it works just fine.

My Birth Story-Part 2, Hypnobabies and Preparing for Birth

I have known for years that I did not want an epidural. I wanted to be aware of my child's birth and not be all loopy. I started researching natural childbirth and all of the benefits. I watched movies, read books and joined online forums. The more I learned, the more I wanted to go medication free.

I wanted to be prepared to go natural and wanted to find something that would be a natural pain management technique. I read about hypnobirthing online and was curious. So many women had positive experiences with hypnobirth, especially when they had used Hypnobabies. For those of you who don't know, Hypnobirthing is a pain management technique that uses hypnosis. I watched videos online of moms using Hypnobabies. It was amazing to see how calm and relaxed they were! Many moms would look like they were sleeping, even while going through transition!

I was able to find a local instructor for the course and it was just amazing! The instructor was wonderful and so were the other couples who were taking the class; in fact, we all still get together for play dates.

I was so surprised by how well the hypnosis worked. There was one exercise we did in class one day, where we put ourselves under hypnosis and our partner pinched our arm. I felt the tiniest bit of pressure when my husband pinched me. After we brought ourselves out of hypnosis, our partners pinched us again with the same amount of pressure they used before. The pinch my husband gave me after I was out of hypnosis was definitely enough to make me say "ouch"! I actually found myself practicing my hypnosis whenever I felt any type of pain unrelated to pregnancy. Leg cramps became a breeze compared to before!

I loved being in such a deep state of relaxation each time I went under hypnosis. My body was non existent; I felt like I was just a mind and soul. I couldn't feel my arms or legs, because every part of my body just melted away. I used to be so skeptical about hypnosis until I was able to experience it for myself. It is hard to describe how awesome hypnosis really is. I totally recommend everyone learn how to put themselves into a deep hypnotic state.

The course only lasted a few weeks and when it was over, the waiting game for birth felt like it had begun. I had a healthy pregnancy up until my last month or two. My blood pressure was climbing higher and higher and my doctors (I bounced around between several of the doctors in the practice, they were all so great!) wanted me to start taking it easy. I wasn't ready to leave my job as a nanny, so I convinced them to let me continue working if I stayed off of my feet.

I was doing great with the whole taking it easy thing until the beginning of May. My due date wasn't until the 31st but I had two days left at work before my replacement for the summer was going to start. I was started to feel pregnancy a bit more (I was one of those women who never got sick and felt great the entire pregnancy) and knew I really should be home, now that other nanny was done with school until fall semester. I ran around town with her that Thursday, showing her where preschool was, dance school and a few playgrounds we frequented. I was sad to be leave my "kids" for the summer, but was ready to have some time to myself before the baby. I was planning on a great last day with the kids, and had some fun surprises and projects in store for them.

I had a doctors appointment that same day and My blood pressure was high from being on my feet for most of the day. My doctor told me to drive into the city to the hospital and get monitored. I am not a city driver, and opted to drive the 30 min home and have my husband drive me in.

When I arrived at the hospital, I was taken into triage to be monitored. They took my blood pressure and it was still high. They wanted to continue to monitor and see how it changed as I rested.

I had another woman in the room with me, with a curtain separating us, for privacy. The woman had her two year old daughter with her, who was constantly falling into the curtain and crying. The mom was so rude to the little girl, which was hard for me to listen to. I kept threatening to my husband, that I was going to say something to the woman, because it was seriously that bad. A midwife was on my side of the curtain, putting information into the computer and checking the readings, when the little girl started crying again. The next thing we heard, was the mom, hitting the two year old! It wasn't just a swat on the bottom either.

The midwife ran over and told the woman that she has no right to beat her child and that the girl was acting like a normal two year old. She told the woman that she can't expect a child that age to sit there for that long without getting grumpy. A nurse actually sat on the other side of the curtain, playing with the little girl for the rest of the time that they were in there. I told my husband that I am glad the staff stepped up to protect the little girl, but that she was probably in for a worse punishment when they got home.

