Director Jewels: November 2012

Friday, November 30, 2012

Adelaide's Birth Story


Since Lincoln was born at 38 weeks and 3 days, by the time the end of week 37 rolled around in my second pregnancy, I was getting pretty anxious.  Of course, the general population of the world (store clerks, random strangers, friends on Facebook) seemed determined to tell me that their "first baby came two weeks early - but then the second one was almost two weeks late!"  Thanks for that.  Super encouraging.

I started feeling some cramping off and on during my 37th week and thought it could be a hopeful sign.  Several times in the week, the weather was nice and as soon as Andrew got home from work, we went outside on a mission to "walk the baby out."  No luck.  When Saturday, November 17 rolled around, it was a gorgeous day and I said "this is it - let's get to work."

We probably walked six miles over the course of the day.  We walked to the thrift store.  Stopped at the hardware store.  Considered going to Walgreens or the movie rental store (I nixed this last idea as I hoped to be in labor, not at home watching a movie).  While we walked, I would have some pretty encouraging contractions, anywhere from every 3-4 minutes to every 10 minutes.  Each time we stopped, though, the contractions mostly stopped too (though the cramping did continue). 

We finally gave up walking after it was dark and getting cold outside.  I bounced on my exercise ball in the living room for a long time and Lincoln tried to climb on my back to have a ride.  It was pretty cute.  By around 7pm, the contractions were still happening every 5-6 minutes even though I wasn't walking.  I started timing them. 

Last pregnancy photo, Saturday night!

By 8:15pm, I decided it was time to call my midwife.  I wasn't convinced that labor was imminent, but after Lincoln's fast delivery, I felt it might be a good idea to find out if I was progressing or if it was nothing.  I had also tested positive this pregnancy for Group Beta Strep and had been told I would need to have an antibiotic treatment at least four hours before delivery for baby's protection.  Since Lincoln was born less than five hours after my water broke (after an epidural that significantly slowed labor down) - and I was having a natural birth this time around, I was worried that there would not be enough time for the treatment unless I went in early.  I actually tried to clear the GBS+ infection up naturally for several weeks before birth to avoid needing the antibiotic - it was not entirely successful, which is why I went ahead with the treatment.  That's another story altogether, though.

My midwife told me that I could come in to the birth center to be checked.  The center is about a 25-minute drive and we arrived around 9pm.  I was dilated to 2.  I was disappointed it wasn't more, but still concerned that labor could move quickly.  The midwife said she didn't think it would be right away and that I should go home and rest.  So we reluctantly left.  Andrew was feeling overwhelmed with exhaustion, so it was probably good we weren't in active labor at that point!

When we got home, we went right to bed.  Andrew was out immediately.  I tossed and turned all night, waking up at least once an hour with cramping or contractions or because Lincoln had made a noise.  Since we were unfortunately in the throes of an ongoing toddler bed battle, Lincoln woke up and crawled into bed with us around 6am.  He nursed back to sleep and I was awake, so I checked my email on my phone - and I started emailing myself the times of my contractions.  I dozed off and on until about 8:20 - the contractions were anywhere from 3-6 minutes apart and felt definitely stronger than they had the night before.  I decided it was time to get up.  Andrew and Lincoln went to play while I took a quick shower.  I was in the shower for ten minutes and had six really strong contractions in that time.  I yelled for Andrew to call my mom to come stay with Lincoln, because we were going back to the birth center.

We were on the way by about 9:20am.  I called my midwife to let her know I was coming back.  She said she wasn't at the birth center and that maybe I should labor awhile at home before making the trip.  I said I really thought I should be checked.  She waited on the line, hoping to hear me breathe through a contraction - naturally I didn't have any during our conversation.  Finally she agreed to come back and check me again, but warned that she probably wouldn't keep me.  We planned to meet at 10am.

Since we were already on the way, we arrived a little early.  I was second-guessing myself at this point, since I had only had a few contractions in the car and they were not as strong.  Andrew suggested that we walk the trail near the birth center until the midwife arrived.  As soon as we started walking, the contractions started again and were about every five minutes apart and fairly strong.

When my midwife arrived, I was dilated to 3-4.  She said she wouldn't send me home, since there had been a change in my dilation, but as I was not yet in active labor, she wanted us to go have breakfast or go walk for an hour and come back to see if I had progressed more.  I asked about my GBS+ and she said we could go ahead and start a central IV line, put in the antibiotic, and give me a saline lock so that I would still be able to walk around.  It took about 35 minutes to get this accomplished.  While waiting, I had been pacing the exam room and the contractions were strong enough that I had to stop to breathe through some of them.  They still weren't what I would define as really painful, more just very strong cramps - but manageable.  Once the IV lock was in, my midwife checked me again.  I was at 6!  In 40 minutes, I had dilated 2-3 centimeters.  She told us not to go to breakfast and that maybe we should go ahead and put our things in a birthing suite before we went walking.  It was almost 11am at this point.

We made one trip to our car and each brought in an armload of stuff.  I was getting excited, we were going to have a baby today!  We took our bags to the birth room and I had to use the restroom.  Before I came out, I had the first contraction that I considered to be really serious - it was painful, it lasted longer than the others had, and I had to really focus to breathe through it.  I remember describing it as "not fun."  When I left the bathroom, my midwife was standing outside the door.  She said "Don't go outside.  I think you should just stay and labor in here." 

