Friday, July 29, 2016

Friday Favorites

I can't believe another week of summer has come and gone! The days are just going by way too fast lately -- it's hard to believe Monday will be August 1st! The whole summer has actually been a blur because I'm still in "mom of two" survival mode! I love my girls but boy-oh-boy do I love when it's bedtime! Since it's Friday, it's time for me to share some of my favorites! 
I love the holidays and Halloween is no exception to that! I came across this deal on Halloween bedding for Elizabeth on Thursday morning and immediately jumped on it -- I had a bunch of gift cards (one is from my first baby shower from the Spring of 2014-- whoops) so I ended up having to pay nothing out of pocket! Plus I scored the 20% off friends and family discount! I kinda wanted to buy a set for our bed but they don't come in king.  Now if only Starbucks had their Pumpkin Spice Latte available... Just kidding. I can wait a little bit longer for all things pumpkin. 

It took me a while to get into the summer season, but I'm digging this season. While I still miss Savi, I've learned to cope. Plus you can't go wrong with the handsome guys like Harry and Marc. Some of the story lines are crazy -- but that's why summer television is just so much fun! My husband and I actually binge watched all of the episodes from this summer over the weekend, so I'm all caught up on the drama! 

Next Friday our little family is shuffling off to Buffalo for a much needed vacation. We haven't been to Buffalo since last December, so it's very exciting! Summers in Buffalo are just amazing and I'm really looking forward to enjoying three weeks (yes, THREE weeks) with my family and friends. One of the "hot" spots is Canalside and I plan on making many trips there since it's only a quick drive from my parents house! I know they have some events while we're there plus I know it's a gorgeous place to just take the kiddos and walk around! Plus it's not far from the Marina where they have the best ice cream place, The Hatch

This was a quick Friday Favorites, as my little Kate is starting to wake up from a way-too-short of a nap. Sheesh - she may sleep at night but man is she my little no-nap ninja during the day! 

Have a great weekend -- I'm looking forward to a nice weekend with my husband and our babies!
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Thursday, July 28, 2016

Katherine's Birth Story

Yesterday my sweet Katherine Charlotte turned four months old, so I think it's time to share her birth story.  This will be one of a two-part post because I suffered from some pretty intense postpartum complications and I'm actually not quite emotionally ready to share that story yet. I've been wanting to share the details about Katherine's birth, but every time I go to start, all the memories of the complications return and I end up writing nothing. I spent the morning yesterday taking Katherine's four month old photos and decided it's time to at least share her birth story! 
So here goes! :)
On Saturday, March 26, I woke up and went to the gym for my usual cardio routine. Later that day, my mother in law came over to babysit Elizabeth so my husband and I could have one last date night. We had a wonderful date night --dinner at BJ's at the local mall and then we walked around because hey -- they say walking brings on labor! As we were eating dinner and walking around, I had been having contractions, but nothing out of the ordinary and nothing that made me think anything would be happening that night.  
Date Night Ready! 
Once we got home and I got ready for bed, I could tell something was different.  The contractions were coming closer together, close enough to where I wanted to start timing them.  Once I told my husband this, he was basically ready to jump right to the hospital. I said no, that I wanted to get some sleep.  I went to our bedroom and laid down and he said he'd come back in about 20 minutes to see how the contractions were doing. (He didn't want to take any chances as with our first daughter, we got to the hospital and I was already 8cm dilated and basically almost ready to deliver the baby). 20 minutes went by and they were still close together, so he firmly said "we're going to the hospital, I'm calling my mom to come watch Elizabeth". After packing up the my purse and saying goodbye to Elizabeth (I went into her room, grabbed her from her crib, and kissed her goodbye). Luanne, my mother-in-law came over and I quickly told her that we'd be back shortly because I was convinced I wasn't in labor. Labor denial strikes again! 
Last bump pic!
When we got to the hospital, I was checked in triage and I was only 2 cm dilated. I asked the nurse if I could walk the hallway to try and bring on more dilation and they said absolutely. So, my husband and I wobbled up and down the hallways for hours until it was time for them to check me again.  I was still only 2 cm dilated, but the nurse felt that I was in active labor and didn't want me to leave.  They hooked me back up to the fetal monitoring machine and it showed some mega intense contractions, but honestly, it wasn't painful at all. 
 Sleeping. Typical guy.
After some more monitoring, I asked if I could walk again and they said yes since my water hadn't yet broken. By the time, it was probably after midnight. After more walking, the contractions got really long and really close together so we went back to the triage room and I was checked again and was 2.5cm.  The nurse had already called my OB and they agreed that I shouldn't leave to go home.  They agreed to send me to a delivery room and we were on our way. 
 I hit 10,000 steps! :)
Once we got the delivery room (around 3:45am), the nurses explained that the OB wanted me on Pitocin to help bring more contractions to help me dilate. I begged them not to give it to me. With the exception of the epidural, I didn't want any medication. I lost that battle! I was hooked up to the fetal monitor again and the nurse had a feeling that my baby wouldn't respond well to the high dose of Pitocin the OB recommended so with the OBs permission, they decided on a lower dose.  Anesthesia came in to do the epidural and it was a painless procedure, as it was for my first pregnancy. I didn't have any issues and it brought immediate numbness to my lower body and I was loving it.  The only downfall was that I could obviously no longer get out of bed. 