The woman on the other side of the room was obviously crazy. She wanted the nurse to give her an X-ray (remember, she is pregnant!) for a bruise on her leg that she said was caused by a nurse at a different hospital. She also wanted pain medication for the bruise. My heart still aches for her little girl and the baby that woman was pregnant with. I can't imagine what life at home must have been like for them and I am pretty sure CPS must have been called on the mother because of her behavior.

By the time the drama with my triage neighbor was over, I was finally given the all clear to go home. I was told that I was now on bed rest for the remainder of my pregnancy. I was not to happy to be restricted to the couch or bed all day, but knew it was what was best for my baby.

I spent the few days on the couch, watching movies and reading books I had downloaded to my IPad. My mom came up to help me for a few days and drive me to my weekly OBGYN appointment. My blood pressure was still high, but was ok for the time being. My doctor said that she wanted to schedule an induction for the following Wednesday. I was disappointed, knowing that inductions raise the risk for needing a c-section. I was optimistic though, because I had lost my mucus plug a few days before and had a gut feeling that I would probably be going into labor over the weekend.

I had an appointment at the hospital that Friday for a Non-stress test. I had visited the hospital for a non-stress test on two other occasions, and wasn't too worried about it. My mom drove me into the appointment, since my husband had to work.

The monitoring portion of the test went great. They followed the baby's heart rate, my blood pressure, and any contractions I was having. The last part of the test was an ultrasound to measure the fluid. They had measured my fluid as a 12 the previous week, which was great, and I was expecting another great reading again.

The ultrasound tech I had, was a very sweet, bubbly woman. She had been carrying on conversations with us through the entire non-stress test. She became quiet all of a sudden while she was measuring the fluid though. She said she wasn't able to see any measurable fluid, and wanted to call in another tech to get a second opinion. The other tech wasn't able to measure any fluid either. The put a call into labor and delivery upstairs and they were told that I was to be admitted. I was told that I would be induced and to wait outside in the lobby for an escort, who would take me upstairs to labor and delivery.

I was in shock. I thought I would go into labor over the weekend and on my own. I thought I had time. Instead, I was going to be admitted to the hospital and induced. I hadn't thought much about going into labor, or about how close we were to having a baby. I thought I had time to think about all of that and then, all of a sudden, I didn't. I had expected to go into labor naturally and labor at home for hours. I had expected to lay in my tub, on my bed, or sit on my birth ball. I expected to listen to music or watch tv, taking time to put myself into hypnosis for every contraction. It was a bit of a disappointment to not get the labor experience I had envisioned for myself.

As I sat in the waiting room, I tried to call my husband, but my cell phone had no service. My mom went outside to call him. She arrived back to the lobby just as the escort arrived to take my mother and I upstairs to labor and delivery.

My Birth Story-Part 1, Trying to Conceive and a Positive Test

I have been meaning to write this down for months. It has been hard to put the time aside to do it, especially since it will take awhile to write. It will be broken up into a few parts.

For this first part, I want to give a little bit of background on us trying to conceive and about the day we found out we were expecting.

My husband and I tried to conceive for a year. It was hard having each month go by without getting a positive sign on the pregnancy test. It was also hard seeing so many people around me getting pregnant accidentally. Don't get me wrong, I was so excited for just made me wonder why it just wasn't happening for us when we were actually trying.

I finally came to terms that I would have to talk to my gynecologist to see what the next step would be. I had always been scared that I wouldn't be able to have children and after a year, I felt like that fear might be a reality. My periods have always been irregular; One month my cycle would be 28 days and the next period wouldn't come for three months. I always worried that my irregularity would make it hard to have kids. I set up my annual appointment, which happened to fall right around the twelve month mark of us trying to conceive.

A week before my appointment, I was "expecting" to have my period. Although, that never really means much because of my crazy cycles. I woke up for work and decided to take a pregnancy test for the heck of it, which was pretty much a monthly ritual at this point. Sounds like an expensive ritual, but most of the time I used the dollar store brand. Seriously, those tests only cost a dollar and are just as effective as the name brand line tests.

