Thursday, April 28, 2011

Clickin' It Up A Notch

I recently found Courtney's blog, Click It Up A Notch, and love it! She explains the basics of photography in simple English.  She doesn't use super technical language like some of the other photog blogs out there.  If you're interested in taking better photos, you should definitely check out her blog.  Good stuff.

Click it Up a Notch

{This Moment}

In Soule Mama’s words:

{this moment} – A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link to your ‘moment’ in the comments for all to find and see.

One Day At A Time

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

5 Tips For Moving With a Toddler

Moving with a toddler is no laughing matter.  It's tough.  They don't understand why they can't pull everything out of every box.  They don't watch where they are walking and trip over things and wind up with a huge bruise on their cheek.  Ok...maybe that just happened to my son.  Their nap schedule gets messed up in all of the excitement.  Regardless of the stress that moving induces, there are a few things I learned during my most recent move that you can do to make it easier on yourself.

1. Don't do it. If you can avoid moving during those testy years, do it.  But if you must move, go on to tip#2. 

2. Put packed boxes in a safe place. We  all know that toddlers love to explore things that are unfamiliar to them.  Boxes stacked all over the house that are waiting to be taken to their new destination are like candy.  They are just irresistible to a toddler.  No matter how many times your tell them to leave the boxes alone, they will get into them over and over again.  Do yourself a favor and find a safe spot to store them.  In our other apartment, there were storage units in the hallway.  We were able to use one of the empty storage spaces during the month we moved.  This kept a lot of the clutter associated with packing out of our house and out of Nate's curious hands.  Maybe you have a garage you can put your boxes in.  Or maybe there is a bedroom that your toddler doesn't go into where you can store them.  

3. Get your husband some help on moving day.  When the boxes are being loaded into the moving truck and taken to the new house, someone, most likely you, will need to stay with the toddler.  Either enlist a family member or friend to take care of your child so you can help with the loading, get some guys to help your husband out, or splurge a bit on hiring some movers.  In my opinion, getting some movers to help out relieves a lot of the stress accompanied with moving day. 

4. Designate a "safe spot" for your toddler while boxes are being moved and unpacked.  This could be a bedroom free of boxes where your child can play.  In my case, it was a Pack-n-Play.  As much as I hate confining Nate to a play pen for too long, it was nice being able to put him in a safe spot and know he wasn't getting into any trouble.  

5. Unpack everything as quickly as possible.  Even if it means staying up a few hours past your bedtime, do it.  At the very least, make a safe area that can be gated off for your child to play.  This will save you a lot of stress while you do the rest of the unpacking.  

If you do these things, your move should be easy-peasy.  Well...easier than it would be if you didn't do these things.  :)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

What is Easter without an Easter basket? 

Of course, we got Nate a basketball basket, which I thought was adorable.  We got him some candy, but I'm betting we'll eat more of the candy than Nate will.  All Nate was interested in was the plastic eggs, which was fine with me. He has plenty of years ahead of him to be concerned with Easter candy. 

Matthew 28:6 He is not here; He has risen!

Happy Easter!

Friday, April 22, 2011

{This Moment}

In Soule Mama’s words:

{this moment} – A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link to your ‘moment’ in the comments for all to find and see.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Moving, Childbirth, And A Tour Of Our New Place

We've been pretty busy these last few days.  From packing, to loading boxes and furniture on a truck, to unloading, to unpacking...we've done it all.  Since I'm pretty pregnant, my poor husband had to lift most of the heavy boxes and deal with me having him move boxes to various rooms so I could unpack them.  He was also stuck with the job of putting the furniture back together.  Cribs, a new dresser, shelves for a pantry, and...I'm probably missing a few things, but he is so much better at assembling than I am.  I get confused by directions that involve tools and screws.

During the moving fiasco, I was stuck with keeping Nate entertained, happy, safe, and out of everyone else's way.

If you are expecting your first baby, keep in mind that you want to move before your baby is born.  It gets so much harder to move once you have a little one.  Nate was so curious about everything.  Poor guy was in his playpen and watching Elmo for a good portion of the day.

In my opinion, moving is like having a baby.  Well...not quite...but I kind of think of it like that (I apologize to any guys reading this) but you know how you keep on pushing just knowing that the outcome will be worth the pain? I happened to push for two and a half hours-talk about perseverance! Well, when we move (this is our 4th move since being married and I have been excited about each and every one of them), I keep on working, unpacking, and rearranging knowing that there will be a positive outcome after all the work is done.  The outcome isn't nowhere near  as great as holding that new, never before touched baby, but it is a positive outcome, nonetheless.  Who doesn't like a new place to live?

