Emily's Artwork For Dad

Monday, December 17, 2012

 One of the things on Craig's Christmas list this year is an art project from Emily. I wanted it to be something pretty cool that he could easily display on his desk at work. I saw a few examples of this style of art on pinterest and so I thought Emily would have a lot of fun with this.

DIY Reward Chart

Saturday, December 15, 2012

In addition to finding a need for a chore chart for Emily, I also that she was ready for a reward chart. I wasn't quite sure how I wanted to go about doing this...so off to Pinterest I went. I found an amazing post from, "Life Sprinkled With Glitter" on a great reward system that I followed with just a couple of adjustments to match our chore chart. The post goes into great detail on how this works, but I'll just give you a brief summary. Basically, Emily starts each day with all of her "coins" (on our chart they are princesses) no matter how many "coins" were lost the day before, you start fresh each and every day. When Emily displays poor choices/behavior she has to give me a princess. I let her choose which princess she wants to give me (at the age of three she already has her favorites that are always the last to go...one word...Cinderella). When she makes good choices she can earn a "coin" back. The goal is to have ALL of her princesses by the end of the day. If she has all of them, then she earns a sticker. If she doesn't have all seven princesses then she doesn't get a sticker. Once she earns 10 stickers then we can go to the store and she can pick out a $10 toy. NOW, if she is really having an off day and happens to lose all of her coins before the end of the day then she can not earn her coins back. She will have to wait until the next day to get her princesses back. 

DIY Chore Chart

Now that I am staying home full time, the need for these charts quickly presented itself. I'll begin with the chore chart. Honestly, this chart is more for me than it is for Emily. There are so many things that Emily can now do on her own but I kept doing them for her out of habit. I'm simply going through the house grabbing things as I go and constantly picking up...which is doing Emily a disservice. For example, Emily is absolutely capable of taking her dirty dishes to the sink all by herself. She is able to pick up all of her toys when she is done playing with them. She can get dressed and (for the most part) she can brush her teeth all by herself. These are all things that I was doing for her because I just get in that mindset of "do...do...do", I want to clean up, put things away, get her dressed and ready, etc.

DIY Reindeer Ornaments

Saturday, December 1, 2012

This is an oldie...but a goodie!! I made these ornaments with my mom when I was super young, and I had a blast making these with Emily this year.

Andrew's 4 Months Old

Sunday, November 25, 2012
We are finally starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel! A few weeks after you turned 3 months...you started going down for bed without any tears, and better yet...without screaming. In addition to a huge reduction in your colic, you have finally decided to sleep longer than 3 hours at a time at night. You have started to bless your father and I with a minimum of 5 hours of sleep...you have gone a couple times as long as 8 hours some nights. What a difference this has made for us being able to sleep a little longer (now if only we can get your sister to comply and stay in bed throughout the night...your father and I will be on cloud 9)

Andrew's 3 Months Old

Thursday, October 25, 2012
Andrew, you are growing up so fast! You have such a beautiful smile and your sister just loves play with you. You are such a trooper to humor her with your stares and your smiles. One of Emily's favorite things to do is to do grab her old baby books and read them to you as you play on your mat. She has tried to teach you "patty-cake" but your little hands just aren't ready...Emily doesn't quite understand that.
You haven't been able to roll over yet, but you just don't like to spend too much time on the floor...and you aren't afraid to let us all know that you are ready to be picked up. So, to the rescue I come.

Edmodo: Classroom Connection

Friday, October 5, 2012
Since being a stay at home mom (for the year), I am using some of my free time to prepare for my return in the classroom next year. As a science teacher, I plan on converting our school's curriculum (lab and assignments) so that they go into a composition book rather than the unit books that they are given. I think that this will help them to better understand the scientific process when they have to repeatedly walk through each step, rather than have a book do it for them. As I create these worksheets, I will post and share them with you.
As for now, I am SO SO excited to have come across a great website for teacher/student collaboration: "Edmodo". Edmodo provides teachers and students a secure place to connect and collaborate, share content and educational applications, and access homework, grades, class discussions and notifications.
I started a page, and am so bummed that I can't fully utilize it until next school year. I am tempted to ask a few of my old students to sign up for it so that I can test out the different features. For now, here is a picture of my page and a short video with a brief introduction of how it works.

