Violet Jayne’s Birth Story

By bri {

The Birth of Violet Jayne

3 months later and I’m finally updating about the birth of one Miss Violet Jayne.

Violet Jayne’s Birth Story

At exactly 39 weeks pregnant, I decided that it would probably be best for me to start working from home until Violet came. I had a feeling she was going to come early, but I didn’t know just how spot on I was!

Working from home

That Saturday, August 23rd, JT and I laid in bed as he massaged my seemingly ever-aching back. My siblings had come over to hang out earlier in the day and I went to a movie that afternoon with my sister.

Swing

For the past few weeks I’d had Braxton Hicks contractions on and off and the past couple of days I had inconsistent cramping.

As he and I laid there, I wasn’t feeling any cramping, but I was more uncomfortable than usual.

At around 10pm or so, JT headed into Roree’s bedroom to go to sleep (where he had been sleeping since we moved her into her room). Almost immediately after he left my discomfort turned into consistent cramping. 40 minutes later, it was obvious that I was having contractions, so I started timing them on an app on my phone.

timer

My contractions were around 4-5 minutes apart and lasting about a minute.

It seemed like they started off with a bang.

With Roree, the contractions went from uncomfortable cramping to HOLY CRAP I WANT TO DIE in several hours, but I was at the OMG THIS SUCKS point as soon as the discomfort started coming in waves.

At around 11pm, I decided that a shower might help with the pain, so I tore off my clothes and jumped in to a nice, steamy shower. While it did calm me down and relax my body, the pain still increased and I was starting to feel pressure. To top it all off, the contractions got A LOT closer together.

They went from 4-5 minutes apart to 1-2minutes apart, still lasting about a minute long.

I don’t remember feeling any pressure with Roree until it was time to push, so I started to get concerned.

I remember thinking that I SO did not want to leave the shower, but I also knew I couldn’t yell loud enough for JT to hear me all the way across the house in Roree’s room …and I wasn’t planning a homebirth!

I finally mentally prepared myself to get out of the shower and get dressed. Along with the outfit I had picked out for that very moment, I slipped on the beautiful diffuser necklace that my good friend made for me and dripped some doTERRA Serenity and Balance onto it, to help ease my anxiety that had been such an issue or me when I was in labor with Roree. I also put a drop of peppermint under my tongue to help with the nausea that was beginning to creep up on me.

necklace

Once I was properly doused in oils and in comfy laboring clothes, I woke JT up. There was no hesitation this time. I knew I was in labor.

I had him call my sister and the midwife to tell them it was go time and that we were heading to the hospital.

Though I was sure I was in labor, my last experience had me a little worried about my progress. With Roree, my contractions were more gradually increasing than this time around and my progress was so slow, likely due to my anxiety.

Though these contractions were much more intense, I was still worried that I wouldn’t have progressed enough to warrant staying at the hospital and I was really dreading the drive.

“I don’t care how far along I’m progressed, I am getting admitted and I’m getting the epidural,” I remember telling JT at one point.

My sister arrived, half asleep, at around 11:45pm. My family just loves that I like to go into labor in the middle of the night.

I was pacing around the house as we waited for her arrival. There wasn’t much to do since my car had been packed and ready with our hospital bags since week 36.

At some point, JT asked me a question as I was in the middle of a contraction and I immediately snapped, “ARE YOU SERIOUSLY TALKING TO ME RIGHT NOW?!” I heard my sister smother a chuckle.

We headed out to the hospital just after 12am.

The drive REALLY sucked.

However, I was far more calm than I was during labor with Roree. My anxiety was not an issue at all this time around. I was able to focus on getting through the contractions despite the discomfort of being in a car for an hour.

We arrived at the hospital at around 1am and were able to get checked in and into Triage fairly quickly.

I remember being so nervous that I wasn’t progressed at all as the nurse checked me. To make matters worse, after she checked me, she didn’t tell me how progressed I was, instead, she told me that she had to go get someone else to double check for her.

I waited impatiently for a good 20 minutes, desperately wanting to pace, but I knowing that I couldn’t until they were done monitoring me. This time around, I HATED contracting while laying down. With Roree, it was all I wanted to do.

Finally, the other nurse came in, checked me and said, “Yep, 6cm with bulging waters.”

Cue the flood of relief! I couldn’t believe I was already 6cm! With Roree, I’d gotten the epidural at 3cm.

My parents arrived shortly after I was checked and they notified both of my sisters of my progress.

At around 1:30am or so we were admitted into the delivery room where it took 2 nurses and a good 30 mins to get the IV in my arm for fluids.

I found myself moaning through contractions and desperately wanting pressure on my back during each one.

I had back labor with Roree, too, but I didn’t want ANYONE touching me.

My Daddy somehow managed to become my masseuse during contractions. I leaned hard on him, so much so that I remember hearing him groaning trying not to fall over LOL!

My midwife was amazing and very calming, as usual. Not overly intrusive, but also very present. She was an awesome cheerleader as was my mom and JT.

At some point, the nurses asked what my birth plan was, to which I quickly said, “Avoid C-section, get epidural ASAP.” Talk about a difference in birth plans this time around vs. last time!

My midwife reminded me that I still could get a room with a birth tub or go into the shower if I wanted to try the natural route. She didn’t check me yet and didn’t want to because she didn’t want to break my waters, but she told me she thought I was pretty far progressed.

At that point, I didn’t care. I remembered the epic relief the epidural brought last time and I really wanted to rest before pushing since I hadn’t slept at all. She, of course, abided by my wishes.

The anesthesiologist arrived shortly after I finished my IV fluids. As soon as she walked in, I greeted her with a, “HELLO BEST FRIEND!”

My parents left the room and my dad met with my sister to take Roree as my sisters came into the hospital and waited in the waiting room as I got the epidural.

I loved the anesthesiologist, not just because it didn’t take her 2 times to put in the epidural and not just because she was bringing relief from the pain, but because as I had a contraction while she was prepping my back, she gave me an awesome massage to help counter the pain. She was awesome.

Relief came quickly and my midwife checked me.

I was 9.5cm.

No wonder I wanted the epidural so badly! I was in transition!