Anyways, I peed on the stick and went about the rest of my morning routine. I checked on it a little bit later and swore I saw a faint positive. I was trying not to get too excited; I had a few other occasions when I had thought I saw a faint line when I hadn't. It is just one of those things where you just want it so much, you really try to see what you want to see. This was so faint that it really was almost invisible.

I had to leave for work and decided that I would buy an electronic pregnancy test during the day but not take it until I got home later that evening. It was hard not to just go into the bathroom and take the test, but I stuck to the plan. I got home about a half hour before my husband was due to arrive. I raced up stairs and peed on a much more advanced stick this time. I sat waiting, watching the hourglass blink. Finally, the word "pregnant" pop up on the screen. That practically invisible line I had seen earlier was truly a positive test!

I was beyond excited! I called my husband right away and asked him to stop and grab a pizza on the way home and, while he was at it, some champagne. I said I was craving the type we had at our wedding. Sounds like a crazy combination and I am sure someone out there is yelling "Pregnant women can't drink!" at their computer screen. Well, I wanted pizza for dinner so that was easy. I needed the champagne because it played a part in how I was going to tell him that I was pregnant. As an anniversary gift, my husband had bought me a pair of Swarovski Crystal champagne glasses. I had fallen in love with them well before we got married and had wanted them for our wedding. It had been hard to justify the price of them though, since our wedding was simple and small. When he gave the glasses to me as a gift, I had joked with him that I was too scared to use them unless it was a special occasion; I told him the first time I used them would probably be when I told him I was pregnant.

My husband arrived and put the pizza and champagne in the kitchen. He headed upstairs and I rushed around to set everything up. I placed the pizza on our plates, the champagne into the glasses, and arranged it on the coffee table(bad habit, but we usually eat in the living room). I sat anxiously on the couch, waiting for him to come down the stairs.

When he finally did, he casually said, "Oh you have the glasses out."

That was it. He had no idea why they were out and acted like it wasn't too unusual to have champagne with pizza. In expensive crystal stem ware no less.

"Yes, and do you remember when I said I would use them?" I asked.

My husband just kind of shrugged and looked confused.

"Seriously?!" I replied, "When you gave them to me, I said I would use them when I told you something!"

Finally, the lightbulb went off above his head and he asked, "Are you?"

I told him that I was and he rushed over and practically tackled me on the couch as he gave me a hug and a kiss. I told him the whole story about the morning and how I wait all day to test with a better stick. We ate pizza, I had one sip of champagne, (and to those who are yelling at their computer screens again, one sip cannot hurt.) and talked about having a baby.

I tell you what, it was an awesome feeling walking into my gynecologists office a week later and telling him that I was pregnant. He confirmed it and recommended me to an OBGYN. A week before, I had expected to talk to my doctor about the next step to try and get pregnant. Instead, I was there for a short visit and was congratulated on my pregnancy.

I won't bore you with the details of telling family and friends, but I will end this post with how I announced my pregnancy on Facebook. I was 12 weeks on Thanksgiving, and posted this picture.

And a picture of the champagne glasses off of the Swarovski website....because they are gorgeous and you have to see why I am scared to use them unless it is a special occasion!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Mommy Wars

Breastfeeding vs. Formula
Babywearing vs. Stroller
Co-Sleeping vs. Crib
Intact vs. Routine Infant Circumcision

These are the mommy wars and social media is the battleground.

I don't think a day goes by, where I don't see a mommy-war on Facebook or a blog; I do follow several parenting ones so that may be why. Each side of the debate thinks they are right and will do everything they can to prove it. Links will be posted, facts will be shared, stories will be told. Name calling will also take place and make you reminisce a bit about middle school, since the same kind of pettiness and drama is taking place.

Just like anyone else, I have my own beliefs when it comes to parenting. I have my degree in Early Childhood Education and have spent a lot of time researching everything having to do with pregnancy, babies, and kids. I take what I have learned, combine it with some common sense, and raise my child by doing what I think is best. I do believe that some parenting philosophies are healthier than others and will voice my opinion in a debate. However, I do not tear another parent apart for their beliefs.