Andrew is 2 Month's Old

Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Andrew...you are just the most handsome little man ever!! Your eyes are absolutely piercing. As we entered into the second month you have made it extremely clear that you are your own person...not a thing like your sister. One of the biggest differences between you and your sister: you despise the binky with every cell in your body. This has become so disheartening to me and your father because you are extremely difficult to soothe (especially since you entered into your colic phase). Andrew...you know what you want, WHEN you want it. Unfortunately, the only way you can express this to your father or I is by screaming at an ear piercing level. Because of this, your father has taken a liking to ear plugs (yes...this is absolutely true)
This colic phase is so difficult for us, as parents, because we can drive ourselves crazy trying to figure out how to help you, how to help soothe you. You are not a fan of your bouncy chair or your swing. 
Honestly, I thought that colic was fake...just a label that parents gave to their kids when they didn't know how to handle their own babies. I always thought that if you were patient enough that there were many ways to help your baby settle down and cuddle. BOY...WAS I WAY WRONG!!! This colic phase is like clock work. As soon as you completed your 8PM feeding, you just wouldn't stop crying...well, let's call it what it really is: SCREAMING...you wouldn't stop screaming...for a number of hours. We have tried to change your diapers, bounce you, pat your back, place you in the football hold, feed your some more, shoosh you, sing to you, rock you...you name it...we tried it...every night. There have been some evenings when we had to take shifts so that we could get some sleep. 
I do not wish a colic baby on my worst enemy. This phases is so difficult, so frustrating!!! It has brought me to tears because I want to help you but I can't and it pains me to hear you screaming for hours on end. 
HOWEVER, my joy comes in the morning!! Just look at those eyes...all is forgotten when you wake up and look at me with your beautiful eyes and I get to smother you in kisses! I pray that your colic goes away soon...for your parent's sanity and for your own quality of life...I want you happy my little angel.
WEIGHT ~ 11 lbs 15 oz
HEIGHT ~ 23 in   

I Love Cloth Diapers!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Andrew's first cloth diaper...BumGenius 4.0
To my complete surprise...I have come to absolutely LOVE cloth diapers. I was sure that they would disgust me...and the washing routine would just gross me out, but quite the contrary!! After doing a ton of research and reading of reviews, I decided to stick to two brands of cloth diapers: BumGenius 4.0 and Flips. I went in thinking that the Flips would be my favorite because I didn't think that they would take up as much space in my diaper bag, I imagined that changing them would be pretty easy and I didn't think that I would have to handle much of the "mess" of a dirty diaper with the flips...however, it turns out that I am in favor of the BumGenius 4.0 much more.
First of all...let me explain why I am in love with cloth diapers. To begin, Andrew's birth weight was 6lbs 12oz. I felt that he was just too little for the cloth diapers, so we started off with disposables. To be honest, I also needed to get used to the change of having a new baby before I started the change of a new diapering system. Once Andrew started to chunk up, I slowly started to use the cloth diapers. The biggest difference between the disposable and cloth diapers that I noticed right away was the main reason that sold me on the cloth diapers...the disposables kept on sticking to Andrew. Every time I changed his diapers, with the disposables, he would just start screaming...no matter how slowly I opened up his diaper. The darn things just stuck right on to his little man parts, it looked horribly uncomfortable peeling it off each time he needed to be changed. Now, with the cloth diapers...they were just so soft on his tiny bum. There were absolutely no tears when opening his diaper (using cold wipes is another story though)
As far as the gross part...changing a dirty diaper and actually having to handle the ickyness...IT'S NOT A BIG DEAL (I'll have to give my opinion again, once Andrew starts eating solids, but for now it really is not a big deal at all) For the BumGenius diaper, the opening of the pocket is in the back of the diaper and opens up easily by bending the diaper back. Then all you have to do is find the edge of the insert and pull it out and place both pieces into the diaper pail. I separate the inserts before placing it in the pail rather than when it's time to the laundry, that way I don't have to dig through the dirty diapers. For the Flips...it's even easier because the insert is sitting right there in plain sight, you just take the cover, with the insert laying inside of it, and place them into the diaper pail...the insert will just fall out by itself.
When it is laundry day, I just simply grab the liner out of the pail, and dump all of the contents in the washing machine followed by the liner itself. No icky mess, no dirty hands (don't get me wrong, I still wash my hands or use hand sanitizer because, let's be honest, there is nothing sanitary about changing a diaper whether it's disposable or cloth). I have a newer high efficiency top loading washing machine and matching dryer set. The wash cycle that I finally settled on for the cloth diapers was: I do a cold wash first without any detergent. Then I do a regular cycle, with HOT water, followed by an extra rinse. So far I have only used the Rocking Green detergent for the diapers and I have been totally happy. The diapers come out clean, no stains, and smelling fresh. When it's time to move everything to the dryer I pull out all of the covers and hang those to dry in the bathroom and then transfer all of the remaining inserts and pail liner into the dryer.
Once the inserts and covers are all dry, I stuff all of my BumGenius diapers before placing them back in Andrews changing table. I can't tell you how much easier it is when they are pre-stuffed rather than having the stuff the insert when Andrew is laying on the table ready for his change. When they are pre-stuffed the changing is exactly the same as with a disposable diaper. I get the clean cloth diaper and place it under Andrew's bottom before removing the dirty one. I open his dirty diaper, wipe things up as best I can, and then pull out the dirty one, place it to the side while I quickly snap his new clean diaper in place. Once everything is covered up (I can't tell you how many times I have been tinkled on during a diaper change...changing a boy's diaper is a totally new experience for me) then I take the dirty diaper and remove the insert, if it's a BumGenius, and then toss it all into the diaper pail.
I have been doing diaper laundry every 2-3 days now and I cannot believe that the diaper pail does not stink at all...Andrew's room, our house...none of it stinks like dirty diapers. I am the kind of person that likes things to smell good when I walk into the house. If I can smell my animals in any way, the house is going to be turned upside down until that nasty smell is gone (rarely does it smell, but on occasion my cat can do a number in her litter box...Lord help us!!!) So, I am thrilled that switching over to cloth diapers has not in any way added a funky smell to our house. My mom and I made a promise to each other to tell the other one if their house ever smelled bad (since we both have animals...you just don't want to become oblivious to the smell), and she hasn't said anything yet.
Now, as for my reason for liking the BumGenius more than the Flips, it's simply because the their are no moving parts with the BumGenius when actually changing the diaper. The BumGenius is easy to change, just like a disposable. The Flips, you are given the opportunity to change just the insert rather than the entire diaper. The concept is great...I just need to get used to it because it is a little more challenging for me to get the insert in the right place while removing the dirty insert...all while trying not to get tinkled on. I am getting better at this, so I'm sure that this won't be an issue for me in the near future. On the other hand, the really nice thing about Flips is that the insert does lay nicely on top of the cover directly in the middle, whereas with the BumGenius, you have to place the insert inside of the diaper and make sure it is all the way to back and laying flat...which, when you have a lot of diapers from the laundry to put inserts into, can be a small pain in the butt...very small!!!

