Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Miley's Birth Story

My husband and I made our third trip to L&D for preterm labor contractions.  I was 37 weeks, 6 days along in my pregnancy.  Upon our arrival, my contractions were irregular.  My blood tests were normal, and I was only dilated 1 cm (same as the week before) and effaced 70%.  The on-call doctor gave me three options, go home, receive some Morphine to ease the pain/discomfort of the contractions, or have a c-section.  As my husband and I discussed the options, we initially opted for Morphine.  As time went on, my contractions got more regular, and more painful.  And Miley's heart rate spiked at 180bpm for 30 minutes, no explanation why.  As the nurses brought in the morphine, I changed my mind and told them I would like some more time and to speak with the doctor again.  I also asked them to call my OB because it felt like the three doctors we have seen over the course of my L&D visits had told us different things.  I told my husband that I felt morphine would be just a temporary intervention, just like all the other medications that I had been prescribed over the course of the last 6 weeks trying to keep me comfortable and keep baby in, so we opted to not have morphine.  Next, I asked the on-call doctor about the c section.  We were all hesitate for me to go home as my contractions were becoming more regular and we were afraid I'd be back in L&D not long after I got home.  I wanted reassurance that if I allowed the c section to occur that day that baby was "safe" and I would not be putting my baby in danger for selfish reasons (all my pain and discomfort).  Little did I know how much I would regret this decision in just a few short hours.

As my c section began, my husband recorded the experience.  We both were so very excited as Madison's birth was a wonderful experience for us.  As my doctor began working, she said my uterus was so thinned out in one area, that Miley's head was definitely not in my pelvis where it should have been even though she was head down, and you could see right through it (they showed the nurses Miley's hair right through my uterus).  It was this discovery that made my doctors and my family very thankful we opted for the c section that day, because the contractions I was having could have led to rupture of my uterus.  And it also confirmed that I was not and would never be a candidate for a VBAC (if I can have anymore children).

Miley Ann was born Sunday, December 2nd 2012 at 1642 via c section.  She was beautiful.  7 lbs 10 oz, 20 inches.  But she (in my opinion) took longer than Madison to turn from blue to pink.  After they cleaned Miley up, the nurse brought her over and laid her on my chest/neck for skin to skin while they finished closing my incision.  I could believe how amazing it felt to hold my new little girl and how beautiful she was.  After surgery my family and I went to recovery.  Miley did breastfeed a little.  As the nurses and my husband were doing her footprints, the nurse continually worried about Miley's coloring and grunting (when she breathed).  They decided to try some manual CPAP treatment to help her oxygen levels/breathing rate.  Shortly later, they told me they were taking Miley and my husband to the nursery to continue treatment.  After 30 minutes of treatment, with little improvement, they contacted another hospital with a NICU, intubated my darling girl, and next thing I knew they were transferring her.  My husband came in visibly crying, and the doctor came in to talk to me and let me know what was going on at which point I started to bawl.  My husband and daughter were taken by ambulance to the NICU, and my dad and I followed in another ambulance a short time later.

The next several hours (including the ambulance ride) are a blur.  The anesthetics had made me vomit multiple times that I received several different anti-nausea medications that made me sleepy and I couldn't keep my eyes open anymore.  I awoke around 3am, 11 hours after my daughter was born.  I was told I needed to pump my breasts as soon as possible to get my milk production going, and then I could go up to the NICU to see my daughter.