I had brought clothes to labor in, so I changed into those and started bouncing on the birthing ball.  I had taken the water birth course offered by my birth center - and while I wasn't planning for a water birth, I had entertained the idea of laboring in water.  The idea crossed my mind at this point, but I thought "there's plenty of time left for that." I was wrong.

While Andrew worked on organizing our things and letting a few family members know that we were in labor, I breathed through about three more contractions at the same level as that first nasty one, and asked Andrew to please rub my shoulders while I bounced on the ball.  With him there, I worked through three or four more contractions that seemed about the same intensity to me.  At this point, my midwife came in and said "are you feeling a lot of pressure?  It kind of sounds to me like you need to push." 

I was floored.  I remembered being in a state of panic when I was in transition in my labor with Lincoln.  These contractions were painful, yes, but there had only been a handful of them and there was no way it could be that easy, right?  I laughed and told her I didn't know if I needed to push, as I had only ever pushed with an epidural.  She asked to check me again during the next contraction and said that I was dilated to 8, but that my cervix was moving out of the way with the contractions - and that I could start pushing. 

I remember looking at Andrew, just shocked at how fast everything was moving!  I asked him to get out the camera so that we could get some photos once the baby arrived!  It took me a couple of contractions to really figure out how to effectively push (something I probably never achieved with Lincoln, thus the vacuum delivery).  My water broke around this time.  Once I knew what to do, I pushed through about three more contractions until she entered the world! 

I was definitely better prepared for this labor than I had been the first time around - but I won't lie and say that made the final moments much easier.  In hindsight, it all went by so quickly, but those last few pushes took everything I had.  Almost two weeks later...I really can't remember the actual pain of delivery.  I just feel a sense of amazement that I was able to do it!

Just after she was born!

Adelaide Rose was born at 11:52am on November 18, 2012Yes - less than two hours after we arrived at the birth center.  I am pretty glad that I listened to my mommy instinct; I don't think Andrew would have been pleased if he had to deliver our daughter on the side of a major highway. 


I got to hold her immediately, and did not put her down for well over two hours.  I had a minor tear that needed attention, as well as some excessive bleeding that my midwife and nurse hurried to get under control.  Being able to have Addie lying on my chest throughout all of this made it much, much easier!  Once I was able to move a little bit, we were able to try breastfeeding and she latched on immediately like a little champion.  After having 8 weeks of traumatic breastfeeding when Lincoln was a newborn, this made me happy enough to want to cry.


Eventually they took all of her vitals and we found that she weighed 8 pounds, 7 ounces and was 20 inches long - just one ounce bigger than Lincoln!  She was born at 38 weeks and 2 days - one day earlier than Lincoln.  I can now brag that I grow pretty consistent babies.


The rest of our day did not go entirely as planned.  With a birth center birth, the expectation was that we would go home 4-8 hours after her birth.  At first, that seemed possible - but it took awhile to remedy my bleeding and I was having a lot of after-birth shaking and shivering.  The shaking is usually normal, but mine went on for several hours and I was really upset that I couldn't regain control.  It was also discovered that I had some very irregular swelling that was causing a lot of pain and pressure.  I was unable to roll or sit up easily, and I wasn't even allowed to try standing up yet.  A second midwife was called in to consult, and after her evaluation, a partner OB from a nearby hospital was called as well.  I was really grateful that the OB agreed to come directly to the birth center, rather than making me transfer to the hospital.  It was a huge relief!

I was moved to an exam room when the OB arrived, and while I was on some meds for relaxation, I learned that we were dealing with a blood clot situation.  Apparently a blood vessel had been damaged during delivery, allowing an extreme amount of blood to be released into the surrounding tissue.  I don't care to go into further detail, but the clots had to be removed and I received a fair number of stitches as a result.

Edited to add - after doing research a few weeks after she was born, I learned that my clot situation was actually what is known as a vaginal hematoma.  Six weeks post-birth, I still have some remaining swelling that is taking literally forever awhile to go away.  It is no longer bothersome, at least!

As awful as this was - as soon as the procedure was over, I immediately felt much better - more like I had expected to feel immediately after the birth!  It was about 7pm by the time I got back to my room - over 7 hours had passed since Addie's arrival.  We were finally able to contact family members and friends to let them know what was going on.  We had hoped to have Lincoln and our parents come up to visit a few hours after she arrived and had also had a photographer scheduled to be there for part of the day.  Neither of these things had happened, of course, with all of the craziness going on. 

My parents brought Lincoln up to meet Adelaide around 9pm.  Andrew's mom was on call at work, so they were unable to come at all that night.  Lincoln was really tired by the time they arrived - and he really didn't have any interest in Addie at all.  He did, however, try to pull out my IV several times.  I was reminded that it was a great choice to be at the birth center so we did not have to contend with him traipsing around a hospital room and its many cords, carts, and other things!




After my parents and Lincoln had gone home, we were at the birth center for a few more hours.  Between trying to get a little bit of rest, a shift change, eating Addie's birth day cake (baked for me in the birth center kitchen) and filing paperwork, we ended up leaving around 2am.  It was not really ideal, but we were ready to go home and try to sleep.