Your Love Is Better Than Life

Sunday, September 16, 2012
Music has always been my place of refuge when going through tough times. I had certain songs that just spoke to me, they expressed feelings that I was unable to do on my own. Music became my way of calling out to the Lord, surrendering to Him and confessing His truth out loud so that my flesh could once again come into alignment with my soul.
Now, even though I am in a different place in life than I was five years ago...some songs still are able to take me back and REMIND me of how good God is and how faithful He is and was. The other day, I was listening to my favorite radio station, Air One, and a song by Remedy Drive came on. As I listened to the words, it almost brought me to tears. I can't really explain why...just that the words spoke to me, to my past trials of infertility, to the depths of our continual failures of trying to get pregnant and the loss of hope that I found myself in...HOWEVER...at the same time, reminding me that God never left my side through it all, that He not only walked WITH me but, like the "Footprints in the Sand" poem says, He was able to CARRY me through when I was no longer able to move forward.


Exhausted You sustained me
Was lost but You regained me
It cost so much you made me free

Was broken You repaired me
My hope was thin, You spared me
You spoke lights lit the air for me

Your love saved my life
Your love is keeping me awake tonight

I need You
You keep You keep
My heart beating beating
I need You
You keep You keep
My lungs breathing
Because Your love is better than life
Better than life

You woke my soul within me
You gave me back Your fire to breathe
Your light broke through to rescue me

Your love saved my life

I need You
You keep You keep
My heart beating beating
I need You
You keep You keep
My lungs breathing
Because Your love is better than life
Better than life

You hold the stars in my skies
You put the light in my eyes
Your love keeps me alive
I need You now and You stay
You turned my night into day

I need You
You keep You keep
My heart beating beating
I need You
You keep You keep
My lungs breathing
I need You
You keep You keep
My heart beating beating
I need You
You keep You keep
My lungs breathing
Because Your love is better than life
Better than life