The next 4 days I spent being escorted in a wheelchair up to my daughter's room all day and night.  We had to stay in separate rooms because I will still an inpatient recovering from surgery.  We quickly established a routine without hesitation.  And the hope was to take our sweet angel home the day I would be discharged from the hospital.  I worked with lactation services, and continued to pump and breastfeed Miley.  Meanwhile, a night nurse who was working with us kept insisting that it was my fault Miley was doing so poorly because I was not producing enough milk and that we should be bottle feeding her.  She totally crushed my confidence as a mom that night, even though I showed her how much milk I was in fact producing.  (8 ounces in a 5 minute pumping session, which is unheard of according to my other NICU nurses in the first 24 hours).  I tried explaining my milk supply to this nurse, and how my first daughter only nursed 5-10 minutes on one breast per feeding because my supply was so excessive.  The main issue with Miley was that after she latched, she could only suck 2-4 times before she started choking.  So I tried pumping beforehand to take some of that milk load off with my letdown (which this same nurse also scolded me for, saying I was taking away milk from my baby).  I tried multiple positions to help Miley not drown in milk, but it was apparent to me, as her mom, that she just simply couldn't remember to breath in between sucking.  Much to my dismay and to please the nurse, we gave Miley a bottle of breastmilk, however, she did not want to latch onto it, and then had the same issue as she did with nursing.  So the nurse proceeded to say, well I just can't believe that, I need to see it for myself, and proceeded to take my child and try to bottle feed her.  It wasn't until then that this same nurse said, oh, she (Miley) is having a hard time with the suck, swallow and breath of eating.

Unfortunately during her NICU stay, she did not gain any weight, despite our weight counts before and after feeds showed she was getting milk.  And currently, at 1 week 2 days old, Miley has still not gained any weight.  In order to be discharged, Miley had to pass the 1 1/2 hour car seat test.  They buckle her in the carseat and her oxygen saturation's and EKG are monitored and must maintain a certain level the entire test in order for her to be released.  We had a few drops in her saturation's, but think it was due to placement of the monitor (which occurred anytime we lifted her out of her table crib, jostling of the cords).  Although hesitant, the pediatrician released us under weight watch over the weekend.  And sadly, as of Monday, Miley has not gained any weight.  Our family pediatrician is giving us until Thursday for Miley to gain weight, and if we are not successful, she will have to be admitted and we will likely have to take her home with a feeding tube which means she will require around the clock care from her mama.

Meanwhile, we are waking (trying to anyway) Miley every 2-3 hours to eat.  I try breastfeeding, which most times barely lasts 5 minutes before she doses off to sleep despite stripping her down and trying to stimulate her and using a wet, cool cloth.  And then we are giving her a bottle, which takes 30 minutes to an hour to get her to drink.  We're lucky if we can get her to drink 2 ounces from the bottle in one feed (plus whatever she gets from mommy).

I knew I'd have more confidence as a mom this time, and I am astounded by the bond my daughter and I have had since birth.  It was apparent to me the first time I saw and held her in the NICU that she knew who I was.  However, I am feeling horribly guilty and inadequate now as I watch my little girl struggle with each feed.  And it breaks my heart to know she is not gaining any weight and there might not be much I can do without intervention.  But we are hopeful.

UPDATE: Miley is 5 weeks tomorrow and is doing well now with weight gain!  Thank goodness.  We are about a pound OVER birth weight (she's breastfeeding great now!).  However, my little love bug has a cold :-( She has lost her little voice, one of the saddest sounds ever, or lack thereof.  Dr. said its not RSV so hopefully we can just keep nursing her back to health!  Poor thing just cant catch a break.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Baby M's Room

For my second daughter, I thought I would spend LESS money this time, and make what I wanted as far as room decor.  I looked at custom order sets and although they are beautiful and tailored to the consumer's desire, I just couldn't allow myself to spend that kind of cash.  So I followed an online tutorial and made my own crib bumpers (a pattern for this is provided by https://sew4home.com/projects/pillows-cushions/stylish-baby-nursery-crib-bumpers-two-cool-fabs).  And I am extremely happy how they came out!  I then decided to make my own curtains, and bench cushions to match.



The cushions are a set of six, and I used piping for the yellow border.

Below, the curtains are made of the brown polka dot fabric and lined with a thick thermal backing.


Christmas Wreath

After some pinterest inspiration.  I made my own wreath this year.  I used a styrofoam circle, spray painted it silver.  And then cut out 6 large firm felt snowflakes, arranged them on the styrofoam and pinned them down.  Next, I took glitter snowflakes of various sizes (bought from the dollar tree) and hot glued them on top of one another.  And here it is:


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Freezer Meals Trial 1

***See my NEW blog post with more recipes and freezer/meal ideas!***

So I made my first crockpot freezer meals today.  I did a huge shopping trip to winco then spent about two hours prepping and bagging everything.  I have 10 freezer meals made to start myself off.  We'll see how this goes!  But so far, I'm pretty happy how its turned out.  The proportions look great for our family and I love that all my produce is fresh and everything is cut up and ready to be thrown into the crockpot!



