Friday, December 28, 2012

Christmas recap and it's a.....

Howdy ya'll!!!

I'm going to do an iPhone photo dump and let these Christmas snapshots do most of the talking. 

Our holiday vacation started on a bad note with our sweet girl getting her first cold. She was so miserable, and was extra snuggly. During this time, I thanked God every minute for the Nosefrida and her "baby." Truly lifesavers during this ordeal.

But by Christmas Eve she was doing much better. A few "Chee" (aka Cheerios) and her big girl cup, and she was ready to party!

Aunt Lindsay bought her the cutest blue Christmas dress, and we went out to dinner at Carrabba's (YUM). Tragically, I only took one picture of her adorableness in her dress, and she looks frightened in it. But you get the idea! ;-)

Eating cheese ravioli. (By the way, those sticky placemats are the greatest things ever. No mess, and no baby tossing their plate off the table. Genius!)

Then on Christmas morning, we went to Aunt Lindsay and Uncle Mark's house to open presents. Look at that tree. To say the number of presents under it is excessive is an understatement. Even though 70% of them were for Emerson. Just think of next year when there are THREE babies to buy for... and no, I'm not having twins ;-)

Emerson wasted no time inspecting all of the boxes. She has become quite the climber, and rather enjoyed seeing how far we'd let her get into the pile.

Actually opening presents was boring to her, so we did most of it for her. Santa Claus was VERY good to her, and we are extremely grateful for all of the gifts we received. But seriously, next year, I'm asking for water only. I don't think our house can fit any more toys!

Her favorite "toy" would probably be her new big girl chair. She loves to climb in it backwards and stand up tall, or pretend to be watching TV.

She also loved playing with other people's presents too. Daddy's new golf umbrella? Thanks, I'll commandeer that now.


She also got to open one other gift this year that will be unlike any other......

Santa Claus brought her a baby SISTER!!!!!

I hope you got everything you wished for this Christmas! :)

Friday, December 21, 2012

End of the World?

Well, 12/21/12 is here... and so am I. Still. Awesome!

No, I didn't think the world was ending, but after last Friday's horrible tragedy (which I can't even talk, write or think about without crying - yep, here they come), and with Christmas being right around the corner, I am taking a few minutes today to count my blessings.

When I started this blog two years ago, I just wanted Christmas to quickly pass by with no acknowledgement. But then my sweet, sweet hubby surprised me with this, and I saw a glimmer of hope that maybe someday Christmas would be a happy time for me again.

Then last year, we received the greatest gift that any two people could ever receive.

And now this year, we have our beautiful, perfect 1 year old daughter, and another healthy baby on the way. My heart is full, my life is blessed, and I try to take a minute every day to appreciate how wonderful my life is.

Life can change in an instant. Though I'd like to believe since I've lived through the worst, only good things will happen to me or my family, but unfortunately that has not proven to be true.

So today, and this week, and hopefully from now on, I'm hugging my loved ones a little tighter. We have no idea if and when any of the good things in life will be taken away, so I'm going to enjoy every little moment I have left.

And just in case a giant meteor crashes to Earth in the next 15 hours, I'm gonna go have a cookie for breakfast.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Baby #2 Must Have Items

One of the benefits to having a second baby so close in age to the first is that you "have everything." The knowledge, the wisdom, the experience, and tons of baby crap that you can recycle and use with your second child. 

It feels like I just put some baby stuff away (Boppy, Rock N Play, baby bath tub, etc.) and now we'll be dragging it all back out in just a few short months. Though we do have alot of the essentials, there are still some things we'll need to purchase before May. Not everything is absolutely critical, but it would sure make my life easier! And life with 2under2 is better when it's easy, right??

Baby #2 Must Have Items

Baby #2 Must Have Items by audra5909 on Polyvore

We bought this monitor with Emerson and we LOVE it! I can stalk watch her all night long, and it's clear as day. For baby #2, we can buy just the camera and it will sync with our current monitor, and we can pan their rooms all night long. Yay for concurrent baby stalking watching!

