Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Letters to Eli, #1

Dear Eli,

I can't believe you are already seven weeks old. You've changed my life in every way imaginable, and I cannot believe how fast time is going by now. I always knew that it would go really fast when I started having kids, but I didn't realize how swiftly every second would seem to fly by just being in your presence. I wake up every day ready to see your face. I long to hear every coo, sigh, and grunt that you make. I never knew that listening for things like burps and passing gas would be things that would make me happy or excited, but they do. And they do because they're yours.

I already look back at the pictures from the day you were born or even pictures from when you were two weeks old or four weeks old and am amazed at how much you've changed in just a few weeks time. I try to hold onto every second I spend with you during the day because I know that they are going to be fleeting and short-lived. I have to go back to work on January 6, and it feels like it is just rapidly approaching. It makes me sad to think that I'm going miss all the little smiles that you give me during the day and all the little naps you take while resting on my shoulder or my chest. People offer a lot to watch you so I can clean or run errands, and it is very kind of them to do so. What they don't realize is that I want to spend every possible moment with you over all other things. Nothing else is as important to me as getting in as much time with you as I can as I am all too aware of how fast you will grow. 

I already find myself wishing I could go back to the first week and do everything all over again with you. I already think I could do those first few weeks better with you if I could go back and redo them just knowing the things I know about you now. How you would grow, how to comfort you, and what you like; but I guess that is part of this parent-child relationship. We learn and grow together as we go.

Don't get me wrong...I am excited for the future...our future! It will be such a joy to see how you grow and change. I pray for you often. I pray that God will someday call you to life with Him, I pray He will give you Christ-like friends, and I pray for your future spouse to be a God-fearing, Christian woman. I pray you will seek God's will or your life and follow it with selfless abandon. I pray for you to try to be like Jesus in heart, mind, and actions. 

I pray for me, too. I pray that I will be a good mother to you and that I will point you to Christ in how I parent you. I pray that I balance being a good mama and a good wife. I pray that through Prince Charming and my's marriage, you will see how to love your wife in a Godly way.

We have a long way to go on our journey together, and I will try my best each day to savor both the easy and challenging parts of being a mommy. But know that in all parts of parenthood, I find such happiness and love in just having you in my life! 

Love you so much,

Thursday, November 21, 2013

It's A Boy!! Welcome, Eli!

Hey, Blogosphere Friends!
I know that I have been MIA for a few weeks, but with very good reason. Prince Charming and I are happy to announce that our baby boy made his grand arrival on October 29, 2013 at 10:53 a.m. after a quick and easy labor. He weighed in at 8 lbs., 1 oz. (ambitious for a first baby, I know), and he was 20 1/4 inches long. He had ten fingers, ten toes, and as Mary Poppins would say, he was practically perfect in every way!
Being a mom has thus far been one of the most joyous, overwhelming, challenging, and incredible things I have been blessed to be a part of. I have had so many thoughts I wanted to share here on my blog, but I think it will be best to start at the beginning. This post will be all about Eli's birth story. I need to get this down before I am too far removed to remember the details.
I had a scheduled delivery because of the gestational diabetes. My doctor decided to induce me at 39 weeks to make sure his size didn't become an issue for our delivery. This turned out to be a real blessing! It took all of the stress of labor away because I didn't have to walk around wondering when my water would break or if I would go past my due date. Prince Charming and I checked into the hospital at about 9:00 p.m. on October 28th and were taken to our LDR room at around 10:00 p.m. I was introduced to my nightime nurse, and let me just say that all of my nurses and doctors the entire time I was in were amazing. I had the opportunity to change into my hospital gown and get ready for bed before getting my IV started. Once I was hooked up to the monitors, the nurse administered my first medicine, a suppository to soften my cervix, and my body naturally started contracting. The contractions were pretty mild. They were definitely stronger than my Braxton Hicks had been, but they weren't painful. They did make it impossible to sleep, so my nurse came in after a few hours and gave me a very mild sedative to help me rest. After a ridiculously loopy conversation with Prince Charming (that he caught on camera), I was able to sleep lightly for a few hours. At 2 a.m., the nurse started my Pitocin and my first round of antibiotics to treat the Strep B. The contractions got stronger and more frequent quickly with the medicine. At around 5 a.m., I took an epidural as I was scheduled to have my water broken by my OBGYN at seven, and my nurse said that I wouldn't want to feel that. The epidural was so much better than I thought. I was afraid it would make me completely numb, as if I was paralyzed, but I could still feel pressure and move my legs on my own accord. That was such a relief!