I get that people are passionate and want to get others to "see the light". What I don't get however, is why women who take part in these mommy-wars think that name calling and making threats are going to convince ANYONE that they are right. Yes, I have looked at someone's reasons to circumcise as being completely ridiculous, but I would never bash that person; if I did, I would only be making myself look like an idiot. Name calling doesn't accomplish anything, unless of course your main purpose is to make another mom cry. How did that help you prove a point on why someone shouldn't vaccinate though? Oh wait, it didn't.

If I get into a debate on something I believe strongly in, I provide reliable resources that I have found. I give real information, with the hopes that the person will start to see the facts to be as compelling as I had. I hope that maybe I can change someone's mind; If not, then oh well. It is not my place to tell someone how to raise their child and frankly, most of these mommy-wars are over things that all have positive and negative sides to them. I would rather take the high road and handle things the mature way. Many people get so turned off by being told what to do and just shut off their ears so they don't have to hear anymore. I would rather keep them listening, so I can get as much information to them as possible and help them make an informed decision.

If you get involved in one of these parenting wars, just think about how you are talking to the opposing side. Do you sound like a 13 year old mean girl? Or do you sound like someone who could be writing a college paper on the topic? Who would you rather listen to while in a heated debate?

I found myself writing this at 10:00 last night. I was compelled to do so, after reading a breastfeeding post that was written by another mommy blogger. At first, I was upset with what she wrote. I decided I didn't like her and that her reasons for not wanting to breastfeed were ridiculous. Then, I started reading the comments that others had written to her. They bashed her. They ripped her apart. They told her they felt sorry for her kids and that she shouldn't have reproduced. These women were the ultimate mean girls of the playground. The blogger however, made such a amazing impression on me and I found my dislike for her quickly turning to admiration. She responded to these other women, with so much grace and dignity. She never once fired back at them with the same negativity that they gave to her. She showed maturity and kindness, while the commenters looked like radical nut jobs.

As I read through the comments, I realized that the blogger had explained the main reason why she didn't like breastfeeding. This was not included in her original post (which btw was posted about a year ago, and became "viral" all of a sudden). What she revealed made so much sense and I respected her so much for opening up like she did, even as people continued to ridicule her. What I saw, was a a strong woman who had overcome some tough things in her life. Instead of getting the support she deserved, she was beaten up over what she wrote a year ago. That is just not acceptable in my opinion.

I wrote something recently about watching what we say to moms when they are in labor. I feel like my message with that story also ties in a bit here. Where is the positivity and support for other moms? Don't we all have it a little rough? Don't we all want to pull our hair out some days? We all have points where we feel stressed because of the kids, our significant others, family, jobs or finances. Why do we feel the need to virtually destroy someone for their thoughts on parenting, especially since we KNOW parenting isn't an easy job? Instead of bullying online, why not be supportive? I just don't see why that is so hard to do?!?

As parents, we would be upset to learn that our kids were being verbally attacked online...and yet so many parents will do the same. We are setting the example for our children. You may say that your child isn't on Facebook and can't read what you wrote. Well, guess what? They will be old enough to "Google" one day and what you posted may pop right up. How will you explain how you called another mom a bitch because she vaccinated her kids? Will you tell your daughter the mom deserved it? What if that same daughter was being bullied online? How could you justify that same behavior then?

If you enter into a parenting debate, state your opinion and support it with facts and stories. Leave the name calling behind. If you don't have anything nice, just keep it to yourself; Plain and simple.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Birth Doesn't' Require Luck

I have a little bit of a pet peeve when it comes to what people say to a mom when she says she is in labor. I know these things are said with good intentions, but when you really look at what these statements imply, it makes it sound like birth is just a game of chance.

"Good Luck!" and "Hopefully everything turns out ok!", are among the phrases I often see.

Why do we need "luck" when we give birth? I didn't feel like I had any odds to beat while I was laboring. I focused on having the birth I wanted and focused on the healthy baby I was sure I would be holding soon. I truly believe that positive thinking goes a long way, and that my positivity helped create my amazing birth. I just can't imagine managing the pressure of my contractions effectively, if I had been worried about everything that could have gone wrong.