We bought a Baby Bjorn for Emerson and I used it all of 2 times. She was such a tiny baby and I just did not feel like she was secure in it at the beginning. But everything I read about having 2 kiddos is that you MUST have a baby carrier if you want to accomplish anything, and the K'Tan looks so cozy that I think we'll give it a try!

I plan to write an entire post about Emerson's obsession with her "baby." She has a ladybug blankie buddy and let's just say if she had to choose between eating and having her baby right next to her, she'd pick the baby. It's that serious. But I do credit this little thing as the reason why Emerson sleeps so well at night - she's got a friend keeping her company. It's so so soft and lightweight that I don't need to worry about it being "breathable" when the baby is younger. What I will do different with baby #2 though is buy more than one (unlike what we have for Emerson). Big mistake on my part. Big. Huge.

This crib seemed to have the best compromise between style, reviews and price. I bought it on Amazon on Black Friday, but after trolling nursery ideas of Pinterest, I have since exchanged the brown one for a white one. All the adorable nurseries have white cribs, and all of a sudden a brown crib looked hideous. I have my priorities straight. Thank goodness for Amazon Prime and free shipping!

5. Joovy Scooter X2 Double Stroller, Black
My sister, who has 7 children, recommends Joovy for their double strollers over any other brand, so I am absolutely taking her advice. This one has great reviews as well. Since B2 is due in May, I see many, many walks outside with my little ones next summer.  

6. JJ Cole Diapers and Wipes Pod
Am I the only mom out there that HATES carrying a diaper bag? Ever since I discovered the clutch, I rarely carry a purse anymore, so carrying a diaper bag feels like carrying ten gallons of paint. Therefore, I need to invest in one of these cute little pods for quick trips out and about.   No need to pack for an entire night away when you're just going to Target. Am I right?

7. Gerber First Essentials Soft Center Latex Pacifier
Don't get me wrong, I still love the Wubbanub. However, at $12.99 a pop, I'm going to try a different approach with B2. These pacifiers came highly recommended and are less than $3. Emerson never took a pacifier past 6 months (which I am grateful for now) but we'll see if new baby is a fan or not.

8. Conair SU7 Sound Therapy and Relaxation Clock Radio
White noise. Critical. The end.

9. Graco Element Pack N Play
We'll need a second PNP for trips and visits, since Emerson will still be too little to go in a regular bed. We have a Graco one now and I'm happy with it (though assembling the thing takes more finesse than I possess usually).

Moms to 2+... am I missing anything??

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Now that's What I Call Audra's Christmas

Anyone else think that it doesn't really feel like Christmas because it hasn't snowed?? Just us Ohioans maybe?? I feel like I've been slacking on the Christmas celebrating because a) I've been busy b) Jon was gone c) I did almost all of my shopping online, so never had to endure the busy mall scene with all it's Christmas decor from Halloween onward and d) There's no snow! Christmas has totally snuck up on me!

But since the big day is 6 days away, I am forcing myself to get getting in the spirit by cranking up the Christmas tunes today. You know those "Now That's What I Call Music" compilation CDs? They are usually terrible and I don't know why they're so popular BUT it's a great way for me to share my all-time favorite Christmas tunes.

All I Want for Christmas is You ~ Mariah Carey
** I bought this album on cassette when it came out and wore that thing OUT - loved it! **

Simply Having a Wonderful Christmastime ~ Paul McCartney/Wings
** Nothing says Christmas like the electric piano **

Please Come Home for Christmas ~ Don Henley
** Don has one of the best voices in music - period. Bon Jovi's version of this song comes in a close second though **

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas ~ Kenny G
** Hahaha, laugh all you want. Kenny G may be full of cheese, but listen to this and tell me your heart isn't warmed by the magic of Christmas**

Do You Hear What I Hear? ~ Carrie Underwood
** I saw her perform this song live on a Christmas special, and was blown away. That girl has some talent - it gave me chills**

Last Christmas ~ Wham!
** George Michael, I don't care what anyone says. I love you **

Where Are You Christmas? ~ Faith Hill
** Just a beautiful non-traditional Christmas tune from a cute movie. Before Taylor Momsen went all skankified.