Some of my vegetables all chopped

Teriyaki Mix (None of my mixes have the meat, I keep that separate).  The teriyaki mix has yellow onions, broccoli, and carrots with 1/2 cup of Teriyaki sauce.


This chicken crockpot mix is carrots, red potatoes, and celery.  And we love the flavor of "Crockery Gourmet; Seasoning Mix for chicken".  I used one cup of each vegetable in my freezer bag, then froze.  When I'm ready to use it, I unthaw it along with 3 frozen chicken breasts (I buy the 20lb bag of chicken breasts by Foster Farms from Costco).  It takes about 3-4 hours to unthaw it all, then throw it in the crockpot with your desired seasoning mix (I use HALF of the package for one bag) and cook.  This serves three people.  And I usually cook some biscuits to serve with it.  One of our favorites for the weekends!


This beef stew mix has celery, carrots, yellow onion and red potatoes.  And I use McCormick Hearty Beef Stew slower cooker mix.  




These are my ten freezer meals.  The top two bags are a Healthy BBQ Chicken.  I followed Healthy Mama BBQ Chicken

I also buy ground beef, and pork roasts in large portions from costco, divide them up in 1 lb bags for later use, using my vacuum seal food saver.  I love having meat on hand to save me from going to the grocery store.  I always date the date it was frozen and make sure I use it within 3 months.  One of my frozen bags of ground beef is always seasoned for meatballs.  You can see my other post that has the information for the meatballs, but they are simple and always delicious.  They go well with a red potato wedge seasoned with olive oil, garlic and Rosemary or Parmesan.

Some other meals I like to make with the frozen ground beef which are easy and quick to prepare are Mexican Casserole and Stuffed Red Bell Peppers.

The Mexican Casserole is 1 lb of ground beef browned, then add 1 can (8 oz) of tomato sauce, 1 cup of salsa, 1 teaspoon of chile powder, and 2 cans of kidney beans.  Mix in a pan, then throw it in the oven for 40 minutes.  Then throw on some cheddar and jack cheese for a few minutes in the oven, and dinner is served.  We like to add some sour cream to top it off, and occasionally eat it like a nacho with some chips.  Easy, quick, and tastes great!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Crocheting Obsession

So with baby girl #2 on the way, I have been a craft addict! I am hoping to slowly update my blog with all my creations as I am super proud of them and want to share! I started with a few crocheted hats, and a cocoon hat set. A blanket. And some super cute newborn ankle boots that I adore!

Infant Ankle Boots



Shell Stitch Hat 3-6 Months



Newborn Cluster Hat from Alli's Crafts Blog (She got a great blog with TONS of free crochet patterns)    This hat calls for sl st for the last few rows, but I am a chronic tight crocheter, so I used sc instead and it turned out great!  My first attempt at this hat came out way too tight it barely fit my daughter's dolls head, but she was overly excited for her doll to have a hat too!





Basic Newborn Beanie and I added the flower embellishment to spruce it up.



Baby Cocoon (This took me three hours, and it was so simple!!) I am still debating on my embellishments as I have some pretty awesome buttons that look great. But in this photo you will see a basic white ribbon.



My baby girl's first blanket!  (Big sister has one from a similar pattern that she always sleeps with-I've had to make her a second for when the first gets worn down!)