I know I haven't posted my entire birth story here yet, but I was faced with a few situations that weren't in my dream birth plan. I decided to roll with the flow, stand firm on what I believed was right for my baby and decided to have the birth I wanted. I believe that I avoided having to use pitocin during my labor, because I decided I wasn't going to need it. Yes, I know this all sounds so tree-hugger, but have you ever realized that people who think positively, seem to have very positive lives? They see the glass as half full and decide to enjoy that half glass, instead of focusing on how things could be.

I didn't tell many people that I was trying to go medication free. I didn't want the opinions of others to affect my positive feelings about my labor and birth. I wanted to be excited to feel the contractions and experience every aspect of birth. I know too many women who have heard "You won't win a trophy for not having an epidural" or "You won't be able to do it without an epidural, it hurts too much". I didn't want someone to tell me what they thought I was capable of. I knew myself and my body and knew what I wanted. It just wasn't anyones business but my own. I just didn't care what anyone else thought and refused to let anyone ruin my excitement.

I also didn't tell anyone that I was being induced. I saw my labor as a special time for just me and my husband to experience. I wanted to focus on myself, and not have the distraction of people calling or texting to see if my son had been born yet. It also helped me avoid hearing statements full of good intentions, but not full of the support they thought they were giving.

Now I want to be clear, I don't judge any women for her choice of how she labors or births her child. It is her body and her choice. It is also her choice to call everyone she knows or post on Facebook that she is in labor. I just ask everyone reading this to think about how they respond when they see the announcement that a mom is in labor. Instead of wishing her luck, congratulate her! Instead of saying you hope everything turns out ok, say "You will do great!". Help that momma be confident in her body and it's ability to birth a baby.

We don't need luck, but your positivity and support is always appreciated.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Kitchen Shelf Makeover

When we moved into the house, the sellers left behind a few things (we told them they could). One of the things they left behind, was a wooden shelf that was above the kitchen window. I liked the idea of having a shelf there, but was not really digging the country looking heart in the center of it.

We have been in the house for a little over three years and I am finally getting around to doing something with the shelf. I personally would rather use what I have and upcycled it a bit, than buy something new. It saves money, and I know that the item isn't sitting in a landfill somewhere or stuck eternally on a thrift store shelf. I knew that I wanted something that mimicked the style of the other wall decor found around our downstairs.

I had the hardest time figuring out what to put over the heart. I didn't want a clock; I am too lazy to change the batteries and time(I am the person who doesn't change the clock in her car. I figure in a few months it will be the right time again). I though about maybe a decorative tile, but I couldn't find the right size or style. I finally found a cute, wooden appliqué...but it was too small. I returned it and bought it again during my trip back to the craft store. I decided to buy an oval wooden plaque and layer it with the wooden appliqué. I was so glad that the shape and size was finally just what I was looking for!

I glued the appliqué to the wooden oval, then painted and distressed it. I sanded down and painted the shelf and also distressed the edges some. I glued the oval over the heart with hot glue and popped the shelf right back onto the wall. The whole project took just a few hours.

I love how the shelf looks! I do have some toying around to do with vase arrangement on the top. I bought most of the vases at the dollar store and craft store. The cost for each one was between .50 and $1.50. The green one was $7 at TJ Max. To make each one unique, I wrapped the vases in twine, using hot glue and Modge Podge. I added ribbon or embellishments to add a bit of color and style.

As much as I love the shelf, it makes me want to refinish our builder grade cabinets. We want to extend our kitchen out a bit and need to find some matching cabinets so we can refinish what we have, instead of spending thousands of dollars on new cabinets. We have to wait until the size and model cabinets show up on Craigslist, Freecycle, or in the Habitat for Humanity store.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Craft-Wooden Sign

I have been try to tackle small projects for the house that I have had on my to-do list for awhile. One of the projects, was to create a sign for the wall space I have between the living room window and a bookshelf.

I have been trying to incorporate twine and burlap into the decor downstairs and wanted to find a way to incorporate the twine into the sign. We have a natural theme going on. The prominent colors are brown and green, with black accents. In addition to the burlap and twine, I also have moss rocks used in some accent pieces. I will do a post soon so you can get an idea of the space.