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen ~ 98 Degrees
** I don't care how old I am, the 98 Degrees Christmas album will forever be one of my favorites **

Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays ~ N'Sync
** Speaking of 90s boy bands, how could this not be on the list? Boy bands these days ain't got NOTHIN' on my boys! **

Winter Wonderland/Sleigh Ride ~ Dolly Parton
** A throwback from childhood - Loves me some Dolly **

Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) ~ U2
** Did you know Bono and I share the same birthday???**

What's on your Christmas playlist???

Monday, December 17, 2012

Pheobe or Pheobo?

Today we're going in for our anatomy scan. This is a Level II ultrasound that can determine how well the baby is growing, as well as screen for any defects that may not have been visible at the 12 week ultrasound.

Oh yeah, and they can tell us if our baby is a Pheobe or a Pheobo (aka boy or girl - kudos to you if you get that reference!)

I am terrified, because I have received bad news at an ultrasound before, but I am going into today with an open heart, and knowing that everything that will happen is out of my hands. And knowing that I can feel this little one kicking away in there as I type this (And Jon got to feel her/him kick too this weekend- such an exciting feeling that will never get old!)

Boy or girl, I honestly could not care less... all I will ever want is a healthy baby. Healthy first, happy second, and everything else is a bonus.

We're not going to find out today though. We'll have the doctor check out the goods, put B or G in an envelope, and we'll open it on Christmas Day - I can't think of a better present.

Last time, I rounded up all of the Old Wive's Tales I could find, and GIRL won. So I decided to do it again and see what happened....

Numerical Significance
Take your age when you got pregnant and add that to the month you are due to determine boy or girl. An even number means you are having a girl and an odd number means you are having a boy.

So 28 + 5 = 33 = Odd number = BOY

Craving sweet or citrus = GIRL
Craving meat or salt = BOY

Um, considering I've eaten meatball subs for lunch no less than 3 times a week AND I put garlic salt on everything. (Like, everything), yet I haven't touched a piece of fruit since September, I'll go with BOY.

Over 140 = GIRL
Less than 140 = BOY

This baby's heart rate has been hovering around 145, so GIRL in this case.

Clear & glowing= BOY
Not so clear and not so glowing = GIRL

Not glowing (unless you count pale pastiness as a glow) but my skin is clear. So BOY.

How you carrying, fool?
Carrying high = GIRL
Carrying low = BOY

I think I'm carrying this one pretty much the same as Emerson. What do you think?

20 weeks, 2011
19 weeks, 2012
I don't know why I'm scowling. Probably because I'm bigger at 19 weeks than I was last year at 20. That's what being pregnant 3 times in three years will do to your body!

Have you gotten uglier? = GIRL
Looking better than ever? = BOY

The myth is that girls steal their mother's beauty. That ship sailed long before pregnancy.

Morning sickness. 
Mildly sick/Feeling good = BOY
Feeling sick/very sick/sick for a long time = GIRL

GIRL. I was nauseous until 17 weeks this time (Ugh) and was with Emerson too.

Weight Gain 
all around = GIRL
all in the front all belly = BOY

Since I can still button my regular pants if they are low-rise, I think I'm leaning toward BOY on this one. My belly may be huge already, but it seems to be staying away from my other body parts (for now...)

Dream of a boy = BOY
Dream of a girl = GIRL

I've had three girl dreams, but no boy dreams. All 3 were early on.

Wedding ring on a string
Back and forth = BOY
Circle = GIRL

Reputable gender prediction websites.
Baby Center = BOY = BOY = BOY
Labor of Love = BOY = BOY

GIRL = 5
BOY = 9

What do YOU think it is? I won't say what I think, but I guess we'll find out in 8 days - stay tuned! ;-)

Friday, December 14, 2012

One Year

"On the Night You Were Born"
~ Nancy Tillman

On the night you were born,
The moon smiled with such wonder
That the stars peeked in to see you
And the night wind whispered,
“Life will never be the same.”

Because there had never been anyone like you…ever in the world.
So enchanted with you were the wind and the rain
That they whispered the sound of your wonderful name.

It sailed through the farmland
High on the breeze… 
Over the ocean…
And through the trees…

Until everyone heard it
And everyone knew
Of the one and only ever you.

