Saturday, September 27, 2014

Notes from the second time around

Now that baby Meghan is here (update to come) I'm wanting to get down as many of the thoughts running through my mind before they are forgotten.

Today is our first day home, as a family of four, and so far things are going far better than I could have imagined.

I owe much of it to my amazing husband. I can remember when we brought Elizabeth home and everything was so new for both of us. I was the more experienced one with babies and so I took much of it in stride. Alex was a bit more in the "this is all out of my comfort zone" stage.

This time around you can tell we have a two year old. We are both much more seasoned and things that seemed strange or different are now so normal. The experience that comes with the first has allowed this birth and first day home to be more of a joint effort. Seriously my heart swells with love and pride when I watch Alex with his girls. The guy that seemed so tentative the first time is incredibly confident this time around. 

And since I treat the blog as a bit of a family journal, this is more for my recollection:)


Elizabeth: with her it was longer (14 hrs), I progressed differently, and her entrance into the world was met with a bit more uncertainty. I pushed for an hour and needed stitches. After her birth she was whisked away pretty quickly and did skin to skin first with Alex. I didn't nurse her until an hour and a half postpartum.

Meghan: I was induced (electively), progressed to a 6 within 6 hours, got my epidural, within 90 minutes was at a 10, pushed for 15-20 min. and didn't need any stitches. I was able to pull her up and they allowed us so much time with her, which we loved! Nursing began soon after.

Similarities: Epidurals with both which progressed my dilation rapidly. Both were incredibly positive experiences.


Elizabeth: I gained 35-37 pounds, lost 10 by day 3 postpartum. I had a linea negra, I swelled up like a balloon, and has some darkened facial spots. 

Meghan: I gained 33 pounds and lost 11 by day 2 postpartum. I had swelling again, but not nearly as bad. No line or facial spots but instead a herniated belly button. 


Elizabeth: Since I had stitches things were a bit more sore but I was up and moving as soon as I switched rooms. We stayed for 3 days in the hospital because she failed her first hearing test and had some slight jaundice. First night home was a bit of a challenge. Also Elizabeth by day 4 was down 10 ounces.

Meghan: Since things were a bit less intense I was able to be discharged just 24 hours after she was born. I was also up and moving by 2 hours postpartum and we didn't need to stay any longer because jaundice and hearing tests were passed with flying colors. It is SO good to be at home...first night was similar but I did get some good chunks of sleep. Meghan at discharge on day 2 was only down an ounce from her birth weight. 

Seriously, I can hardly believe these two miracles that are in front of our eyes. As we drove home last night for both Alex and I it was a bit of a surreal moment. Incredibly blessed. We are so happy to be home and are taking things easy...just being lazy as our new family of four. 

And Elizabeth, well she's ecstatic and loves helping and watching and holding her baby sister!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Meal PLanning for a month

I’d always read, seen, or heard about women who meal plan by the month and I’d always written that idea off. Around our house, since I like to cook, enjoy meal planning and grocery shopping, our menu is based almost entirely upon what my stomach wants. Thankfully my stomach usually craves things that are GOOD for us and not just junk.

But throughout this pregnancy I’ve gotten a bit, well, let’s just say lax. I think for the first time in all our 8 years together I’ve heard my husband really request more options for dinner. I’ve been stuck in a rut. And it hasn’t been all that great for anyone.

And so last night I broke out all my cookbooks (Ina Garten, Pioneer Woman, family recipes, and Cooks Illustrated) and I made a huge list of all the meals I knew we enjoyed. These are meals that for the most part I can make on auto-pilot because I’ve made them enough. Shockingly this list was 65 recipes long. Some are a little more involved and some are as easy as pasta and jar sauce with everything in between. I know there are even more that we really like but I need Alex to go over the list and add in what is missing.


I should also mention that because I like to cook, enjoy meal planning, and grocery shopping that I can’t make a monthly menu that repeats every week. Again, after 8 years, we just can’t and don’t want to eat the same 5-7 meals on rotation. That works for so many but I know it will not work for us with the exception of pasta night and pizza night. Pizza and pasta in all their varieties never get old at this house. One other thing that just has never worked for us are lots of crockpot meals and make ahead meals. Neither ever get enjoyed or eaten so though we have a handful we like, it’s not a concept we are utilizing.

