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Thursday, June 27, 2013

the renovation : finola's nursery (so far!)


The nursery is a work in progress.
We have done a LOT of work to it so far,
transitioning it from a blah and musty bedroom,
to a sweet little room for our 
baby girl.
  • new flooring
  • caulked, spackled, sanded and repainted all the trim
  • added door - connecting the front and back of house
  • repainted ceiling
  • painted walls
  • added new light fixture
  • re-did the closet into an open concept (and added lighting)
  • replaced plastic blinds with bamboo shades.
Well, really Hubby did all of that.
Then came my part...
the decorating.

We used mostly all the same things we used in Cormac's former nursery in our old house.
I've added a few new things, 
and will continue to!

Here are the before and after shots...












The details...

crib: craig's list
chair: ikea Hovas
ottoman: ikea Ektorp
round rug: urban outfitters 
wardrobe: ikea Hensvik (with antropologie pulls)
changing dresser: ikea Birkeland
chandelier: lowe's
paint: valspar 'granite dust' 
crib bedding: land of nod (discontinued)
white rug: ikea Tejn
turquoise curtain: target (discontinued)
"new"door: re-used from a closet in a different room {the hardware is stamped 1858!}
boppy cover/changing pad cover: etsy - {this shop}
stool by chair: thrifted and repainted/stained
bookshelves: ikea {spice racks}
closet shelving: ikea Lack
(I will update this post periodically to update the photos and give info on new items.)

* * * * * *

I'll do a separate post on the art and accessories...
I have a few things in progress!

Anyway, I'm sure this room is going to change as Finola grows
and begins to show her personality 
and opinions - of which I am sure there will be many!  
I am excited for all of that!
g

Saturday, June 22, 2013

so...which old wives can be trusted?

{source}

I love pregnancy "old wives' tales."

I also am being totally facetious when I use the words "accurate" and "trusted" in this post.  It is all for fun, I know.  When you are pregnant everyone and their mother will say they know the gender of your baby based on something they've heard.  And most people completely contradict each other.  I was told "You are having a boy" about a million times while pregnant with my girl.  Why?  Because I was "carrying like a basketball" or I was "carrying low."   For these exact same reasons other folks told me I was definitely having a girl.  People also tend to think that the heart rate of your unborn child tells you what it is.  "Above 140 is definitely a girl," they will say.  Funny thing is that both my babes hopped above and below this number the entire time.

Fact is, nothing will predict it.  Well, except an ultrasound, and heck, even those tend to be wrong sometimes.  

However...if I were to believe in any old wives' tales, these would be the ones.  They were right with both my pregnancies!

Chinese Birth Chart: {This} Chinese birth chart predicted accurately for both Cormac and Finola.  
Ring Test: Oh yes, holding a necklace or ring on a string over your belly and seeing if it swings in a circle or back and forth will surely tell you what you are having...hahaha...well, at least in both of my cases.  

Toddler Interested in Belly: Um...well, this was accurate for Finola.  Cormac loved my preggo belly.  But what toddler wouldn't be interested in their mama's ginormous belly???

Craving sweets: Yes, with Finola I was a complete sweet tooth.  With Cormac it was greasy, salty fast food.

Increase of Moodiness: Yes...this means girl all the way.  I was a complete wreck with Finola.  With Cormac I was deliriously happy.  

Bad Nausea/Morning Sickness: I had this with both...but with my girl it was WAY WORSE.

Mom's Beauty - Stolen! : This means girl.  I felt rather pretty when pregnant with Cormac.  With the girl I felt just a hot mess.  And still do.

Big boobs: Mine were way larger with my girl...although that could be because it was my second pregnancy.  Just sayin'.

Motherly intuition: Always stick with your gut instinct and you'll know what you are having.  My initial guess was right with both kiddos.

Dreams:  I had no gender dreams with Cormac.  With Finola I had two and she was a girl in both.  Boom.

Mama is Graceful (vs Clumsy) : This is a toss-up.  I was able to do yoga until 35 weeks with my girl.  Then again, I also fell down the basement steps.  

So there you have it.  If you are pregnant, you can certainly trust the accuracy of these old wives' tales.  Or not.  But it is fun to guess!  

Hope everyone is having a lovely weekend!  I had my very first shopping trip with just me and "the girl."  You know you are a girl mama when buying clothes for your daughter is way more fun than buying for yourself. :D

g

Thursday, June 20, 2013

finola: one month!