And, HOLY CRAP, I’d went from 6cm to 9.5cm in 2 hours! With no pitocin!

I started sensing that something was wrong, though. My midwife was making small talk with me, but she didn’t say that I could sit up or that my family could come back in yet.

It turned out my blood pressure had dropped because of the epidural and my pulse was racing. When she finally told me that was the problem, I assured her that my racing pulse was very likely anxiety because I knew something was wrong.

I loaded up on more oils and tried to focus on calming my racing heart.

When my pressure started to stabilize, she asked if I wanted my family to come back in.

“Definitely,” I told her.

Later, my midwife told me that one by one as my family walked in the door, she watched my pulse slow.

The essential oils are amazing, but the affect my family has on me cannot be matched.

My mom and sisters entered the room and insanity ensued. We laughed and joked as we did when I was in labor with Roree, but I was also able to relax and prepare for the pushing phase.

I thought for sure that I wouldn’t have a lot of time to rest since I was already so far along, however, the hours slipped by and I was able to relax.

My sisters and mom took turns giving me massages, I listened to the playlist I’d made for labor and I drifted in and out of sleep as Serenity and Balance diffused on my necklace and in the diffuser I brought.

At one point, Taina decided she needed to “warm up” for my pushed phase and a series of hilarious pictures ensued.

Around 6:15am, I started feeling some pressure and the urge to push. My nurse and midwife came in, along with all the exciting Here Comes Baby gear.

I had plenty of energy to push and absolutely no pain again this time. I felt pressure and I could even feel Violet, but it wasn’t painful at all.

This time, I agreed to have a mirror so that I could watch and I asked Marissa to take pictures. Taina held one leg (something she was really proud of – we even have a picture of me in the middle of pushing giving a thumbs up), JT had the other leg and my mom stroked my hair.

Pushing took a little longer this time. Violet wasn’t as far down as Roree was when I started pushing and she was also bigger.

At some point my water broke and somehow curved past Marissa and hit JT. Hilarious.

Then, at 6:42am, I saw the top of Violet Jayne’s head and then just cheeks.

Next thing I knew, she was on my chest and the world melted away. It was just me and this baby with huge cheeks, a crease on top of her nose and red hair.

Violet Jayne's Birth Story

I couldn’t believe I was finally holding my second daughter. 39 weeks felt like 39 years, but every second waiting was worth that moment and all that followed.

Violet Jayne's Birth Story

Unlike Roree, she didn’t poop on me and she didn’t latch right away, though I tried. She just didn’t seem interested, so I let the nurses take her away after JT cut the cord, and weigh her.

Violet Jayne's Birth Story

My sisters and I were all saying, “She’s so little! I thought she’d be bigger!” It turns out, she was actually bigger than Roree! 8lbs 10oz.

I told myself this time around I would pay attention to my family around me, wanting to see what their reactions were, but it is amazing what holding your baby for the first time can do to you.

Violet Jayne's Birth Story


What to do If Your Child Sees A Woman Breastfeeding

By bri {

World Breastfeeding Week wrapped up yesterday and during that week the amazing Tampa Bay Birth Network shared educational memes about breastfeeding on their Facebook page.

I had submitted a photo I took of Roree and they used it with this caption:

Allow children to witness breastfeeding

I do not know how many times the argument against nursing in public arises in relation to other children witnessing a mother breastfeeding her child. One of the most common things I hear is, “I don’t want to have that conversation with my child at the park/restaurant/etc!” or “How am I supposed to explain that to my child?”

For those that share such concerns, let me help you.

 

How to Explain to Your Child the Act of Breastfeeding

Child: “Mom/Dad? What is that lady doing?”

You: “She is feeding her child.”

Note: The conversation could very well end here, but just in case it doesn’t…

Child: “Why is she doing it like that?”

You: “Because that is why a woman has breasts, to feed her baby.”

Child: “Did you feed me like that when I was a baby?”

You: “Yes.” or “No, I was not able to/chose not to, but that is why they make formula and bottles.”

The end.

 

 

I’m proud to say that Roree only associates breasts and breastfeeding with comfort, love and nourishment. In fact, whenever she wants to show affection toward something, she nurses it. Including, but not limited to: baby dolls, pictures of people she loves, DVDs, and stuffed animals.

I’m not sure why some parents think that the sight of a mother nourishing her child naturally will turn into a sex conversation when a woman’s breasts’ purpose have nothing to do with sex. This is a learning experience for your child if they don’t already know what breasts are for.

In other words, to those whose children witness me breastfeeding in public… you’re welcome. 

 


Things I Heart: Middle of the Night Wake-Up Call

By bri {

Things I heart

 

Last night, Roree woke up at 3am asking for “boo.” Since we night weaned, I’ve been pretty strict about only nursing her in the morning (anytime after 5am), during the day and in the evenings before 7:30pm.

Sometimes, denying her what she wants like this results in endless crying fits all night and into the early morning. This happened only a few days ago, actually, so I was expecting the worst.

Instead, I offered her milk from her sippy cup and she accepted. I asked her if she wanted to cuddle and she said that she did, so I held and rocked her as I do in the evenings before she goes to bed, until 4:45am.

This may seem like it would be stressful, but after that night where she woke at 2:45am and screamed/cried on and off until after 5am, I considered it a success.

Especially after I finally was able to lay her down and she scooted close to me and wrapped her arms around my neck as she fell asleep. We both laid on our sides and she dozed off.

I was uncomfortable and I had to pee, but the feeling of her breath on my face and feeling her chest rise and fall was worth it.

Eventually, she rolled over and into her crib where she proceeded to fall asleep and didn’t wake up until 7am.

I loved this night, despite the middle-of-the-night wake up call.

Here are a few more things I heart:

 

Items I ♥

Diffuser Necklace and Laundry Sorter

Oak’s Tribal Essential Oil Diffuser Pendants

My good friend (and Roree’s back-up babysitter) Lori just opened up an amazing shop that sells beautiful, handmade essential oil diffuser pendants.

I can’t even tell you how life-saving this product will be for me. As someone who suffers from panic attacks and crazy anxiety, the ability to diffuse doTERRA Serenity oil blend at any time, and being able to wear it on a beautiful necklace, is amazing.