Overall, even though my birth experience did not go entirely according to plan, I was so glad that I had chosen a birth center for Adelaide's delivery.  The labor and birth process were so much more relaxed and even through all of the difficult recovery issues, my midwives and nurses were incredibly supportive and loving.  Addie was never out of my sight.  It was a wonderful experience in spite of the unexpected problems.

It also turned out to be a blessing in disguise that I had the central IV line for the GBS+ treatment.  While the antibiotics were not in my system long enough to be effective, I was given pitocin via IV almost immediately after the birth to help with the bleeding.  I also ended up needing medication while the clot situation was remedied, and I was given a strong antibiotic once everything was done, just as a precaution.  The GBS+ thankfully did not cause any problems for Addie - it was definitely helpful that my water did not break until I was pushing, so she had very little time for exposure.

Almost two weeks after the birth, I am still in recovery mode.  It's been hard for me because I felt great within about two days of Lincoln's birth.  I find it really hard when simple things like taking a shower or walking downstairs cause me to feel weak.  I know it will get better, so I am just trying to enjoy all the baby snuggles and take it easy!  The couch is my permanent station, well-stocked with diapers, wipes, Boppy, and water.


We are all in love with our sweet Adelaide Rose!  Her dramatic entrance to the world will definitely be a story to share for many years to come.   

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Lincoln's Birth Story

I started working on writing Adelaide's birth story this week, and realized that it wasn't right to share hers without first sharing Lincoln's.  So much of his story is what led me to make different decisions for my second birth, it seems only fair to provide the back story!  So here we go!


It was February 19, 2011 and I was 38 weeks 3 days pregnant.  I woke up that morning at 6:30am with contractions that were semi-regular, but only about 7-10 minutes apart.  I really didn't think anything about it, even though some of them were fairly painful.  Up to this point in the pregnancy, I had not had a single contraction (not even Braxton Hicks), so I assumed that this was nothing - just my body starting to prep for the labor process.  Plus I was only 38 weeks and I had been assured by everyone in the world that there was no way he would arrive before I was at least 41 weeks (yay for encouragement, right?)

I couldn't seem to get settled once the contractions woke me up that morning, so I got up and started trying to be productive.  It was a Saturday and Andrew was home, but I just let him sleep, figuring there was no reason to get him excited yet.  I gathered up the camera batteries and my ipod and spent a little time clearing my memory cards, just in case it turned into something.  All of these were things on my list to do before his birth anyway, I thought I should just go ahead and get organized even if it wasn't an immediate need.

I also started packing our hospital bags.  (note to self. pack them sooner.  always.)  Lincoln's was easy to fill with way more things than he would actually need.  Mine, of course, was just sitting on the living room chair and I would throw things in as I thought of them. (not a good packing method)

Around 1pm, I took a shower.  I had a couple of contractions while in the shower that forced me to stop and breathe through them.  That was when I thought...wow, maybe this could be it!  But when I got out of the shower - the contractions slowed to one maybe every twenty minutes.  I was bummed.  I assumed it had to be just a false alarm and started working on the nursery organization project (Lincoln's dresser had finally arrived the night before), resigning myself to be pregnant for a few more weeks.

At about 3pm, the contractions picked up a little bit again, but it wasn't anything different or more intense.  Since I had just had two hours of basically nothing, I didn't think anything of it.  Andrew was helping in the nursery by this point, and we started to make a list of things to return to Target, and what items we still needed to purchase to complete our baby registry.  I wanted to go out and do something, after waiting around all day to no avail. 

I was lying on the nursery floor organizing Lincoln's tiny shoes at about 4:40pm when I had a contraction that felt weird - a little bit stronger than most and with a strange popping sound/feeling.  I still didn't think anything of it!  But when I stood up - whoa.  That was my water breaking! 

Suddenly we were in a crazy flurry of activity, as we looked at each other and said "um...we're having a baby today!"  I started rushing to get the rest of my things packed - which is a lot more difficult to do when you are gushing fluid.  At that point, I was pretty much just throwing random things into my bag.

I called my OB - he was out of town, so I talked to his partner.  I was told I likely had 12-16 hours of labor ahead, if my water had indeed broken.  Believe me, it had.  He said I could go ahead and come to the hospital, so we layered the passenger seat with towels and headed off.  The hospital was about 25 minutes away and my contractions became a lot stronger during the drive.  They were about every four minutes apart and I was having trouble sitting still.  It was about this time that Andrew accidentally took the wrong exit and added another ten minutes to our trip.  Whoops!

We arrived at the hospital at 5:50pm and got signed in, then I was transported by wheelchair up to the L&D unit.  When I arrived at my room, the nurse looked at my literally soaking wet jeans and said "I think we can skip the test to see if your water has broken."  She checked and we were all surprised to find that I was already dilated to 4-5!


We had let our parents know that we were on the way to the hospital, and about this time Andrew's mom and dad arrived.  We hadn't expected to have any promising news by this point, but since it appeared things were moving fast, we called my parents and told them they might want to head that way as well. 