About an hour after receiving my epidural, my water broke on its own. (Praise be to God for that amazing blessing), and my body took over. Within a couple of hours, around 8 o'clock, I was almost fully dilated and ready to go. My mom and sister got to come back and see us for awhile. It was such a relief to have them there. My mom had come in town a week earlier to help me finalize my preparations, and my sister only had to take off one day to be with me. She fixed my hair for delivery (thank you, Cookie)! My dad didn't get to make it for Eli's delivery as his job called him out of the country. I was disappointed, but I knew he would get to have two weeks with us when he returned, so I didn't fret too much. The in-laws got to come in for a quick visit, too, and they documented our anticipation. Here is a picture of Prince Charming and me before delivery. (That calm face on me is the beauty of an epidural, ladies! I highly recommend them!!) 

None of the family stayed in the room for delivery. Prince Charming and I really wanted that moment for us, and it really blessed our hearts! By 9:45 a.m., I was fully dilated. We just needed my awesome doc to deliver! He arrived at around 10:15, and we got ready to go. I could feel, even with the epidural, my body telling me when to push. The nurses were so awesome! Our hospital was a teaching hospital, and we had an AMAZING nursing student helping with everything. (I hope to add more about my nurses later.) My main nurse laid across my belly to help me push! I only had to push maybe four times before Eli made his miraculous entrance into the world, and Prince Charming and I found out we had a son!! We both cried. I am still tearing up just thinking about that moment a month later. He was beautiful and healthy, and we couldn't have been happier.

He was such a sweet, gentle spirited newborn. He cried upon delivery, but once they took him to assess him and clean him for skin to skin time with mommy, he didn't cry again. 

His daddy got to trim his umbilical cord, and he stayed by his side every move as they took care of him in our LDR room. My doctor stitched me up (recovery will be another post), and when Eli was prepped, they brought him to me for skin to skin. 

He just gazed up at me with those big blue eyes. He was so alert and stayed that way for our entire two hour Kangaroo time. Before his first feeding, which was a great success (an answered prayer), we asked the family to come in and see him. They still didn't know what we had been blessed with, and we couldn't wait to tell them we had a baby boy in the family. Here are my mom and sister saying hi. Can you tell this is my mom's first grand baby? 

Bella and Aunt Cookie soaking in the amazingness of Eli!

Since my dad wasn't there, we called him to tell him he had a new grandson. He was thrilled! 

I couldn't take my eyes off of that sweet little face looking up at me! He was the most precious human being I had ever laid eyes on, and I had so much love in my heart for that sweet little baby boy! 

 Prince Charming was totally smitten, too, and he was able to get in some good skin to skin bonding time with his little man in our hospital room. These two boys have my heart! (Side note: Eli still looks like this when he sleeps on us.)

We stayed in the hospital for two nights with our new baby. He stayed at night in the nursery, but they brought him to me every two hours to feed. This allowed us to sleep and helped me as my recovery was a little bit more complex than I anticipated. He was with us from around eight a.m. To around eleven p.m. every day. His family came to visit him in the hospital, and he was so alert and sweet all the time! We checked out and went home on Halloween day, and my dad surprised us by coming home that afternoon! It was a great surprise, and I will post about our first weeks home soon. 

I can't believe it has been a month already, and Eli still amazes me every day. I can't believe how much he has grown already. I will (hopefully) get to post new pics and updates soon. He is truly a miracle and an extension of God's love and grace to our little family. 

In Christ Alone,

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

My Mommy Hospital Bag

Greetings, Blogosphere friends!

