.

This blog was started in 2008 when we did IVF for the first time to build our family after 5 1/2 years of infertility. We now have a little boy who is getting ready to be a BIG brother! Our second IVF worked and we are expecting another boy in April 2015 ♥



Sunday, February 22, 2015

{Robot} Baby Shower!

Today was my baby shower hosted by my SIL Amy and my mom! The theme was "robots" and everything turned out so well! We all pitched in to make it special. Handmade invites were sent out and since robot stuff is hard to find, we had to get creative with decorations! Amy drew this great banner:



 
There was lots of good snacks and desserts to munch on! We had fruit kababs, veggie cups, cupcakes, a robot cake, pinwheels, blueberry trifle, banana pudding, pretzels, crackers and dip, and blue punch. Yum! Check out this amazing robot cake that Amy made:


 

 


These little bags were filled with popcorn for take-home favors

There were 4 different games (with prizes!) that we had ready. For this one, you cut a string to the length you think will go around my belly! (My mom won this one)


There was also a word scramble (Regina won this) and a questionnaire to see how well everyone knew me! (Margaret won this one)

For this one we filled a large bottle with kisses and people had to guess how many were in it. There was 138 and Margaret guessed the closest at 132! She got to take home the candy.
 


Of course Brad wanted to help people fill out their answers!









 Everyone was so sweet to bring presents and baby Jacob got a lot of much needed goodies! We all had a fun time seeing what each gift was.






 Everyone had a great time and I am so appreciative for those who came to celebrate our new addition! I will leave you with a picture from our US on Thursday of what my little one's face looks like.....


Only 7 weeks left to go!


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Thursday, February 12, 2015

Orange Cream No-Bake Cheesecake

I made this delicious dessert for the first time a few days ago and I was very happy with it! Around here, we love anything that tastes like an orange creamsicle and this fits the part perfectly. It was super quick to put together and ready to eat in a few hours. Definitely a make again! Unfortunately I don't remember where I got the recipe from, but I will share it with you from my cookbook.


9in graham cracker crust
1 box orange jello
1c cottage cheese
8oz soft cream cheese
8oz thawed cool whip
2/3c boiling water

Stir water with Jello until dissolved. Let cool slightly and add to large bowl with cottage cheese and sour cream. Mix well. Slowly add cool whip and mix, then pour all into crust. Refrigerate for 2-4hrs before serving.

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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

That's OK

As a parent I really saw how much of my controlling tendencies I had to overcome. Not that I'm super controlling, but I do like things to go a certain way in my house just to make life run smoother. Nick is the same way, and perhaps even more so than I am. But things are a bit different when it comes to kids, and that is something that we are both learning as we go. Sometimes things don't go exactly as you want them to, and sometimes that's ok.
 
Brad has holes in the knees of some of his jeans, but that's ok because that means he has been playing and being a kid.
Sometimes he goes to bed a few minutes late but that's ok because he was reading me his favorite story.
Sometimes he has a snack right before dinner, but that's ok because it was a banana and I will never NOT let him eat a piece of fresh fruit when he wants it.
Sometimes he comes home from school with paint on his shirt, but that's ok because that means he was participating and learning.
Sometimes he gets marker on his hands and face but that's ok because that means he was drawing and being creative.
Sometimes he wants me to brush his teeth for him, and that's ok because I know these days will be gone soon.
He insists on buckling his own buckle in the car (even though it takes forever) and that's ok because he is learning to be independent.

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Sunday, February 8, 2015

First Performance

 I am a proud momma! Last Friday was Bradley's very first time to have a school performance. I had to work that day but was able to leave just long enough to see him show off his hard work! I wouldn't have missed it for the world. Nick and I are so proud of him--he behaved so well, and remembered all of his hand gestures. They sang 5 short songs about Valentine's Day and did a great job. He didn't even act up when he spotted us, he just smiled really big!




 
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Sunday, January 25, 2015

My (Realistic and Affordable) Cloth Diapering Plan

You are probably thinking I am either crazy or a hippie. I might be a little of both, but I look forward to the challenge! I first started thinking about using cloth diapers when I realized how much money I could be saving. That is the primary reason I am doing this. Sure there are other great benefits (better for the planet, more natural on baby's skin, etc) but I am going to save money so sign me up!

Let me start off by clarifying---I am NOT going to be using the fancy cute trendy cloth diapers that are so popular right now. Those suckers cost at least $15-$20 PER diaper and I would have to spend hundreds just to get a start-up stash going. I am sticking with the old-fashioned way of folding a cloth diaper over baby then using a waterproof cover. Easy peasy!