My nurse came back in after about 30 minutes and looked at the contractions on the monitor.  She mentioned that they looked a little stronger and asked if I had noticed a difference.  I hadn't really seen a big increase but said maybe.  She checked me again and I was at 7.  She immediately sent someone to page the doctor because obviously I was not going to be in labor for 12-16 hours!  The contractions began intensifying and I started freaking out because I had not yet had an epidural.  My entire "birth plan" was: Go to Hospital.  Have Epidural.  Have Baby.  So I started asking when they could get that underway.  We waited what seemed like forever as they had to run some labs and had managed to lose the epidural consent form I signed during our hospital tour.  By the time the anesthesiologist got to my room, I was dilated to 9, in a lot of pain, and very much becoming out of control.  I had not even given thought to giving birth without meds, and I was not handling transition well as a result.

Finally they put the epidural in - it was so difficult to be still through the back-to-back contractions!  It didn't seem to take at first and I was pretty upset.  Finally though, I began to feel some relief and started breathing normally again as the pain subsided.  My nurse told me at that point that if I hadn't had the epi, Lincoln probably would have arrived within twenty minutes.  It probably wouldn't have done any good, but I wish she would have told me that before!

In the moment, I was totally fine with the fact that the epidural slowed my contractions from constant to every 4-5 minutes.  I was so relieved that the pain was gone!  Since I had been basically fully dilated when they finally got my epi in, I was able to start pushing as soon as the drugs had kicked in.  It was slow-going, however, since the labor had slowed so much with the medicine.  I pushed for about an hour before the OB came in and told me that he felt we should do a vacuum delivery and that he was going to perform an episiotomy. 

I had not done much research on any of these things, so I just assumed that these were things that were necessary, said "okay" and the flurry of activity began as everyone was prepping for baby's arrival.  I was shocked at how many nurses and assistants came into the room just before delivery!  With the aid of the vacuum, Lincoln was born after just three more contractions.  I didn't have any pain with the contractions, but the pressure was still pretty incredible even with the medication.


Lincoln James entered the world at 9:27pm on February 19, 2011.  He weighed 8 pounds, 6 ounces and was 20 inches long.  He was born with very chubby cheeks and the saddest little wailing cry I had ever heard!  His hands and feet were so big - lots of people commented on this in the first few days of his life.  Andrew was snapping photos constantly as the teams of nurses started cleaning up Lincoln and taking care of me. 

Proud Daddy!

Meeting Mommy for the first time!

I couldn't believe how beautiful he was - and that he was mine!  Such an amazing feeling.


Once both of us were all taken care of, Andrew brought in all of the proud grandparents to meet the little man!  Everyone was smitten at first sight.

First family photo!

After the grandparents had each had a chance to hold him for a few minutes, we were left alone and I was able to try nursing for the first time.  A lactation consultant was there to watch me - I don't honestly remember much about this experience but I seem to remember that Lincoln did pretty well for his first time nursing.


Lincoln had been born late Saturday evening, so we were in the hospital until Monday afternoon (President's Day).  It was tough to get any rest between the new little boy who wasn't sure about being out here in the world and all of the checking of vitals throughout the day and night.  We were pretty exhausted by the time we were finally cleared to go home.


It wouldn't be until several weeks/months later that I would think back on my hospital birth experience and wonder about some of the choices that I had made, or that had been made for me.  At the time of his birth, however, I was fine with the whole process and just so thrilled that my little boy had arrived safe and sound! 

Cool dude.

It was bright and sunny outside when we left the hospital.  We were so very excited to take Lincoln home with us and start a brand new adventure as a family of three! 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Brotherly Love


Carmex Lip Conditioner {A Nursing Mommy's Review}

Here's something no one really tells you about having a baby - if you make the choice to breastfeed, you are going to be really, really thirsty. Like, all the time.

Unfortunately you usually don't realize this until you are parked on the couch with the Boppy, baby, toddler, and laptop all piled on top of you. And where is your water? Naturally just out of your reach.

When faced with becoming slightly dehydrated for the time being or having to move the whole operation to get that errant water...well, I'll let you decide which option typically wins. For me, the first sign that I am dealing with dehydration is my lips. They start bothering me - they get chapped and dry. And I'll be honest - if my water is out of reach, usually any sort of lip care product is even further away.


BUT I am striving to improve my track record when it comes to keeping these things nearby.  And right now, my go-to in lip care is the amazing new Carmex Everyday Lip Conditioner

Carmex sent me a sample to review and I was a little skeptical.  I am pretty picky about my lip products. They can't be too dry.  They also can't be too gooey.  There's nothing grosser than having sticky lips for twenty minutes after lip gloss application, am I right?  But this new lip care - I am pleased to admit - is fantastic. 

First off, let's talk about the scent.  It has an all-natural orange flavor, which tastes exactly like a Creamsicle.  Can you say delicious.  Hubby normally hates most of my lip products but this one even met his approval.  This conditioner has a matte base, which makes it a go-to product when you want to wear something to soothe your lips before applying a coat of lipstick.  No smearing!  And the best part, it is super smooth and silky - not sticky or gooey.

As I'm writing this - I am sitting on the couch balancing all of the things a nursing mommy needs.  I even have my water.  And right at the top of the list is my Carmex Lip Conditioner! 

