He’s Home!

Finally!  Zach got home around 3am on Friday morning.  He will be home for 10 days before he has to go back to Kentucky for a few days, but that’s nothing compared to the 10 months he’s been gone.  He got to meet Irelyn around 3:30am on Friday – we checked on her while she was sleeping and she woke up.  She spent an hour awake after that and was all smiles. 🙂  When Kaden woke up Friday morning I told him there was a surprise in my room for him…he came running out with a huge smile on his face when he saw that Zach was his surprise!  Here are a few pictures of the three of them.

Of course, the kids had to have special outfits to wear.  I had planned on that being a surprise for Zach at the airport, but since plans changed and he came home in the middle of the night, we just had a photo shoot in the living room [it only took Irelyn 10 minutes of wearing the onesie to spit up all over it anyway].  I ordered Irelyn’s skirt & bow on etsy and I made the shirts they’re wearing.

We’ve been pretty busy the past few days with visiting family, church and transitioning Irelyn to her crib (that was one huge failure from my 28 day challenge…).  The first night she slept in her crib, we were up every two hours – but last night she only woke up one extra time!  The past couple of days have been amazing and has made the past 10 months worth the wait.  Tonight’s post is going to be short, but we’re taking the kids to the park in the morning and we’ll be doing Irelyn’s 4 month picture tomorrow, so I’ll post those soon!

Here are a few more pictures from today 🙂


28 Day Challenge Update

It’s pretty obvious that I recently lost all motivation to post.  Zach left Afghanistan a couple of weeks ago and since I’ve been able to talk to him more often, I haven’t spent much time organizing/thinking of things to post.  As far as my 28 day challenge goes, I did start and finish organizing the master closet (which I’m sure Zach will appreciate once he’s home) and I’m halfway done cleaning both of our cars.  With the 90+ degree weather we’ve had, we haven’t been spending much time outside.

Now, for the exciting news of the day week year Zach will be HOME within the next 2 weeks!!!!  He’s not having surgery and is in Kentucky right now, waiting to fly home. 🙂  He has internet access there, so we’ve been able to skype (and see each other clearly for the first time in 6 months!).  Irelyn was confused & happy to see him clearly for the first time on skype yesterday.  I hope this helps these last 2 weeks pass quickly…although now that we’ve made it through 9 months of this deployment, 2 weeks seems like nothing.

The three of us went to the park this morning (at 7:30am!) and took some fun pictures this afternoon.

Irelyn loved riding in the stroller and Kaden had so much fun playing at the park.  Irelyn ended up needing an outfit change after spitting up all over her clothes and needing her dirty diaper changed on the picnic table five minutes after we got there.  We managed to make it home before it got to 80 degrees though!

We decided to have a mini photo shoot in our living room today – of course with a red, white & blue theme!  Irelyn had fun trying to eat the streamers and Kaden tried rolling them into the flowers I made a few weeks ago.  I’m pretty happy with the pictures we did get. 🙂

And here are a few pictures of the past week (plus one of the hubby 🙂 ).  I came across an $80 Baby Einstein jumper I liked for Irelyn and was able to find the exact one at a garage sale for $15!  She’s loved sitting in that and her bumbo while watching Kaden play.  Kaden has been learning so many new things lately and he’s so excited for Zach to come home in a couple weeks (I’ll probably have an entire post of pictures once he’s here!).

That’s all for tonight.  I’ll work harder on posting regularly again… at least until Zach is home.  🙂


Day 18 – Transition to Crib (and some AWESOME news!!)

Okay, good news first:  ZACH IS BACK IN THE UNITED STATES!!!!!!! For the first time in 5 months, I feel like I can finally relax knowing he’s not in a war zone.  The reason he is home early is because he needs surgery on his shoulder.  So, even though he’s back in the US, he probably won’t be home with us for another couple of months.  But within the next month, we will be driving to wherever he is to see him 🙂  Waiting a little longer for him to be at home with us will be a breeze compared to waiting all these months that he’s been in Afghanistan.

Transitioning Irelyn to her crib…this has been interesting.  Since she was born, we have co-slept.  I have one of these cute little “snuggle nests” and she sleeps about 6″ away from me in our bed.  She has always been a wonderful sleeper – after surviving the first couple weeks of nursing around the clock, she wakes up once or twice a night to nurse, I lay her back down and she drifts off to sleep.  I love having her right next to me during the night (because I can easily check on her anytime and because I hate sleeping alone).  I co-slept with Kaden for at least a few hours of the night until he was 7 months old and loved it.