So I had my final doctor's appointment before D-Day (Delivery Day) arrives, and my super awesome amazing doctor says he thinks we will be all good to go for Baby Muller's arrival next week. We even passed our second A1C test with flying colors. I am so excited, and I cannot wait to meet the little miracle that has been woven and spun by the Creator of the universe in my belly these past 38 weeks! God has been so good to our growing family, and we continue to pray for his mercy and blessings on us and this little one as we prepare to become a family of three. We covet prayers of those who would ask the same on our behalf. :)

This post has been a fun one to plan. I have been working on packing my "mommy hospital bag" since I was at about 35 weeks, but I think I finally have everything I could want or need. I, of course, did a quick online search for "what to pack in a hospital bag" and perused Pinterest for suggestions, but I found that the best advice came from all of my recent mommy friends and co-workers. They had suggestions I would not have thought of on my own, and I am so excited to share this list with any other soon-to-be mommies out there who are wondering the same things I was about what would be necessary and what would be superfluous. Below are some pictures with descriptions of what I finally ended up with in my bag. I have also tried to include links for as many items as possible, and if requested, I can create a printable list to include with this post for your packing ease. Please feel free to leave comments, additional suggestions, or questions if you have any.

My hospital bag:

So here are the contents of my hospital bag in their entirety. I am packing my large Vera Bradley duffel bag that I have had for ages (love how much you can shove into those things) as my primary bag for our hospital visit and stay. I am also taking (not pictured) an empty Vera Bradley tote bag that many people said would come in handy for anything the hospital gives me to take home or gifts presented by visitors during our stay. I am also bringing along (not pictured) a small, recyclable shopping bag with my nurses' gifts (see pic later in post), the Medela pump to practice with my lactation consultant, and a personal throw blanket.

The first set of items I am bringing along are really creature comforts. I am bringing a bath towel from home as many of my friends have said the ones at the hospital are super thin and bare. I am bringing my own pillow in this peach pillow case. My personal home sheets are white, but I heard that a hospital may accidentally mistake your white sheets/pillows for their own, so I wanted to eliminate the possibility of any confusion. I am also bringing my Babies R Us Body Pillow and Wedge and some Lavendar and Chamomille scented linen spray from Bath and Body Works for relaxation. (As much as I can relax, anyway.)

These are a few potentially medically necessary items. The inflatable cushion is in case of any tearing, episiotomies, or soreness after delivery. I know the hospital will supply me with some of those canoes of pads and (hopefully) some of those disposable granny panties that my mommy-friends say are so great, but I wanted to bring a couple of big, incontinence pads just in case. I also grabbed a box of Tucks pads in case those aren't supplied to me either.

I also have my handy-dandy toiletry case. Shampoo, conditioner, body wash, toothpaste, toothbrush, mouthwash, lotion, hairspray, loofah, Febreze, deoderant...all of the items that I am sure I will be dying to use after the hard work of labor and delivery is done.

I am also bringing three loose, comfy, nursing friendly dresses to wear while at the hospital from Milk and Baby. Because I cannot be 100% sure I won't have to have a C-section because of the gestational diabetes, I didn't want to pack pants. I got all of these items in dark colors in case of "leaks" post-delivery. The long black dress is my wear home gown, and I have packed flip flops to wear home, too. It seems the temperature may be dropping here soon (Yay, fall!), so I will probably be adding a sweater/cardigan to this setup. As one additional outfit, my in-laws bought me some custom made hospital gowns I can change into post delivery. One is blue and one is pink, so I will pick the one to wear after the baby appears on the scene. They are comfy and perfect for nursing, so they will be great to round out that first day of hospital dwelling. They also got me some comfy slippers to wear, too.

These items aren't actually packed in my Vera Bradley bag, but are instead in the small, recyclable grocery bag I am carrying the nurses' gifts in instead. I have a few packs of Thank You notes, a couple of take-out menus from some of our favorite local spots, and a folder that contains the important insurance forms we will have to fill out for Baby Muller once he or she arrives.