Friday, February 10, 2012

Valentine's Day


We made daddy a valentine today. Madison was NOT into it at all, she cried, but, I did get it done and think it turned out great. And it was super simple. I just used washable finger paint by crayola, and sat her in her high chair so she couldn't go anywhere. And then I used some stickers to finish the decoration. Here it is:


Recipes


I tried a lasagna recipe last night that I found on pinterest. I made my own rendition, and it turned out pretty good! Its called Crock-pot lasagna , it was super simple to make, and made plenty for my husband and I have to have 3 meals from it (So 6 servings). Instead of 4 cups of mozzarella, I used two cups, and 1 cup of parmesan and 1 cup of cream cheese. Also, I used a 23 oz bottle of garlic tomato sauce with 3 oz of water for the meat sauce. I added a dash of oregano, and a dash of basil. Next time, I want to make more meat sauce and add some more spice! I used my crockpot, with the low setting on (8 hours), only cook for 4 hours. The pasta noodle do not need to be cooked, which was GREAT because I suck at cooking noodles and the steam from the crockpot cooked them perfectly!






I put the smoothie in an ice cube try and my daughter can get one in her mesh feeder. Its provided a yummy, semi-healthy teething snack!


A third favorite is homemade meat-balls. I found my recipe off interest. Crockpot Meatballs

My hubby made me a delicious dinner for valentines day. Lobster cooked with a dill citrus butter (made by new seasons). And he saut├ęd some fresh vegetables, zucchini green and yellow, and red bell peppers. One of the best dinners I have had!


This is our favorite salad/dessert that we found in a costco food recipe book that they hand out during the holiday time.  It is 50/50 spring salad/spinach, with craisins, red onion, mango, strawberry, and slivered almonds.  The dressing is sugar, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil.


This is a stuffed chicken breast with potatoes and asparagus.  I followed this blog, and it was super easy!
Mashed Potato Stuffed Chicken with Lemon Parsley Sauce


Delicious Mini-Apple Pies.  I will most definitely be making these for Thanksgiving.  The only issue I had, was I wanted my dough to be from scratch, so I followed my Betty Crocker Cook Book, and it was too sticky, and I had the hardest time rolling it, BUT these still turned out delicious.  Hubby and I topped them with a scoop of french vanilla ice cream and a little caramel drizzle.  mmm good!  



Fresh Homemade Blueberry Muffins.  So great for a morning treat and a way to get my daughter and hubby to eat some fruit.  





Being a Mom

No one can prepare you for what you will feel when you become a mom. I always told my husband, and myself that I was a career woman. I wanted to be the breadwinner and depend on no man, and therefore, I would NEVER want to be a stay-at-home-mom (SAHM). My daughter was born, and that was completely out the window. I would do ANYTHING to stay at home with my daughter everyday now. But rather, I feel trapped and resentment for those that "keep" me stuck. For my family though, I have to make the sacrifice and have learned to cope and seek help to keep us afloat.

I know every woman feels different, but I wasn't prepared to feel like this. I never wanted to leave my daughter. And when I did, I felt(feel) guilty. I also worried if I had to be gone unexpectedly, and for long hours, what if she "forgets" me or refuses to nurse when I get home? Because, get real, your body does not respond to a breast pump the same as a nursing baby. So that 15 hour work shift I just had to pull caused a HUGE drop in my supply, AND because it was overnight, my body is really out of whack. My daughter is now 13 months old. She still breastfeeds once in the morning. I know she doesn't get a ton because it is followed by a sippy of whole milk, but at least I know I can give her some nutrients and antibodies to help keep her from getting sick. (13 months and free of a real sickness to date). She started weaning herself around 10 months old, mostly because I had to work an overnight shift, was awake for 24+ hours, and my milk supply plummeted, she got frustrated and my supply never bounced back. Even with fenugreek supplements, tons of water, and oatmeal. None of those "natural" remedies worked for me. I "helped" my mom with my sisters after they were born, I was 12 when the first was born. I had a great sense of what being a mom meant, responsibilities-wise, but because they were not my own and I was still young, I had no idea what being a mom would actually feel like.

I wanted to breastfeed because it was the best for my baby, and why, if I am perfectly capable, would I not breastfeed? I am so glad I chose to stick with it, but breastfeeding is demanding when you are not working, therefore super stressful when you ARE working. And the lack of sleep is difficult, which if you breastfeed, there's not any way to change that. Because the fact is, you WILL be up every 3 hours for the first 3-6 months (if not longer) of your baby's life.