I also plan on using it during labor as she made me a pendant that says, “So tiny, so small, so loved by all.

Right now she is selling them at a discounted rate for testing purposes, so grab one soon before the deal is off!

Visit her Facebook Page here.

 

Triple Mesh Laundry Sorter

This is totally the ‘nesting instinct’ part of me talking right now, but I’m so excited about my new laundry sorter. It was a great price (under $20) and it has made my laundry life so much easier.

We do a load of laundry every day, which has saved us so much stress! It’s nice to never have an overflowing pile of laundry.

However, I’ve never been much for sorting whites and colors, which has taken a toll on our clothes. I also tend to just throw clothes out that have stains on them.

With the sorter, I am able to easily sort lights and darks and have another bin for stained clothes for me to treat before they go in the wash!

Buy the laundry sorter here.

 

I ♥ JT

Roree and Dada

  • We are on the same page when it comes to parenting.
    I can’t emphasize enough how important this is when it comes to parenting consistently and not confusing your child!
  • I love how patient he is with Roree when she’s having an epic meltdown.
    Whether he actually is feeling patient when he’s talking her through big emotions or not, he definitely comes across as though he is, and that is what matters. To her and to me.
  • He has really stepped up these last few weeks of my pregnancy – when I need it the most.
    My ankles have been swelling a bit and I’ve been getting sharp pains in my pelvis since Violet dropped, which has made parenting a toddler very difficult. Thank goodness for JT, because he has been picking up the slack and allowing me to put my feet up in the evenings for a couple hours!

 

I ♥ Roree

Roree holding a lizard

  • She sings along with me when I am belting out silly songs…even if she doesn’t know the words.
  • The way she says, “YEAH!” when I finally understand her requests.
  • She loves feeding the dogs – one of her daily chores – and how she does it with careful consideration.

 

Links I ♥

Links-I-Heart

A Surprisingly Effective Alternative to Punishment from Parenting Beyond Punishment
Love, love, LOVE this article. If gentle/attachment parenting feels right to you or if you are intrigued by the idea, then this is a fantastic read.

Fine Motor Skills Activities with Clothespins from LalyMom
OMG! These are so simple and perfect for Roree, I can’t believe I never thought of using all the clothespins I have laying around for this!

How to Create Beachy Waves (With a Flat Iron) from A Beautiful Mess
I don’t know how long I have been trying to figure out how to add beach waves to my hair! This seems very simple and the fact that she has short hair and it works, really gets me motivated to try this out.

Three Clutter Traps You Can Change Today from 30 Handmade Days
My intense nesting instinct loves this post and will incorporate it soon.

The only thing you need to do to organize toys from Clean Mama
“CONTAIN the toys. It sounds so simple and you probably are already doing this, but keeping the toys organized and giving them a ‘home’ is key. How does this work? Group like toys together and use what you have or purchase boxes, bins, baskets – whatever works for your space.”
This is exactly what we did for Roree and Violet’s playroom and it has been working out REALLY well!

 

Quote I ♥

Beautiful and Terrible Things


 

Random Things I ♥

When JT says, “You’re a monster!” in his best Gingerbread Man from Shrek voice and Roree immediately responds, “RAWR!” LOL!

That you can create calendar events from the Google Search Bar.

Act Like a Girl Video From Always

The Honest Company

My sister’s incredible birthday cake and cupcakes for Roree and my niece:
Chocolate Rose Birthday Cake

Chocolate Rose Cupcakes


My Breastfeeding Rollercoaster – The Best Ride of My Life

By bri {

breastfeeding4

For me, there was no option besides breastfeeding.

When I first got pregnant with Roree, I never even considered using formula. I had nothing against it, but it just didn’t make any sense to me whatsoever.

Why would I pay so much money for something I could produce for free?

Both my sister and my mom have always been breastfeeding advocates. My sister nursed both of her children full term and my mom used to give talks and teach breastfeeding classes for the Health Department when I was younger.

Actually, I remember, as a kid, sitting in the back of the room, coloring while she spoke.

Also, she nursed me.

Until I was 3 years old.

None of this was ever weird to me.

Breastfeeding was never anything but natural, in my opinion.

And that is exactly how I believe it should be for everyone.

As someone once said (I wish I could remember who) there shouldn’t be breastfeeding or bottle feeding… It is just feeding.

Why does it matter how it is done? Why should one way be offensive or scandalous or sexual?

But, I digress.

 

I’m here to talk about my breastfeeding story for World Breastfeeding Week, and here it is:

I never wanted kids, and then, 4 years into our child-free marriage, my husband and I found out I was pregnant.

After a brief freak out, I did what I always do when life throws me curveballs.

I learn how to play catch.

I threw myself in, full-force and never looked back, because if I was going to bring a human being onto this earth, I wanted to make damn sure that human being never felt like the “surprise” that she was.

Serendipitous, maybe, but never an accident.

I researched all sorts of things. Attachment parenting, babywearing, cloth diapering, etc.

Breastfeeding, I thought, didn’t really need to be researched, initially. I mean, it’s natural, we all can do it, how difficult can it be? (ha!)

But the more I researched about other topics, the more breastfeeding came up and I decided to read up on it, anyway.

That was when I realized it, maybe, wasn’t as easy as I thought it could be. And if it wasn’t easy, then that means I could possibly have issues … and OH MY GOD WHAT WOULD I DO IF I COULDN’T BREASTFEED?!

Forget college funds! How the hell would I afford FORMULA?!

And so, I started reading all the breastfeeding articles and books I could get my hands on, I started going to La Leche League meetings at around 20 weeks pregnant, because gosh darn it, I was going to be PREPARED.

Yet, I still had vivid pregnancy nightmares constantly that I wouldn’t be able breastfeed my daughter.

And then, 2 days after her due date, Roree arrived.

I brought her up to my chest
said, “Hello, Roree!”
she pooped on me
got cleaned up
and I brought her to my breast

World Breastfeeding Week: My Story

She nursed for a long time on one side, then switched to the otherside and HOLY CRAP IT HURT!

But, I was determined.

I’d donated 80,000 samples of formula I’d received in the mail during my pregnancy, so in my mind, there was no freaking way this was not going to work.