This is my set of nursing gear for the hospital. I bought two sleep bras from Motherhood Maternity to wear at the hospital. (I am going for convenience and comfort in this case, so I am leaving my "cute" nursing bras at home.) I packed several pairs of panties in dark colors to wear if they don't give me the disposable undies. I am bringing our travel Boppy pillow and one of the nursing covers I made (in case of visitors during feeding times.) I also have the Avent Breastfeeding Essentials pack that has leak pads, a cooling, heating pad, and a bra marker to remind you which side you nursed on last. As a final touch, I am bringing a fitted belly band as several of my friends have commented on how weird (and sometimes painful) it can be for your body to adjust to not having baby in your abdominal space anymore. I plan on wearing this around my middle most of the time after the baby comes.

The last thing in my mommy bag is this awesome, dark, hooded robe I picked up on clearance sale at Target. Everything I read or heard said to not bring your best to the hospital in case of "accidents" or "messes," so I got this one for around $15. It is very comfy, and the dark color will camouflage any leaks. Finally, I packed a few pairs of soft, warm, comfortable socks. I am super excited about my Boo socks since Baby Muller will be here terribly close to Halloween, and I wanted to make sure I acknowledged that somehow. It even has BOO written on the bottom of the socks in non-skid plastic, making these perfect for walking on cold, slippery tile floors.

Here is the main item in my recyclable grocery bag: my labor and delivery nurses' gifts. It is just a little happy to say thank you for everything you do during this special, overwhelming, and amazing time in our family's life!

Inside the cute little bucket is a note, a foldable brush/mirror compact, tissues, a click-pen (my NICU nurse sister swears these are a Godsend for a nurse), chapstick, mints, gum, lotion, hand sanitizer, and dark chocolate. All of these items came from Target. I hope they will feel appreciated receiving this small token of our gratitude.
I hope that this post proves helpful to any mommies out there getting ready to pack their hospital bag! I hope you have a great day, and I will be blogging with you again soon!
Be a Blessing,

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

DIYs of Baby Muller's Nursery

 Hello, Blogosphere Friends!
As a follow-up to my post about Baby Muller's completed nursery, I wanted to be sure to give you an up-close look at the DIY projects I (and Prince Charming) completed for the room. When we found out we were expecting our first little one, I knew that I would want to add some personal touches to the nursery and not necessarily purchase everything. Not only did this turn out to be economical, but it really helped me feel like I was helping prepare a personal place for our baby to grow. It also gave me something to do when the nesting urges kicked in that was productive and reached beyond wiping everything down for the millionth time. :)
The first project was the painting of these giraffe canvases under the influence of a print I saw on Pinterest. You can see the original print here. It was truly the first thing I ever saw that inspired the color palette for the nursery and gave me a general idea of what I wanted the nursery to feel like. I also knew, though, that I didn't want to do a giraffe or animal themed nursery. I wanted the overall look of the room to remain more neutral than that. I adjusted the colors of the giraffes to better reflect the colors within the room, and instead of keeping them all together on one canvas the way they are on the print, I broke them up into three separate canvases to center over the crib. Although not identical to the print, I was really happy overall with how they turned out. I would never claim to be an artist, and I did this free-hand. The fact that they looked like giraffes at all made me happy. :) I bought the plain canvases at Michael's. The center one was larger than the two on the sides. I also bought paint colors at Michael's using the fabric swatches I received from Carousel designs to guide my selections. The entire cost of the project was around $20-$25 between the canvases, the paint, and the set of brushes I used. These have truly turned into one of my favorite pieces in the space, and I would encourage any new mom to try their hand at making some art for their baby's nursery walls.

