Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Introducing Claire Elizabeth

Well, it's about time! I feel like this has been a self-imposed hanging-over-my-head thing for months now! Here's the story of how Claire entered the world!

It must just be something about dinner time that makes my body ready to give birth! We had just been to the chiropractor for our every-other-week adjustment. Our regular Dr. Karen was out of the office that night, and for the life of me, I cannot remember the “substitutes” name. I knew I had had her adjust me previously, and I wasn’t so fond of her style, but I felt like I really needed an adjustment, so I just went with it. She adjustment my stomach in a way I had never had done before, but I didn’t really think anything of it. Nothing hurt or felt “off”, so we gathered up our things and headed home to our frozen pizza. It’s 6:30pm. We sit down to take our first bite and there it was, an unusual contraction. I’m thinking to myself, “No way, I have 10 more days. No one has a baby 10 days early.” We keep eating, I don’t mention a thing. Then, 7 minutes later, there it was again. I knew these were not regular Braxton-Hicks, but surely this was false labor, right? I asked Neal to get out his contraction timing app and start timing these for me. 7 minutes later, there was another one. We finished dinner and kept talking on and off about how this I probably just false labor and I should just rest and they will go away. Oh no, I was not going to rest one bit. Should this actually be true labor, there were bags to pack, laundry to wash, fold and put away, bathrooms to clean, floors to sweep and vacuum and a refrigerator that needed to be cleaned out…just in case. As I scurry around doing these oh-so-necessary tasks, Neal and I were continuing to monitor my now 5-6 minute apart contractions. We decided to go ahead and put Amelia to bed and called my mom to put her on standby…just in case. Neal had a very big deadline at work the next day, Friday, so he was frantically working to make sure that everything was in place…just in case. My contractions are 4-5 minutes apart now and lasting about 1-2 minutes. So, every few minutes I just pause folding the laundry and rock back and forth until it passes. It’s now 10:30pm and we decided that we should just go to the hospital and let them check and tell me it’s false labor so that we can get back home and get some sleep. We get all the bags and Amelia in the car and head over out…just in case. I called my OB and told him what was going on. He said, “Well, I suppose you should come in and get checked and I’ll be there shortly”. No sense of urgency whatsoever! I call my mother and tell her we are going to head to the hospital and get things checked out, and without a moment’s hesitation, “Ok, see you soon, bye” as if her house was on fire! During the 20ish minute car ride to Woodstock to drop off Amelia, I had maybe 2 contractions, maybe. And they weren’t bad at all. So, we get to my parent’s house in Woodstock, I get out of the car, bam, super contraction in the driveway. Neal gets Amelia upstairs and back in bed, and I think I finally made it into the house. As long as I was standing, MAJOR contraction about every 4-5 minutes returned. But, heaven forbid I sit down, because then there were no contractions at all. So, we decided to walk around at their house for a little bit to make sure that the contractions were still happening with some sort of frequency. I just remember them being incredibly intense and everyone just staring at me through each one as if I was some sort of attraction they paid good money to see! We decided about midnight to head the remaining 30 minutes to the hospital. During those 30 minutes, the contractions were nearly constant. A stark contrast to the peaceful, non-painful car ride just a bit ago! All I can really recall saying was “I think I want the drugs this time. I can’t do it again”! We were 2 miles from the hospital at this point and Neal said, well, honey, I don’t think you’ll have time if you’re already asking for them… then he ran all the red lights! Once again, I was fiercely determined to walk into the hospital on my own, so we pulled under the drop off and out of the car we walked up to Labor and Delivery. I walked right up to the nurses’ station and had a major contraction. So, as I stand there with my head leaning on the desk waiting for it to pass, the dear nurse kept asking me, are you alright, what can I do for you. “Just a minute ma’am, I’m having a baby”. Once the contraction passes I tell her what’s going on and before I can finish, I’m having another contraction, telling her I’m about to pass out, and asking for the bathroom because I’VE GOTTA PEE!! A flock of nurses come from who-knows where with a wheelchair, and seriously, it was like we were in the Indy 500 trying to get back to labor and delivery! It felt like I asked 45 times for the bathroom because well, I HAD TO PEE! The dear, sweet nurse wheels me to one, and as soon as we get there I have another contraction. When I have contractions like that, I don’t talk, I don’t look at you, I don’t move. My head is down, I’m focused, and nothing is going to distract me, not even the final arrival to the long awaited bathroom. So, I don’t respond immediately to her, so apparently that meant I didn’t need it anymore and she took me away. Well, the contraction passes and I asked again for the bathroom. Somehow we got to the bathroom and as soon as I stood up out of the wheelchair, my water broke, seriously broke. Then, every nurse in the entirety of the hospital, or so it seemed, was in that bathroom. I was in a recovery unit in .02 seconds, the curtains were pulled, because, well, I couldn’t disturb the ladies on either side of me that had just come out of C-sections, and I was pushing. Everyone and their mother was walking in and out of labor and delivery that night, right past where this was all going down, and since we weren’t in a room, they all partook in our happy occasion! I informed the doctor (not my doctor, but whoever was on-call that night, again!) that we didn’t know the sex and that I wanted Neal to tell me what the baby’s gender was. She was happy to oblige and told me to push again because the baby’s heart rate was dropping. 3 pushes later the baby was born. Neal told me, with great excitement, It’s a girl! I asked him to check again to make sure, because I was convinced the whole 9 months that it was going to be a boy! They placed her on my chest and all I remember saying was that she was so little! 5 pounds 14 ounces of pure bliss! They had to take her down to NICU to clean her up since we didn’t have a L&D room and the hospital was insanely busy that night. Neal went with her leaving me to go at the stitches and cleanup solo. I was ready to head to my overnight room, and when I went to put my feet on the floor, I had the worse Charlie horse of my life! The nurse grabbed my leg and straightened it out and rubbed it so hard I thought she was going to pull my calf clean off my leg! We tried again, and bam, it happened again! Cue insanely tough leg muscle massage! Finally, on the third try, I made it to my feet and then into my room. It felt like eternity, but about an hour later, Neal, Claire and I were all together in our room!