Anyway, I managed to get a few pictures while Nate and I were hanging out at the house waiting for the movers to bring the first load.  All we had brought over were the plants and Nate's toys.  The living area is my favorite part of the house.  You'll have to look at these first few pictures to get an idea of how it works.

This is the Living Room area.

Back in the corner you can see the nook that we turned into a play area.  I love that Nate has his own place to play and keep his toys.

This picture is the view from the living room into the kitchen and dining room.  I love the cutouts because I can still see Nate while cooking, which I really need to start doing more of again. We have eaten out an insane amount of times these last few weeks because I very conveniently packed all of our kitchen supplies a bit early.

No house with a toddler is complete without a set of gates. 

This is the kitchen.  It's smaller than the last kitchen we had, which has presented a few problems.  For instance, where do I put my food? The pantry is non-existant. Well, my awesome husband put together a set of shelves for me in the dining room.  And see how that microwave takes up some very valuable counter space? My husband found a new place for it atop the shelving system he built, which solved that problem.  Such a problem-solver he is! But I'm liking the white cupboards and the overall layout.  It's simple and works.  Don't worry-we got rid of those hideous rugs that the previous owner left behind. 

Here is a bedroom...pretty standard.  But the carpet is new, which is always my biggest concern. 

And how awesome are these windows? They let in so much light. 

Overall, besides a few little hiccups (like the horrible parking!), I really like this place.  I think it is going to work really well for us.  I'm excited about all of the new memories we will make here-the biggest being welcoming Baby Lance into the world! Only a few more months now! 

Friday, April 15, 2011

{This Moment}

In Soule Mama’s words:

{this moment} – A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link to your ‘moment’ in the comments for all to find and see.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Tired Mama

I feel pregnant today.  Like really pregnant.  My body just feels tired, but I haven't really done much to feel so tired.  This weekend, I'll be 26 weeks along.  Where has the time gone!?! 

We're moving on Saturday, so I've been packing when I can.  And resting when I can.  But then I remember that we are moving in just a few days and there is still so much to do.  It makes me a little anxious.  

Oh, and Nate didn't nap today.  He just wouldn't fall asleep, so I didn't really get much of a nap time break.  

So, I guess that's why I'm more tired than usual.  

About a week after Nate was born, I remember just having this overwhelming feeling unlike any I had ever really had before.  I just felt so good.  I wasn't tired.  There weren't anymore weird aches and pains.  And I didn't have to pee every 10 minutes, which was awesome! But now those feelings are back, and it's exciting because it just means I'm getting closer to meeting Lance (his name by the way), but I still have quite a ways to go and I'm not really ready to start feeling like this so soon.  

Hopefully today was just a fluke. 

On a sidenote, isn't Sandlot the ultimate little boy movie? We found it in the (sshhh, don't tell) $5 bin at Wal-Mart.  We popped it in and had fun watching it again and thinking about how much Nate will like it in a few years, despite the few times that the boys use some words that aren't quite appropriate for a kids' movie.  

I'll leave you tonight with a great Sandlot quote: 

"Remember kid, there's heroes and there's legends. Heroes get remembered but legends never die, follow your heart kid, and you'll never go wrong." 

Bath Time Reflections

I love bath time photos of Nate.  I love them probably more than any other type of picture.  But sometimes I feel like I'm taking the same photo of him over and over.  So when I saw him smiling at his reflection, I couldn't resist the urge to snap a few pictures.

Not your traditional bath time pictures, but I like 'em.  

Monday, April 11, 2011

Charity's Birth Story

In light of my pregnancy, I'm sharing a birth story every week until I deliver.  At that point, I will have a new story of my own to share!

This week's story is from Charity from Enjoy!

Here is my version of Patrice's birth story.  I say my version because parts of it are a blur.  And for all I know, the parts I think are clear, may have happened a little different than I perceived them.

Really her story begins with an e-mail I received Friday morning about 2 am.  My grandfather passed away Thursday night about 11:30.  

But, I did not get to sleep after getting that e-mail.  I was kept up by my whirling thoughts and some random contractions.  Then later that morning I talked to my mom and my other grandfather had a minor heart attack on Thursday as well. 