I talked to a lactation consultant in the hospital as soon as I could. She peeked over my shoulder while I nursed, shrugged and said, “Looks like she’s latched on, fine.”

And she left.

I dropped my head in defeat and kept on (painfully) nursing the rest of that night.

The next day I called for a different lactation consultant because all the hundreds of articles I read told me that nursing should not feel like your newborn is a zombie and your nipple is brains.

And, dear God, was that a BLISTER ON MY NIPPLE?

So, the next LC came in and pretty much said the same thing as the first one.

I wanted to cry, but I kept on nursing.

The day we were going to leave the hospital, I was a nervous wreck. All I could think about was how in the hell I was going to nurse this child until she was 3 years old if it hurt this bad… and how in the world was I going to be a PARENT? Could I just put her back in my belly? It was WAY easier then, swollen ankles and all!

So, I tried one last time, to talk to yet another LC.

It was only a couple hours before we were going to be discharged, when the latest LC finally came in. (We’d been waiting for hours).

She asked me to go ahead and nurse Roree so that she could watch. As she peeked over my shoulder, I dreaded the inevitable, “Looks fine to me!” comment, but she didn’t say that. Instead she looked from a couple different angles, then asked me to unlatch.

“Do you see how your nipple looks kind of like lipstick right now?” She asked.

“You mean in that it is bright red and bleeding?” I asked.

“Well, yeah, but also the shape. Her latch is very shallow.”

And then, she explained to me how to fix the situation.

It turns out, I was being a little too gentle when latching Roree on. It had always felt awkward to balance her little head in the crook of my elbow and try to aim my nipple into her mouth.

The LC taught me to hold the back of her head in my hand, football style, point my nipple upward so that she’d have to open her mouth wide and basically shove her on there.

And oh. my. god. What a difference that first, new latch made!

Suddenly, all my parenting fears faded away.

Yes, it still hurt to latch her initially because of the initial damage to my nipple, but the difference was obvious.

She didn’t leave right away, either. She stayed to watch another nursing session and taught me how to tell when Roree was swallowing. She gave me more pointers and then, after sitting with me for over an hour, she left.

And I wanted to cry with relief.

I’d love to tell you that from that point on, breastfeeding was simple and easy and I never, ever, ever had a problem again!

But, like, well, life, breastfeeding has its bumps in the road.

 

Oversupply

When my milk came in a couple days later, I thought I was going to die.

My boobs were like leaky boulders and they hurt SO BAD to the point where my entire body ached and I had chills.

Roree had trouble latching since they were so full, and she would often choke on my fire-hose-force let down.

At one point, she unlatched just when my letdown occurred and I shot my cat square in the head with milk.

He was across the room.

He also deserved it, but that’s besides the point.

Anyway, everything I read told me not to pump because that could worsen the problem, but I didn’t care. I would be going back to work in a couple months and I needed the extra milk, so I pumped before I fed Roree and had an extra pumping session at night.

It actually worked for me.

Soon, my supply regulated, I didn’t have boulder-boobs and I was building a nice stash of liquid gold.

 

Nursing Strike

At around 3 months old, Roree had a nursing strike.

I cannot even tell you the sheer panic I felt when my daughter would not accept her only source of food and scream bloody murder any time I tried to nurse her.

For her to go from nursing every 1.5 hours, to skipping 5-6 hours at a time, terrified me to no end.

I was at a loss. For a good week, it took me at least an hour to finally get her to latch on.

My resolution was to try every weird and odd position I could to get her to latch on. At one point, I would stand with one foot on the bed, my torso turned, Roree at an angle and my boob in her mouth… and that was the only way she would nurse.

For that session anyway.

It was hell, but it only lasted a few days, thank goodness, and it wasn’t every nursing session… it was just most of them.

I’m pretty sure that is the point in my parenting journey which I went partially deaf.

My daughter has quite the set of lungs on her.

From the time she was 3 months old, until now, (she is a couple weeks away from her 2nd birthday) breastfeeding has been a breeze

Better than a breeze, it has been amazing.

I wouldn’t trade a THING, not even the sleepless nights and the epic nursing sessions, for the breastfeeding relationship I’ve had with her.

For the ease with which I can soothe her.

For the way I can nurse her when she’s sick and wouldn’t eat or drink anything else.

For those moments when she is looking up at me with those giant blue-gray eyes as we share an irreplaceable bond.

breastfeeding2

 

And then, there was another stick that was peed upon… and another plus sign.

 

Pregnancy Nursing Aversion

I’m currently 36 weeks as of today. When I first got pregnant, nothing about our nursing relationship changed.

And then this happened. So, we night-weaned.

And then, my nipples started getting REALLY sore around 20 weeks or so, to the point where nursing Roree kind of made me want to rip out my eyeballs.

I felt so guilty, but I, for the very first time in our breastfeeding relationship, started redirecting her when she’d ask to nurse, or down right telling her, “Not right now, but later.”

She is down to nursing about 2-3x a day when I work, and on the weekends when I’m home with her, about 4-5x a day.

It hurts every. single. time. And, worse than the pain, which I can grit my teeth and handle, is the agitation.

For whatever reason, my nipples are so sensitive.

Like… blow on my nipple softly…while I’m wearing a sweater…and I will feel it kind of sensitive.

This makes the entire nursing session feel like nails on a chalkboard for me.

And it kills me. Not just the soreness or the annoying sensation it brings… but the fact that my beautiful, calming nursing sessions have turned into something I dread.

Thankfully, I found the book Adventures in Tandem Nursing: Breastfeeding During Pregnancy and Beyond and it validated absolutely everything I was feeling.

I plan on tandem nursing baby Violet and Roree, if Roree still wants to nurse, but I still have nightmares about breastfeeding not working out.

This time, though, I’m armed with not only knowledge, but experience under my belt.

For those new moms or soon-to-be moms who want to breastfeed their babies, in my opinion, there are just 3 things you need to be successful and overcome any obstacles.

 

My 3 Tips to Breastfeeding Success

1. Be freaking determined
Do. Not. Give. Up. No matter what. Ever. Ask for help, don’t suffer in silence. Chances are, whatever issue you are having, there is someone else having that same issue who resolved it.