Your love is better than life
Better than life

As I was driving, I just fell in love with the chorus: Your love is better than life!!!!! IT IS!! IT SO IS!!! I cannot comprehend going through my four+ years of infertility without having God on my side...without knowing that I have a God who loves me and can heal me! I specifically remember finally coming to the point where I had lost all faith in the doctors and their treatments and knew that the only way we were going to be able to get pregnant was with a miracle from God...and THANK GOODNESS I knew a God that could make that happen. He was my only hope!!! 
In all honesty, that realization was not a relief...because it was easier to have hope in the doctors than in God...but I knew that God had become the only way for me and so it left me with no choice other than to put my trust and faith in Him. He is the only way!!!
"YOUR LOVE IS BETTER THAN LIFE!!!" His love is so great...it covers ALL things!! I'm so blessed and thankful that, first of all, I made it through my journey of infertility in one piece and stronger as a result. I thankful that I know am able to share with others the good things that God has done in my life! I'm speechless that God trusted me go through that and survive...seriously!! I know that sounds exaggerated, but it is more of an understatement than anything else. God is good! God is great!! HIS LOVE IS BETTER THAN LIFE!!

Andrew's Baby Face

Friday, September 14, 2012
I just had to share this picture with everyone. I'm so jealous that Andrew has already mastered the "one eyebrow raised" look. I have always wanted to be able to that. I have no idea what he is thinking...I'm sure it is just some sort of gas passing through. Regardless, this picture is priceless. A picture is worth a thousand words!

DIY Discovery Bottle

I have seen so many tutorials on how to make your own discovery bottles, I seen them in stores (whether in a bottle or in a bean bag)...and so I decided to try to make my own. They looked super easy.

~ Empty Plastic Bottle
~White Rice
~Variety of small recognizable objects (buttons, charms, etc)

I found all of my small items at a local craft store. They have a small jar with random buttons that I chose from. I also bought a couple of button sets to use as well. Before I placed the objects in the empty bottle, I put divided them up by similarities and took pictures of each of the sets. Then I put a few items in the bottle, followed by some rice...then a few more items, and little bit more rice. Repeat those easy steps until all of your items in are in the bottle. I left a few inches at the top of the bottle so that there would be plenty of room to shake the rice when searching for the different items. Once it was done, I hot glued the lid onto the bottle so that Emily couldn't open it up in all of her curiosity.

Preschool At Home

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Emily's Preschool Board/Center
Now that I am a stay at home mom now, I wanted to try and provide Emily with some sort of a preschool education a few days a week. Since I teach middle school, I really have no clue as to what is appropriate for my 3 year old to learn...so Pinterest to the rescue. 
In the corner of our dining room, we already had an IKEA table set up where Emily does her art: playdo, finger painting, coloring, etc. The thing I love about this table is the drop leaf. It is easy to extend when Emily works on her art, and easy to close up when she's done. 
I decided to spice the corner up a little bit so that it could evolve into her little school corner. I added two drawer sets from Michaels to organize her art supplies, school supplies, writing aids, etc. I found the perfect link to great preschool board, along with free printables at, "A Day In The Life of a Classroom Teacher". It's no secret that I like things to look pretty, so I immediately fell in love with her preschool board and I was on cloud 9 when I saw she included free printables for the days of the week and the months of the year. I already had a classroom calendar, and I found the counting straws piece at JoAnn Fabrics. 
The board quickly came to together. I laminated the free printables, cut them out and used puffy stickers to attach them to the board...to give it a little fun dimension. On the bottom left side, I attached flash cards that can rotate as we learn them: Letters, Numbers, and Colors. I also found a set of cards that focuses on 3-Letter words, which is what you see at the far bottom of the board. The fourth set of cards (that you don't see on the board yet, but I plan on putting them below the calendar portion) focuses on sequencing. They are sets of three cards with pictures on them and Emily has to figure out the correct sequence that they are supposed to go in. For example, a set of cards would have a picture of a girl planting seeds, then watering the seeds, and then watching the flowers grow.

So far, Emily LOVES playing school. I found some great songs to help her learn the days of the week and the months of the year from: ABCTV123. Emily learned the days of the week super fast and she won't stop singing the song...even late in the night when she is in bed alone. (Craig and I randomly hear her singing this song from our video monitor. It's hilarious).