I bought an unfinished wooden sign for 8 dollars and I bought wooden letters for $1.50 a piece. I already had the twine and paint on hand. I wrapped each letter in the twine, using a hot glue gun. I painted the sign black, and distressed the edges. I used hot glue again, to glue the letters to the sign. Easy peasy!

The sign color and distressing, matches another sign we have in the living room, so they really work well together in the space.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Makeup Storage Solution

I wanted to share the way I organize my makeup and other bathroom items.

Let me start off by saying that I don't have to share my bathroom with my husband. I swear, i think separate bathrooms make for a happy marriage! No bickering about toilet seats left up or that the toothpaste cap wasn't put back on. I also was able to decorate it as girly as I wanted :)

I use Bare Minerals makeup, which I absolutely love.  I have a decent collection of the stuff, which used to be stored in a makeup bag.  I was tired of digging through the bag, trying to find the right eye shadow.  I found this cute jewlery organizer at Tuesday Morning.

 The Bare Minerals makeup fits in perfectly and it makes finding the right colors a breeze!  I actually organize the colors by the combinations I usually use.  On the other side, I have me other makeup that I don't use too often.  This way of organizing freed up much needed counter and under the sink space.

In my bathroom, I also have a small shelf that I bought a few years back.  I hung my makeup organizer there.  On the top of the shelf, I have a few glass jars to store cotton balls, q-tips and hair ties.  I have a large jar up there too that has some Potpourri.  I am planning on dumping that out soon and storing my nail polishes in it instead.

Below the shelf and makeup organizer, I have a table.  Yup, you heard right.  I have a table in my bathroom.  This table use to be a hideous computer table that I decided to give a new life.  I was originally going to finish it to sell, but liked it so much that I wanted to find somewhere to keep it.  It ended up in my bathroom and I absolutely love it!  My counter is so small and I don't have a lot of storage space in the bathroom under the sink.  This table gives me additional space to lay out makeup, hair brushes or whatever else I need when I get ready.  I have a small basket on the top of the table to hold my perfumes and small odds and ends I want handy.  On the bottom shelf of the table,  have two medium sized baskets with lids.  Those baskets hide away my bath products and hair stuff.

Here a few of the other fun decorations or organization things I have around my bathroom. I didn't have my shower curtain up, or I would have given a full picture of the whole room. I will try to get one soon and add it.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Fell down the stairs

I was walking down the stairs this morning with my 8 month old. My foot must have slipped on the edge of the stairs because the next thing I knew, I was hitting my bottom hard on a stair and sliding the rest of the way down. It has been a few hours and I am still upset (not to mentioned sore and bruised).

As soon as I hit, I pulled my son all the way in front of me and held him tight to my chest. He is perfectly ok. I scared the crap out of him though, and he cried for about a minute.

It is kind of crazy how a moms instincts kick in so quickly. I joked with my mom earlier about what the whole scene would look like if it had been replayed in slow motion. I think me falling would slow down, but the rate of speed in which I moved to protect the baby would still be in super fast speed. Once I reached the bottom of the stairs, I jumped right up to console him and make sure he was ok. If I had fallen without him, I would have probably laid there for a few minutes, in pain. I could care less about the burning sensation all up and down my back or the pain in my rear end...I was so worried that he was hurt in some way. Once I realized he was safe, I wanted to calm him down and let him know that everything was ok. I am always so careful on the stairs and yet it still happened. I have been fearful of falling down the stairs with him since before he was even born.

A little over a year ago, just a few days before Christmas, I was shopping at the mall. I was in the long line at the department store, waiting to buy the one item I needed from there. All of a sudden, I heard a woman screaming "Oh my God! My baby!". She screamed it over and over again, in unison with a high pitched cry from the baby. The woman was on the escalator and fell, dropping the baby, who continued to fall to the bottom. People rushed over. I didn't see the scene and stayed out of the way since I didn't have any help to offer. I have a vivid picture in my mind even though I didn't actually see the woman and her child fall. The paramedics arrived very quickly, although to that mother it probably felt like a lifetime. When I got to my car, I cried and I prayed. The whole situation upset me and I wasn't a parent yet. I called a friend of mine, who worked as an EMT; I was trying to find any reassurance that the baby could be ok. I actually googled the next few days to see if any news articles popped up about it. Nothing showed up, which I have always assumed must have been a good sign.