So when I sat down with a monthly printout ready to pencil in our meals I did so with great gusto. First off, I planned out October with the VERY realistic expectation that I will be sleep deprived and will need the easy recipes. I also knew that if I didn’t shop now I probably never would. I wanted our pantry, fridge, and freezer stocked with MOST of the ingredients we needed. I will need to go to the store weekly/bi-weekly for perishables but knowing that we have the ingredients we need for the meals I planned was freeing when I left the store today.


I also created a bit of a system to start out with that can be tweaked. Twice a month on Tuesdays we have MOPS so easy dinners are required. Thursdays we have BSF so those nights are for leftovers/miscellaneous. Because we eat out randomly I know our menu can be tweaked as we go. Nothing is concrete. And to keep the ease going, Friday nights are pizza nights, Saturday/Sunday are soup days, Monday’s are a beef meal, and Wednesday’s are a chicken meal. Right now I’m too flexible with our meals and rely on my ability to throw something together which I know will not work with a new baby on the scene.

I’m hoping this will work for us. I set out today after filling out my grocery list with Elizabeth and we conquered our shopping in record time. I already know that those who plan in advance by the month probably do save quite a bit on groceries. I came home after a Costco/Target run and basically couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. Elizabeth and I bought a LOT of food and some how the price just didn’t seem that bad at the end of the day knowing we’d use it. I was actually shocked at how low our bill seemed at Costco for the size of our cart. Knowing that I just need to fill in weekly with produce, lunch meat, and some dairy makes me feel like grocery shopping with two will be even more manageable.

I keep reminding myself of Solomon’s words “There’s nothing new under the sun…” He was right. Mothers have been doing this for centuries and in so many ways we have it so much easier. Women have been keeping house, having babies, making meals, and grocery shopping for years. And they all survived and most had more children than I ever will. So I’m basically a bit optomistic while remaining incredibly realistic.

Have you menu planned by the month or do you? Any suggestions?

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

38 weeks + 1 day

This is the longest I’ve ever been pregnant.

Some of you may want to slap me for even saying that but for me, we have entered uncharted territory. I’ve been trying to ready myself for labor again and *trying* to read anything that was remotely helpful the first go around, but to be honest I’m just exhausted.

The kind of exhausted where you get 8 hours of semi-uninterrupted sleep, an hour nap, and you still want to fall asleep before your toddler at night. It takes all my energy just to keep up with her, to be honest…it is pathetic how tired I am.

In trying to prepare for labor the second time, I found my old phone and had a reminiscent trip down memory lane. In week 37 day 6 at 11pm my water broke at home. The previous Monday my cervix was super high and tightly closed. I checked into the hospital at 12pm and I was 4cm. Two weeks ago my OB called my first delivery a special case after she asked me if I knew when to call in. The look on my face must have been enough because she began explaining things plainly.

With Elizabeth I had no contractions or braxton hicks until a hour after I arrived at the hospital. None. Somehow, unless I didn’t feel it, I went from high and closed to 4cm. And then from 1 am to 4am I went from a 4 to a 7/8. And then I sat. I was a 7/8 from 4am until 12pm. 8 hours in semi transition. It’s no wonder I got an epidural. I remember telling Alex that things were really not that bad until Pitocin hit the scene. And then everything hit the fan. Going through labor at a 7 without pitocin seemed more like a piece of cake but since I was at a 7 so long with my water broken, the show had to go on. This time I’m not going to try and be a martyr. If pitocin enters the scene I’m signing up for my epidural immediately not 4 or so hours later. I was CRAZY!

So basically at 38 weeks 1 day this time around I have no idea how labor really starts other than what I’ve read/heard. And so far I’ve had some braxton hicks, enough one night that I called my sister the RN and asked her what contractions felt like. Somehow in HIs kindness the Lord has erased any memory of what real contractions feel like.