Dear Finola,
What a month we have had together...so much different than my first month with your big brother.  Not that one experience was better/worse than the other - both have had their beautiful moments and  challenges.  The difference was that I was not scared this time around, or anxious about doing everything right, or nervous every time you cried.  I felt confident and much more capable, and for that I am thankful.


Your personality:  You have been such a sweet baby.  Rarely crying except when hungry...oh, and during an occasional diaper change.

Your facial expressions are priceless.  No smiling yet...just wide-eyed looks of annoyance and sometimes horror.  Or peaceful, gassy, unintentional grins/eye-rolls.

Your relationship with your big brother:  Um...you tolerate him.  He loves to "uuuug" you and "eat your nose" and poke at you.  You only sometimes scream when this happens.

You love to eat:  breastmilk, clearly.  That is all we've given you so far.  Breastfeeding has been pretty good so far.  You have latched well from the start, although you tend to choke a bit and sputter during the let-down.  You are a "snacker" - or maybe just an efficient eater?  I say this because it doesn't take you long to eat...but you eat frequently - every one to three hours.  During the night you are waking up every 2-3 hours to feed.  I get about 6 hours of interrupted sleep per night.  I handle it okay because I know somewhere between 6-8 weeks you will start sleeping longer at night.  Looking forward to that!  :D

us after an on-the-go feeding session
You sleep:  Anywhere...everywhere...but mostly in your crib.  On your tummy.  Just like mama and every other baby in the 80's did.  It is how you sleep best and we go with it.  Almost from the start you have slept in your crib, which has been convenient for me during the night {changing table and nursing chair all right there!} and makes me think sleep training you is going to be a LOT easier.  I can put you down awake and you fall asleep on your own.  I don't have to do any rigorous, time-consuming wind-down process.  This is helpful especially since I am just getting used to handling both you and your big bro all day long!
asleep on the tummy time mat
You love wearing:  Sleepers and lots of little girlie dresses.  Dressing you has been SO much fun!  Girlie clothes for babies are adorable and it is awesome to put you in the sweet outfits we've been given by so many people that love you.  Oh, and a few that I purchased, too!   You have pretty much grown out of all your newborn clothes - but thankfully we have lots of cute 0-3 months dresses to don the rest of the summer!

We call you: "Girl" or "Sister" Well, I call you those.  Cormac calls you "Beeeeeebeeeeee."

You love to:  Sleep. Yep, that is about it at this point.

You look like:  Most people say me...although I still say all newborn babies look like wrinkly old men.  Your Gramma swears you look exactly like me as a baby.  You have wispy sandy blond hair and barely visible bleached blond eye brows and lashes.  When you are mad your face turns bright red except for where your eyebrows are, which become a glowing white.  I'm afraid you have my normal eyelashes which will require mascara and an eyelash curler someday - not your dada's long, naturally thick ones.  Sorry, girl!  Speaking of hair, you have the "Ford V" hairline, just like your brother.   Except right now it looks like you have a scary receding hairline because your hair is thickest right on the crown of your head and nonexistent near your forehead.  I think you will have my fingers and toes - kind of stubby.  Your eyes will be blue - we can already tell.

your tuft of blonde hair

your super-blonde eyelashes and nonexistent eyebrows



Mama feels:  GREAT!  Well, besides being sleep-deprived and inundated with hormones which sometimes make me a little crazy.  No baby blues this time around, and my recovery from the natural birth was a LOT easier (no tears or episiotomy.)   I am very excited to start running again and eventually hitting the gym when you are a bit bigger.  I have lost all but 10 pounds of my 36 pound weight gain.  I am super happy with that, since I haven't worked out yet, or limited my calories at all.  I have quite enjoyed eating whatever sounds good - nursing mama excuse and all. Maybe all that working out while pregnant with you has paid off?  :D

Not that this first month hasn't been hard.  Super hard.  The interrupted sleep is not fun.  Juggling two babies under two all day is quite the challenge, as it seems one of them needs to be held or fed at every moment of the day.  Preparing dinner is pretty much impossible, since they are both very awake and sort of fussy at 5pm when I try to accomplish dinner prep.  I've burned quite a few things.  I've had to become okay with every room looking a little messy (or a lot.)  It gives me twitches, but I am learning to deal.  Nope, it is not easy...but the newborn thing is definitely easier.  You really don't realize how easy having one baby is until you have two.