2. Build an incredible support system
Hopefully your partner is just as motivated about breastfeeding as you are and willing to support you through all the ups and downs. Lucky for me, my husband did just that. He is knowledgeable about the benefits of breastfeeding and just as gung-ho as I am about it. I also had a great cheerleading squad from my sister and mom. I also surrounded myself with knowledgeable, experienced mamas who, even at 3am, could answer my most random breastfeeding question and were willing to come over and help at the drop of a hat.

3. Educate the hell out of yourself
Kelly Mom, La Leche League, The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding and YouTube videos are just a few amazing resources to dig into. The internet is full of BS, but it is also full of incredibly useful information when it comes to breastfeeding. Use it.

And just because it is so adorable, I leave you with this:

breastfeeding3


Prepping for Baby #2’s Arrival – A Comparison

By bri {

PreppingForBaby2Arrival

It’s amazing how different preparing for your second child can be.

For me, it is an entirely different experience.

When I found out I was pregnant with Roree, JT and I knew we had to move out of our cute little 1 bedroom apartment and find something closer to my sister (since she watches her) and definitely something bigger.

So, we started looking for houses.

Little did we know it would, literally, take my entire pregnancy to complete the home-buying process.

We signed the mortgage papers on August 1st and moved in August 3rd. Roree was born August 20th.

Needless to say, there was no real nesting for me, except for those last two weeks in which I had to put together an entire house.

I was restlessly living in boxes for most of my pregnancy, which drove me half insane.

This time around, things are a bit more structured.

I’ve been able to start nesting fairly early on once the motivation struck. And thanks to Asana, I’ve been able to schedule all the things that need to be done easily.

One of the first things we had to do was transition my toddler into her own room.

Since Roree has experienced some big changes recently (please see: night weaning), I didn’t want to even attempt to transition her into her own room by herself.

Therefore, we used part of our tax return to purchase ourselves a much-needed king-sized bed and moved our queen bed into Roree’s room along with her crib.

Our sleep-plan when Violet comes is for her and I to be in the master bedroom while JT sleeps with Roree in her room.

Eventually, when we feel Roree is ready (i.e. when she doesn’t creep over into the big bed from her crib for snuggles/comfort in the middle of the night… and once she is over the shock of having a new baby sister), JT will move back into the master bedroom and Roree will be in her room by herself.

Honestly, I think JT is a little better off sleeping in Roree’s room! He’ll be getting way more sleep than me!

Since Roree’s room was essentially a toy storage area previously, when we moved the bed and crib in there, we also had to convert JT’s office into a playroom and move JT’s office into my office.

This was quite the undertaking, so I recruited my sisters and mom to help out with this.

My office had become a dumping ground for all things we never really got to unpack in the house and all things we had no idea where else it would go.

JT’s office was basically the dog room and needed to be thoroughly cleaned.

Roree’s room was stocked full of a million toys and books that needed to be organized and moved out.

I seriously thought this would take the duration of my pregnancy, but we got it done in ONE weekend thanks to my family.

JT moved all of his stuff and dumped it into my office while I organized all of Roree’s toys and books.

My sisters and mom organized my office and integrated all of JT’s belongings into it.

My sister, mom, JT and I organized all of the toys and brought the changing table station into the playroom.

Prepping for Baby #2 Toy Storage in the Playroom

We didn’t have a big budget for this project, and honestly didn’t need one. All I did was purchase some shelving from Big Lots, plastic boxes from the dollar store, and shelving and fabric bins from Target. And lots of plastic zip bags for toy organization.

We spent around $150 on the playroom/changing room.

Misc New Baby Prep

We assembled the Pack N Play with the bassinet and changing table next to our bed and stocked it with diapers, coconut oil, wipes, extra blankets, burp cloths, extra PJs and swaddle blankets. I also have a My Breast Friend pillow next to the bed.

We installed Violet’s car seat next to Roree’s.
The first time Roree saw the car seat next to hers, she looked at it curiously, so I said, “That’s Violet’s car seat. Your sister will be sitting there next to you.” To which she responded, “No. Roree’s.” Yikes.

We packed our hospital bags (me, JT and Violet’s) along with Roree’s overnight bag and put it in the trunk of my car.

We still have yet to make freezer meals, but that is on the list of things to do this weekend or next!

After that… I think we’re as prepared as we will ever be for Ms. Violet to make an appearance, whenever she is ready!


Melissa And Doug Busy Boards: A Product Review

By bri {

Melissa and Doug Busy Board Product Review | All's Fair in Love and Words


After a friend of mine showed me pictures of this amazing busy board that her husband made for their son, I became obsessed.

Roree absolutely loves turning lights on and off and doing other fine motor tasks with household items and I knew this would be perfect for her.

I scoured Pinterest and had big plans for JT to make her a busy board.

Toddler Busy Boards | All's Fair in Love and Words

And then I remembered that my friend’s husband used to build houses and JT, though very brilliant in his own way, um… doesn’t.

He likes to think he is handy, but more often than not he ends up breaking things rather than fixing them.

DIY becomes very expensive at our house.

Side note to JT: I love you Honey Bunny! Don’t be offended :D

So, when I came across these Melissa and Doug busy boards, I got super excited! Not only would it save us scouring Home Depot for products we didn’t understand, a lot of frustration and possibly some loss of fingers, but it would actually get here in time for Roree’s birthday.

The issue, I have found, is that when it comes to buying gifts for Roree… I’m terrible at not giving them to her immediately.

Therefore, Roree’s birthday lasts all month long as her gifts trickle in.


Melissa & Doug Deluxe Latches Board – A Review

Melissa and Doug Latches Board Review | All's Fair in Love and Words

I was excited about this, however, also hesitant that my very determined daughter may not be able to figure out how the latches work and it would only serve to frustrate her instead of keeping her busy for any significant amount of time.

I was both right and wrong.

This board most certainly kept my almost 2 year old busy, and it also frustrated her. But that is actually a good thing as far as the learning process goes.

Melissa and Doug Latches Board Review | All's Fair in Love and Words

It isn’t the type of toy I can set in front of her and then walk away. This is definitely a toy that we play with together so that I can help her out.