Speaking of art on the walls, the next DIY was something I was really excited about making. If you have read my blog, you know that I am a huge Beatles fan. While browsing Amazon for items to add to my registry, I stumbled across this wall decal featuring lyrics from a great Beatles song, "Golden Slumbers." I was super excietd, but I knew that I didn't want to just stick a decal on the wall. I needed to brainstorm a way to display the words without ruining the wall. When I need to brainstorm, I hit up my Pinterest account. (Clearly...I have over 7,000 pins. Crazy much??) In my browsing, I saw several empty picture frames that people had used to display wall-decals. I thought this was a great solution to my problem, but I didn't just want an empty frame. I wanted to display the words over some sort of print. I had leftover gray and white chevron fabric from a project I did earlier this year, so I decided that would be the backdrop of my lyrics. After receiving the lyrics at my Beatles Baby Shower, Prince Charming and I made a run to the Hobby Lobby on the northshore to find a frame. I knew I didn't want to use a white frame because most of the furniture in the room was white. I wanted something a little more rustic and distressed. This frame was just the ticket, came in a perfect size for the decal, and was 50% off the day we were shopping. Score! When we got home, we assembled this by simply cutting the fabric to size and placing it in the frame. Then, over top of the glass of the frame, Prince Charming followed the decal directions to stick on the words. It turned out really sweet, and I love that whenever we want, we can scrape off the letters and reuse the frame. This project cost us around $25 to make from start to finish, and hung over the changing table, it is one of the focal points of the room.
The last two DIYs of the nursery were sewing projects. I received my first sewing machine last Christmas, and with friends who had babies on the way, the first thing I learned to sew on it was a simple baby blanket. I knew from the get-go this would be something I would make for my little mischka. I ordered a yard each of our nursery's crib bedding fabric and a matching minky. I thought this minky was awesome because it was different than the typical dotted or solid minky I have found at my local fabric store. I generally followed the tutorial from Sew for Home: Stylish Baby Nursery. I stuck with the easiest blanket with just a simple top stitch around the edges. All of the tutorials featured at the site are easy to follow and really cute! If you can sew a straight line, you can definitely make a baby blanket for your little one, too! 

The final DIY in the nursery was a cover for the changing pad. This one sort of sprung up out of necessity. While I had remembered to register for a changing pad, I didn't realize I would need to register for a pad cover. (Thank you, pregnant brain!) So, instead of ordering or purchasing one, I decided to look into making one. I had a bit of fabric left over from the blanket project, but there wasn't enough of either one to make a solid cover. I decided to stitch the two pieces of fabric together to make one larger piece of fabric that was half and half. I jumped onto my handy-dandy Pinterest account, and I found this tutorial from A Load of Craft on How to Make a Contoured Changing Pad Cover. I followed her instructions to a T, and the cover turned out really cute. I have found that I will probably need to add more elastic to the bottom than the original pattern called for, but for now, it works! I had a bit more minky than bedding fabric, so I used it to create the pieces for both ends of the changing pad. It was probably the most complicated thing I have sewed to date as it had turns and curves and required some maneuvering around the ends, but I was very happy (and relieved) with how it turned out! I think I could make another one someday, but my belly is currently preventing me from very successfully using my sewing machine. ;)

That's the DIYs of Baby Muller's nursery! I hope that you can find some inspiration or some helpful tutorials here to use in your own little bundle of joy's nursery preparation, and please feel free to leave comments or questions if you would like more information. Have a terrific Tuesday, cyber-friends!

Be a Blessing,

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Baby Muller's Nursery

Hello, Blogosphere friends!
I am super psyched to make these nursery posts. The countdown to Baby Muller's arrival is within a week and half away (AT MOST), and the preparation for his or her arrival has been so much fun! Designing a gender neutral nursery was a little bit challenging, but it was a labor of love. I am so pleased with how it turned out. It's funny how even the little things with a baby, like preparing a nursery, can remind us of God's grace and goodness. As we have worked, we have been reminded of Jesus's promise that He "goes to prepare a place for you." What a wonderful promise! We have tried to think of all of the ways we can provide for our little one's needs and make him or her comfortable and much more the Creator will prepare a place for us with Him and with the Father in Heaven. Amazing!
So, below are the pictures of how our little one's nursery turned out! Like I said, we are really happy with it. It is cozy and warm; it is gender neutral but still chic and NOT a plethora of yellow or green (not that there is anything wrong with that if it is what you are into). Without further is a tour of our sweet blessing's nursery. I hope it inspires and helps you as you prepare for your little ones, too. :)