So, here are the reasons I’m trying to transition her to her crib.
1.  She’s starting to get too big for the snuggle nest.  She wiggles around and can scoot down to the middle of it, which makes me nervous because I don’t want her roll off the bed.
 She’s getting to big for her swaddle blanket.  I want to move her to her crib while she’s still swaddled, so she can get use to the new bed before changing anything else.
3.  Zach will be home soon.  We have a queen size bed and regardless of what the picture on the website shows, the little bed takes up more space than you’d think.  Since my husband has been gone all but 8 weeks of our year long marriage and we’ve spent most of it with an entire ocean between us, he’s gonna have a hard time keeping me from hugging him all day, let alone at night (which I can’t do if our daughter is sleeping in the middle and we’re both hanging off the edges of the bed). 🙂

Now for our progress so far.  I really don’t know because apparently I’m incapable of leaving her in her bed long enough to find out.  Here’s my one…and only attempt:  I put her in her crib at 10:20pm (same time I usually lay down with her for the night and she sleeps til 4am), I didn’t check on her til 10:40pm (still sleeping peacefully), made myself sit in the living room til 11:15 (she hadn’t made a peep), I tried to go to sleep (failed miserably) and got her out of bed at 11:45pm (we were both happily sleeping next to each other by midnight).  I keep telling myself “tonight will be the night I try again”.  Never happens.  I can actually convince myself during the day that I will go to bed without her and even go so far as to getting her room ready for bedtime.  Then it starts getting dark outside. And 10pm comes, I nurse her and we happily lie down in my bed and are asleep within minutes.  Why ruin a good thing, right?

I will move her to her crib.  Eventually.  Soon.  While I was trying to go to sleep that one night without her, in my attempt to rationalize why I should just give up, I realized I have never slept away from her since she was born (& for 9 months before that if you wanna get technical).  She’s been away from me for a total of 2 hours (it took 3 separate occasions to total 2 hours) and has had 4 bottles (totaling 3 ounces of milk – I’ll have to post the video of her attempting to drink a bottle, she’s clueless).  Needless to say, we both I may have a slight separation issue.  This is actually new to me, I went back to work full time when Kaden was 5 weeks old and I spent a night away from him when he was 7 months.  At this rate, I don’t think  Irelyn will be away from me for more than dinner & a movie with the hubby by the time she’s 7 months.  Oh well…I still have a little time before Zach comes home to work on this. 🙂

She also rolled from her tummy to her back for the first time tonight!  I was practically touching her when she rolled and I missed it because I was reaching for something.  Here she is with her favorite toy.


38 Weeks & Labor Cookies

UPDATED ON JUNE 25, 2014: This post has become quite popular over the past 2 years.  I’ve had another baby and made these labor cookies 2 days before I went into labor with her, too.  Click here to read her birth story!

Little Miss Irelyn is proving to be a lot like her brother already.  With Kaden, I had mild preterm labor stopped twice before 34 weeks – then had to be induced at 41 weeks 1 day.  Thankfully, she is a little less stubborn and we’re definitely making more progress than I had made at this point with Kaden!

First, at my 37 week appointment (last Tuesday), I was 3cm, 50% effaced and the baby was “still wayyyy up there”.  After reaching my goal of 37 weeks so that I can have a water birth, I’ve been walking and sitting on my exercise ball to try to help things move in the right direction (and hopefully avoid induction).  I also came across an interesting “Labor Cookie Recipe” yesterday and thought I’d give it a try [even if it didn’t work, it was a great excuse to eat cookies!].  The cookies really just taste like over-spiced gingersnaps.

Here’s the recipe:

2 1/2 c. flour
1 1/2 t. baking soda
3/4 t. cinnamon
1 t. ground ginger
1/2 t. ground cloves
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. cayenne pepper
8 T. butter
1/2 c. sugar
1 c. brown sugar
1/3 c. molasses
1/4 c. egg whites

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine flour, baking soda and spices and set aside. Cream the butter and sugars together. Add the molasses to the creamed butter, then add the egg whites until combined. Addd the dry ingredients slowly. Once incorporated, roll dough into 1 inch balls and place onto baking tray. Bake 8-10 minutes. Once cool eat as many as you can possibly stomach, lay down for a nap and wait for labor to begin!