She figured out a couple of the latches fairly quickly, but a few others she needs to be reminded of how they work. Initially, I definitely had to show her how all of them work.

It is obvious, though, that eventually she will learn all of the latches and be able to fine tune her skills.

Another great thing about this board is that she had a great time simply opening and closing the doors when she was bored with the latches. To make it even better, inside the doors are colored and numbered animals for her to learn as well.

Melissa and Doug Latches Board Review | All's Fair in Love and Words

We are in the process of teaching her how to count and her colors…she’s already pretty good at naming animals, so this is a fantastic learning tool for those items as well as fine motor skills.

All in all, I’m very happy with this product, though it is a little pricey, I know it will last a long time due to the quality of Melissa and Doug products and Roree will have fun with it for a long time.

I even picture her showing Violet how to use it one day :)

Buy the Latches Board on Amazon, now!


Melissa & Doug Basic Skills Board – A Review

I was very excited about this board for the same reason I was excited about the latch board… I know Roree loves this type of thing.

She has been absolutely obsessed with buckling and unbuckling things lately, though it frustrates her to no end.

Melissa and Doug Basic Skills Board Review | All's Fair in Love and Words

This board has a nice combination of items for her to play with and learn, however, I’m not as happy with this item because of the “puzzle” feature. Instead of being stuck to the board, the different activities are each their own puzzle pieces which come off, making it hard for her to use.

I feel like this should have either been a puzzle or a busy board, but not both.

She definitely enjoyed the Latch System board more than this board, but I think as her motor skills get better, she will enjoy this board a bit more.

Buy this Basic Skills Board on Amazon, now!

 

Disclaimer: This review was made completely on my own, no prompting from Melissa and Doug, however the product links are affiliate links. Thanks for your support!

 

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Have you come across any great products recently?


In The Kitchen: Pasta with Chicken, Veggies & Lemon Caper Sauce

By bri {

In-The-Kitchen

Today was an amazing day for all the little reasons.

Mother's Helpers

I scored some great finds at the dollar store, I got to see a friend (albeit very briefly – thunderstorms like to ruin our playdates) who made me a KICKASS diffuser necklace, my niece and nephew played with Roree all day and even got her down for a nap while I continued my “nesting” spree, JT and I were thoroughly entertained by Roree’s jewelry-making skills … and her photography skills.

Toddler jewelry making

I’d been snapping pictures of Roree and her cousins all day (and of dinner), so when I had my camera up in her face, she finally started reaching for it.

I decided to let her take it and see if I could show her how to use it.

toddler photographer

Nailed it.

Here are some of her photos:

Roree's pictures

Photographer in the making? I think so.

And to top it all off? I had a total dinner-win.

It is rare that all three of us absolutely love what is made for dinner. Typically it is either Roree or I who turn our nose up at dinner (yes, I refuse dinner, even if I make it myself. I blame pregnancy.)

But tonight? Tonight, we all loved it.

What’s even better is I totally made the recipe up myself.

 

Pasta with Chicken, Veggies & Lemon Caper Sauce

Pasta with Chicken and Veggies in Lemon Caper Sauce


This recipe was the perfectly decadent mix of lemony buttery goodness. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

 

Ingredients
A whole lotta love
3 thin cut chicken breast cutlets
Half a package of whole wheat pasta (pick your pleasure)
½ jar of capers
1 can of quartered artichokes
¼ cup+ of white wine
¼ cup butter
½ cup flour, divided
Swirl of extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt, black pepper & garlic powder mix for seasoning
Handful of grape tomatoes
½ container of feta cheese
Juice of 2 lemons
A handful of fresh baby spinach
1 tablespoon thinly diced onion
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 cups+ chicken stock (or water with chicken bouillon cubes)

Pasta and Chicken with Lemon Caper Sauce Ingredients

Man, that is a lot of ingredients, but when it comes to the veggies, you really can add whatever you like. I was going to add mushrooms, but they didn’t survive the week. They were super shady-looking when I took them out of the fridge, so I had to toss them. Also, normally, I wouldn’t add the tomatoes, but JT and Roree like them.

You can also, probably, sub the fresh onion and garlic for the powdered version.

 

Directions
In a large ziplock bag, dump in enough flour to coat the chicken. Season with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Drop in chicken and mix around until coated.

Pasta and Chicken with Lemon Caper Sauce browning meat

Meanwhile, swirl the olive oil in a pan on medium heat. Place the chicken in the pan and cook until done (liquid runs clear, meat is firm and white throughout).

Set meat aside in a warm place (I put it on a plate in the microwave.)

Deglaze pan with the white wine. Add in lemon juice and butter. Reduce. Whisk in the chicken stock.

You definitely want to thicken the sauce, and you can do this by making a rue initially, or, how I did it, was take a ¼ cup flour and slowly mix in the lemon/wine/butter/stock mixture until it was a paste, then whisked it in.

Pasta and Chicken with Lemon Caper Sauce adding veggies

Add the onion and garlic to the mixture. Next, slice the chicken and add it as well. Whatever other veggies you decide to add can be mixed in, now. (Tomatoes, spinach, artichokes, capers).

When it came to the artichokes, I cut off the bottom and added those only since the leafy part can be kind of tough to eat sometimes.

After the spinach is wilted and the tomatoes begin to soften and burst, add in the feta cheese and let it get all nice and melty.

While you’re waiting for the veggies to soften and the sauce and ingredient to marinate together, go ahead and cook the pasta to specifications.

I used angel hair pasta – my favorite.

Once the pasta is cooked, add it directly into the sauce mixture.

Pasta and Chicken with Lemon Caper Sauce add in pasta

The little bit of pasta water that gets in will only make the sauce better.

Mix together and serve!

Roree’s plate

Pasta and Chicken with Lemon Caper Sauce Roree's plate

JT’s plate (with an extra sprinkle of feta)

Pasta and Chicken with Lemon Caper Sauce JT's Plate

I didn’t take a picture of my plate, because it was boring. Like I said, I don’t like the tomatoes and without the pop of the red from them, it looks pretty dull.

Roree really loved this! She likes the more high-maintenance meals I make >_< She ate from her plate, then proceeded to pick out all her favorite ingredients from our plates. (The pasta and capers, mostly)

Pasta and Chicken with Lemon Caper Sauce

 

Your-Turn-Sketch

What have you made for dinner lately that was a total win?