Okay, fine.  Technically the lip conditioner is hidden under my leg because the toddler keeps trying to eat it.  But it's within reach.  So I get points for that, right?  :)


Thanks to Carmex for providing sample product to facilitate my review.  I received no other compensation and all views expressed are my own.  For more info, you can read my Disclosure Policy.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Lincoln's Reading Corner November 2012

 
Wow, I can't believe it's already time for another installment of our reading corner!  This month, I have to admit that books have not been as big a priority.  While I was still at the end of pregnancy, I lost motivation to encourage finding new books to read.  Trying to do better now that there is room for Lincoln to sit on my lap again!  Regardless, we did add a few new favorites.  Here are Lincoln's Top 5 Books in November 2012!


1. Toot! Toot!  This book is from the $1 section at Target (Andrew purchased it probably a month ago).  It is literally the best book in our collection right now.  We have memorized it from reading so much - it's only 4 pages long.  Andrew has even invented actions to go along with each page and we all have to participate.  This is our go-to book during diaper changes, tantrums, etc.  And sometimes we'll just randomly quote it to entertain him.  The train is at the station.... Allll aboard! 

2. My Little Book of Trucks, Trains & Tractors.  We were given this book as a hand-me-down from a friend this month, and it has been a big hit.  It seems like a lot of the car/truck books out there just feature the same vehicles over and over again.  This one has some interesting and different trucks, trains, and tractors to see.  I would give examples but as I am writing this, Lincoln has apparently stashed this book somewhere in the house that I can't think to look.

3. The Truck BookAnother book that joined our collection this month - this is a Little Golden Super Shape Book.  Normally I don't let Lincoln have books with paper pages because I don't trust him to not rip them yet - but he's done pretty well with this one so far!  This book features interesting trucks such as a bakery truck, telephone truck, snowplow, and more.

4. Two Bad Mice.  This is a lift-the-flap book from LeapFrog based on the original story by Beatrix Potter.  I'm not sure why Lincoln is obsessed with this book, maybe he just wants to be naughty like the two bad mice?  Tom Thumb and Hunca Munca don't really cause that much trouble, so I guess it's all right.

5.  Noah's Ark.  This is in the same collection as All Things Bright and Beautiful and The Good Shepherd (both featured in October).  It features pop-up flaps and Lincoln enjoys seeing all the different animals, and the places Noah goes to find them.


I am really excited for December, we are going to (hopefully) start a fun holiday book tradition based on this idea I found on Pinterest.  Did you miss last month's reading corner?  You can check out all our recent favorites here!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Mommy's Hobbies (aka what I used to do before kids)

Here's something that I have learned.  As a mommy of a 21-month-old and a 1-week-old, there is barely enough time in the day to get everyone dressed, fed, and in a clean diaper.  In a few weeks - once I've had time to adjust to having two kids under two - maybe I will become one of those awesome Pinterest mommies who crafts everything, turns snacktime into an adventure everyday, and never ever reasons with herself that one more episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse can't really do that much harm, right??

Ha.  Who am I kidding.  The point is, it's tough to get the little stuff done.  So "me time" - that is a thing of the past for a little while.  While I am enjoying tiny newborn snuggles and toddler kisses and always having graham cracker on my clothing, skin, and couch - I do occasionally think about the things I would do if I ever had "free" time.


Theatre


I had a few delightful years when I was actively participating in every show (in some capacity) at our local community theatre.  I have done pretty much everything there is to do in theatre - director, assistant director, costume designer, light tech, sound tech, stage manager, chorus girl, and a few amazing lead roles.  The above photo is my best comic role - Gertrude McFuzz in Seussical the Musical.  Will you look at my sparkly purple platforms?!  They made me about 6 feet tall.  Conveniently, Andrew (whom I met during that production) is 6'3". 


The same year (2007 - where has the time gone?), I played Vera Claythorne in Agatha Christie's classic And Then There Were None.  This was a serious role and required so much dedication to memorize!  But the overall experience was amazing.  I also pretty much starved myself to fit into that dress.  Not a method I would suggest, but...it looks good, right?

My theatrical experiences have been varied - but my absolute passion is musicals.  I have so many dream roles.  Belle in Beauty & the Beast, Jo in Little Women the Musical, and pretty much every character role that Sutton Foster has played.  Will I ever get the chance to play them?  Maybe...or maybe not.  But the love of theatre will live on regardless - and hopefully be shared with my munchkins someday.


Reading


As a former librarian - how could this not make the list?  I haven't picked up a book in months, but oh how I love to be carried away to a faraway place!  I've been trying to re-read Anne of Green Gables for about six months, maybe I will finish before a year goes by?  We'll see.  The book series I tend to fall back upon, though, is this trilogy written by Liz Curtis Higgs: Thorn in My Heart, Fair Is The Rose, and Whence Came A Prince.  Based on the Biblical story of Jacob, Leah, and Rachel, these books take place in Scotland in the 1700's - and it doesn't seem to matter how many times I read them, they are always delightful. 