For those who aren't very familiar with the different kinds of cloth diapers, I have been doing my research so I will share with you what I have learned....
 
 
There are pocket diapers where you literally have a pocket in the cover that you stuff an absorbent insert into then you put the whole thing on baby. When it is soiled, you get the fun job of disassembling the yucky dirty diaper and removing the insert before you get a clean cover+insert to put on. I am not a fan of this style:


Next is called the All-in-One cloth diaper. This is style is most "convenient" and similar to a disposable diaper. The cover and absorbent insert are one piece and you must wash with each soiling. I am definitely not a fan of this style either.


The third major style (and most affordable) is Prefolds. They have been around for many decades and even some of our parent used them on us. They are used with some sort of waterproof cover that can be used until it gets soiled, so you end up just changing the actual prefolded cotton pad with diaper changes. The cotton prefold is basically a big square of 100% cotton that you can get in different sizes for baby size, or you can buy a big size and just fold it how you want it to fit. There are tons of different ways to fold the cloth depending on where you need more absorbency, and you can learn them all on YouTube. The cloth does have to be secured somehow but poky diaper pins are no longer needed--there are these things called Snappis that hook onto the cotton quickly and easily without the risk of poking baby.



This is the route I have chosen! It may not be as convenient as some other styles, but I refuse to pay hundreds more just for convenience. I'll be off work for 3 months so I'm up for a challenge! Now for the money-saving part:

There are really not any physical stores around me to go to for buying affordable cloth diapers. In fact the options really suck here. When I looked online I had to weed through tons of trendy expensive styles before I even found what I was looking for. But after much searching I have found a super cheap way to get the prefolds and the covers. As for how many to get, I estimated I would be changing 10-12 diapers per day for the first few weeks so I should get enough to supply for 1-2 days of that (depending on how often I will do wash).


(These are actually large squares that are folded into thirds)
Surprisingly Walmart carries a limited variety of Gerber prefold cloth diapers in packs of 4 for about $6.50. They have boy and girl solid colors, plus some prints. I got some of each and will aim for 6 packs (24 diapers total) to have in my stash.

Next are the covers. These have proved much harder to find (except for online).  They are typically around $10-$20 per cover (even used!) and I knew I could find a better deal than that. That is where China comes in for supplying me with an affordable option :) I found several Ebay stores that have a vast selection of covers that run around $2-$3 each. Since covers can be reused until they are soiled, I am not planning on getting much more than 8-10. I bought these today online (except for the pink and purple) and should be getting them in the mail soon!



These are some prints that I am thinking about getting online, I am just waiting on an invoice from the seller. These run about $3.50 each.


The snaps that you see on the covers is so that you can use one cover from newborn up to around 28lbs. They are full adjustable so that I won't have to buy new ones with a bigger baby! Gerber does make white vinyl waterproof covers (around $6 for 3) but they are elastic pull-ups and I don't see that being very easy with a wiggly baby on a changing table. I like the regular diaper design of the snap covers, plus that they grow with your baby.

Nick thinks I'm a little nutty for wanting to do more work but he sees where I'm coming from and he is all about saving money too. He is on board (yay!) and hopefully he adapts without much of a fight.

So my total cost to build my cloth diaper stash is:
24 cotton prefolds = $39
8-10 waterproof covers = $20-$25
3 Snappis = $5

What that means is for around $65 I can potentially diaper my baby from birth all the way to potty training!! How awesome is that? I see it as a test that I will do my best to pass.

There are a few other "accessories" I am still deciding on to use--wet pail, detergent, washable wipes--or not but I'm narrowing things down with only 11 weeks to go until I meet my baby boy! As always I don't know anyone else who is doing this so I am teaching myself and trying to learn from the internet as I go.

Don't worry--once I actually start cloth diapering I will post again about how it's going and what my routine is. Thanks for reading!

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Saturday, January 17, 2015

4,382 Days

4,382 days (or 12 years to be exact) ago is when Nick and I said "I Do" and never looked back. I remember that cold morning in 2003 like it was yesterday. It seems to have passed quickly yet slowly at the same time, certain years feeling longer than others. We have grown up together and become adults and parents together. I still get a little thrill out of surprising people when I tell them I got married at 16 and yes---we are still married!