With Amelia, we had 14 minutes in the hospital before she was born. We had about 20 minutes in the hospital this time before Claire made her entrance. It is perfect for me, because I do desire to have natural labors not in the hospital, but I want to deliver in the hospital in case of emergency. It was a source of some anxiety this pregnancy just not knowing if this labor would be faster and how it would be different. I knew I wanted to labor at home as long as possible again, but with the added time to drop of Amelia, how would we know to time it just right? Thankfully, the Lord’s timing is always perfect, even during labor! I've done a 10 hour labor and 7 hour labor, so next go around, we should probably leave at the third contraction…just in case!

Sisters much?!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Another Baby Wave!

It seems that these things come in massive waves; seriously, tidal wave proportions here! It is either no one's having a baby, or it is what seems like everyone is having a baby....all at the same time! Right now, we are in the everyone is having a baby phase! So, that means I get to work on lots of projects! I loved getting handmade specialties when I was pregnant with Amelia, and I hope that the sentiment is the same for other mommas who receive something especially made for their little blessing! Also, I try to make them practical becuase really, who needs one more thing to clutter up space that will probably be discovered by and destroyed played with by that little blessing a year later!

Handmade Faux Chenille Blanket
This blanket was a tedious one, as in this is the blanket that never ends... but WELL worth the end result! I just followed the tutorial on  Dana Made It. If you are wanting to try this one, it's simple in the fact that you are simply sewing straight lines, then partially cutting them, but it took me 8-9 hours over the course of 2 weeks during nap times, which are now infrequent at best, and after bedtime! 

Self-Binding Flannel & Fleece Baby Play Blanket
This blanket was a lot less time consuming. It took only about an hour to make and it's a great size for playing on the floor or even outside! Instead of two sided flannel, I made it with one side flannel and one side anti-pill fleece for some extra softness. Here is the tutorial I used from Tea Rose Home.

Nursing Cover
Another go-to gift I like to do for baby showers is nursing covers. These allow a considerate nursing mother to feed her baby nearly anywhere without the risk of exposure and making others possibly feel uncomfortable. It's lightweight so that neither the baby nor mother get hot, and it has boning at the top so eye contact with the baby never has to be disrupted. I don't have a tutorial to send you to on this one as I just sort of make them now without directions. Maybe one day I'll write one up on how I do it, but they are fairly simple to make and I'm sure Pinterest is abounding with great ideas for embellishments and all the bells & whistles you can add to these!

That's it for now....until the next baby shower month!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Making Laundry...Enjoyable?!

The laundry room has long been neglected around here. But, with the shifting of rooms to make space for the new nursery, I'm loosing the craft/office/everything-happens-in-here room. So, I needed to move all my scrapbooking, sewing and other craft supplies somewhere, and the current linen closet was just the spot. So, now what was I to do with the towels and sheets?! With a quick and inexpensive addition of a shelf, shopping the house for some baskets, they now have a new home and I get slightly giddy every time I look in my laundry room! The new spot for the cleaning schedule has even helped me to stay on track, for the most part, over the last month! Gotta love that! All I need to do still is add a few attractive labels and I'll call this one done.