Your health/measurements:  
Weight: You weigh a whopping 10.2 pounds!  You still look dainty, but have fattened up quite a bit.  Nice work, girlie! You are a very efficient eater. Height: 21.5 inches (up from 19.25 - you were mis-measured at the hospital)  Head: 14.5 inches.  Everything else checked out great at your one month appointment - hurrah!  Oh, and you didn't even scream or cry at all while the doctor poked and prodded you.  I'm so not used to such good behavior at the doc's office!

This Months' Memories:
  • You were born!  Kind of a big one.  I will never forget that adventure together!
fresh out of 'the oven' 
  • Your Gramma and Grampa came to visit for a week!  They loved holding and cuddling you - especially Gramma, who has been over-the-moon about you being a little girl.  We did lots of fun things...but mostly you just slept through it all.  
napping on gram
  • You were baptized!  Such a special day - you became a child of God!  You wore my baptismal gown from when I was a babe, and used the blanket my mama used with me.  



Milestones/Accomplisments:
You do "baby pushups," move your head around, and will scoot sometimes if I put my hands behind your feet when you are on your tummy time mat.  You seem pretty strong, swinging your head around like a battering ram when you are alert and being held against someone's chest.  You flipped over a couple times from front to back - but I'm pretty sure that was unintentional!  Other than that, pretty much you just sleep and eat, both of which you are quite good at.
baby lips
sleeping on gram
I see a lot of similarities between you and your bro.  Check out the photos below.  Same lips, hairline, and eye color.  Cormac's hair was a little darker.  Your nose is more turned-up, and you has the most pale, almost transparent eyelashes and eyebrows.  But you definitely look like siblings!  I envision two little blond, blue-eyed terrors in my future!  ;)
where are my eyebrows???!!!
future handsome dude
My girl...I love thinking about all the fun we will have together in the future doing girlie things.  I am very thankful now to have a daughter - despite my previous inclination for another son.  I am hoping you grow up to love shopping, drinking lattes, cooking, wine, and home decor.  Of course, you will probably be a tomboy -- but I will still be excited if you love climbing mountains, canoeingcamping, and basically just doing anything outside...because I love all those things, too!

You are an angel.  I hope you grow to be intelligent and kind and love Jesus.

Love, Mama + Dada
g

PS: Here was Cormac's one month update -- who says you shouldn't compare your children???  ;)

Friday, June 14, 2013

{welcome to the family}

Last weekend Finola was baptized.  In our family we do infant baptisms, and my dad, being a pastor, has been able to baptize all his grandchildren.  I grew up sitting in the church pew watching countless babies have the water poured and the Word spoken as the Holy Spirit came upon them.  Our church congregation would sing a song called "Welcome to the Family" as my dad would walk down the aisle with the sweet babe in his arms and show the baby to those lucky enough to have an aisle seat.  As I got older this always made me tear up...hoping someday it would be my baby getting baptized.

Well, Dad retired before my babes were born...but I still got two amazing experiences.  Cormac was baptized at 3 months old at the church my dad was preaching at in Prague in 2011.  Dad walked with him and the congregation did sing "Welcome to the Family."  Not exactly the same since it wasn't my familiar church congregation, but...I still cried. {check out the video one of their prague church members was kind enough to make for us here.  Ignore my super frizzy hair and the fact that none of the words sync up.  :D}

Finola was baptized at the park that Hubby and I were married at.  We actually did it in the garden where we were supposed to have the ceremony - but it rained so the location was moved.  {You can read about that here.}  The baptism was a private ceremony, with just my parents, my dear friend M and her family (she is one of Finola's Godparents) and us.  There was no "congregation" so just me and my parents sang the song.  Still such a special moment that I'll never forget.

Oh, and we snagged a few impromptu family photos that day!  Thanks to my Dad and M's hubby Matt for helping me capture some of these shots!  I love randomly making someone "photographer" and seeing what magic comes about...and this was no exception.

Here are a few favorites from the day...

my handsome almost 2-year-old
finola in ruffles!  oh, and a flower hat from Gramma!
sibling love
we all look discombobulated here...but that is our life now! :)
during the baptism
serenading finola with "welcome to the family"
the guys!
the 'garden of old roses' will always hold beautiful memories for us
our little family of four - after the baptism
Happy Friday, friends!
g

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

seven things about my job...

