Thursday, December 5, 2013

Hitting Our Groove

Halloween and Thanksgiving are behind us and we are full swing in the Christmas season! Logan turned 3 months old on November 26th. I finally was feeling like we hit our groove - Logan and I had figured each other out and each day wasn't a new challenge. There was some predictability to it. I stressed too much during the early weeks about if I was "raising" Logan right - am I holding him too much? Do I need to have him on a schedule? Do I need to let him cry it out? Do I need to wean him from night nursing? Why does he scream every time we are in the car? On and on and on... But I have figured out my parenting style (at least so far, and at least for Logan). Be PATIENT. When he turned 9 weeks old it was like a switch flipped and all the sudden he didn't scream in the car. He didn't need to be held all the time - he was content playing on his play mat or sitting in the bouncy seat watching me make dinner. Around 11 weeks old he started sleeping 11-12 hours straight at night. He gained better control of his hands and was able to get his thumb into his mouth and soothe himself. All of those things that I stressed about if I needed to teach him to do, he learned on his own given the time to do it. I'm so so thankful that I didn't make him cry for hours on end to learn something he would learn on his own the very next week. (Side note: I realize that some babies may need a little more coaching, either for your own sanity or for the baby's sake. This is what has worked for Logan, and I suspect it would for some other babies too. Other side note: One night Logan didn't fall asleep nursing so I laid him in his crib to let him fuss for a little bit and hopefully fall asleep on his own. When I went to check on him a few minutes later, his sleep sack arm hole was pulled way too tight on his shoulder and it was cutting off circulation to his arm and his hand had turned red. No wonder why he was fussing)

You may have noticed that I used past tense when mentioning that we hit our groove. This week has completely thrown us for a loop. Logan has decided to learn all kinds of new things this week that have resulted in a kid who is waking up at night again and nursing like a hungry hog who can't get to the trough. (insert tired & crazy mom face here) I'm hoping this is a short phase that passes soon.

But it is so neat to watching him learn and grow, it totally makes the hard parts worth it.

He's learned to push off with his feet while laying on his back.

He can lift his head so high when laying on his tummy.

He can roll onto his back.

He is starting to be able to grab at toys while laying on his tummy (and back).

And cutest of all, he's started giggling. No video yet but you can imagine based on this photo.

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving with friends here in Sacramento. When you all live several hours (by plane or car) from your family, your friends become your chosen family. We are truly blessed by these people.

Mitchell had a successful 60" Black Friday experience.

We are loving the Christmas cheer around the house and are so excited to see LOTS of family when we go home for Christmas.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Parenthood thus far

*It took me about 4 separate writing attempts and 2 weeks to get this post written. Blogging may be on the back burner for awhile...

You probably expect me to say that the past 8 weeks have flown by, but they haven't. I don't remember each week specifically but it's not like Logan's life so far has been so chaotic that I haven't taken the time to savor the moments. I do, however, think that he has grown and changed much faster than I was expecting him to. I don't have my teeny little baby anymore (not that he was ever that teeny). He's definitely "filled out" and has achieved so many milestones. Slow down, little one! You're changing so fast your mommy doesn't have time to fully absorb each stage. 

4 days old
1 week old - I have no idea why Mitchell
did this to him.
Chillaxin' - 2 weeks old
Bath time in the sink! 3 weeks old
Practicing holding his head up - 3 weeks old
Listening intently to his Mimi - 5 weeks old
6 weeks old
Standing up! 6 weeks old
Hanging with dad after work - 7 weeks old
Those eyes!!
Becoming quite the thumb sucker - 7 weeks
Being a parent has been more wonderful than I could have imagined and more challenging than I could have imagined. If Mitchell was always around it would be a lot easier but managing an infant by myself during the day is HARD. Luckily Logan is finally starting to learn to take good, long naps by himself but for a little while I was having to hold him to get him to sleep for any decent amount of time. That means no break for mom.