 


Things I Heart: Summer Stuff

By bri {

thingsiheart-sketch

Yesterday, when I picked up Roree from my sister’s house, she was shirtless and sweaty.

Roree, not my sister. ;)

It turns out they were dancing to “Happy” by Pharrell Williams. It is, apparently, Roree’s new favorite song. Ironic, isn’t it? My little grumper guss’ favorite song is called “Happy.”

Roree Dancing to Happy
Roree Dancing to Happy

Typically, the drive from my sister’s house to mine (which is only about 10 minutes, if that) is a little shotty since Roree starts getting cranky just in time for me to pick her up. I’m constantly trying to find ways to entertain her during those few minutes. This time, I pulled up my Grooveshark App on my phone and played the song. She sang and danced to it the entire time. I died of cuteness.

That probably tops all the things that I heart recently, but here are a few more:

 

Items I ♥

Items I heart

Clean & Pure Countertop Water Filter
We’ve had this for awhile and I’ve loved it since the day we got it, but I never posted about it. We spent years using a PUR water filter, spending money all the time on replacement filters, so when I came across this, I fell in love. For only around $50, you pretty much have a water filtration system you never have to change.

It’s earth-friendly and cost-effective! We just keep using it to refill a jug of water that we keep in the fridge instead of using water bottles.

Intex Easy Set 10′ X 30″ Swimming Pool with Filter Pump
We are SO loving our Intex Easy Set Pool. We have the 10ft/30″ pool that is the absolutely perfect size for Roree. She can walk around in it without the water going above her head. I’m able to float around and get some much-needed weightlessness-time (not to mention cool off in this wretched heat).

All three (four?) of us are able to fit comfortable in this pool with room to spare and we do it often as it wears Roree out and she adores it so much she sings the whole time she is in it!

I also love that it comes with a filter and it is pretty easy to maintain.

3-Tier Wire Shelving
My sister-in-law told me about her dresser work-around that she uses for her daughter and I decided to do the same for Violet’s room/ play room. Since we were severely limited with space, this was the perfect idea for us that didn’t involve having to buy a dresser.

We purchased two of these wire shelves and some fabric storage bins (8 total, 4 on each shelf) and put them in the closet. It looks great, was easy to put together and was cheaper than any of the dressers we were looking at originally! We also saved a lot of space since the room is so small and it is also doubling as a changing room.

 

I ♥ JT

jt

  • He gives the BEST massages and rarely complains when I request one
  • He lets me rest when I’m exhausted after work because a certain toddler woke up at 12am asking for milk

 

I ♥ Roree

Roree

  • She imitates the dance moves in the “Happy” music video
  • She makes me say random people (and things) names as I’m singing her bedtime song to her

 

Links I ♥

Links I Heart

1) Baby and Toddler Swing DIY from A Beautiful Mess
Must. Make. This.

2) Plan and Prep: Salad in a Jar from Fitnessista
Does anyone else greatly miss McDonald’s Salad Shakers? Because I sure do. This is a great alternative!

3) Zucchini Tots from SkinnyTaste
These look so good, I can almost taste them.

4) 5 Essential Oils I Use Daily from Wellness Mama
The uses are endless!

5) Mini Magazine Notebook How To from A Beautiful Mess
Must do this IMMEDIATELY! This is perfect for making little notebooks that I can keep in my purse or car.

6) Fabric Planter DIY from A Beautiful Mess
I probably wouldn’t use this as a planter, but as storage bins for Roree’s toys or other things in her play room or my office!

7) Portable Activity Kit for Little Travelers from Mama, Papa, Bubba
This would be an absolutely perfect addition to the backpack that I take with me anytime I go anywhere with Roree. I imagine this would be great for restaurants!

 

Quotes I ♥

“There is a voice inside all of us that sings a brave little song. If you can’t hear yours, find your volume button and turn it up.” – Tiffanie DeBartolo

“So rapid is the flight of dreams upon the wings of imagination.” — Alexandre Dumas

“Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash.” — Leonard Cohen

 

Random Things I ♥

Randomly winning a Gymboss timer from one of my favorite blogs!
I’m really excited to use the Gymboss Timer when I start really working on getting back in shape after Violet!

The fact that if I log into Google Chrome from anywhere, all my preferences and bookmarks are loaded!
This is something, I’m sure absolutely everyone knew aside from me up until yesterday. I left my laptop charger at my parents’ house and won’t see it until Thursday, so I had to use JT’s computer. That is when I realized the glory of logging into Google Chrome!

Like-minded MomFriends
It really does take a village to raise a child and I’m noticing more and more how important it is to keep friends around who are like-minded in their parenting style. It makes it so convenient when you ask for advice and get several responses that are aligned with how you want to raise your child.

 
Your-Turn-Sketch
What are you loving this week? What are some of your recent Pinterest/internet finds?


A (few) Week(s) in the Life… Visits from friends, nesting and lots of family time

By bri {

It’s been fairly low-key around here, lately.

There is a plague going around my town and a lot of my friends and their kids have been sick with a nasty stomach bug recently, so I’ve been staying under the radar quite a bit.

My extreme phobia of vomiting + being hugely pregnant + not wanting Roree to go through that has made me a bit of a hermit.

If I’m being honest, I started hermit-ing awhile before the plague hit.

I’ve gotten to the point in my pregnancy where I just want to stay home and nest. I’ve gone on an epic cleaning, purging and organizing spree in my house, pulling JT and other family members into my whirlwind.

Roree helping JT vacuum

It’s been nice having the house consistently in order for the first time in, well, forever.

Usually there are at least 3 rooms in our house that are in pure chaos, but now all of the rooms are cleaned and organized, for the most part. And what’s more? No pile of laundry taller than me! I think we have one small basket of laundry waiting to be done… that has to be a record for my little family.

In any case, here is a quick little update from my world:

 

Happenings

– My BFF/Boo came to visit with her little girl. I can’t even tell you how much it made me miss her and wish that she lived closer. Seriously, just thinking about it breaks my heart.