Today's {wait...make that yesterday's} Tuesday Topics link-up writing prompt is...'7 things about your job.'  Well, I'm a stay-at-home mama - an occupation that seems to run in my family {sister and mama also are/were} - so it was kind of fun to think about the different aspects of what I do every day.  Here are my seven...

1. I am not sure who my boss is.  Might be Hubby since he pays me {and all the bills} every week.  Or is it my kiddos, who are quite demanding and dictate much of what goes on every day?  Or shall I be really confident and say I am "self-employed" and I am the boss?  Yeah, let's go with the whole "If mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy" thing.

2. I consider working out, gardening, taking crazy amounts of photographs of our life, blogging about the kiddos, and cooking a decent breakfast and dinner as part of my "job."  Yeah, I know that working mamas may do all these things, too.  And it is probably WAY harder for them to do - thereby WAY more impressive!  But I LOVE including these things that I love as part of my daily grind.  They say you should love what you do...and I can say that my work day includes a lot of things I love doing.

{source}
3. The smoothness of my workday is often dictated by whether I got at least six hours of sleep {which right now, with a newborn, is not very consistent!} and if I get my cup of coffee in the morning.  Must get sleep.  And have coffee.  Period.

4. Being a stay-at-home-mama feels like what I was meant to do.  I went to college, got my degree, have had several different long-term jobs that I really loved and was {I think} decently good at.  I got to be "the boss" for a while, have delighted in various promotions across two different fields of work, got to dress up every day, and even went to grad school for a year and tried my hand at teaching.  While I have loved working outside the home in the past, since the moment I began staying home with Cormac I have not questioned whether or not it is what I want to be doing.  Now, don't get me wrong - there have been days I have thought how much I would love to wear something other than an old shirt and yoga pants, drop off my kiddos, and then work with adults all day.  There have been days I've been annoyed at my Hubby for saying his job is hard, lamenting to him how he doesn't have to deal with poop and barf and snot and drool and dirt all day...need I go on?  But we all have days where our jobs seem yucky.  The next day is always better.  And some days are amazing and I pinch myself at how fortunate I am to deal with all the nasty bodily fluids that my kiddos emit.  'Cause I also get giggles and hugs and kisses all day as well...which kinda make up for it.  :D
{source}

5.  I keep a pretty rigid schedule.  Call me bossy, OCD, or crazy schedule mama -- I will happily answer to them all.  I like my day to have a plan.  A consistent plan.  Well, as consistent as it can be with a newborn and a toddler.  My toddler seems to function best when he gets his meals, nap, and bedtime at the same time every day.  Shifts in schedule get him off-kilter and can cause extreme crabbiness. We'll see how the girl is, but I'm pretty sure I'll train her to love the schedule, too.

6.  The kitchen is my office.  No, not figuratively because I like to cook.  Literally it is where I keep my "important stuff" and my computer.  I have a cabinet dedicated specifically for my stuff.  Hubby has an actually desk and normal office space at home.  I have the kitchen...and I kinda love it.

7. I kick it old-school style - with a paper planner.  Yup, nothing fancy for this gal.  I know there are really cool apps for personal planning and I could keep my schedule that way.  My friend showed me one on her phone the other day...and I hate to admit that my eyes glazed over.  I don't think I am the most techno-savvy person in the world.  Plus, I love clicking my pen and physically crossing things off my to-do list on my handy-dandy paper planner.  I love flipping through the pages and seeing what I've accomplished.  I actually get a rush of happiness when I buy a new paper planner every July.  I am totally okay with how nerdy all of that sounds.  :)

So that's a little glimpse into my work as a SAHM.  Glam, I know.

What seven things would you share about your job?  
g

Linking here with Tiffany and Lauren...

Life. Love.Lauren




Monday, June 3, 2013

{finola's birth story} part 3 : the short, sweet and painful labor

The drive to the hospital was as uncomfortable as you might imagine. 

Only a fifteen minute drive, but with the road construction bumps it felt like forever.  For some reason I felt like Hubby was hitting every one on purpose, and I grew increasingly agitated.  Not yelling at him, but talking in a very slow, very low, very annoyed voice, "You need to slow down.  You cannot go over bumps when I am having a contraction."  

So I think he drove about fifty miles/hour the whole way there.

My contractions were getting much closer together - maybe a minute and a half apart.

We got to the hospital around 8pm.  Our doula, Eileen, was waiting at the main entrance for us, as we had discussed perhaps walking around outside before going in to check in.