Sewing/Crafting


All of the costuming I've done in the last few years made me realize that I actually really love to sew.  As a result, my scrapbook room has been turned into a multi-purpose craft room and is now stuffed to overflowing with fabric, felt, patterns, ribbon, and more.  Do I ever get projects done?  Well...sometimes.  But mostly only when they are gifts.  I'm in the process of opening an Etsy shop so hopefully my craftiness will find its way to the web soon!  I had planned a November opening...but a little princess decided to make that impossible.  Above is the Legend of Zelda Triforce pillow shield I made for Lincoln's Halloween costume this year - I'm still working on the tutorial, I promise it will be up soon.  Below is a set of toys I made for a friend's baby shower - puppy dog for baby and dolly for the big sister!

 

Photography


I have a passionate interest in photography, but unfortunately not the time or means to develop it as much as I would like.  I bought my Nikon D3000 about three years ago and have spent that time building a pretty basic understanding of how to shoot in manual.  If I have natural sunlight, I usually do a pretty decent job, but anything less and my photos end up super blurry or super washed out from the built-in flash.  Oh, for the time to practice and learn and better this skill!  And oh, for the money to buy the Nikon 40mm f/2.8G AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR Lens that I kind of desperately want.


Project Life


Of all of my hobbies, this is the one that actually tends to stay mostly caught up.  Project Life is a scrapbooking system designed by Becky Higgins to make life so much easier on those of us who really want to keep a scrapbook of memories for our families - but don't have the time for "traditional" scrapbooking.

I was really hardcore about scrapbooking for many, many years - I only made paper layouts and put them in albums that I had on my bookshelf.  Digital scrapbooking was introduced and I was not a fan.  I was hesitant about switching to Project Life as my primary scrapbook project at first (back in 2010), but wow - the decision is one I absolutely do not regret.  I use Project Life as a daily scrapbook - I (usually) take at least one photo per day, and fill out a small journaling card describing what is going on in each day's photo.  It sounds hard, but it's really not once you are in the habit - and it creates such an interesting scrapbook for your family to view for years to come.  A lot of normal everyday life moments seem to end up in our scrapbook - and I might not even think to take those photos if not for this project!

There are currently seven different editions of Project Life to choose from - this year I am using the Cobalt Edition (pictured) and next year will be using the Amber Edition.  Amazon has the full realm of Project Life products - if you are in the market for a new way to scrapbook, please check it out.  I don't think you'll be sorry!


I'm linking up with Growing Up Geeky for Toddle Along Tuesday!  What are your hobbies - and do you actually find time for them?

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Adelaide: 1 Week Old

Adelaide Rose,

Today you are one week old. It doesn't seem possible that so much time has already passed.


You are such a sweet baby. You hardly ever cry. Once this week you had a tummyache that upset you, and you aren't the biggest fan of diaper changes. But otherwise you are just content and happy!


I have already been able to set you down long enough to shower - several times. Your big brother didn't let me do that until he was several months old!  You love the Rock 'n Play and the swing, but you also love to cuddle.  We spend most of the day (and night) just snuggling. 

You have been sleeping really well during the night - in fact, last night you slept about five and a half hours straight!


It is such a wonderful relief for me that you are a champion at nursing.  You want to eat frequently (anywhere from every half hour to two hours), but I don't mind at all. 

You are wearing size Newborn clothes and they are just precious.  I am definitely picking out the purple and green outfits first, even though we (of course) have a mountain of pink as well.  Most of the headbands I have purchased for you are way too big on your sweet head, so I am having to be patient about that.


Your big brother makes so much noise and commotion throughout the day, but you don't seem to mind.  You sleep through all of his chaos!  He is doing really well with not grabbing you or trampling you, so that's good! 


You met lots of people in your first week of life - two sets of grandparents, one set of great-grandparents, your aunt, uncle and cousin, and your little buddy Connor who is only three weeks older than you.  Already you are so very loved by everyone who knows you! 

Mommy can't get over how beautiful you are, how incredibly good you smell, and how perfect it is to have you out here in the world and in my arms.  I never want to let you go!


I know the days and weeks and years are going to fly by.  Before I blink, you'll be grown up and asking me to wear makeup and giggling with your friends at slumber parties.  We have so many fun memories to make in the years to come - but I am afraid they will go by too fast.  So I am soaking up every single moment, precious girl. 

I love you.  Forever.

Love,
Mommy

Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About Christmas! Holiday DVD Review + Giveaway


'Twas the day before Christmas and all through the yard
The Cat in the Hat and his guests partied hard.
When the party was over, and the guests all departed
One poor baby reindeer was left broken-hearted!


So begins the thrilling new tale from NCircle Entertainment - released just in time for the holidays - The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About Christmas!  This fun new animated adventure features Martin Short as the voice of the Cat in the Hat and is sure to delight the smallest of the small and the tallest of the tall - and everyone else in between.

Head off on an adventure with the Cat and his friends Nick and Sally as they try to help a little lost reindeer called Ralph find his way home in time for Christmas.  Their journey takes them around the world - all the way to Freezeyourknees Snowland.  The bunch runs into an awful lot of trouble when their Thinga-ma-jigger breaks down during the journey, but they are given assistance by a whole realm of adventurous animals to help them on their way.