I think that memory is probably why I have been so upset all day long. Our main purpose as parents is to protect and care for our children. When something happens where your child could have been hurt, it scares the living crap out of you. My son is my entire world. I would have been devastated if he even had a bruise on him from that fall.

And now on a lighter note....

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Time for some furniture makeovers!

I asked my Facebook friends for any wooden furniture they no longer want. I have been itching to redo some furniture, hopefully with chalk paint! One friend offered two side tables and some wooden frames. She also asked of I could redo two additional side tables for her. I am picking the stuff up tomorrow and will be posting updates on it as I go :) And a completely random side note... I also officially started up my photography business. I did 3 or 4 Christmas sessions for free a few months ago to see if I enjoyed it enough to do it as a side job. I had a blast, and the pictures turned out great! Since starting up my Facebook page for my photography just about two weeks ago, I have completed two boudoir sessions and have four more scheduled. I also have a few people already asking about family Easter sessions!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Nothing More Terrifying.....

Than nursing a baby with teeth. Seriously.

Little Mister has cut his first tooth and let me tell you, it is razor sharp. I am petrified each time I have to nurse him now...and I don't scare easily.

My son has been teething for months. He has been chewing on his toys, teethers, fingers and toes. He has even tried to borrow his friends various extremities, to which I find myself having to call out, "We don't chew on our friends!"

It has been months of drool and fussiness. Every time we thought a tooth had to appear soon, we found ourself waiting weeks more, wondering what was taking so long. A week ago, I finally felt a tooth starting to push through. It has taken a week more for it to push through a centimeter more, leaving me to wonder again, what is taking so long?! Every other baby I know seemed to teeth for a few days, the tooth pushed through and then was fully out a week or so later. I am ready for this tooth to finish pushing up so Little Mister can have some pain free time.

Although his tooth has still not pushed much pass his gum line, I already live in fear. This thing is new-kitchen-knife-sharp...and I breastfeed. He has already bitten me a few times, using me as a human teether while I was feeding him. Can you say Ouch?! The only thing that keeps me going is knowing that all other breastfeeding mamas face this too. That, and formula is way too expensive to use in place of the boob ;)

The worst bite so far was last night and was done by a very sleepy baby at 3am. I took him off, handed him to the husband and told him I needed to get some more water. I did get some water, but I also sat on the couch for a few minutes, hiding from my mini Jaws.

I am a breastfeeding mom though and after just a few minutes, I took a deep breath, zombie walked up the stairs, and gave the boob right back to my baby. As scary as a 7 month old with teeth is, I still couldn't imagine not continuing to breastfeed him. I love our over-the-boob bonding time and can't give it up just yet...bites and all.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Yarn wrapped wreaths with felt rosettes

Happy New Year! I don't do the whole New Years Resolution thing, so you won't have to skip right over that stuff just to get to the good parts for this post.I have been itching to get my hands into a new project. I really wanted to redo some more furniture and try my hand at using chalk paint, but I couldn't find anything I liked (and cheap) on Craigslist. A few weeks passed, and I was beginning to go stir crazy, so I decided to go make an AC Moore run and get supplies to make a yarn wreath.

I am so happy with the final product and cannot wait to make some more! They take some time to do, but are super easy and inexpensive. I didn't take pictured as I made it, so I won't put a tutorial together yet. I will try to do one in about a week though to show how to make the wreath as well as the rosettes.

Here is a picture of the finished product. I took it with my iPad so the quality and colors are awful. The yearn was this pretty teal color. I used white and teal felt for the rosettes and added a few silver berries. I want to find a cute birdie or the word welcome to it but am waiting until I find the right thing.