Clearly no time for that now.  After she helped me breath, lean and sway through one contraction outside we both knew we better get inside - and fast.  

We went to triage, where apparently everyone agreed just by looking at me and learning I had been 6cm before beginning labor that we didn't have time for trivial things like paperwork and consent forms.

All paperwork was skipped.

They hurriedly got me to a room with a birthing tub, which was also on my 'birth plan.'  They started filling it up, even though my doula kept telling them there would be no time for the tub.  

Maybe the shower, she told me...but seemed doubtful.

I probably had about 4 strong contractions just on the walk to the room alone.  The elevator one was especially fun.

In between contractions I was still pretty okay at this point.  Not super exhausted.  I was able to communicate and even smile a little!  Some female hospital workers outside my room as I was being ushered in with my entourage of nurses, doula, hubby, and midwife (who had just arrived) remarked, "You look way too cute to be in labor!"  I guess because I was still in my cute shopping clothes, sunglasses perched on my head, and brave smile on between contractions. 

The nurse, Autumn, asked me if I had something specific I wanted to wear during my labor.  I had brought a simple black cotton maxi dress so they helped me into that.  I was then put on the delivery bed so my cervix could be checked by Trish, the midwife who would be delivering my baby.  I was glad it was her.  Her calm and very matter-of-fact demeanor gave me added confidence.  

She checked me, and not surprisingly I was at 9cm.  "I could easily stretch you to 10, though.  Your cervix is very soft."  

This was music to my ears, particularly after being stuck at 8cm for literally hours during my last labor, while having contractions at the same frequency/intensity that I was now.  

They stopped filling the tub.  The idea of the shower was abandoned.  This baby did not require any hydrotherapy, clearly.

I labored laying on my side on the bed for a little while, which was fine, but then I asked if I should switch positions.  My doula suggested I try getting into an "all fours" position, so I slowly moved up onto my hands and knees.  

Ow!  That was ten times more painful!  

Then I decided I did not want my cute "labor dress" on.  "I would rather be naked!" I declared.   So off came the dress, with the help of nurse and doula.   

I was extremely warm.  I felt feverish.  I told them.  I also felt like I was going to throw up.  Wave after wave of nausea hit me between the contractions, now about a minute apart it seemed and definitely at a 9 on my pain scale.  I remembered this pain from labor with Cormac.  

Someone got me a pink plastic bowl to vomit in if I needed to.

I gripped Paul's hand, and he said quiet, encouraging words after I made it through each contraction.  His words were perfect...

...but I needed silence.  (Sorry babe.)  

"Just hold my hand.  That is all I need you to do.  Just be here." I told him, keeping my voice as even and quiet as possible.



So then, because I was so hot, he was given a fan to fan me with.  That was perfect.  
I was also given cold towels to put on my forehead and the back of my neck.  They felt so good, as I was seriously burning up.  And still very nauseous.

In my mind I was pretty grateful for these symptoms, as I remembered reading that when you hit transition {getting to 10cm and you body being ready to push} that some women feel nauseous and feverish.  So I was comforted by it and actually encouraged to keep going!
I was no longer silent during contractions.  I was instinctively making low groans throughout the entire minute of extreme pain.  The consistent, loud, even sound coming out of my mouth helped me focus and sort of lulled my brain during each one.  I also had covered my eyes with one of the cold towels.  I held it over my eyes with one hand.  I didn't want to look at anyone.  I just wanted to get through each contraction.

I just wanted to get this over with.  I wanted the baby out.  I wanted sweet relief from the pain.

It must have been about 8:40pm when I transitioned and was ready to push.  {since my doula took the below photograph - am I right Eileen?} 


I think it was Eileen that said to me quietly, "You will start to feel an urge to push during each contraction, Greta.  When you feel that you need to bear down and focus all your energy on pushing the baby out."  This is not verbatim, but it was something to that effect.  

I had no idea what they were talking about.  My "push process" with Cormac lasted several hours, with a super-strength epidural, and a lot of "1-2-3 puuuuuush!" when I guessed I was having a contraction.

No counting this time.  Just me feeling "the urge" and "bearing down."

I was also encouraged to make "low noises" during the push.  

I felt confused and yes, a little scared.  I had no clue what I was doing.  

I asked several times, "Should I change positions?  Should I be squatting?" since I had read that squatting was the most natural position for a woman to deliver a baby.  