 All ready for my baby!
They kept having issues with the fetal monitor machine and the nurses questioned the position of the baby and mentioned that she thought the baby was breech. They requested for an ultrasound, which made me so nervous because I didn't want to have to have a c-section.  The ultrasound technician quickly came in, did the ultrasound, and thankfully baby was in the perfect position for delivery. 

What seemed like hours went by and I was slowly dilating. Around 6am, the nurse came in and frantically told me to get up on all fours. I had no idea what was going on, my husband was sleeping in the chair next to me (typical, lol), and I screamed for him to wake up.  All of a sudden, what seemed like 20 people came rushing into the room, including an OB (not mine).  They quickly broke my water, gave me room oxygen, and kept telling me to breathe in and out.  Apparently baby's heart rate plummeted to dangerous levels and me changing positions was to try and help.  After they broke my water (and wow did I have a lot of fluid... it was actually gross because it just kept pouring out), they decided to attach a fetal scalp electrode to the baby's head to more accurately measure contractions and heartrate. At this point, I was sobbing because I was so scared.  I thanked the nurse for having a suspicious idea to decrease the Pitocin because had I had the original strength, I don't even want to know what would have happened.  Once baby's heart rate was normal again, they stopped contractions with medicine as well as stopped my Pitocin drip. 

After a while, they resumed Pitocin and my baby and body were finally reacting fine.  My OB Dr. Stine came in and told me that they are monitoring closely and that their goal was to have a safe delivery, which quite possibly meant needing a c-section. With tears in my eyes, I told him I understood and that I just wanted my baby out safely. 
Thankfully, around 11am, I was dilating normally (thanks to constantly re-positioning with the big yellow peanut between my legs, haha) and we were well on our way to having a baby! I remember feeling so much pressure down there and I kept telling my husband "wow, for some reason, the epidural is wearing off". I pressed the button to get more medicine but it wasn't doing anything.  Once the nurse came back in, I mentioned it to her and she was like let me examine you.  Good thing she did because in a matter of 18 minutes, I had dilated from a 6 to a 10 and baby's head was like right there! 
She quickly paged my OB (who was across the street at the other hospital) and it's a good thing she did because the second he arrived back in my room, I told him I had to start pushing. With about 10 minutes of pushing, our sweet baby was ready to come out! As soon as the baby's head was out and the shoulders, he asked me if I wanted to pull the rest of the baby out and I remember saying "me!??! really!?!?" and he said "absolutely!" so, I reached down there, grabbed the baby's shoulders, and out baby came! We didn't know the gender, so the doctor had my husband look and I remember him saying "it's a girl" and my eyes immediately filled with tears.  To be honest -- the entire time I was in labor, I didn't think ONCE about the gender. It was such a traumatic labor that I just wanted a healthy baby. 
 Pure, raw emotion!

To my request, I wanted immediate skin-to-skin. With our first daughter, the cord was wrapped around her neck to she had to be taken away immediately to have her vitals checked. But this time, I got to hold my sweet Katherine Charlotte, who was just perfect. I remember holding her and just crying because I was so relieved she was healthy.  I had a minimal tear so as the nurses were cleaning her off, my OB stitched me up, and before I knew it, I was sitting up, holding my sweet baby girl! 

So, at 1:48pm on Sunday, March 27th, we delivered a healthy baby girl -- Katherine Charlotte. 6lbs 5 ounces, 19.48 inches long. 

I loved being pregnant. I love every second of it. But holding my sweet baby in my arms is even better! The love I have for my Katherine Charlotte blows my mind. She's my little baby bunny and I love her to itty bitty pieces!

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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Bars

Breastfeeding has my sweet cravings still out of control. I've always had a sweet tooth, but between my need for chocolate 24/7 and my desire for a Chick-fil-A chicken sandwich, it's a miracle I'm not gaining weight. I know -- breastfeeding means I should be eating healthy but some days, you just have to make oatmeal chocolate chip bars and claim that the oatmeal is a necessity to help keep your milk supply up.  Kidding -- I know both of those are ridiculous, but hey -- a girl can try to rationalize sweets, right?
I actually wanted to make oatmeal chocolate chip cookies but with a toddler and a baby, that just seemed like a risky move -- so I opted for bars instead.  Pinterest is full of ideas and so it was hard settling on just one.  I came across this one and thought it was a winner.
I gathered all of my ingredients but then realized I didn't have enough brown sugar. Between the advice of a good friend and my mom, I decided to just make my own with a cup of regular sugar and a tablespoon of molasses. It took about 5 minutes but it was so easy! 