Not once had there been such eyes,
Such a nose, such silly, wiggly, wonderful toes.

When the polar bears heard,
They danced until dawn.
From faraway places,
The geese flew home.
The moon stayed up until morning next day.
And none of the ladybugs flew away.

So whenever you doubt just how special you are
And you wonder who loves you, how much and how far,
Listen for geese honking high in the sky.
(They’re singing a song to remember you by.)

Or notice the bears asleep at the zoo.
(It’s because they’ve been dancing all night for you!)

Or drift off to sleep to the sound of the wind.
(Listen closely…it’s whispering your name again!)

If the moon stays up until morning one day,
Or a ladybug lands and decides to stay,
Or a little bird sits at your window awhile,
It’s because they’re all hoping to see you smile…

For never before in story or rhyme
(not even once upon a time)
Has the world ever known a you, my friend,
And it never will, not ever again…

Heaven blew every trumpet
And played every horn
On the wonderful, marvelous
Night you were born.

Happy birthday Emerson!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Emerson's Birth Story, Part 2

If you're just joining me, you can catch up with Part 1 here...

The following may contain descriptions which are graphic in nature. Reader discretion is advised.

So this doctor had just told us we were about to have a baby. I think I had an out of body experience at that point, because I realized that this was happening. I mean, I knew she had to come out eventually, but all of a sudden it hit me that I was about to be a parent.

He wanted us to go right to L&D, but I asked if we could go home and pack our bags (which we hadn't done yet) and he said that was fine. I also thought it was imperative that I pick up a juicy cheeseburger and french fries, since I knew that would be my last real meal for God knew how long. The burger shockingly helped calm my nerves. We got home, threw some things into a bag, and I tidied up the house. Can't bring our new baby friend into dirty accommodations! As we walked out the door, Jon snapped one last shot of me before I became a mommy :)

WOOF. I looked... rough.
We got back to the hospital around 1:00pm. And it was incredibly anti-climatic. The nurse at the front desk told us to wait in the waiting room and she'd be with us shortly. Well FORTY FIVE freaking minutes later (I honestly thought she'd forgotten about us - HELLO! I'm on edge here!) we were taken to our L&D room. It was really nice and big and calm and soothing. At that point, they gave me some options. I was only 1cm dilated, and I needed to get to 4cm before things could really get going. So they recommended (about to get graphic here) that we try inserting something called a foley bulb. It's basically like a balloon that slowly inflates your insides. It didn't sound too bad. Why not? They also started me on pitocin.

Within 20 minutes, I started having contractions (real ones) and I could feel this "balloon" inflating. It was... awful. Every time I would have a contraction, this seemingly non-threating balloon would feel like a knife was stabbing my innards. Holy crap, is this what labor feels like?!? Emerson may be our only child. Knife stab, knife stab, knife stab. Every few minutes. This was going to be a long night.

Then after about 90 minutes, the balloon fell out. That meant I had hit 4cm! A huge sense of relief flooded me as I realized that the pain was definitely caused by the balloon. I was still having contractions, and they didn't feel great, but contracting when there's no longer a knife inside you feels like a Swedish massage.They also confirmed that my water had broken. Cool! (??)

I was finally able to get up. I brushed my teeth (random), rocked back and forth on the labor ball, and moved around as much as I could. I wanted to labor on my own for awhile so that I could experience what it felt like before I got the epidural. Around 6:30pm, I was 5-6cm, they put the call in for the anesthesiologist. I knew I wanted an epidural, but I was terrified. Someone is going to stick a giant needle in my back?? Terrifying. But after an hour or so, this pleasant man with nice cologne comes by, explains the procedure, and we got started. It was honestly no big deal. It went much faster than I expected, and really didn't hurt. I was too scared to breathe, so I think I blacked out during it, but still... it was way better than I expected!

I can't remember how long it took for the epidural to kick in, but when it did... it was like Disney World and magic and sunshine. It just felt SO GOOD. I texted my best friend and told her something to the effect that God had just given me the most amazing gift in the world. I may have been a little dramatic, but still... I was happy with my choice.