We have been so lucky to have both sets of parents come out to visit us. The biggest blessing from having them here is to watch them love on our baby. I'm starting to learn that one of the best ways to love on me is to genuinely love on my baby. I loved watching our parents be fully absorbed into Logan. To watch them melt at his smiles, laugh at his baby noises and faces and soak up every moment with him. The second biggest blessing from having them here is extra sleeeeeeeep. The hardest time for me to get up with the baby is in the morning. You'd think it would be the 3am feeding but I get to go to sleep after that one. It's the 6-7am feeding that it's "game on" after because now the day has started. So the moms would come get the baby after that one and hang out in the living room so Mitchell and I could get a few hours of uninterrupted sleep.

Also, future mommies out there need to know that postpartum recovery is not easy but IT GETS BETTER. Did you hear that? You WILL get through it. If you know me well, you know that I do not cry easily. The second week of Logan's life I cried every single night. And had anxiety. I've never experienced feelings that you can't just brush off but the anxiety I felt, I couldn't shake. What helped me get through this was developing a bedtime routine for Logan because my anxiety was based around getting through the night. That also gave Mitchell and me a few hours to ourselves, to make life seem a bit normal. Besides the emotional challenges is the physical healing from delivery and establishing nursing. Follow the doctors orders on how to heal best and take advantage of everything the hospital gives you. If something doesn't seem right, call your doctor. And keep in mind that I was pain-free from nursing by 3 weeks. You can do it.

Oh, it also amazes me how cute you think your baby is. I'm convinced Logan is the cutest baby ever. He might not be cute to anyone else but his cuteness melts my heart daily.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Logan William's Birth Story

I love reading birth stories - one, because they are all so unique and two, because each birth is a miracle. Keep in mind that I am a Biology teacher and love anything that has to do with the body so while I think all of this is blog appropriate, if you are especially sensitive to these things, read at your own discretion.

Short version: Logan William Martin was born August 26th, 2013 at 7:06pm after 17 hours of induced labor and 2.5 hours of pushing. He was 9lbs, 13 oz and 20” long.

Long version: My due date of August 18th came and went without much excitement. My doctor would not do an internal exam until 40 weeks and that was only to determine which medicine to use for an induction, which he does between 41 and 41.5 weeks. At my 40 week appointment, I was 1cm dilated and 25% effaced. My doctor said I would need to start with misoprostol to soften my cervix before they could even start Pitocin. I was scheduled to be induced at 9pm at Sutter Memorial Hospital when I was 41 weeks.

Mitchell and I checked into the hospital at 9pm on Sunday, August 25th. When the nurse checked my cervix she didn’t even think I was 1cm dilated so I was basically starting this induction with a closed cervix. At 11pm, they inserted the first misoprostol vaginally and told my husband and me to get some rest. Around midnight I started to feel menstrual cramps that slowly started to get more intense but nothing painful at all.

At 4:45am they inserted the second dose of misoprostol and left me to continue resting. Two minutes after they walked out the door, I felt the baby move, there was a pop and my water broke. After my water broke my contractions started picking up. During contractions I needed to grab the bed rail and do some deep breathing but the pain was completely manageable. By 6:30am, my OB came in to check on me and I was starting to really feel the contractions and had to focus on breathing through them instead of talking to him. When he left at 7am, the contractions were coming every 5 minutes and lasting a solid minute. They picked up with intensity very quickly and the next hour and a half I was in a lot of pain. By 8:30am the contractions were coming every 2-3 minutes and lasting for a minute. With each contraction I felt really nauseous and eventually threw up. The nurse gave me a dose of Zofran through my IV, which helped a ton. The contractions were completely in my lower belly and there was nothing I could do to bear through the contractions. At this point the pain was so intense that I couldn’t control it anymore and asked for the epidural. I was 4 cm dilated. As my husband told the nurse, “I’ve never seen her cry from pain so this must be pretty bad.”