Renee and Bri

– I’ve had a couple midwife appointments since the last time I updated. All is well in the world of Violet. She is measuring perfectly and always has a strong heartbeat. I’m feeling good, though this heat makes me want to stay indoors (or in water) at all times. I feel much more ready for Violet to come than I did with Roree at this point in my pregnancy last time. Last time, I was hoping Roree would hold off as long as possible since we were in the middle of moving… now I’m ready when she is! Even if she is early!

– JT and I went car hunting during the day on the 4th. His lease is up soon and we were hoping to get a bigger car for him, but it may not be in the cards for us. I’m trying to keep our budget modest as far as cars go, and I’m not willing to sacrifice on quality of the car, so that we can pay down those student loans. I think it will be enough to have one car that fits our whole family. We’ll figure it out.

– Spent the afternoon of the 4th at my brother’s house, just hanging out with the family. We got home around 9pm from his house, just in time to see our neighborhood light up with awesome fireworks. Roree was both thrilled and terrified by the sound. We laid on a blanket (on top of our old futon mattress) in the middle of the driveway and watched all the fireworks. Of course, Roree found it necessary to nurse since she was laying next to me. :) Downside: apparently people of our neighborhood spend millions of dollars on fireworks and continue to set them off well into the wee hours of the morning. Blargh.

 

Things to Come

Like I mentioned, I’ve quarantined myself and have been completely content spending time with family, but mostly organizing and cleaning the house like a crazy person, so there isn’t too much in the near future for us.

JT and I are still on the car search. We may end up buying a used car for the first time… ever. We’ll see how it goes. I’m really wary of used cars! I’m used the brand new ones!

I’m sure there will be lots of swimming in Roree’s little pool. She absolutely loves it. It’s the perfect height for her (30”) so she can walk/jump/splash around without being held. She sings the whole time she is in it… and it feels good for me to be weightless for a time.

 


A Week in the Life: Seeing Violet

By bri {

Happenings

We started having Fridays off at work a couple weeks ago, which is a nice little perk. The first Friday I had off was celebrated by a park date with a friend in which we got rained out of. It ended up being kind of cute because Roree and her friend had a fantastic time jumping in puddles until it started thundering and we had to head home.

Friday night was the first time JT and I went out in the evening sans Roree in awhile. We met up with a few friends and sang some karaoke at a local sports bar. I love that almost everyone who came got up and sang!

karaoke

That same weekend was my birthday and I celebrated it with my family at my brother’s house. My birthday gift to myself was a peek at Violet at a 3D Ultrasound. 28 weeks was a perfect time to look at her because she was already chubby and looking so very baby-ish!

Violet1

We even caught her smiling.

Violet

She was very camera-ready for the first part of the ultrasound and we got some great views of her, but then she fell asleep and put her face in her hands.

If you recall, Roree had a love affair with her placenta whilst In Womb, well, Violet has one with her umbilical cord!

Violet

It will be sad when she has to depart with it.

Roree didn’t attend the ultrasound since she had a bit of a meltdown the first time I got one done at my midwife’s office. It upset her since I couldn’t hold her and someone else was all up in my business.

However, when we returned and I showed her the pictures, telling her that it was her little sister, Violet, she said, “No. Dada.” Apparently Violet also looks like JT. Darn his dominant genes!

 

It is my very favorite thing that, for my birthday, I received 3 Barnes and Noble gift cards. My friends and family know me VERY well and I LOVE it! I know sometimes people feel guilty about giving gift cards, especially if they give me the same gift year after year or if someone else also gives me the same gift card… but seriously… I LOVE IT!

If all I ever got as gifts from anyone for anything was Barnes and Noble gift cards, I would be just as happy.

Needless to say, the very next day I went out and spent all but $11 at Barnes and Noble. I got 4 interesting books from the Bargain Bin and 5 Kumon Work Books for Roree.

The $11 left on the gift card is currently burning a hole in my pocket.

 

The same day as the B&N shopping spree (and Father’s Day), my parents and I took Roree to the Highland Rec Center where they had a special Father’s Day celebration. Dads got in free and there were free hot dogs and ice cream.

JT was spending the day gaming at a friend’s house, so he didn’t partake, but Roree had a great time.

Granted, she didn’t want anything to do with the spraying water and ended up just playing in the kiddie pool, sliding down the baby slide… but at least she had fun and we wore her out enough to have her take a second nap so that I could drive home without a screaming toddler in my back seat!

 

This past Thursday my boss threw me a baby shower at a beautiful little tea house. It was such a sweet gesture considering I haven’t even been there a full year, yet. I’m so grateful for this job and the people I work with.

I also forgot how exciting it is to have a baby shower and see all the adorable little gifts! Not to mention it got me very excited about Violet’s arrival just when I was starting to freak out about all I had to do to prepare for it!

Babyshower

 

JT has every other Friday off and this past Friday was the first one.

We decided to take Roree on a Jungle Safari Tour at Dade City Wild Things since I picked up a Groupon for that and a monkey feeding for two for only $25. Roree loves animals and was such a good girl on the tram ride the entire time.

Her favorite part was feeding the lemurs and the buffalo.

Dade City Wild Things

 

The rest of the weekend was spent prepping for Violet’s arrival and I definitely was not expecting to get as much done as we did. However, both of my sisters, my niece, nephew, and mom all came over to help out and we got SO MUCH done.

I’ll post about the preparation separately since there is so much!

 

Things to Come

I have a midwife appointment on Thursday. Since I’m 30 weeks now, I will be going every 2 weeks until 36 weeks and then will begin going every week until I have Violet.

Just typing that out is surreal! Where did this pregnancy go? I can’t believe I’m going to see Violet in 10 or so weeks! Eep!

 

A very good friend of mine is in town and I get to see her this weekend! I’m so excited! Last time I saw her, she was pregnant. Now, it is my turn (again).

 

I’m also planning a trip to IKEA to obtain a dresser for Violet’s room as well as some sort of closet organizer so that I can start washing Roree’s old clothes and Violet’s new ones and getting them hung up or folded!

That is my favorite part of baby prep! I’m sure there will be misty eyes as I go through Roree’s old clothes. *sniff*

 

Your Turn!

What did you do these past couple of weeks? What is upcoming?


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