Now, just because Emily can sing the days of the week, does not mean she knows what any of it means. At her bedtime, we always talk about all of the things that we did "today" and she talks about things from previous days..."No, Emily...we did that yesterday." "Emily, we didn't do that today." So there are three labels on the board for the days of the week: "Yesterday was", "Today is", and "Tomorrow will be". It is finally starting to make sense to her. To attach the labels, and be able to move them each day, I stuck them to the front of cloth pins. It works perfectly.

 I found some personal white boards for Emily to practice her letters and numbers. Right now, she starts off trying to trace my letters and write her own, but after about 30 seconds (if that) it turns into writing a ton of circles. A new product that I just found are the new crayola white board crayons. I started with her using white board markers, but that just turned into a disaster with her pushing way too hard, but these crayons are great. They even have a crayon sharpener on the back of the box! PERFECT!!
It is so fun watching her learn. She loves going over the board, singing our new songs, and practicing her writing.
Emily's A Pro!!!

Andrew's One Month Celebration

Saturday, August 25, 2012
We started a little tradition with Emily, where we had a family celebration for Emily's first and six month...so, of course we have to continue that tradition with Andrew. We had a small get together with our families to celebrate Andrew turning 1 MONTH old. Nothing huge, just a nice dinner and cupcakes for dessert. Everyone got a chance to hold and cuddle with Andrew while we hung out, soaked up the beautiful weather and delicious dinner (cooked by yours truly), and enjoyed each others company.
Uncle "J" and Emily

Nana and Andrew

Not quite ready for a cupcake yet...11 more months

Andrew Is One Month Old

It's been one month already...I can't help thinking that if he came on his due date, he would only be one week old at this time. It has been quite the adjustment going from one child to two. Scheduling has been my lifesaver through this. Emily already has the routine down...she wakes up just as Andrew is feeding. Depending on where Andrew and I are at, she either comes upstairs to our bedroom and watches Mickey Mouse Clubhouse while he feeds, or we sit on the couch in the living room together instead. Andrew feeds every 3 hours...on the dot. At the beginning I nursed on demand just as he needed, and then once he started to follow a bit of routine, I started to implement the Baby Wise system: feed, wake, sleep...every 3 hours. It's nice for everyone this way because he has come to expect a feeding at a certain time and because it's routine he doesn't have to freak out and scream his head off to tell me he is hungry. As for me, I am able to schedule a bit of a life outside of the house because I know about how long I have before he needs to feed again. 
I have also begun to pump full time rather than nurse. At his two-week appointment I asked his pediatrician when I could start introducing the bottle to him and he said it would be fine at this point (two weeks of age)...so I did, and Andrew took to the bottle right away. I love feeding with the bottle because I can recruit help with his feedings. Daddy, Grandparents, and even babysitters can feed Andrew. Don't get me wrong...I love the bonding time with Andrew when he feeds and I feel like I still get that mommy/baby bonding moment with the bottle because I still hold him close and look in his eyes as he gazes back at me during his feedings, however...especially during the midnight hours, it is SO NICE to have Craig take over a feeding every now and again so I can get a few more hours of sleep. 
One of the biggest adjustments has been trying to get out of the house. WOW...what an ordeal this can be: trying to get Emily prepared with her shoes and whatever toys/dolls she is requesting to bring along, and then putting Andrew in his carseat (which he is no fan of at all = screaming baby)...and then grabbing the carseat, the diaper bag, and Emily's hand as we head out of the door. Then, trying to get everyone IN the car...OY!! I am not looking forward to the cold wet season that is right around the corner. I unlock the car and am trying to get Emily to be able to open her own door and get in her carseat all by herself (I don't think that I want her to be able to buckle herself in mainly because I don't want her to know how to UNBUCKLE herself). Meanwhile, I'm on the other side of the car opening the front door to put the diaper bag and whatever else I have in my hands, then opening the back door to put Andrew in his spot, then going over to Emily's side (who is most likely NOT in her seat because she sees this all as a fun game) to put Emily in her seat and buckle her up. 
This last month has been such a new experience...one that I absolutely cherish! I have so enjoyed being able to stay home with both of my kids. There are good days, and there are not-so-good days, but Emily's kisses and Andrew's cuddles make it all better at the end of the day! I have loved every moment with them. I am amazed at how well Emily has adjusted to having a new brother. Not only has she been extremely helpful with Andrew (pushing him in his swing, grabbing his binky for him when he cried, yelling out to tell me he is crying...as if I couldn't hear, singing him songs and reading him books), but she has also grown more and more attached to her baby dolls...mimicking what I do with Andrew: changing their diapers, putting them down for naps, feeding them a bottle, etc. It is so fun to watch her experience and grow this nurturing quality.