It was getting late, and even with the epidural I could feel the pressure of my contractions, but I was able to relax at least. We watched movies. I played Words With Friends. Jon did some school work (he had a final paper that was due the next day!) I think I fell asleep for a little bit, but not long. By 4:00am, I was still only 7cm. The nurse said we still had a long ways to go.

An hour later, I started feeling a ton of pressure. I knew it was happening soon. The nurse checks me and says "Oh boy, you're at 10cm. And she's got dark hair!" Kinda weird, but okay.

They called my OB to come to the hospital. Technically, she was on vacation, but the sweet, sweet woman, who had been seeing me for years and had been instrumental in helping with my grief from my first pregnancy experience, said she really wanted to be the one to deliver me. Bless her heart. They had me start with some "practice" pushing while they waited for her to arrive. So I do one practice push and the nurse yells "STOP! Stop stop stop!" because apparently Emerson thought that meant Okay it's time now! I honestly didn't think I'd last until the doctor got there. But miraculously, she swooped in, scrubbed up, they got everything ready, and it was time.

One push. I feel like I can't breathe.

Second push. What's happening?

Third push.

And my world changed forever.

Emerson Elizabeth was born at 7:48am. 7lbs, 4oz, 19.75 inches long. Perfection. Love. Joy. And everything I've lived and breathed for my entire life.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Emerson's Birth Story, Part 1

This is something I should have recapped, oh, about a year ago, but honestly the experience is so fresh in my mind that I feel like it was yesterday. But with her birthday coming up on Friday, I think now is as good a time as any!

Our story actually begins on Monday, November 28th. I went in for my 36-week checkup. Jon came with me because we knew we'd be getting an ultrasound. We were excited to see our little munchkin again, even though we knew she'd be pretty smooshed in there.

We got some great profile shots of her cute little button nose, and her big puffy cheeks (which are still huge and adorable and kissable today). One thing they check for at this point in a pregnancy is amniotic fluid levels. Usually it's not a problem, but sometimes we have too little and sometimes too much. Well, that day, I learned that I didn't have enough. Cue panic mode. How could this be??? I drink so much water!!! Like, obscene amounts of water. My OB assured me that it wasn't my fault, that it's something that just happens sometimes.

I was freaking out (obviously) but she quickly came up with a strategy: we'd monitor the baby's movements daily, and I'd start going in for NSTs twice per week until she was born. But we left the appointment that day with her warning: "Pack your bags - unless your fluid levels magically and significantly rise, there is no way you won't have a baby by Christmas." WHOA! I thought I had (at least) 4 more weeks to stress, bake, obsess, and prepare, and now it could happen as early as 2 days from now!!?? Gah!!

So naturally, I went home and did what any normal woman would do in my situation: I looked up every single "trick" in the book to get my body to labor naturally. I knew going early meant that I would have to be induced, and I wanted to avoid that. I read that induction lead to a higher chance of a C-section, and that straight up terrified me. Having a doctor rip my stomach open and yank my baby out??? No thank you!

Once I hit full-term at 37 weeks, I began trying some of these tricks. Between chugging water and "resting," I did everything I could to get things moving, as much as they could, on their own. Bouncing on a yoga ball. Eating spicy food (I put red pepper flakes on literally everything). Making Labor Eggplant Parmesan. Eating Labor Cookies (which were NASTY). But alas, no progress was made.

I (we) passed all of the NSTs for 2 weeks. At my 37 week ultrasound, my fluid levels actually went back up! Not crazy high, but to a much safer level, so we thought maybe we were in the clear.

Then on Tuesday, December 13th, I went in for a high-resolution ultrasound in the Maternal Fetal Medicine unit. Before the appointment, I consulted with Dr. Google, who told me that any fluid level below 5cm was not good. So I just hoped my levels were above that. On their high-tech machines, I saw an adorable baby girl with puffy cheeks. The real doctor saw that my fluid levels were at 2cm. HOLY EFF.

So he turns and says to the terrified kids who have no idea how to be parents: "Guys, go right on over and check in to Labor & Delivery. It's time to get her out."

 To be continued....