At 6 weeks I was exhausted, so I tried pumping a bottle for my husband to try and take a shift during the night so I could get more than my 2-3 hours of sleep. That was a disaster because at the next feed I could not get my baby girl to latch. After crying for four hours with sadness and frustration, I finally got her to latch and said no more bottles until we have to give them to her when I return to work at 12 weeks.

No one told you all those things that bothered you when you were pregnant you couldn't have while you were nursing too. I could not drink any caffeinated beverages while I was nursing, no milk, no orange juice, no red pasta sauces, no broccoli. And I am sure I am forgetting some others. (No glass of wine before bed). So then I was nursing a baby every 3 hours, sometimes more, I was sleep-deprived, and I couldn't have any caffeinated beverages. It was hard. In between those 3 hours, if the baby isn't sleeping on you, you're hoping to shower, maybe eat, clean up around the house and maybe get some shut eye before the next feed. But you also have to change baby diapers, burp them, bathe them, give them a little activity time when they are awake.

No one told me that my baby wouldn't sleep laying down, on her back, in her bassinet. She did not want to be in her bassinet but maybe 15 minutes, and then would wake up crying and we would have to start all over again. (Even in the hospital she did not sleep in their makeshift bassinet). The only way we got some sleep in the beginning was if she fell asleep on our chests (which I am a stomach sleeper ONLY, so sleeping on my back was difficult, but guess what, you're tired enough you'll fall asleep!!!) or if she was swaddled and in her swing, turned on, with white noise, and a binky. I have another blog post that describes all the crazy methods we tried to get our daughter to sleep. But really, no one warned me that not only would I be sleep deprived, but I would have to try a million different things to try to get my baby to sleep at all, other than on me. (Next time I will be buying a rock and play sleeper, and/or a co-sleep extension for my bed, as well as a swing that swings side-to-side and back and forth).

My biggest "warning", for lack of a better term, to soon to be mom's or families that are trying to conceive out there is to not plan for when baby arrives, but be prepared for many different scenarios. For example, set yourself up so that you COULD be a SAHM if you find after having a baby that's what you want to do. Leave as many options available so that when the time comes you aren't cornered to do something that makes you cry every day that you are away or feel guilty that you can't pump enough for your baby anymore.

Thankfully for me, my employer worked with me and allowed me to go part-time, because I had to face it, I couldn't just flat out quit. But that also "cornered" me when thinking about having baby #2 because federal law does not protect part-time employees with FMLA, which meant if I wanted any sort of maternity leave with the next baby, I'd have to quit. So for baby #2, we are going to plan better. So I have the option to continue work or not continue work without putting my family in financial jeopardy. Or putting myself risk of going to a mental institution from my misery due to work stress. (I have to laugh a little bit, but am slightly serious).

Next baby, I will drink coffee to maintain my sanity if I must. I will have a can of formula in the house so its available if I really just need the help to catch a break, and I will not feel guilty. I will call my mother or mother in law to watch the babies so I CAN get sleep, even if I don't think I need it. Fortunately, my mom is young, at 43, so she has been a tremendous help. But even with her being my daughters caretaker when I am gone doesn't make me feel any less guilty when I have to go to work for who knows how long and be gone from my daughter. The first bedtime I missed, I bawled my eyes out.

In all of this I have learned that my sanity is more important than being a "perfect" mom in my terms. I was so worried about being the perfect mom to my daughter that I didn't care what cost it came at. But truth be told, a happy mommy = a happy baby. An unhappy mommy = an unhappy baby. Everything you feel, they feel. For instance, my daughter knew when I was stressed because my heart rate would skyrocket and my motions would get faster and my grip tighter, and we would sweat like crazy. This would only cause my daughter to become more inconsolable. Another piece of advice, buy earplugs. Hearing my daughter cry is one of the most stressful things for me, even 13 months later. I learned to cope with it and maintain calm by taking deep breaths, and earplugs for those really extreme moments, or taking a timeout in the other room while she was safe in her crib for 5 minutes. Purple crying, my hospital sent me home with this DVD, which they also made us watch before going home with our daughter, and I am glad they did. Because it was the "ok" to set my daughter down to gain my composure and start over again. Your sanity is most important.

