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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 🙂

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Day 5 – Linen Closet

I’m starting to feel like my home really is more organized!  Today has been a great day (and not because of the linen closet).  Zach had some awesome news while we were talking this morning, Heidi stopped by this afternoon and Zach’s dad brought McDonald’s over and had dinner with us.

I was also very productive this morning and had the linen closet cleaned by 9am 🙂

Before (I’m slightly embarrassed because of this mess…but my pantry is still worse):

After (SO much better!):

I’ve also been working on another project.  I’ve wanted to buy wooden letters to hang in Irelyn’s room – I’ve found some really cute painted ones on etsy, but haven’t wanted to pay $40+ for them.  I found something almost as good on sale at JoAnn’s a couple weeks ago (for much cheaper).
6 cardboard letters: $1 each (they were 50% off)
4 acrylic paints to match her bedding: $1.49 each (also 50% off)
6 paintbrushes: $3 (also on sale)
ribbon: $.50
Kaden took the before picture at the bottom:
They’re not perfect, but they were a lot cheaper and more fun to make than anything I could have bought.  Kaden helped paint them and when he saw them laying on the floor he clapped his hands and told me “Mommy! You did such a great job!” 🙂
We’ve got a pretty exciting day ahead of us tomorrow – cleaning under the kitchen sink and my parents & sister are coming to visit in the evening!  We don’t get out much these days, so any adult company is always welcome.  I’ll post again tomorrow night! 🙂
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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.
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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!!!
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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.”