Our Thoughts: Lincoln (21 months) has a very select list of movies that he will watch - mostly involving Winnie the Pooh or anything that features a truck - so I was curious if this new story would interest him.  And I was very pleasantly surprised!  Maybe it's just that the Cat's Thinga-ma-jigger resembles a truck, or the assortment of animals that pop up throughout the feature, but it held his attention for quite awhile and he really seemed to enjoy it! 

A good number of classic characters from Dr. Seuss' Cat in the Hat stories are featured - notably Thing 1 and Thing 2 and the Fish in the Pot.  For kids who are fans of the book, this DVD is a great way to bring the characters to life in a festive holiday setting!  The story paces well and features delightful songs throughout.  I think we will be returning to this movie for many years to come.

You can find The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About Christmas on Amazon, NCircle Entertainment, or a local retailer such as Target, Walmart, Kmart and Toys R Us!

 Giveaway

One Director Jewels reader will win a The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About Christmas!  This giveaway will end on November 27 at 11:59pm CST.  This giveaway is open to US readers only.

To enter the giveaway, follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter form below (you may need Javascript enabled to see the form and it may take a moment to load)!  Once you complete the first entry, the other options will open up so that you can complete them as well.  All of the "extra entries" are optional - you can do just one, or as many as you want!  Winners will be contacted by email and have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen.  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Thank you to NCircle Entertainment for sponsoring my DVD sample and the giveaway prize!  I received no other compensation and all views expressed are my own.  For more information, you can read my Giveaway Policy and my Disclosure Policy.

Baby Bump: Week 39 / 5 Days Postpartum

I wrote this post yesterday, when it was Week 39/5 Days Postpartum, but failed to hit "post" before I fell asleep.  Whoops!


 How far along? Would have been 39 weeks - but 5 days postpartum instead!

Weight gain/loss: I'm not sure what my total weight gain was exactly - somewhere in the range of 45 pounds.  I'm down about 15 so far!

Feeling: It depends on the moment, but overall - pretty well.  Mentally, I am great until the  exhaustion hits.  Emotionally, I am so in love with my little family.  Physically...recovery has been tougher than I anticipated.  I am still really sore from having a fair amount of stitches, which has made it tough to do much of anything that requires moving.  I pretty much hang out on one corner of the couch all day.  With Lincoln, I was feeling great after about two days.  I am trying to be patient and give myself time to recover, but I feel so happy to not be pregnant, I'm having a hard time accepting that all I need to do at this point is rest.

Maternity clothes? Still wearing maternity jeans - if I actually get dressed.  But I am mostly wearing pajama pants.  It's getting cold, so I may break out my favorite hoodies this weekend!  I also need to figure out how many nursing-appropriate shirts I have...

Sleep: We are sleeping remarkably well.  When we brought Lincoln home, I don't think anyone slept for four or five days.  Addie is content to sleep curled up in my arm for most of the night, just waking up once or twice to eat.  In fact, Lincoln was up twice as many times as she was last night.  I am doing okay with the lack of sleep because I overall feel so much better having the baby outside of me!  I have taken a few unplanned naps in the past few days, but Andrew has been super awesome and taken my noisy little Lincoln to another part of the house when Addie and I fall asleep on the couch.

Breastfeeding: I could not be more relieved that breastfeeding is wonderful.  Adelaide's latch has been amazing from the beginning.  Occasionally she is sleepy and I have to wake her up to make her eat.  But she is doing great!  We have no real schedule, just feeding whenever she gives any hunger cues - and we are all so much more relaxed and peaceful because of it.  My milk came in about two and a half days after she was born, probably thanks to the fact that Lincoln nursed throughout my pregnancy.  This has also caused me to have very little soreness and (so far) no crazy leaking!  I am also not engorged at all, because Lincoln is happy to take care of any excess.  I am not complaining at all.  After the extremely difficult start to breastfeeding I had with Lincoln, this experience has been a dream. 

Side note - I never really intended to tandem nurse when my breastfeeding journey started almost two years ago.  But here we are!  Planning a longer post about this soon.


Family Adjustment: Lincoln is overall transitioning better than we thought he might.  So far he has only poked Addie in the eye once and crawled over her a couple of times.  He seems content with her presence most of the time - but also doesn't really want to touch/hug/kiss her.  I'm okay with this - I know they're going to be great friends and there's plenty of time for that to happen.  I think he even said "baby" this morning.  For a child who pretty much communicates entirely with words that are vehicular (car, truck, choo-choo) - this melts my heart!  I am doing well this week because Andrew has been home to keep up with Lincoln. Next week will probably be a little more difficult for all of us. 

Best Things about Not Being Pregnant:  Oh my goodness!!  So many things!  Food tastes good.  No more heartburn.  No more itchy belly.  No more trying to roll over in the middle of the night with a baby's head in my pelvis.  No more children warring at each other from inside and outside me.  Even with the difficult recovery, I am so so happy that she is here and I am done.  For now, at least.  

Now then - can somebody get me a Caesar salad, please?  :)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

So Very Thankful.

I've been MIA this week. 

I promise it's for a good reason.  That 38 Week Bump Update turned out to be the last one of its kind.

Miss Adelaide Rose made her (extremely fast) debut to the world this past Sunday, November 18!  She arrived at 38 weeks 2 days gestation (1 day earlier than Lincoln) and weighed 8 pounds 7 ounces (1 ounce more than Lincoln)!  I guess I grow very consistent babies.

hi everyone!