"Greta, this is a beautiful position for birthing a baby.  If you are comfortable stay right here."  This was referring to the side-lying position I was in, and had been my entire labor at the hospital - a mere 45 minutes so far.

During the next contraction, which was probably now an 11 on my pain scale, I waited for what I thought was the "high point" of the contraction and tried to "bear down."  It didn't feel like I was doing it right, and I ended up just breathing too fast and kind of hyperventilating.

"Slow down your breathing, Greta.  Calm your breathing for your baby."  That was my nurse Autumn.  She was pretty awesome throughout the whole thing.  (Funny how I can't remember any of the nurses, or much of anything at all, from my hospital experience with Cormac.  Everything about this labor seems crystal clear.)

I knew I could do better.  The next contraction I tried to focus all my energy "down there" and imagine throughout that the baby was emerging.  Also, someone said to "bear down like I was having a bowel movement."   Even though that sounded disgusting and it made me realize why so many women are said to "poop on the table" during labor -- I knew I had to do what they said.

So I followed the instruction - and boy was that embarrassing and uncomfortable!   But, it also felt like I had done it right.  I felt like the baby's head was there, where it was supposed to be, ready to come out!

Also, I felt like the whole area "down there" was on fire.  The "ring of fire" that I had read about!  I was close!

"Greta, just a couple more pushes and your baby will be out," my midwife Trish stated calmly, and this sentiment was echoed by my doula.  I was encouraged.  I felt baby coming out.

It was painful and probably the oddest thing I have ever been through.  While the contractions were hard, pushing was harder and I actually had to work to do it.

I really just wanted to be done, so I did everything they told me, still with my eyes covered with the towel, my naked body contorted, knees being pushed up by my head, sometimes with me holding them there.

"Curl your body around your baby when you push!" "Focus your breath!"  "Imagine Baby coming out!" 

At one point I said exhaustedly, "I don't think I can do this."  Of course, this was met with disagreement from all present parties.  I was kind of at the point of no return, anyway.

The mood in the room was excited and high-energy - I didn't need to see anyones faces to know that.  I kind of felt like an animal on the table.  The whole thing was completely animalistic - me naked, growling with a loudness and power I had never felt before.  

Then came the final push - after only about 15-20 minutes of pushing.  The baby's head finally emerged, followed quickly by the rest of the body.  9:12pm.



It was the best feeling.  Ever.  The baby coming out.  The ultimate relief.  Seeing for the first time the little human who was housed in my body for nearly 39 weeks.  I saw the white umbilical cord, attaching us to each other still.  I wanted the cord to pulse out before it was cut, so we stayed attached until that happened.

Also, Paul was to announce the gender.  So he fumbled around with the wriggly, purple, crying little one, to see what "it" was.

"Its...a girl!" he announced surprisedly.

I was completely shocked.  Even while pushing I was envisioning a boy, even thinking his name in my head for motivation.  I had to look for myself to believe it.  The umbilical cord was slightly blocking my view, but it was moved aside and I saw that yes, she was definitely a girl!

I was awash with happy emotions over this, and in general.  She was handed to me for our 'golden hour' of skin-to-skin time.  I immediately started blubbering, "My little girl!  My beautiful baby girl!" over and over.  


I felt ecstatically happy about everything!  On a complete hormone high.  I felt like I could do anything, and loved everyone.  I cuddled my vernix-covered, slimy, beautiful baby girl.

Finally the umbilical cord finished pulsing and Paul did the symbolic cutting of the cord.


so thankful for these ladies - midwife trish, nurse autumn and doula eileen - for making the experience perfect.
our golden hour together - and feeding her the first time

So that is my story - the end of my pregnancy, my time with Finola inside me.  Together we survived super awful morning sickness, two violent bouts of the stomach flu, a fall down the basement steps, a kitchen renovation, pregnancy depression, a toddler constantly kicking and whacking my tummy, and five days a week at the gym.  Whew - it was one long pregnancy.

Now we face all new challenges together, and I feel so much more confident and prepared to tackle them.

I feel overwhelmed with happiness over how this birth went.  After my first experience I really desired a natural birth, and this could not have gone any better.  My birth plan went out the window - and I am thankful for that this time.  God made it go quickly and I feel very fortunate to have gone through it.

***Thank you to my doula Eileen for capturing most of these moments with my camera.  I will treasure them always.***
g