And here I sit, 38 weeks, 2 cm, 50% effaced, –1 station, with my membranes stripped this morning. Here’s to hoping that works. I know lots of people are the just wait, they’ll come when they are ready, but we’re ready. And I don’t have any lofty aspirations for the world’s most amazing birth experience. I’m happy as a clam to go as long as I can and then sit in pure bliss chatting it up with the doctor and nurses with an epidural and clear mind as my baby enters the world.

To each their own.

But 38 weeks, 1 day.

I can’t wait to see when she’ll make her debut!

And for posterity sake, here I am at 36 weeks…I look relatively the same even now.

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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

An end to summer


This past weekend we said our goodbye’s to summer.

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We spent the weekend soaking in the gorgeous weather and by spending some great quality time as a family of three. I’m not sure how much longer it will be that way but at least for our weekend it was. And we had a great time.

This week my new BSF class starts a (which I am incredibly excited for), weekly doctor’s appointments continue, and we head full swing into our fall activities.

But as far as summer goes, we had a great one. I loved watching Elizabeth’s personality emerge and her courage soar. Over the course of 3 months she gathered the courage to do everything at the pool (slides, waterfalls, jumping in, putting her head under, falling into deeper water and getting herself up alone) and became a monkey at the park. In fact just last weekend we were at Chutes and Ladders and I, and my 9 month pregnant belly, had to climb the ropes just to make sure she wasn’t going to fall and break a limb. Thankfully I only had to do it once:)

I was just looking back at our summer bucket list and I’m happy to say we made it through most of them!

1. Edina Pool days

2. Farmer’s Market Saturdays

3. Minnesota Zoo

4. Como Zoo

5. Red Barn Pizza Farm in Northfield.

6. Picnic at the park

7. Gale Woods Farm Saturdays (didn’t do this exact one but did a Farm tour instead)

8. Beach day at Bryant Lake Beach

9. Brainerd vacation (scheduled for early June)

10. Alexandria vacation in August with family

11. State Fair

12. Sprinkler

13. Playgrounds

14. Izzy’s for ice cream

15. Twins Game

16. Raspberry & Strawberry picking

17. Homemade popsicles and ice cream

18. Outdoor barbecues

19. Splash pad

20. Hiking down by the river

Being pregnant and having major house projects going on all summer, I’d say 15/20 is pretty good. After adding a few things to our project list we had to choose between an anniversary date or the fair and we selfishly chose to celebrate our anniversary.

We chose to head to a Twins game and had the night off as my MIL graciously and joyfully took our daughter for the day/night. It’s always a treat to just be with my husband so we definitely enjoyed the time childless. We even won a Twingo prize:)

And then this weekend we did the one activity that has been on my summer bucket list for the past 2 summers. Saturday we randomly mid-day decided to head down to the Red Barn Pizza Farm in Northfield and it was so delightful. The setting is gorgeous, the pizza was delicious, we could relax and Elizabeth loves animals so she had a grand old time chasing the chickens and feeding the horses.

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Here’s to a new baby, apples, cider, orchards, pumpkins, and the smell of fall. We’re ready!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Cheers to us…8 years in

All that we’ve accomplished You have done for us
And any fruit we harvest is a gift from Your hand


We are only jars of clay that hold a priceless treasure
And we exist to bring You pleasure, O God


Only by Your mercy can we come to You
Though we deserved Your judgment You have called us by name


So we glory in the cross of Christ that made us Yours forever
That joined our lives together to sing

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Not to us, but to Your name alone
Be all the glory, the glory, forever

For Your faithfulness and steadfast love 
Receive the glory, the glory belongs to You.

Eight years married. Almost 10 years together. And so much has happened. Distinctly I remember this song playing as we lit our unity candle and began this journey together. And every word of the song we chose rings true.

All given by Him. All taken by Him. All joined by Him. All called by Him.

God has brought us low, held us up, sanctified and purified us.

He has lavishly poured out HIs grace and love and good gifts and we have not deserved any of it. All is an incredible gift.

I am certain we would have never written our story the way it has unraveled and yet I am equally certain there is  not a thing we would change, because we have made each other so much better.

to us, on our 8th anniversary

(lyrics from Receive the Glory by Sovereign Grace Music)