I was not having any major contractions by the time hubby got up for work, so I told him to go ahead and we planned for him to meet us at the midwife office.  Thankfully I was able to get ahold of him when the office called to have us come in earlier.  So the whole family tromps in for our appointment.

They hooked me up to a non-stress test.  

Then they finished the NST.  

My midwife came in and looked the printout over.  There were a few drops in heart rate that she found concerning.  

She explained how those dips could be an indicator that my amniotic fluid level was low.  Fluid levels can be measured by ultrasound so she went and got the scanner.  First we got GOOD news, baby was still head down and in perfect position for delivery.  I was thrilled.  I mean, thrilled.  Then the news got a little dicey. She found a few pockets of fluid, but got just barely 5 when she measured, and that was the cutoff for needing to deliver a baby.  When the fluid levels get too low, it is possible for the baby to crush their cord.  So we talked about possibly needing an induction.  

I was very set on natural childbirth if at all possible, so I was not thrilled with the thought of induction.  I was bummed when she checked my cervix and it was only at 1 cm and 70% effaced, the same as the week before.  So no membrane sweeping to see if that would move things along.

From there, she sent us to the hospital to get a more thorough scan to see if they could find more fluid and another NST.  The bright spot in all this was my midwife was on duty for deliveries that night.  And I wanted her there more than anything for this baby.

First, we made plans for the girls to stay with a friend while we went to the hospital, grabbed some lunch, I drank a ton of fluids and we headed off to the hospital.  We had to wait a long time for the scan, but the results came back quick, they got about 6 for a fluid level, still pretty low for that point inpregnancy.  My midwife, hubby and I talked again about how that could mean the placenta was starting to break down and/or may not be functioning properly.  

They got me in a room.  Hubby left to take the girls to a friends house where they had stayed the night previously.
My midwife checked me and found I was already 3 cm.  

She gave me some medication for the induction and told me to lay down for an hour and hooked me up to the monitors for two hours. 

Hubby arrived shortly after and the contractions were already really strong.  I only laid down for about 40 minutes and then had to get out of the bed to survive each one.  Baby's heartrate dipped a bit, so they added 20 minutes to the monitoring time.  I can not even tell you how I hated that extra time.  I just wanted to be able to walk around.  

Hubby and I started our rhythm of counting each contraction. 

I must say these contractions were much more overwhelming than Sue or even Caitlyn's birth had been.  

With my two previous births, I was proud to say I never yelled at anyone.  I can no longer say that.  I was yelling at hubby and at my midwife.  I kept yelling at hubby, "this hurts, no really, you don't understand, this really hurts!!!"  And at one point, he didn't start counting soon enough and I yelled "Count you Idiot!"  Now mind you, I do NOT think my hubby is an idiot, I think he is rather brilliant, but right then...

And I was begging for someone to help me with the pain.

I have never been so thankful to be surrounded by two people who knew my desire for unmedicated birth and helped me to stick with that.  I must admit there was a point that if someone would have said, do you want the epidural, I would have said yes, even though I did not want it.  Not really even at that moment.

By that time I was at about 7 and progressing rapidly.  It was good to hear her say that I was at transition, which is the hardest, but quickest part of labor.  They started to give me a non-narcotic medication in the IV, but the baby's heartrate dropped, and they had to stop.  I got a little and it was enough.  

The next thing I knew, I heard someone saying, "Get me an OR (operating room), get the OR opened now."  I vaguely remember thinking, well how is that going to work, I'm not drugged and then it was time for more contractions.  Then there was talk of a vaccuum (extraction) but that faded away.  And then I heard, "push Charity, just push, don't wait for a contraction, push now."  And me thinking, I am pushing, what do you think I am doing here???  And then, "push for your baby, push NOW!"  And from somewhere I pushed more.  And out the baby came.  The cord was wrapped around the neck and my baby was blue.  

My midwife cut the cord, tied it off and handed my baby off to the waiting team.  And Praise the Lord, by the time they got my baby half way to the warming table, she was screaming her head off and nice and pink!!!

Miss Patrice was soon handed over to daddy and she was ours.  Our third daughter was here, safe and sound.

Sunday, April 10, 2011


ISO 100, f/2.5, 1/2000

If you are like me and are interested in taking better pictures of your kids, the I Heart Faces community is the place to be. They have awesome tutorials and photo challenges each week.  This photo is being entered into the Shadows challenge. 