I love my daughter and wouldn't change anything. But I will prepare myself better before we have any more children because I don't want to go through all of this again. I am *hoping* the second is easier because I'll know more about what I am doing and I'll have more confidence as being mom. All I ever wanted was to be a mom, and its reward, joy, love is much more than I ever thought it would be. It's definitely one of the best, and hardest, things I have ever done to date.

Saeco Espresso Maker


We FINALLY got our coffee maker. In order to keep up with my, now, toddler, I have needed a little extra boost! So I talked my husband into buying us an espresso maker, with the agreement that he would start to use it too. So far, its easy to use. It warms up fairly quickly (no waiting 15 minutes for the machine to be ready), and my latte's have turned out splendid. The original coffee maker we ordered was from zappo's, they had the best deal and my husband can get free shipping through them. So we ordered the Saeco cappuccino syntia espresso maker, only to receive the saeco syntia espresso maker. No cappuccino maker (which meant the machine would froth the milk FOR you, instead of having to do it manually). So we called zappos and they sent us the new one, only to find they sent us the SAME coffee machine. Apparently, they were advertising a machine they do not sale. So, they price matched amazon for us and fixed it. But, all in all, I am super happy with the machine! Here is a picture.


And here is the link to the espresso maker on amazon: Saeco Syntia Stainless Steel Automatic Espresso Maker

"Waterfall" Braid


My sister came over to hang out, and I was showing her the wonderful world of interest and a few hair styles I had tried. She wanted me to try out the Waterfall braid on her, it turned out very successful the first try. Now if only I could do that to my hair by myself! Here is how her hair turned out:

Her hair was curled prior to the braiding, but even with the curls, you could see the braid, and it looked nice on her and kept her flyaways out of her face. You will see the end of the braid on the right side, all the photo's we looked at did not really show the end of the waterfall braid, but this is how we did ours. I used a clear tie band for the end.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Useful Baby Websites and Apps

Useful websites:

Kellymom.com This site is great for breastfeeding information, such as which medications are "safe" to use while breastfeeding.

Wholesome Baby Food This is a great guide to making your own baby food at home. I also liked my William's Sonoma Baby and Toddler cook book. These are both very simple guides, but it was nice to have as some foods I didn't even think about giving my baby.

Pinterest Follow my Pins

Fun Apps for your phone:

What to Expect Fertility
What to Expect Pregnancy
What to Expect Baby
Fisher-Price Shapes and Colors
Fisher-Price Animals
Fisher-Price Lets Count
Fisher-Price Where's Puppy
Look Baby!
Bubbles
Peekaboo Barn
Peekaboo Ocean
Seuss ABC
iBaby Feed Timer
White Noise

Crocheting:


I am still learning to crochet, but I am enjoying it. I made my daughter a blanket for her first birthday. It isn't perfect, but she sleeps with it every night. Its warm, and has plenty of ventilation so I'm not overly concerned with SIDS and the use of this blanket. I've also crocheted several hats, though none of them have come out perfect quite yet. And I have crocheted one scarf that I made for my mother-in-law for christmas. Etsy has a plethora of vendors who sell crochet patterns. They are all super cute and seem to be all the craze right now with my generation of momma's. Here are some pieces I have crocheted so far...






HAIR, Hair, hair...


So for the past couple weeks I have been working with my hair a bit more. And most of my inspiration has been from links I've found on pinterest.

My latest try was the sock bun. The sock part was super SIMPLE. The making of the bun was a bit more difficult. I watched several video's to decide which method was best for me (goodness there are many different sock bun methods!), but this video tutorial is the one I liked best:



She shows two methods of doing the sock bun, I preferred the second method she demonstrates.