And here’s a couple of testimonials:

I waited until my mom had arrived from Ohio (we live in California) to bake these cookies. She arrived on Saturday evening and my husband baked me a bunch of tiny cookies on Sunday. I ate 5 mini cookies during the day and 2 later in the evening (Oscar night). At 3:30 am Monday my contractions started and I finished packing our toiletry kit instead of sleeping. I also tried to clip my toenails since it looked like I’d be missing my scheduled due-date pedicure. At 4:30 am I was sure my labor had started and I woke my husband. The contractions were 2 minutes apart. By 5 am we were at the hospital. By 7:42am my baby boy, Milo, was born. Thanks “Jump start your labor cookies”! 🙂 True story.
So yesterday I make the cookies, I add extra of all the spices as I love and eat spicy food and think I should just add more – I have no cayenne so I chop up Balinese Chili pepper instead… have some for a snack, after dinner, for breakfast this morning and…. mucus plug comes out… well. the first 2 labours started this way – it’s slow and crampy right now – which is why I can type this – yes, I am eating more cookies while I type too – just in case 🙂 A few days later: I’m sure it was the cookies that ‘jump started’ my labour. Zoie Was born on Mother’s Day, May 11 which was her due date after a couple start and stop days of early labour. 9lbs 4 oz 🙂 – all natural.

I think we will still be eating these cookies at home – they are really good!!!

Hi! I have another story for you about how awesome these cookies are! I was 6 days overdue with my daughter, had been in latent labor for a week, and was NOT progressing. My husband and I had talked about ways to induce labor and these cookies were a part of that discussion, so he made them for me. I had about 6 cookies around 1pm, and 3 more around 6pm. I laid down for bed around 11pm and two hours later my water broke. I had my daughter 8 hours later. 🙂

You can find tons more by googling “labor cookies”.  

Anyway, I put Kaden down for his afternoon nap and got to baking these miracle cookies.  Unfortunately, the recipe doesn’t warn you that it yields enough for every pregnant woman close to her due date in my entire town.

I ate 5 or 6 (or maybe 8…) cookies before Kaden woke up from his nap, then the two of us had a couple more before bedtime last night.  They were actually pretty good, even the kick from the cayenne pepper didn’t stop Kaden from asking for more!

Now, this could be a complete coincidence [or it could have been the cookies!], but I received great news at my 38 week appointment today!  I am still 3cm, Irelyn’s head is very low and my “bag of water is bulging”, as my doctor put it.  Since I am only 38 weeks, there was nothing she could do to try to help things along today… but I have an appointment to have my membranes stripped on Friday at 7:30am!  She said with the progress I’m making, there’s a good chance it could be all it takes to put me into active labor.  I plan to spend the next 2 days either walking or bouncing on my exercise ball – I’m really hoping my water will break on it’s own and that we’ll get to meet Irelyn this weekend.  If she doesn’t come this weekend, my doctor will break my water before the end of next week so that I can still have my water birth.

Since I don’t have much longer, I’ll be sure to take one last belly picture before Irelyn’s evicted (Kaden has started trying to bribe her to come out with his one and only dollar).  My 35 week picture with Kaden was the last one I took and I had to compare it to my belly a couple weeks ago.

These are also the same pair of jeans in both pictures!

Nothing else has really changed these past couple of weeks, Zach is still doing well & loving all of the care packages!  We’ve been able to talk regularly and we can’t wait until he’s back home with us.  We have actually started making plans of things we’ll be doing after he’s home (going to the zoo, a trip to the Smoky Mountains for us) which is very exciting!  Even when it doesn’t feel like it, the deployment is going by pretty fast and I know the days will fly by once Irelyn starts taking up all my time & energy 🙂

Well, it’s time for my nightly attempt at catching a few hours of sleep…although I’d be fine with waking up to my water breaking at any point tonight!  Before I go, here’s a quote Zach sent me that I love.  And it is completely true.

“Military relationships are the product of many tears born both in happiness and despair. They are nights alone wondering where he is and if he is safe. It’s looking at pictures, knowing that it’s the only way I can see his face, calling my voicemail to hear his voice, and not washing his clothes until they have lost his scent. But, it’s all worth it in the end, because I know I have one of the purest loves in the world because my man truly knows the meaning of Honor, Courage, and Commitment. Not only to the military but to me. And that makes everything worthwhile.”


Old habits die hard

I’m still a procrastinator – it’s been over 3 weeks since my last post! (and I don’t even have the excuse of working a single day of the past 3 weeks…)  While a lot has happened since my last post, nothing major has changed [I’m still pregnant!].  So, here’s February in a nut shell.