 I posted some pictures of our soccer outing yesterday.  This is another one of those shots.  He had such a great time just running on the field, kicking his ball, and enjoying the warmer weather (low 50's.). 

Make sure to check out all the other entries into the contest! 

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Not A Baby Anymore but Not Yet A Kid

That's where Nate is. 

I think the correct term is 'toddler.'

But it just might be my favorite stage so far. 

Friday, April 8, 2011

{This Moment}

In Soule Mama’s words:

{this moment} – A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link to your ‘moment’ in the comments for all to find and see.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Do You Really Need That?

We're getting ready to move into a new place in a few weeks.  It's about the same size as what we're in now, but I think the living area will be much more conducive to our family.  I'm really excited about the hardwood floors that are throughout the house (except for the bedrooms) because having carpet with a toddler is just asking for trouble.

My one concern is that I'll be losing cabinets in the kitchen.  Because of that, I've been thinking about what I actually need.  How many sets of tupperware do I really need? How many books do I really need to keep? Do I really need all of those clothes that I rarely wear but just might be perfect for that one special occasion? What can I get rid of and never miss? My guess is that there are lots of things in my house that I could part ways with and never think about again.

I came across this article on Yahoo about a woman living in Manhattan in a 90 square foot studio.  She pays $700 a month for it, while the other apartments in her neighborhood, on average, rent for $3600.

Granted, she is a professional organizer, so she really knows how to make the most of the space.

If you're interested, watch this short clip and get a tour of her micro studio apartment.

Maybe you'll be motivated to get rid of some things you don't need and won't miss.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Karen's Birth Story

In light of my pregnancy, I'm sharing a birth story every week until I deliver.  At that point, I will have a new story of my own to share!

This week's story is told by Karen from Karen's Healthy Lifestyle.  Enjoy!
With contractions only one minute apart, Dr. Eddy was as frustrated as I was that he was sending me home yet again.  For days I had technically been in labor, but nothing was happening.  After six maddening weeks of bed rest for premature labor, it was finally time to let nature take its course.  Mother Nature, however, seemed to be a little confused.  My body was experiencing contractions, but I just wasn’t dilating the way I was supposed to. 

Because the baby was still a full two weeks early, Dr. Eddy decided to check to make sure the lungs were fully developed before allowing this circus act to continue.  On a daily basis I was stopping in at the hospital to be checked for the progression of labor, and now the man of medicine wanted to be sure my second child would be prepared for life in the outside world should today be the day. 

I was sent home with instructions to wait by the phone for further information.  Dr. Eddy realized that my question was a valid one:  “HOW was I supposed to know when to come back to the hospital?  How much closer could the contractions get without producing results?”  A few hours later the plan was made.  I would be checking into the hospital at 10:30 that night so I could be put on Pitocin and move this labor along.  If, by chance, my water were to break before that time, I should come to the hospital as quickly as possible. 

I jokingly blame this whole crazy labor on my mom.  She was the one who helped my husband take care of me throughout my experience on bed rest.  For the last several days, however, my mom had been half the country away at a wedding.  When she left, she said, “Don’t have that baby while I’m gone.  You have to wait until I get back.”  My mom and dad’s plane was scheduled to land at 9:30 the very same night I would be checking into the hospital.  They came home straight from the airport so they could watch our older daughter while my husband accompanied me to our “appointment.”

We checked in at the agreed upon time, and I was taken immediately into a room, hooked up to the Pitocin, and set up for continued labor.  Everyone thought we would be delivering a baby within a few hours due to the fact that I was experiencing so many contractions.  Nope, not that night!  In fact, I was completely asleep by 11:00 and slept through the night.  It was the best rest I had gotten in weeks. 

In the morning, when I woke, the nurse explained that the doctor was on his way to break my water.  The staff was becoming concerned because there was absolutely no progress in dilation.  I was stuck at the same 2 cm I had been for days.  Dr. Eddy came in and broke my water.  While he was there he checked how dilated I was and said he was going to try to stretch my cervix and help me along.  The next several seconds were excruciating.  He stretched my cervix all right!  I went from being 2 cm to being 8 cm dilated in that short time.

Dr. Eddy left, thinking this labor would be a few more hours, basing his thoughts on the slow progress already.  Boy, was he wrong!  About an hour after my water broke, I told my husband to please call a nurse.  This baby was coming NOW!  The nurse wandered in casually, thinking I was just another paranoid mother.  After she checked my progress, she called into the hallway for another nurse to come and for that nurse to call Dr. Eddy.