Bringing Home Baby...Emily Is Such A Proud New Sister

Emily is such a proud new big sister.

I was so unsure of the proper way to introduce Emily to Andrew. I have to say, I was actually nervous...not just for Emily's sake, but also for my own. I couldn't comprehend how I was going to be able love another child as much as I loved Emily. I wasn't sure about my feelings with a new baby. Don't get me wrong...I prayed for this child...and waited for over two years for this child. These confused feelings started to arise as the delivery date got closer and closer.
I started to realize that I was no longer going to have my one on one time with Emily. It was mainly my cuddle time that I was worried about because I know that Emily is going to outgrow that phase sooner than later. She has always been a huge "cuddler". We would cuddle on the couch as we watched a movie together. We would cuddle during her night time routine. We would cuddle...just to cuddle. I couldn't see this continuing with a new baby around and I didn't want to lose that.
On the other side...I was worried because I wanted to have the same amount of quality time with my newborn son as I had with Emily when she was a newborn. I wanted uninterrupted "snuggle" time, "cuddle" time, and "holding" time. I wanted to spend hours just staring back at my babies eyes. I wanted to sit and let my newborn son rest and fall asleep on my shoulder. I had no idea how this was going to happen, or if it even could happen. Would I be able to make the same connection with Andrew as I was able to make with Emily?
All of these questions/concerns overwhelmed me. I was terrified of this new change because I just couldn't see it working out perfectly for everyone. I just kept imagining someone's feelings being hurt, whether it was Emily's, Andrew's, or my own.

As far as Emily goes, I wanted to make sure that she did not feel replaced by Andrew. I wanted to make sure that she knew she was still such an important piece to our family. I read a couple of other blogs to see what they did for their first born to make them feel secure in this way and here is what we ended up doing:
  • Long before Andrew's arrival, we started reading books to Emily from the Library about becoming a big sister, or what it was like to have a baby in the family.
  • We made a small picture book of all of the pictures we took from her delivery. We read the photo album like it was a book and talked about how she arrived and how special she was and how excited we were to have her join our family. She loved this album and started looking through it on her own time...reading it aloud to herself. It was pretty special hearing her repeat all of the things that we talked about with her. 
  • During her bedtime routine we listed all of the ways that she would be able to help out with the new baby: sing songs, play, find the binky, change his diapers (not really...but she loved talking about dirty diapers for some reason), etc. This helped her to become super excited about helping with her new baby brother. 
  • We planned on her staying with my parents while we were at the hospital, so we talked about that with her a lot too. We had a practice "slumber party" at their house and also had Emily help pack her bag with the clothes that she wanted to wear and some toys that she wanted to bring over to play with.
 Here is how we prepared for the actual meeting of Emily and Andrew at the hospital:

  • We brought a gift with us that was from "Andrew" to Emily. Emily is really into the Disney Princesses right now, so "Andrew" gave her a Disney Princess lunch box filled with snacks and some games to keep her happy and busy while she visited us at the hospital. 
  • When my parents brought her to the hospital for the first time, we put baby Andrew in his bassinet so that Emily could climb into my bed and we could cuddle and she could tell me all the things she had been doing with her grandparents. We then told her that Andrew had finally left mommy's belly and IMMEDIATELY, she started looking around the room for her new brother. She was so excited to meet him. We told her that he was asleep in the bassinet and she quickly stood up to look inside the bassinet. She had the BIGGEST smile on her face and she couldn't wait to hold him. We had her sit down next to me and Craig brought Andrew to Emily to hold. I have never seen her so happy before (well...maybe when she got her big girl bed). It was such a relief to me because I had NO CLUE how this would all play out. (The total stinky thing that happened was we caught this most beautiful thing on video via our iPhone, and it froze up and ended up not recording a single moment.)
Once we were given the A.O.K. to come home, it was important to us to come home as a FAMILY. We drove to my parents house to pick up Emily and then drove home for the first time as a family of four!!! SO COOL!!
When we had visitors come to the house, Emily was always at the door to greet them. Our guests were always so great to first give Emily attention and ask her how she was doing and what she thought about her new baby brother. She would then introduce the company to her new brother. It was great because it gave her the control and didn't make it all about Andrew. She felt very important.