Cleaning Schedule

Easter 2012

This year, we spent Easter celebrating the Lord's ressurection with our church family and then with our family family during the afternoon! Amelia Jane was in quite the mood after church, so a decent family photo was difficult to come by. But, after a nap and some tasty lunch, she was all ready to dye some eggs, throw and break a few, and then go on her first egg hunt!

Thursday, April 5, 2012


I try to keep the "essentials" in stock around the house just in case someone jumps in the shower and oops, we're out of shampoo! My modest stockpile was getting a bit low, so I jumped over to a few of my go-to websites for these types of situations: and Fortunately, some of the things I needed were on sale at some really good prices, and there were a few money makers at the stores I was going to anyways! Always love it when that happens, but unfortunately, once I got to the store, the money makers were gone :( Oh well, good deals were still to be found!

Here's the breakdown (pre-tax):

Full Price- $39.97
Total Actually Spent- $17.93
Total Savings- 54%

I thought that was a pretty good day and especially considering I would have bought these types of products anyways. Sure, we don't always get our "preferred" brands, but fortunately, no one around here is that picky and will usually just use whatever is available! It works for us!>

Monday, April 2, 2012

Let's Play in the Dirt

Spring is here and in full swing…or maybe it’s already summer and we totally skipped spring this year!? It’s a hot one nonetheless, and for the gardening, it’s been great! No threat of freezing temperatures anywhere in sight.

We/I have wanted to build and grow a garden ever since we moved into our house about 2.5 years ago, but we just haven’t actually done it. That is, until this year! Back in October, I started researching and planning all of the delicious and nutritious foods we would plant (keep alive) and grow and eat and preserve. (These were great resources for me: Vegetable Garden Calendar & Vegetable Planting Guide both by UGA CES) I had squash, zucchini, bell pepper, tomatoes, eggplant, cucumbers, beans, lettuce, spinach, corn and okra on the list. I had even printed out the 2012 calendar and added specific plant dates and estimated harvest dates for each variety of plant. Neal and I sat down and I asked him to realistically tell me if he thought I could handle it and make it worth our while to spend the money investing in this garden. Did I have too much of a variety? Could I manage it all and have a baby right in the middle of the harvest (sounds like a Little House episode!)? Would something I planted actually grow and survive since I can’t even keep a house plant alive for more than a month. Or a cactus, but that’s another sad, sad tale. We talked it all through, I showed him the “Master Plan” and we decided to scale back the variety a bit. So, after an afternoon of planning together, we were all ready to get the dirt and plant! This is what we settled on: Zucchini, Squash, Beans, Cucumber, Bell Pepper, Eggplant, Tomato, Spinach and Lettuce.

One trip to the hardware store, some wooden planks, braces, nails, etc later, we had these 10’x4’ boxes built and ready for some soil.

The soil is now unloaded and some of the seeds are planted. I’ve not planted everything all at once, because I don’t want a whole harvest of everything at one time. The plan (fingers crossed) is that things will harvest in a nice and steady stream so that we can eat what we want to, preserve what we need to, and I can try to keep some sanity during the process!

Our first plants have sprouted and I was SO excited to see that this dream is coming true! Organic, homegrown, healthy, nutritious, non-pesticide treated foods here we come!

Bush Beans


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Add that to the menu!

I've been doing what seems like a LOT of new recipes so far this year! I've even got one in the oven right now, and if it turns out, I'll let you in on the sweet surprise! It seems like I'm going overboard on my goal of at least one new recipe a week, or maybe I can just look at it as "stocking" up for if I miss a week or two when the baby comes this summer! and have become my new best friends in this arena and are an endless supply of yummy ideas.

I mostly just want to document these for my own rememberance sake so I can look back and remember the ones that we really liked!

Paella with Chicken, Salmon and White Shrimp

Chinese Dumplings with Pork and Spinach (in place of cabbage)

Jambalaya with Shrimp & Sausage (I used Chili Powder in place of the Cayanne pepper and it was still SO SO SO spicy!)

Beef Stew with a Twist (I used V8 classic in this and it was actually a really good take on an old favorite!)

Corn & Potato Chowder

Roasted Vegetable Enchiladas (these were good, but could have used more veggies)

Black Bean Burgers (SOOOOOO Good you don't even miss that they aren't meat!)

Spaghetti Pie (We eat a LOT of spaghetti, so this was an interesting twist. Not amazing, but still good)

Cinnamon Rolls (Ah-MAZING! The intent was to make enough to freeze them, but we ate them so fast they never made it to the freezer! In fact, STOP READING AND GO MAKE THESE NOW!)

Beignets (who could forget these delicious treats! Really easy to make and unbelievably scrumptious!)

Alright, that's enough for now! I've got a new one on the menu for tonight and then a sweet treat in the oven now that hopefully will not be dissapointing!