Here is the first view of the room, pretty much from the door. The linens for the crib bedding, baby blanket, changing pad, and curtains all came from Carousel Designs. I made a post a few months ago about working with their website here. I was so pleased with their selection of gender neutral fabrics and prints. The fabric was the first thing we picked to go into the room, and everything else fell into place around that. Prince Charming chose the paint color of the room. I wasn't planning on painting, but I came in one day and PC had samples on the walls of the room. (I think he is nesting as much as or more than I am.) I let him choose, and he went with this slightly bluish gray called Pebble Beach. (No reference to golf or anything...;) The lamp is from Target and has a foot switch instead of a hand switch. I think this will come in super handy when my arms are full of sweet baby, and I need to operate the light. The large frame on the wall is from Hobby Lobby. I filled it with a piece of chevron fabric and put a Beatles lyric decal over the top of the glass that I found at Amazon. The dresser is from Babies R Us, and I created the changing pad from the fabric I ordered from Carousel Designs to make the baby blanket on the glider.

The rug was chosen by Prince Charming as well, and we went through quite a process finding and selecting a final rug. We tried four different rugs in the room. The other three had prints on them, and each of them seemed to compete too much with the print in the crib bedding. The shadow box on the wall will eventually house Baby Muller's little hospital pieces: hat, bracelet, footprints, etc. The diaper bin on top of the dresser has the middle of the night diapers in it that our friends wrote really funny, sweet, encouraging messages on at our Bunco Diaper Derby. The bin is from TJ Maxx.

The crib corner has turned into a really sweet spot. The leaning, ladder style shelf is our newest addition to the nursery, and it is going to house our AngelCare Monitor, our humidifier, and our baby's sound machine bear. The canvases on the wall were inspired by a print I saw on Pinterest, and I free-hand drew and painted those myself.  The crib is from Babies R Us.
The other wall next to the crib has a couple of frames given to me by the baby's Bella at a shower, and they each house some really cute prints featuring lyrics from Beatles songs, "Here Comes the Sun" and "Good Night, Sleep Tight." I love the Beatles; I had to start the baby off right. :)

Our glider was gifted to us from the baby's great-grandmother, SugarPie, and it is where I keep the baby blanket I created for the bambino(a) darling with the bedding and minky fabric I ordered from Carousel Designs. It is so comfortable, and it reclines all the way back, which will be amazing if I decide to ever crash in the baby's room. What's super cool about it: the handle to operate the reclining function is in between the cushion and the arm. Two reasons this is super cool: it allows me to keep my hands/arms close when operating it without leaning over or having to let go of baby totally, and it keeps the chair looking compact and sleek without a clunky arm on the side. I love this piece in the room!

Here is a closer look at the crib bedding. It was all custom designed using Carousel Design's online design tool, and I was able to pick every detail of how it was made. I think it turned out really sweet!
One thing about the bedding you can't see: I actually have two waterproof pads and two sheets layered on the mattress. I figure this will come in very handy if mischka has any accidental messes in the middle of the night. A quick strip, and a new sheet will be ready to go without me having to fumble in the dark to make the bedding work. The bumpers are beautiful, and I think once baby can roll around enough to get into them, they will be temporarily removed and replaced by mesh bumpers, but for now, I love them.
Final bit of wall in the room has turned into really cute storage, and quite unexpectedly so. We got the cute little chest from Babies R Us, and it houses extra bedding and blankets for our little one. I decided to use this area to display the really cute, sweet stuffed animals we received for the baby.

This shelf was a random find when we were visiting my sister in Mississippi. It was something she had laying around and was about to send it to a garage sale when I spotted it and asked for it. I love the distressed finish, and the scale was perfect for this spot on the wall. I love having the little hooks to hang baby's current bath towel and baby blankets. One of the Sophie's we received sits up here and this amazing frame with Baby Muller's sonogram in it. Hopefully, we will be good at filling up the 1st year frame with plenty of baby pics...we will see how that goes! :)

So that is everything (I think) for Baby Muller's nursery. I hope you like it as much as we love it! Please feel free to leave comments or questions if you want to know more about any of the pieces you have seen, and I will be making a post about my DIYs with links to their tutorials very soon. I hope you have a beautiful day!

Be a blessing!

Thursday, October 17, 2013