This entire process was an emotional roller coaster...but the words of my mother quickly made so much sense to me, "Your love doesn't divide with another child...it multiplies". I love that...it is so true. I don't love Emily any less, nor do I love Andrew any less than when Emily was a newborn. Both of my children are loved...and their cup runeth over!!! They are both so much alike and so unique at the same time.  Emily is head over heels for her baby brother...and loves to hold him, sing to him, and help in any way that she can. I love it!!


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Andrew has finally decided to join our family...3 weeks early!!!

Andrew Jame's Birth Story:

I'll begin with telling you about the day before our trip to the hospital. It was Monday, July 23rd, and I went in for my 36 week check up. The doctor asked if I wanted her to check for dilation...YES!!! By this time in the pregnancy, I was ready for Andrew to make his arrival. Since Emily came a couple days before her due date, and I was dilated to a 3 for more than a week before her arrival, I was extremely curious to see if I was dilated at all at this point. To my surprise...I was already dilated to 4cm!!! I was ecstatic! I immediately sent text messages to the family to let them know that Andrew just might be coming any day now.
The next day, knowing that time was no longer on my side, I decided to run a bunch of errands. I had things to return, things to buy, and chores to do to make sure the nursery was completed. It wasn't long before I started to have contractions. I am blessed to painless contractions, it was the exact same the day Emily decided to arrive. The contractions were not strong at all, but they were certianly getting closer and closer together. I had a feeling that this was going to be the day, but honestly I wasn't ready for Andrew yet...I had a few more errands to run and laundry to do at home. So, I kid you not, I refused to start "timing" my contractions until I got home.
When I finished my errands, I sent a text to Craig and my mom to put them on alert that today might be the day. Immediately, Craig replied and said he was on his way home. I responded and told him to just hold off until I actually had proof that my contractions were close enough for admission to the hospital. Now, I still had a number of things to accomplish at home (laundry, cleaning, putting some finishing touches in Andrew's room, etc) which probably didn't help my contractions. Craig continued to text me to see how I was doing and to ask how far apart my contractions were. When I told him they were an average of five minutes apart he insisted on coming home.
I was still not completely convinced that we should go to hospital because I never sat down and relaxed while timing the contractions...who knew...maybe they were so close together because I was over doing it, not because Andrew was ready to meet the family. Regardless, when Craig arrived home, he wanted me to call the Dr. to see what she thought I should do. When the Dr. heard how close my contractions were, even though they weren't painful at all (she remembered that my contractions were not painful with Emily's pregnancy...and she arrived anyway), she told me to get to the hospital...AND AWAY WE WENT.