Once the epidural was placed, I was so relieved and comfortable. I had been awake all night so I was encouraged to rest. While I rested, my body continued to progress, dilating about a centimeter an hour. The nurses were so encouraged that my body took over the labor and I would never need Pitocin.  Around 3:30pm, the nurse began to be concerned that my baby was not facing my back but rather my right hip. She had me lying on my sides with the bottom leg straight and top leg bent in hopes the baby would turn and face the correct way.

Around 4:30pm, I started feeling the pressure and need to push with contractions. My OB really encouraged me to “labor down” as much as possible. This means that you let your body push the baby down as far as possible with each contraction so that when you start pushing, you don’t have to push as much. My baby wasn’t as far down as the nurse would have liked but she decided that since I felt the need to push that we could go ahead and start pushing.

For each push, my husband held one leg, the nurse held the other, I grabbed the back of my thighs and “curled” my body around the baby. My head and shoulders came up and my bottom curled up off the bed. After an hour and a half of pushing I started feeling very lightheaded and was having a hard time concentrating on what the nurse and my husband were telling me in between pushing. I had been laying on my back for too long and was cutting off the circulation of the major vein that runs behind the uterus. In between each contraction they had me roll on my side and breathe oxygen. This was not comfortable at all because there was so much pressure as my baby was moving down.

My OB finally came in and scrubbed up around 6:30pm. I knew I was getting close which was so encouraging because I was seriously doubting whether I could get this baby out. I was so tired. I pushed several times with my OB directing me. This was a very painful and uncomfortable time as I was basically getting the baby to crown. Finally, my OB said, “Ok, with this next push your baby is going to be here!”. I pushed with all my might until my OB said to stop. My husband started crying and told me that his head was out. After a few seconds my OB told me to push again. At this point the shoulders were born and my OB asked if I would like to pull the baby out. I reached down under his arms (he was so warm!) and pulled him the rest of the way out and onto my chest. It was an incredible experience to pull my baby out.

Shortly after his birth the nurses and doctor really wanted to weigh him because he was so big. My husband cut the cord and took him over to the scale. He came in at a whopping 9lbs, 13 oz (my husband was 10lbs). His head circumference was 40 cm! No wonder I was pushing for so long!

Logan was placed back on my chest where he grabbed my husband’s finger and stared into my eyes. It was the most beautiful experience of my life. Nothing compares to the birth of your baby, especially your firstborn. I am so thankful to have a happy, healthy baby. We are blessed!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

40 Weeks Y'all!

Happy Due Date to us! Check out this ripe belly!

Here are some answers to commonly asked questions:
How am I feeling?
Generally speaking, good. I'm walking twice daily, spending time with friends, getting last minute things done around the house, napping plenty, taking it easy and patiently waiting on the arrival of our baby. I am having non-painful Braxton Hicks contractions but they remain inconsistent and mild.
Are we ready?
Yes! Or at least as ready as you can be for a major life change. We can not wait to meet our baby! (I never understood when expecting moms would say this but I totally get it now.) Our excitement about welcoming our new family member far exceeds any nerves about labor & delivery or taking care of a baby.
Do we have a name picked out?
Yes, but it's a secret until he comes.
Is family coming out shortly after the baby comes?
Mitchell's parents will be here the second weekend of September. My parents will come (I think) when my dad is done with radiation treatment and feeling good. Thank goodness for technology so they can still be a part of the excitement.
Do we need anything?
Not yet! :) I'm sure we will be so appreciative of help and support once the baby comes but for now, we're coasting.

I can't believe that after 40 weeks, I am almost done with being pregnant. This is a marathon, not a sprint. I am so very thankful that I have had such an easy pregnancy. I'm sure I'll be a little nostalgic about being pregnant once he's here but I do not think I will ever be one of those people who "love being pregnant".