In our 12 years together we have had countless cars, 6 pets, 3 homes, and 1 child (with one one the way!). We have been to 9 new countries, several funerals, weddings, and divorces. We have gotten our college degrees, good health, and gray hair. We have grown our retirement accounts, our credit scores, our waistlines and our hair. We have survived infertility, health scares, car accidents, and natural disasters. We haven't always agreed or been dealt the hand that we want yet somehow what we got was exactly what we needed.

My husband has grown into a sweet and caring husband and father. He cooks me breakfast, packs my lunch, and writes me love notes on a regular basis. He surprises me by cleaning the house and washing the dishes while I'm away. He tickles our son until he cries with laughter, then reads him a story and uses funny voices. He helps me put on my socks and shoes on when my baby belly gets in the way. He puts gas in my car and warms it up on cold mornings. He drives in strange places when we travel so that I can read the map. He listens to my work stories and pretends to know what I'm talking about. He cancels plans and stays home with me if I'm feeling down.

In our years together we have seen many friends and couples come and go. We always wonder who will stay and who will not. We easily see the mistakes that many newlyweds make yet we don't judge because we know that they have to learn to overcome hard times on their own. We try to treat others how we would like to be treated, and to raise our children to make the world a better place.

Yes we still enjoy spending quality time together but we also understand that sometimes we need our space! We trust each other implicitly and want each other to be happy. We can finish each others' sentences and communicate with just a look. There are countless inside jokes, nicknames, and secrets that we will take to our grave.

I hope all of the newlyweds out there are able to find the happiness and trust in their spouse that we have. A marriage is not 50/50---it's 100/100 and takes a lot of work but you reap what you sow and it is all worth it!

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Sunday, January 11, 2015

B.C. to A.D.


I sit here just 3 short months away from expecting my second child and I am amazed at how much can change in a few years. I'm not talking about the obvious "Gee now I have to plan my life around a human being" or things like that. I'm referring more to things I didn't expect to be so affected by becoming a mother, like friends, relationships, world views, and goals.
 
Let me start off by giving you my "story" in a nutshell: Before Children--My husband and I tried have a child for the first 5 years of our marriage. Although these were emotionally hard times, we also were able to find the positive in it and build our relationship as simply husband and wife. We grew up a little more, established goals, traveled, enjoyed friendships, bought a house (or two), and trusted in God that His plan was best. In 2008 we bit the bullet and took a chance on IVF. Thankfully it worked and in 2009 we welcomed our first son to the world. That brings us to After Delivery......

I think most people have heard that you lose friends when you have kids, but I bet most people think "this won't happen to me! My friends are great!" I was one of those people! I thought for sure my friends would understand and be flexible with my changing life. Although I don't feel like I personally changed much toward my friends, I definitely noticed a shift. Work buddies quit hanging out with me and inviting me to get-togethers. Other friends slowly reduced time and contact with me till it was nothing but the occasional email or text. Some of Nick's friends quit coming over or hanging out with him.

Going from a nonparent to a parent changes your perspective. You now have another person who is affected by almost every choice you make from here on. How you drive, where you live, vacations, schools, what you cook, where you work, how much you work, what holidays you celebrate....the list never ends! After about a year or two as a mom it really hit me that soon my son will have lasting memories of this time in his life. Let that sink in.....little things that I say or do with him could potentially be a moment that is etched FOREVER in his mind. Something I may not think is important could mean the world to him.

BC our lives were pretty mundane. We did fun stuff here and there but for the most part each evening was the same--cook dinner, chit chat, and watch TV until bedtime. Yeah it's a blast to be able to stay in your PJs all day but after awhile that can get old! We were ready for something MORE.

Another unexpected thing that came AD was all of the OPINIONS--from other moms, friends, strangers, family....anyone who thought you looked stressed/lost/scared did not hesitate to share with you what they thought about what you were doing and how you were doing it. I developed a thick skin to this after about 6 months and learned to ignore most of the unsolicited advice. Now that I'm expecting my second I don't worry about it at all because hey if I can successfully birth and raise a child once then I can do it again!

When Nick and I became parents we discovered a whole new level of choices to agree or disagree on. Thankfully we both see eye to eye with 95% of parenting issues so there hasn't been much arguing on that part. These are all things you don't think twice about BC. What kind of toys are you going to get your kids at each age---educational toys or Disney themed toys? How much TV will they watch? Whole day or half day PreK or Kindergarten? Will they drink water, juice, watered-down juice, pop, white milk, chocolate milk, etc. Are you going to be strict about what they eat or just be happy if they eat anything? Are you going to let them learn things independently or hover over and control as much as you can? Are you going to get them an iPad when they are 5 or let them play with regular toys? How will you react if they throw a tantrum, say a bad word, or hit? Will you spank or do time out? The two words that describe our parenting style best is OLD FASHIONED. We both feel very strongly that the next generation needs to rewind to the simpler times with good morals and strong parents.