When we arrived at the hospital, we checked in, and they took me straight up to the labor and delivery floor. The Dr. was already at the hospital. She checked me out and I was still dilated to a 4 and then they hooked me up to a machine to monitor my contractions...and...NOTHING!! No contractions!!! I had contractions in the car on the way to the hospital, in the ER, on the way up to the L&D floor, but as soon as I was hooked up...NOT A SINGLE ONE!!! My worst nightmare was going to the hospital and being sent home. PLEASE DON'T SEND ME HOME!!! Come on Andrew!!! The Dr. told me to walk around for about an hour and she would check me again to see if I would dilate more. 
One hour later...still dilated to a 4. I was given the same orders: "Walk around for one more hour and if there is no change, we will send you home to relax". Instead of walking around the tiny L&D floor, we stayed in our room as I paced back and forth, back and forth. To make it a little more interesting I decided to do some skipping around the room, some can cans, you name it...I tried it!! I just wanted to move this process along. Craig got a kick out of it!
One more hour later...the nurse came in to check...and ABRA...CADABRA...I made it to a 5!!!! This was my ticket to staying!!! WOOT WOOT!!!!
They transferred me to a delivery room, started an IV site, and let me walk around some more and roll around on one of those huge bouncy balls. At this point, my contractions were still painless. With Emily's delivery, the pain didn't arrive until my water broke. I finally reached 6cm, so they decided to start my IV fluids while I rested in my bed. The Dr. decided to break my water...which I insisted that they call the anesthesiologist to start my epideral because the pain came in like a roaring lion after breaking my water with Emily's delivery.
Getting the eipideral was the worst part of the delivery...if I had to choose a worst part (because the whole thing was practically a PAINLESS experience). I HATE pain! I'm a baby when it comes to pain...well...delivery pain. I don't understand why anyone would choose to experience the pain of delivery on purpose. A friend's doctor said it perfectly, "Medicine has come a long way. Choosing to deliver without an epideral is like choosing to have a root canal without getting numb. WHY would you do that?" Now, no need to school me on why you perhaps chose give birth naturally...to each his own...it's just not for me!
Now, back to Andrew's story. The epideral was pretty uncomfortable, but by far worth it. (For those of you who are a little unsure of the epideral...I HATE shots, to the point that nurses have asked me to lay down after receiving a teeny tiny TB shot...yes, I turn white as a ghost. Now, I'm not going to say that the epideral was painless, because it wasn't, BUT it wasn't horribly painful either...just uncomfortable, but FAR WORTH IT!!!!
Once the epideral was in place, it didn't take long for my legs to go numb, unfortunately, this time around I could still feel all of the painful contractions. I was not thrilled about this at all. After an hour went by, I told the nurse that I was feeling all of the contractions. She immediately paged the anesthesiologist to come and assess the situation. She came right away and checked everything out. Everything was as it should be, so to help me out they gave me a bolus shot and WHA-LA...bye-bye pain!!! I was so numb it was funny!!! I wasn't loopy at all...like your regular pain meds, just simply numb from the waist down. I tried with all of my might to move my toes or lift my leg and...NOTHING!! It was such a weird feeling.
By this time, it was now Wednesday, about 2AM, when they did a final check...and I was finally dilated to a 10. They called the Dr. in, placed my legs into the stir-ups and set up all of the necessities for the doctor. When the Dr. arrived, she took one look and said, "WOW, there is the head...this should only take about one push and he should be here." Well, she wasn't too far off. Literally, 5 pushes/5 minutes later...Andrew was in my arms. I kid you not, I couldn't feel a darn thing, NOT A DARN THING!!! It was amazing! With Emily's delivery, I could still feel the pressure of the contractions so that I knew when I was supposed to push, however, this time around...I literally couldn't feel a thing. The nurse had to tell me when to push and I had no idea if I was pushing or just lifting my head off of the pillow...but I must have been doing something right because Andrew arrived safely and was in my arms in no time!! It was amazing!!!

This was the same nurse that helped to deliver Emily!!! We called ourselves the "A" team!!!

My beautiful baby boy!!!
Proud Dad moment
Proud Grandparents
Andrew James / 6lbs 11oz / 21 in

Andrew's Completed Nursery

Friday, July 20, 2012

Andrew's Completed Nursery
Here is Andrew’s completed nursery. I am SO HAPPY with the end result. I was so nervous to do all of the sewing for the crib set, curtains, and changing pad…since my last project was a Christmas ornament that my Grandma taught me to sew…when I was 8 years old. Seriously though, I really want to get into sewing. I would love to be comfortable enough to sew Emily some super cute clothes, as well as some clothes for myself. If you want to find the links to the tutorials that I found and used for the crib set, check out my previous post: Andrew's Nursery Update.
Nursery Fabrics
Back to Andrew’s nursery. I bought a lot of the accessories from JoAnn Fabrics. The letters above the crib are all from JoAnn's. It is a mixture of wooden and cardboard letters that I painted myself to match the fabrics that I chose. I hung them all up with the 3M Command Strips so I didn't have to put a ton of holes in the wall. To guarantee that they don't fall down...I used a couple of the strips on each of the letters.  

 There really is no theme in the nursery. It is a mixture of fun ideas on each wall. I fell in love with the ABC wall which I found a picture of on pinterest. The picture that I found was attached to a link from Etsy...unfortunately the letters were way out of my price range and so I was able to copy the idea (using coupons for JoAnn's) for a fraction of the price on Etsy. There is also a slight Star Wars theme. Again, I found a picture of the crib mobile on Pinterest...and I couldn't resist! I HAD TO HAVE IT!!! The price was totally affordable and I am SO HAPPY with the finished look. Here is a link to the Etsy store: Salty and Sweet. To hang the mobile, I just bought a used crib mobile from a thrift store and then used that to hang my new mobile from Etsy.
Coolest Crib Mobile EVER!!!
For the other prints around the room, I just googled "star wars nursery prints" and I came across these ridiculously cute prints. 
C3PO Artwork

Look closely, that is not a Norman Rockwell...that is Princess Lea and Hans Solo

Hans Solo and Chewbacca
 There isn't much to say about the rest of the nursery. I'll just post the pictures...don't hesitate to leave a comment if you have any questions at all.

Andrew's Toy Shelf
Toy Shelf and Star Wars Prints above
Andrew's Changing Table
Fun Artwork

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