I was discharged from the hospital on February 8th and sent home on strict bedrest.  My exact instructions from my doctor were: you can get up to pee & shower for 5 minutes, that’s it.  Thankfully, Kaden was with his dad when I was first admitted into the hospital and he was able to stay there for my first two days home.  After Kaden came home, Heidi stayed with us for the weekend!  Having her there to help do things for Kaden, pack, cook & clean helped so much.  I’m not very good at letting people do things for me (Zach would definitely agree with this…) so it wasn’t easy letting everyone else do so much for a couple weeks, but it was worth it to give Irelyn a little more baking time.

My uncle, cousin, my parents & sister, Zach’s dad and his sister have also been a huge help with everything going on! On February 15th I got the keys to our new 3 bedroom apartment and needed a lot of help moving.  They all spent quite a few days helping to finish the packing, carry boxes to the new place and my parents devoted an entire weekend to painting/cleaning the old apartment for me.  I can’t tell any of them how thankful I am (& Zach!) for all of their help.

Now to backtrack a little bit…I took my last dose of medication to try to prevent labor on February 19th.  Since then I have had the wonderful experience of contractions daily (this part is similar to the 4 weeks of contractions I had before I was induced with Kaden…).  At least twice a day they become pretty regular (every 3 minutes), extremely uncomfortable and incredibly annoying.  My due date got pushed back a week to March 26th, so the goal is to keep Irelyn from making her appearance until I reach 37 weeks (March 5th – only 4 more days!)  If I don’t make it to 37 weeks, the hospital won’t allow me to have a water birth.  I had a doctor’s appointment yesterday and found out that I am still 2cm dilated and she thinks I’ll have no problem making it another week.  My next appointment is on Tuesday morning – at this appointment we are going to discuss induction at 39 weeks so that my doctor will be available for delivery (I go to the only practice in this entire area that does water birth – so if my doctor isn’t there, I’m stuck laying in a bed when pushing time arrives). I’ll update more on that subject after Tuesday!

Kaden and I are completely settled in our new apartment and loving the size of it!  He will still be able to have his own bedroom and Irelyn will also have a room to herself.  I’ve got most of her room set up, I’m waiting until after my baby shower to finish the rest.  With the extra space, there is NO clutter!  Zach knows how big of a deal this is 🙂  It’s been great having the time to get everything organized before Irelyn decides to surprise us and I’m really looking forward to when Zach gets back so that this place will feel more like home.  The deployment seems to be going pretty fast [it’s been 2 months since he left after Christmas], but with all the exciting things happening Kaden and I both have been missing him like crazy.

Zach has been doing pretty well lately…all of the violence with the burning of the Quran over there has been scary, but all I can do is pray for his safety.  He’s been receiving lots of care packages from family & friends and should have a decent stockpile of Little Debbie’s by now!

Surprisingly, the temperature reached 66 degrees today!  Kaden told me he wants it to be like the “alllllll of the time”, except that he was worried the wind would blow him away.  To enjoy the weather, we went to his preschool registration (at our church), then played at the park and had ice cream today.  We’re going to have a “date night” this weekend and will be going to see “The Lorax” – this will be Kaden’s first experience at the movie theater!  It should be interesting…he’s completely clueless and gets so confused when I tell him how big the screen will be.

Well, that’s about all that’s happened in these last few crazy weeks…now I’ve got to get back to price matching on my grocery list for tomorrow’s shopping trip and wait one more hour to Skype with Zach before bed!  I promise to work on my procrastination from now on [or at least until Irelyn comes].


If pregnancy hormones weren’t enough…

…then my 3 year old will definitely make sure I’m crazy by the time Zach comes home.  Between the 5 pound little ball of energy bouncing on my bladder [so much that I’m considering moving the computer to the bathroom for the next 6 weeks] and the 3 year old monster that has to get out of his bed a minimum of four five times a night before actually going to sleep, I’m going to be needing a very long vacation for my sanity by the time fall is here [so this is why it takes two people to make a baby…]

It seems like the day I started the 34th week of pregnancy, my body decided that it had had enough.  I have been fortunate with both of my pregnancies – besides being uncomfortable, it’s not until close to the end that it really starts to get painful.  But, since this week began, I’ve had the joys of horrible back pain, morning night sickness (which seems to begin the moment it gets dark outside & magically disappear when the sun rises), lovely “practice” contractions, a baby who likes to put a hand on each of my hips, a foot on each side of my ribs and see how far she can stretch, and a whole bunch of other aches in places I didn’t even know could hurt [do you know how many muscles it actually takes to roll over in bed?].

Oh well.  I’ve only got about 6 weeks (or less!) left and I have it easier than a lot of women during pregnancy, so I’m thankful.  I am definitely having some crazy mood swings again (Zach will remember those from the 1st trimester…) and customer service is probably not the best field to be working in these last few weeks.  Although I’m nowhere near as shy as I was before Kaden was born, I usually keep my feelings/opinions to myself when it comes to strangers or topics that may start arguments.  Apparently, my lack of patience prohibits me from being able to always keep my thoughts to myself these days.