I will try this again, but my first attempt was a complete FAIL. I have very naturally curly hair. So before trying this method, I washed my hair, dried it so that there was some dampness still, straightened it a little bit to settle fly aways and get rid of any waves after blow drying. Then I put my head upside down to put it into a high ponytail on the TOP of my head. And followed the second method instructions from the above video. My sock bun looked like the girls' in this video. However this morning, when I took it out, I had a crease in my hair from the ponytail holder, and my curls were very large so that only the ends of my hair were curled. And then within an hour, my curls were completely gone.

I am not sure this sock bun will work for me as my hair is naturally curly, and if I tried this method without straightening, I think my natural waves might take over and my frizz would be out of control (which is why I straightened it a little to begin with). But I'll let you know how attempt number two goes.

Here is my sock bun:




Another hair style that I have adored is natural, big waves. Here is a tutorial I found during my hunt:




I followed this tutorial, but I didn't find that it was much different from how I had been styling my hair while curly. The biggest point for me was learning HOW TO curl my hair... starting up high and not curling in the same direction with EVERY curl made. Overall, I was super happy how this hairstyle came out, and it lasted two days... a third was possible but I chose to wash my hair. Here's how it came out (day 1):





Another style I tried is a low "fancy" bun. I found this on pinterest and its a hair tutorial from TBD (The Beauty Department, also another Lauren Conrad site/blog). Here is a link to the tutorial: Prim and Proper TBD Bun

This is how mine turned out:




Another hairstyle that is very popular right now is the side french braid, there are a ton of variations. I followed a hairdresser's blog that is flooding pinterest. And she is GREAT. Here is her blog: The Small Things Blog

I was never taught how to french braid, so I needed a little help, and here was one you tube tutorial I found:


It was very simple, and I've been doing this every few days now when my hair is borderline greasy but I don't have time to wash it. Here is my first time trying it:


I bought some clear, small hair ties instead of the one you see in the picture. And I generally pull my hair back into a messy bun. Here was my inspiration:

The last piece regarding hair is the products you use. My two latest purchases include Moroccan Oil and Soy Tri-Wheat Leave in Conditioner.

Madison's FIRST birthday

Her FIRST birthday has come and gone... but here is how it turned out! (Oh my gosh I have a one year old toddler!!!!)




Madison's Birthday Outfit. It was gorgeous. It fit perfectly, and washed nicely after her party. It will be a great keepsake for her special box of goodies.

Here is the link to the etsy shop that I bought her outfit from: Blooms N Bows



Madison and her smash cake. She was NOT interested. The only reason we got this picture of her touching the cake is because we put some of her yogurt puffs on the cake. This is her cake smash shirt so she didn't get her birthday outfit filthy.

On this table we had lemon-cucumber water, punch (pineapple-orange-banana concentrate, lemonade concentrate, strong earl grey tea, and ice cream), powered jelly donuts, and jawbreakers. The photo's on the back wall were from her birthday invite, and we just reused them on the wall display. It turned out GREAT!

Her sweets table. We had mints, cake pops, hershey kisses, hershey chocolate bars, coconut jelly beans, yogurt covered pretzels, white cheddar popcorn, marshmallows, and a two-tier cake.


Pink, white and silver balloons to decorate. With a BIG silver "1" balloon.
This was the top of our christmas tree, we spray painted with silver paint. Got some christmas light balls, and felt to create a winter wonderland feel.


I used christmas snowflake ornaments to decorate the wall. Sticky tack was used to stick them to the wall. It left no residue and did not stain the wall after I took them down. Her birthday banner was made of construction paper, spray glue, and silver glitter.


I had her birthday invite mounted and displayed for everyone to sign that she could remember who made it to her first birthday party. By the end of the party, everyone had signed it and it looked great!


We used our cake cutting set from our wedding, which matched our decor perfectly. The paper plates were from ikea. And the goodie bags are dressed up with some silver snowflake stickers.


My table center piece and entry display piece were clear glass circle vases filled with silver ball christmas ornaments and bells. These were great because I could have them out all winter seasons, so I actually threw them together in November and have had them on display for a few months. I will probably reuse this each winter season for decoration. My labels were stamped with a silver snowflake and I just used a silver sharpe to label things.