Happy Eating!

Monday, January 2, 2012

A Quick Look Back at 2011

I almost can't believe we are already into 2012! It has been a very restful holiday break. Neal has been off work since Friday before Christmas! It has been really nice having an extra pair of hands and eyes on the munchkin! He goes back tomorrow, and I, and definitely Amelia who yells for "DAAADDYYY" as soon as she wakes up, will miss having him home all day.

But, we must move along with our days and get back into somewhat of a routine. I took a quick look at my goals I posted for 2011, and well, I didn't get many of them done, only 47%, but I did do a lot of other things that weren't on the list!

· DIY curtains for Master Bath
· DIY curtains for Office/Craft Room
· Frame Diplomas
· DIY Bedspread in master
· Find and refinish bedside tables for master
· DIY skirting for crib
· Put shelves in nursery and master closet
· DIY something to the fan for the nursery
· Install above mentioned fan in nursery
· Decide on wall art for behind the sofa
· Set up a chair/rocking chair in the bay window (We actually just re-arranged sofas!)
· Refinish a buffet piece for downstairs
· Figure out how to plant a vegetable garden
· Keep the aforementioned vegetable garden alive…long enough to harvest its fruits!
· Research becoming a certified natural childbirth educator
· Sew more
· Scrapbook 2010 (pictures have been ordered!)
· Scrapbook our 2008 Europe trip (pictures have been printed for over a year now)
· Take more pictures in 2011 than I did in 2010
· Cook at least one new meal a week (A lot of new ones, but not every week)
· Bake bread
· Prepare Sunday school lessons before Saturday
· Keep files organized as we go through the year

We did do a lot of traveling and celebrating with friends this year. Here's a quick synopsis:

Snowmageddon (wasn't that what we were calling it?!)

Neal and I had our 25th birthdays
Celebrated 6 Parker family birthdays

Nephew #4, Damon August was born
Day trip to Helen, Ga

Neal travelled to Croatia for 10 days
Amelia and I travelled to Savannah
Day trip to Chatanooga for wedding of Louisville friends
Amelia's first Easter in her handmade, forgotten buttons in the back, dress
Travelled to Athens for a welcome party for Damon August

Celebrated 125 years of Coca-Cola at Centennial Park downtown Atlanta
First Mother's day!
Overtnight trip to Montgomery for Air Force OTS graduation

Little sister's high school graduation party
First Father's day!
Sharon's going-away party at our house

Amelia's first plane ride
Travelled to Washington, DC to celebrate Independence Day
Travelled to Athens for Nephew #1's 2nd birthday
Neal travelled to West Virginia for one night to help move his sister
Travelled to Savannah & Statesboro for Anderson family reunion

Travelled to St. George Island for a week beach vacation
Mini highschool reunion
Overnight trip to West Virginia for Sharon's White Coat Ceremony

Travelled to Boone, NC for Labor Day weekend
Went to 6 Flags for the first time in about 8 years! (and Neal lost his keys and broke his phone :( )
My first overnight trip away from Amelia
Amelia Bedelia book signing
Travelled to Savannah for weekend
2 year house anniversary

In-laws in town from Israel for the month
Lots of friends over for dinner
Amelia's first visit to the zoo (and it was free! Check out your library for details)

Found out we were expecting Baby #2!
Joined the neighborhood BOD for the HOA
GT vs. VT Game (we lost and it was freezing :( )
Thanksgiving at our house
Thanksgiving at in-law's house
Ran a 5k

Christmas parties
Christmas shopping trips
3 Christmas celebrations
New Years eve party with friends
Neal home for a whole week!

So, it was a whirlwind year, and I'm sure 2012 is going to keep marching right along. I should really sit down and figure out how many miles we travelled out of town! But in the mean time, I wanted to just jot down some simple goals for 2012, just so I can look back in another year and see part of what I did do.

  • Clean out and move the office into the guest room before Baby #2 comes

  • Paint Baby #2's room

  • Twin beds in Amelia's room

  • Build toy storage

  • Plant the vegetable garden that I've spent several hours planning and researching

  • Again, keep the vegetable garden alive!

  • Cook one new meal every other week

  • Go to the grocery store more than once a month

  • Do better with coupons (currently, I can save about 30%)

  • Keep bathrooms cleaner

  • And the floors vacuumed

  • Blinds on the windows

  • Complete the year-long Bible reading plan

  • Scrapbook 2008 Europe trip!!!

  • Take just as many pictures of Baby #2 as I did of Amelia

  • Have Baby #2

  • Blog more about the meals and projects completed

OK, I think that's enough for now! I may add some things as I think of them though.

Happy 2012 everyone!