Today has been one of those days.  Somehow, I’ve managed to keep my mouth shut about the one subject that has been at the top of my list today: certain people’s inability to put effort into their “parenting”.  Maybe it’s a mom thing, but I’m a mom no matter how near or far my children are from me – just because someone else is taking care of him doesn’t mean I’m exempt from being a parent.  My kids always come first, so when I see how someone’s parenting is affecting my child, it drives me crazy.  But, this topic could be an entire post in itself, so I’ll save this one for another hormonal day.

Kaden has been doing a good job at testing the little bit of patience I have left tonight.  He’s now been out of bed seven times for various reasons….
1.  He needed to know what was on his ceiling (the smoke alarm – he asks this question every night)
2.  “Mommy, I just can’t stay in my bed” (Yes. You can. You’ve only been trying for 2 minutes.)
3.  “My blankets are making me sweaty” (…..so take one off.)
4.  “I need a kleenex” (this was to dry his “tears” from his attempt at crying to get me to go in there)
5.  “Mommy, I just really miss Zach. I want him to come home” (he finally got smart and tried to be sweet.  Yes, this one made me sad & halfway worked cause I snuggled with him for a few minutes…I tried to convince him Zach wants him to go to sleep too and he’s been in bed for record breaking 6 minutes now!)

We haven’t gotten to talk to Zach today – I talked to him on Facebook for about 5 minutes last night, but haven’t talked to him very much in the past few days.  Kaden’s used to talking to him every day, so not being able to has been hard for him to get used to.   He bought internet for his computer for the month, so hopefully we’ll hear more from him soon.

Well, Kaden will be going to his dad’s tomorrow to spend the weekend, so I’ll post again after I talk to Zach.


Is it March yet?

I’m way past the cute stage of pregnancy.  The majority of the looks I receive from strangers are becoming more sympathetic than the looks of excitement I was getting a few weeks ago.  However, I have found out that I don’t look that pregnant with a jacket on!  I had two customers at work yesterday that both almost had a heart attack when they walked in and it looked like I had stuffed a basketball under my shirt since the last time they were in.

Kaden is getting pretty impatient with having to wait on his sister to “get bigger” before she makes her appearance.  He asks me every day when she is going to come out and tells me the things he plans to do with her:  he wants to lay in her bed with her and cuddle, he is planning to share his train tracks with her (this is a huge sacrifice), he clears off a spot on the couch with a blanket & pillow for her to watch movies with him, and yesterday he actually said he would change her diaper (he then asked me where her diapers were and was pretty worried when I told him we didn’t have any yet).

She’s got a minimum of 3 weeks she needs to wait, then she’s free to give me my body back at any time! 🙂

 A few of Zach’s shirts are going to look a little funny on him by the time he tries to wear them again…. 🙂

I didn’t hear from Zach until late at night yesterday, but somehow it was still a really good day.  For the first time since he left for training, it’s really feeling like each day that passes brings us one day closer to being together, instead of the countless weeks he spent training just a few hundred miles away.  He should be at his final destination pretty soon and we probably won’t be able to talk every day like we have this week – but every day gets us closer to homecoming!  We were able to Skype for an hour last night and we’re hoping to Skype this morning so that Kaden can see him.

Later this afternoon, Kaden & I are going to the circus with his Aunt Tavia!  Kaden’s very excited about riding an elephant and equally as worried about a lion biting him.  I haven’t been to the circus in over 10 years and this will be Kaden’s first time, so I’ll have lots of pictures to post soon.  The next 6 weeks are going to be so hectic, this will probably the last big thing I’ll be able to do with Kaden while he’s an only child…but, we’ve already got plans to go to the Zoo this summer and he’s looking forward to showing Irelyn all of the animals.

Well, I’m off to wait on Zach to get online and for my sleepyhead to come storming out of his room asking why I didn’t wake him up  yet.  Hope you all have a great weekend!

“Loving you from a distance has taught me that even though it hurts, it’s all worth it when I get to see you smile and hold you in my arms for the first time in months … it’s taught me that true love doesn’t care about the distance. It’s taught me that even though it’s hard to miss you, you’re always in my dreams. It’s taught me the true meaning of loneliness and of the true beauty of the stars. I think that us being apart has only strengthened our friendship and I know that next time you come home … we’ll be just like we were before.” -DD