What I will miss about being pregnant:
- clear skin: I haven't popped a pimple in MONTHS!
- no shedding: my hair has stayed in my head, which is very nice. I hear a good amount of it falls out about 3 months after baby's born though.
- the general excitement people feel for you when you're pregnant, especially with your first
- time with my baby when it's just the two of us and feeling him move inside me

What I will NOT miss about being pregnant:
- feeling huge (obviously)
- comments from strangers judging/assessing my body ("Oh, any day now!", "You have a basketball in there! You must be having a boy.", "You look so good!", "You're looking a little heavy set.", "You look uncomfortable.")
- heart burn (TUMS have been my constant companion)
- nosebleeds (BreatheRights have been my constant sleeping companion)
- consistently gaining weight for the past 9 months
- having to lean over at the waist to hug my husband. I haven't had one of those melt-into-your-arms hugs in quite a while.

We can't wait to introduce our little man to all of our family and friends! Please say a prayer for us for a safe and uncomplicated delivery. Our most important goal with delivery: a healthy baby!

Cheers to becoming parents this week! Happy heart. :)

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Baby's Nursery

It's done! It's done! I posted photos on Facebook but if you are interested on how I did some of the things in there or where I got them, this post will explain more of the details.



I am no interior designer. Not even close but I did my best. I also kept in perspective that this is a baby room. He won't even know this is his room or the fact that I worked hard to make it look cute. So basically this is all for me. I was frugal and reasonable throughout this process.

We decided to keep a guest bed in the room since we have all of our family out of town. Of course when someone comes to stay, they will not be bunking up with the baby as the kid will come sleep with us. But this way grandparents are able to visit for as long as they want without having to pay for a hotel. The bedspread is a duvet cover from Ikea that we got for $40.

This antique trunk was given to me several years ago by my aunt and uncle. Mitchell sanded it down and re-stained it and then we upholstered the top with some quilt batting and cute fabric. It's perfect for toy storage!

These were sweet little boy gifts we were given at showers.

The glider and cornices have their own post. I got the gray and yellow geometric fabric from for $52. Five yards of gray and two yards of yellow. I seriously can't wait for the rest of his monogram to be on the wall. Those letters are from Hobby Lobby that we just spray painted gray.

The crib and mattress we bought online from Walmart. It's a Graco Freeport 4-in-1 fixed-side crib. The mattress is a Kolcraft Pediatric 800 crib and toddler mattress. The crib and mattress were sold together for only $175! And it converts to a toddler bed! And we payed for it with gift cards! Epic win.

The gray and white polka dot sheet is from Pottery Barn Kids. We bought one for $19 and then a very similar Circo brand sheet from Target for $10 as back up. I made the crib skirt with plain yellow fabric from Hobby Lobby. The crocheted adorable blankie is handmade from Mitchell's mom. I LOVE it.

We decided to get a new dresser because the other one technically broke when we moved out here even though it was still functional. This dresser was $200 from Ikea and it works perfectly as a changing table as well.

See that cute yellow elephant poster? Ikea. It fit so well! The shelf above the changing station is from Ikea as well. We bought an unfinished shelf and then spray painted it gray.

That lamp shade was on sale at Target for $6! And it's their new Threshold brand. The bedside table was already in the room and we just spray painted it gray.

The bookshelf ledges are from Ikea as well. They are Ribba ledges, I believe.

A friend of mine had some of her maternity photos framed in the baby room and I just thought that was such a sweet idea. Plus I loved my maternity photos!

Dresser organization! These divider boxes are from Ikea and a pack comes with several different sizes. In the top drawer I have burp cloths, nursing covers, swaddles, pacifiers, baby toiletries, washcloths and medicine.

In the second drawer I have sleepers, newborn clothes, socks, hats and mittens.

In the third drawer I have the next size of clothes (0-3months), bibs, hooded towels and baby blankets.

Closet organization! Extra diapers, feeding supplies including Medela breast pump and bottles, items for later, extra items like sheets or changing pad covers, bath supplies, and solid food feeding items.