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The One with The Cake

As promised (because I know you were all DYING to see them) here are some pictures from Emerson's "Winter Ballerina" first birthday party this weekend. 

Spoiler alert: Emerson HATED her birthday cake. I blame this on me giving up sugar while nursing her. I'm sorry sweetheart!

All of these pictures were taken by the lovely and talented godmother of my baby, Holly!
Dessert Buffet
Hot Chocolate bar
I'm one, ya'll
Baby bump photobomb

Birthday party Win. Smash Cake FAIL.

Monday, December 10, 2012

11 months

Dear baby girl,

Though we may have hosted your first birthday party this weekend (which was awesome), I am not going to talk about it AT ALL until I finish your 11 month post (which I've been writing for the last 3 weeks), because we need to go in chronological order, for posterity's sake at least.

11 months. Almost one year. These have been the fastest 11 months in my life, how about yours? Probably, since they're the only 11 months you've got, post-utero that is.

First things first: I don't know if anyone has ever been called "the greatest person ever" more than you. I swear we say it every day, usually more than once a day. You truly bring joy in our lives. I love that you're growing and changing every day, but I also want you to stay this way forever. You're just such a... what is the word? Delight? Joy? Bright star of love and happiness??? Whatever you call it, you just make our lives complete. You're happy ALL THE TIME. All the time. Except apparently when 25 people are watching you eat sugar (more on that later). I can be with you all day and you'll never fuss, unless you a) fall b) are hungry c) someone scares you. You have a 15 second rebound rate and then you're back to smiling again. Please don't lose that happiness. I love it so much. I wish I could bottle you up and sell you (I kid) because you're the best version of a mood lifter out there.

You're becoming so verbal! You say the following words: Mom, Dad, Nana (aka Banana), Cheese, No, Bye-Bye, Wee and Tat-oo (aka Thank You). Other than mama and dada, you have to be prompted before you say those words, either by us saying them or by seeing them (i.e. "NANNANANANANANANANA" when you see a banana on the counter) or when I say "Say cheese" and you say "Cheeeeeeeeeeese!" But still... I love your little voice! Too cute for words. Mama is still my favorite of your words though :) You also know the signs for More, Milk, Cheese, Banana, and can wave bye bye. You play peek-a-

I love how guilty you look here - may I never see this look from the ages of 12-21
All of sudden it seems like you're "talking" all the time. Always babbling something. You even sing!  You love singing in the car, or when you're cruising around the coffee table. I'm going to turn your gibberish into a new language because it's so awesome.

Most pediatricians would probably consider you "walking" at this point. If I set you down, you will walk to me. But you could take it or leave it at this point, because you still prefer crawling. Your personal record is 7 steps though - not too shabby! Mommy didn't learn to walk until she was 14 months old, so you are ahead of the game (hopefully it's a sign you didn't inherit my clumsiness too). You also enjoy climbing. On everything. Even things that you would think can't be climbed, somehow you find a way. You're fearless, and maybe not just because you know there's always someone right behind you.

You're still a great eater (just like me!) but for the life of me, I cannot get you to eat avocados or guacamole. You'll shovel broccoli in your mouth but you won't eat avocados. This makes daddy happy because he thinks it's a gross food. He's silly. I'll keep trying. You would also eat 7 bananas a day if we let you.

This was one of the hardest months for both of us as well - daddy was gone for 30 days (or as he puts it, 9% of your young life). You were still a happy baby every day, but I could tell the distance was getting to you. You just wanted mama all the time, because your buddy was gone and you were too little to understand why. Let's just say that the morning you were reunited will make me tear up for the rest of my life. I will never forget the look of recognition in your eyes, when you realized that order had been restored to your universe. And don't worry, I told daddy he is never allowed to leave you ever again. I hope you enjoy living at home for the rest of your life, because I don't think either of us will ever be willing to be away from you. I hope that's okay. (I kid kind of).

You love everything, and think everything is interesting. When does that go away? I hope never. Take your new friend Balloony for example. Skye said you played with him for hours. I wish anything could hold my attention for that long.

I can't wait to tell you more about your birthday party. It's funny how someone so small can be so loved by everyone around her. And I have a feeling that will never change.

Stay sweet princess.