When we see other parents out there who still party, drink, and continue to do irresponsible things we are saddened for the child who is missing out on having a great parent that puts them first and values their influence. If you are going to play house and have a child then you need to put your adult undies on and act like a parent--not like a frat boy.

As for us, our marriage and relationship has grown a million times stronger as we have bonded more over the last few years together with all that we have overcome. We now have the confidence and know that not only can we survive, but we can do a darn good job at this parenting thing. Our priorities have been adjusted, our friends have changed, and our rules are strict but that is what makes us who we are and we can't wait to see what else life has in store.


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Sunday, January 4, 2015

Getting Ready...

...for the third trimester that is! Time is flying by of course so I sat down to finally make a list of questions I would like to ask my OB within the next couple of months. With my first pregnancy I was just so darn happy, excited, and scared that I went along for the ride on everything and didn't really ask any questions. With this one I have educated myself more on all of the options that are out there that may help my labor and be good for the baby. I have a different doctor this time around so some of these questions are also for my peace of mind because I am a planner and it eases my anxiety to know ahead of time what to expect.
 
 

1. How friendly is my hospital with patients using a doula? I have toyed with the idea of using one for awhile mainly because my last labor/delivery was so long and difficult. I was induced at 3 days past due and was at the mercy of my nurses and doctor to make my body advance even though it seemed to be fighting at every step. I feel like having a trained support person there to take the stress off of Nick and I would help things. Here is a link with more about doulas.

2. Is my doctor open to delaying the umbilical cord clamping? This is something I have been reading about and it makes a lot of sense to me. The cord naturally pulses as it circulates and filters the blood from the placenta back to baby. When the cord is clamped as soon as the baby is delivered, there is still a lot of blood left in the placenta. You can compare it to a patient on kidney dialysis being disconnected while the machine tubing is still full of their blood. The cord naturally begins clamping down when it is exposed to the air and the temperature change outside the womb. Here is a link that talks more about delayed cord clamping.

3. What is my doctor's stance on food intake during labor? Many doctors order an NPO (nothing by mouth) status for laboring women on the chance that they will be taken for an emergency C-section. With my last delivery I was in labor for 3 days so how would they expect you to have the energy to push a baby out? Some doctors are more lenient and will liquids or soft foods during early labor.

4. What can I expect if I want an epidural? Is there a "cut off" for getting one, like being dilated to a 7 or above? Will I have to have a catheter? How long will I expect to wait for the doctor to place one?

5. What is the hospital's policy for visitors? How many can I have in the room during delivery? What are visiting hours for during labor and postpartum?

6. What is my doctor's stance on an episiotomy? What can be done to help my body naturally stretch and prepare for delivery? Studies have shown that an episiotomy may be more harmful than letting the body naturally do it's own thing, and more doctors are steering away from always doing them.

7. How does my hospital handle circumcision if I choose it? Is it done the day of delivery, or the next day? Am I able to hold my baby during it, or at least be present? What method do they use, and what soothing techniques are there?

8. Will my doctor be able to estimate birth weight? My last baby was just under 9lbs, past due, and did NOT want to come out. Even after being fully dilated we had so much trouble getting him down the birth canal. I feel that this was partly due to his size (and me being a first-timer) so if my next one looks to be around the same size that may affect decisions I make regarding induction.

9. When should I take a tour of the L/D area? I will feel much more comfortable after seeing in person where I need to check in, what the rooms look like, the accommodations, how the process of admission/discharge works, and what the rules are.

*                          *                        *

These are the main questions I have come up with so far! I'm not one of those moms who is dead set on a certain birth plan and no one dare stand in my way--I just like to know what my options are and how I can make this strenuous time a little less chaotic.

Hopefully these questions have helped you out if you are expecting also, or at least gotten you thinking about options you didn't know you had! My 6 month check up is on Tuesday so I still have some time to figure things out, but I will be sure to write about what the answers were to my questions.

In other news, today I got a great deal on a gently used Rock n' Play sleeper!! I think this will be perfect for keeping downstairs, plus it folds up easily and is portable to take with us to the grandparents' so baby will have somewhere safe to sleep. Here is pic of what a new one looks like:



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