The recipe I found is very easy and didn't take long to make at all.  
Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Bars -- original recipe can be found here
(Adapted from Tastes Better From Scratch

  • 1 cup butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (I actually only had one teaspoon and it turned out fine)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 2 cups chocolate chips 

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 x 13 in. pan with cooking spray.

2. In a large bowl cream together well the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition. Add the vanilla.

3. Gently stir in the salt, baking soda, baking powder, flour, rolled oats, and 1 cup chocolate chips, just until combined.

4. Spread 1/2 of the mixture into the prepared pan. Sprinkle remaining cup of milk chocolate chips on top. Carefully press remaining cookie mixture on top of chocolate. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool completely before cutting. (I baked for 35 minutes because I like a bit of a crunch).

It was hard waiting until the bars cooled, but my friends -- it's worth the wait!

After making this recipe, I would skip the last step of layering the second cup of chocolate chips and just combine all the chocolate chips into the batter. It was really difficult spreading the dough on top of the layer of chocolate chips. Apparently there's a special utensil out there to help with this according to my mom, but this mama doesn't own that tool.

I took one bite of the oatmeal chocolate chip bar and immediately cut some up for my husband to take to work. I can't have these in the house -- at least not an entire pan of them. I also brought some over to a friend's house so her family could enjoy them. 

Go out and make these bars -- they are good down to the last crumb!


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Friday, July 22, 2016

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday! Boy did this week FLY by! Now that we're getting to the end of summer, I can tell the days and weeks are going by at a much faster pace. Luckily my maternity leave is extended until later this fall so I'm able to stay home and enjoy my babies! 
Since it's Friday, it's time for me to share some of my latest favorites with you! 
1. Toddler Busy Bags
Any mom of a toddler should be all  over these ideas -- they are perfect for keeping your little ones busy while you throw a load of laundry in the washer (or if you're like me and you have to rewash towels for a THIRD time because you kept forgetting they were in the washing machine), make dinner, or nurse your baby.  As a mom of two, a baby and a toddler is no joke -- especially when your baby needs to nurse every 2-3-4 hours. Luckily my sweet Katherine is low maintenance and nurses rather quickly! I try to not let my toddler watch a lot of television so that's where these busy bags come into play! They have ideas all over Pinterest so one that I recently made for a Mom's Night Out Busy Bag Exchange were the Pool Noodle Lacing!
All you need are pool noodles, rope, and tape! Cut the pool noodles (I didn't measure the width -- normally I'm pretty OCD about that but it was late at night, haha), attach one to the bottom of a 2-foot rope, tie it at the end so it doesn't come off, and wrap tape around each end of the rope so it doesn't fray! I put 12 pool noodle pieces into a ziploc gallon bag and BAM! All done! :)
 Here's my sweet Elizabeth playing with them
at a friend's house!

 One of the mommy's in my mommy group
sent me this picture of her sweetie enjoying the activity!
I admit, I don't have a Nordstrom card so I didn't get to buy anything during the sneak peek. But my good friend bought this diaper bag and I kinda fell in love with it when I was at her house yesterday babysitting her sweet Bennett. Only my husband says I can't buy it. Sigh. So now I'm on a mission to change his mind! He claims I have a diaper bag, and I do -- but I want this one. The struggle you guys! I keep telling him all the features -- the main one I like is that it has backpack straps. He still didn't want to hear it. Help me you guys! 
 3. Lularoe Leggings
Please tell me you own a pair or two of Lularoe Leggings. If not, you need to get on that! A friend from Buffalo was sweet enough to mail me a pair when I was going through some serious post-partum complications and it totally cheered me up! I'm actually going to a Lularoe Brunch party tomorrow with some former coworkers and I can't wait to try on some of their other options -- I'm looking for a cute dress or two! 

4. Sleep
I don't know what's going on, and I'll probably jinx it, but my sweet Katherine has officially been sleeping through the night.  We typically don't do dream feeds anymore because we realized that she wasn't hungry enough and we were totally wasting milk.  Normally she goes to bed around 7:30 and usually only wakes up once (anywhere between 3:30-5:30). Of course every night is different, but mama has been able to get some mega sleep lately and I feel more refreshed than ever! Amazing what a good 5 solid connected hours of sleep will do for a mama! But with this smile, I honestly don't mind waking up... just look at her face! 

I hope you all have a fantastic weekend! I'll catch up with you later this weekend!
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