I will share more details and her birth story soon, but just wanted to post a quick update that she is here! 

I am so thankful for baby snuggles.

I am so thankful for hugs from my sweet boy.


I am so so so very thankful for my incredible husband, who is doing literally everything for me without complaint as I'm taking my time with the recovery from birth.

 And we could not have had a happier, more blessed Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 19, 2012

FREE Greeting Card from Treat 11/19 - 11/20




I don't know about you, but I love things that are free.  Love, love, love.

So when I heard about this offer, I had to share.  Because maybe you love free too.

Today and tomorrow, you can hop over to Treat and snag a FREE greeting card.  Treat offers a great variety of cards for every occasion - holidays, birthdays, thank you or pretty much anything else you can think of.  So why not grab a card for free and save it to use this holiday season?  You can create a unique and personalized card for so many reasons - like a note of appreciation for your Thanksgiving hostess or a just-for-fun note to wish someone happy holiday shopping!



Want to get the deal?  Here's how.  Head over to Treat and use code TREATBLOGR when you check out.  That's it!  Super fast, super easy...and super free.  But hurry - the offer ends tomorrow, November 20.

Let me know what kind of card you make!  And have fun!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Melissa & Doug Big Rig Building Set Giveaway


You may remember that last week I let you know about the Melissa & Doug Terrific Twenty Holiday Gift List!  There are still ten days left in the one prize a day contest on the Melissa & Doug Facebook page - have you entered yet?  You only have to enter once to be eligible for all of the remaining prizes!


Here's even more good news - if you are looking for another chance to win, you're in the right place!  Our favorite from this year's Terrific Twenty is the Big Rig Building Set (you know - because Lincoln is obsessed with trucks) - and one lucky reader can win this awesome toy right here on the blog, just in time for Christmas!

This truck features a two-piece tractor-trailer that's loaded with 22 wooden pieces, including tools such as a hammer, screwdriver, wrench, and more!  If you know a little boy - or girl - who (like mine) likes to build and adores trucks...this one is sure to make them smile!

 Giveaway

One Director Jewels reader will win a Melissa & Doug Big Rig Building Set!  This giveaway will end on November 27 at 11:59pm CST.  This giveaway is open to US readers only.

To enter the giveaway, follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter form below (you may need Javascript enabled to see the form and it may take a moment to load)!  Once you complete the first entry, the other options will open up so that you can complete them as well.  All of the "extra entries" are optional - you can do just one, or as many as you want!  Winners will be contacted by email and have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen.  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Thank you to Melissa & Doug for sponsoring my toy sample and the giveaway prize!  I received no other compensation and all views expressed are my own.  For more information, you can read my Giveaway Policy and my Disclosure Policy.

Baby Bump: Week 38


How far along?  38 weeks! 

Weight gain/loss: At this point it's just a stash so that breastfeeding can get off to a great start, right? New mental coping mechanism.

Feeling: Doing okay overall, but really just very, very ready to be done.  Everyone talks about how the last few weeks of pregnancy drag on - but seriously, when pregnancy has been dragging since week five when you first started having constant nausea, by week 38 you are just done.

Maternity clothes?  I wear tank tops and pajama pants at home.  If I happen to leave the house (rare), I wear the same shirt/jeans for two or three or four days.  Maternity clothes are only fun when you have a little bitty bump to show off.  Once you get to this point...it's all meh.

Sleep: Yeah I don't want to talk about this.  I managed to get about six hours of interrupted sleep last night.  And it was probably the best night all week.  Bring on the newborn, I'm not sleeping anyway.

Food cravings: Last night I decided that we had to go have Buffalo Wild Wings.  In a meager attempt to "spicy food" her out, I ordered something above the "green" level on the spicy scale.  So far it hasn't worked.  Otherwise, I just miss the things I'm not supposed to have.

Gender: Hope she is a girl since I ordered her a custom purple blanket this week and there is a pink Baby's First Christmas ornament on our tree...
 
Movement?  Mostly nudges at this point.  I can sometimes feel her halfway around my side.  She is out of room.

What I miss?  Oh, pretty much everything about not being pregnant.

Best moment this week: Last weekend was nice, we went on two walks on Saturday because the weather was gorgeous.  Otherwise the week has really dragged on.

What I'm looking forward to:  Next Monday I will be 38 weeks and 3 days - which is when Lincoln was born.  I'm pretty sure I am going to cry if she is not out by then.  Second babies are supposed to come earlier, right?  If you have a story about how your second child came later than your first, please wait until my baby is born to share it with me.  Because right now I cannot be held responsible for my actions.  I really want to have the baby here by Thanksgiving, which is less than a week away.  I realize I don't get a choice in the matter, but the food is going to taste awful if I am still super pregnant. :\

Next Appointment: November 21 at 38 weeks, 5 days.

Just for fun - here's a comparison photo.  What do you think?  Am I having a baby within the next few days?

Yes, 38 weeks happened to fall on the 16th both pregnancies.  Coincidence?

Don't forget to enter the $50 Tiny Prints Giveaway - it ends tonight at 11:01pm CST!
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