I also have other things for later like our Baby Bullet for making baby food, baby bather once he graduates from the sink to the tub, Bumbo (hand me down), Chicco baby carrier, and other items.

It was a fun process getting ready for his arrival! I hope he appreciates all that we've done for him. (He won't). Now I can kick back and relax until he's here!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Nursery Projects

Our baby room is getting so close to being finished! And it's about time too... I'm 35 and a half weeks! I'm too big to be decorating and DIY-ing. But I had to share these two projects that I took on and finished late in pregnancy. Word of advice: if you have some major DIY projects you want to do for the nursery, get them done earlier in pregnancy. It was not fun getting up and down off the floor and leaning over fabric with a big ol' belly!

Since we aren't going to be in this rental house for very long and with the future of Mitchell's company always changing, I didn't want to invest a lot of money into permanent window treatment. I thought cute cornices would be a great solution and even better... foam board cornices. No wood used here.

Foam board
Hot glue
Duct tape
Quilt batting
Picture hangers

First, I very carefully measured my windows. I wanted the cornices to be 8" tall and come 5" off the wall. We have one window that was 50" long and one was 74" long.

After getting measurements I went out and bought a trifold foam board like the picture below.
Mitchell lovingly measured out the strips and cut them out for me. To reinforce the folds, I hot glued popsicle sticks. I also used them to reinforce the joint when I had to lengthen the foam board for the long window. Before the popsicle sticks I attached the extra foam board with white duct tape.
 Next, I cut out the sides of the cornices and hot glued those to the ends of the cornice and then reinforced with white duct tape.
 To attach the cornices to the wall, I added a bit of foam board to the back of the cornice so I could use that to nail them into the wall.
 Lastly, I built an arm in the middle of the cornice to add support so there was no sagging. All of these pieces were added with hot glue and reinforced with duct tape.
 The next step, to add some depth/dimension to the foam boards, I wrapped the the cornices with quilt batting. For the 50" cornice, I cut 62" long piece (50" front + 2-5" sides + 2-1" bits to wrap around) and 10" high so it would wrap around as well. I attached this with the duct tape. The duct tape had trouble grabbing the batting but I just added a bit more and then it was held securely once I got the fabric on.
 I cut out my fabric in a similar way as the batting and wrapped it around the cornice and attached with white duct tape as well!
 The last thing I did that I didn't get a picture of was I bought picture hangers from Home Depot and attached them to sides and middle support piece. These cornices are so light that they can be hung with small nails and picture hangers!
 Here they are hanging in the not complete baby room! Love them and they were super easy!

Dutalier glider:
One of Mitchell's coworkers so generously gave us their old Dutalier glider. It was gently used and in great condition. Score! But it didn't match the colors of our baby room so I decided to tackle another DIY project... painting and recovering the cushions.

One weekend, Mitchell and his best friend diligently painted the glider white to match the white furniture in the baby room. That was quite an undertaking as this glider has lots of parts and pieces. They did a fantastic job!

I took the 5 cushions to a couple upholstery places in town and found out it was going to cost $250-280 to recover them professionally plus the cost of the fabric. Yikes! Surely, I can do a decent job and save ourselves that money since it's a baby room, people... you have to keep these things in perspective.

I ordered 5 yards of lightweight, cotton fabric from an online website I found. I stressed over this project for a long time because I wasn't sure how to tackle it. Should I rip apart the cushions and use the fabric as a pattern or should I just cover the existing fabric with my new fabric?? I ended up doing both and using this tutorial as a guide.

Here is the before:

And here is the final product:
Total cost of our brand new Dutalier glider: ~$60 for paint + $37 for fabric = ~$100
If I had taken them to be done professionally it would have been about $400!

Seriously, learning how to sew has been so handy. I taught myself how to sew and can still do projects like this. If I can do it, you can do it. Plus you can save so much money by making things yourself.

And I did all of this work looking like this...