My doctor was walking by, and he said he couldn’t come into the room right now.  He was on his way to another delivery.  The nurse agreed that I would wait until he could check on his other patient.  In the meantime I started pushing.  Dr. Eddy arrived, feeling confident that his other patient would still be awhile.  As my OB gloved and gowned I realized this was show time!

Fully dilated and ready to go, my body just didn’t want to cooperate with the plan of action.  The baby would poke its head out, then the progress would just stop.  On the next push, the nurse explained, she was going to help me.  She sat on the side of the bed and had one arm around my belly.  With the next contraction I pushed and she pushed down on my belly.  For whatever reason, the doctor and nurses wanted this baby to come in the next push, no matter what it took.  Finally, the baby was born.

I looked up, expecting to have my baby being handed to me.  What I saw made me want to cry.  Dr. Eddy, a man who I trusted with my life, now had the life of my child in his hands- literally.  He was rubbing her vigorously, trying to get a response out of her. 

“Dr. Eddy?” I asked, “Is my baby okay?”  I still didn’t yet know whether I had given birth to a boy or a girl. 

“She will be just fine,” he answered.  No excited shouts of “It’s a girl!” there in that room.  No “Congratulations.”  Honestly, the room was strangely quiet given the fact that a new life had just entered the world.  Doctor Eddy called for all the necessary equipment needed for an emergency, and he called for additional nurses.  My room was swarming with people and busy with movement.

Dr. Eddy asked my husband if he would like to quickly cut the umbilical cord, and the baby was taken to an incubator.  She was still not breathing as she was laid in the tiny bed.  My feet still in the delivery stir-ups, a blanket thrown over me for some semblance of privacy, I was unable to do anything to help my tiny child. 

The picture shouldn’t exist, but for some reason I must have taken it.  Amber was lying in the incubator, the nurses ready to whisk her out of the room for emergency intervention, and she still wasn’t breathing.  The clock above the bed read 2:18.  Even though it seemed like hours, it was only 60 seconds after Amber was born. 

In the picture my husband has his hand on Amber’s little chest.  He must have thought he was saying goodbye.  I remember him whispering, in such a sad voice, “Breathe, Baby, Breathe.”  In the next second everyone in the room was startled when we heard the shrill cry of a newborn infant.  I don’t think I have ever been so relieved to hear a screaming child.  Amber was here, and she was making her presence known!

No one knows what happened in that delivery room that day.  There was no indication that the baby was in danger, and there was no explanation for what made her start breathing at the moment she did.  Maybe it was the shaking the doctor did to push the fluid out of her lungs.  It is possible that the oxygen being pushed into the incubator bed was just enough to get her lungs moving.  Perhaps, as I choose to believe, a father’s love CAN be strong enough to change the entire course of a life.

No matter what the case, I will never forget what we went through to bring our little girl into the world.  She is now a healthy and happy 8-year-old girl.  At times she can be loud and annoying.  At those moments I remember how much I begged for that first squeal and say a little prayer of thanks to the angels who watched over us on that special day- November 5, 2002.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Have A Ball!

Isn't it crazy how toddlers are always finding new ways to entertain themselves?

Nate has a new favorite activity, which is pretty entertaining to watch and even more fun to participate in.  He loves to stand at one end of the coffee table and throw the ball over it.  If I'm not playing with him, he will throw the ball, run and retrieve it, and then return to the same side and do it all over again.  If I play along, he laughs every time I catch a ball he has thrown and really loves the challenge of trying to catch a ball that I bounce across the table to him.  He's pretty good at it! 

You might notice that ugly bruise on his forehead.  I hate how often he falls! It's happening less and less now since his balance has drastically increased these last few months, but he still loses his footing occasionally.  I wish I could see just one minute into the future to be able to stop him from falling.  
Switching gears a bit, I'm excited to introduce you guys to my April Sponsor, Vicky from Two Hand Design I'm going to be sharing more from her awesome shop later this week, but if you get a chance, take a peak at her shop.  She makes the absolute cutest handmade cards, notebooks, and more.  

Be sure to check back later this week to see more from Vicky! 

Happy Weekend! 

Friday, April 1, 2011

{This Moment}

In Soule Mama’s words:

{this moment} – A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link to your ‘moment’ in the comments for all to find and see.