Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Drennan's Birth Story

How did I get so lucky?  I can't believe I am a mom to two healthy, precious children.  William and I are incredibly blessed for these two little miracles.  The truth is, that's what a birth story is - nothing short of a miracle.

I won't apologize for being long-winded (I recently read an article about the ridiculousness of always saying I'm sorry and why we should stop - I'm guilty) because I want to remember every. single. detail. of the day my little girl was born.  

A few weeks before the big day, I started to get a little anxious about all that would happen.  Questions, concerns, horrors raced through my mind.  I stayed up late reading birth stories from my favorite bloggers, hoping to find ones that read of ease, relaxation, and happy endings.  I prayed, relentlessly, for an easy, uneventful, short day of labor and a healthy baby girl at the end.  I mentioned my concerns to William on a regular basis, and although I know he was trying to calm my nerves, he once said, you never hear of someone who had the exact same experience for more than one child. Great.  That comment stuck with me; I knew he was right.  Wills' birth was so easy, so painless, and so perfect.  There was NO WAY this would be the same.  That never happens.

Little did we know...

I never thought I would make it to my due date with Drennan.  Throughout the entire pregnancy I felt like she was low, kicking and moving up a storm, and ready to drop out at any second.  Dr. Cook agreed to an induction at 39 weeks, in order to avoid the rush of the holidays, have us home by Thanksgiving, and make sure he was in town.  Georgia vs. Georgia Tech was the following weekend, and we knew he would be spending time in Athens.

On a side note, the Wednesday night prior, we did have a false alarm.  I started to feel a few sharp pains, panicked, and then swore I was having regular contractions.  We raced around the house at 9 pm, packed the car, didn't say a word (which made me even more anxious, but we were all business) and loaded up Wills to take him to Dede's house.  We were half-way down River Watch, and we both started busting out laughing.  I knew, then, that is was probably a false alarm.  We even stopped for gas - I could not believe William was on empty!  We did go ahead and check in to triage, more for the sharp pains than the contractions.  We stayed on the monitor until about midnight, and headed home with instructions to drink a ton of water and elevate my feet.  We ended our then comical night with late night Frosty's.

Monday, November 24th, rolled around, and we headed to the hospital at 6 am to meet our baby girl.  We had bets on the time she would arrive.  In hopes for a shorter day, I took 1 pm.  (That was a joke.)  My mom quickly followed with 2 pm, my Dad chose 4 pm, and William thought 6 pm or later.  We repeatedly heard, this is your second baby; it will go much faster!  Wills was born at 10:20 pm after a 6 am induction.

I was hooked up to an IV and a Pitocin drip was started around 7 am.  The floor was super busy, with only one empty bed and one anesthesiologist serving the entire floor and the OR.  My nurse, Heather (my nurse with Wills was also named Heather,) advised that I ask for an epidural as soon as I started to feel uncomfortable, because it may take the doctor an hour or more to get to me.

I felt a few strong contractions, and my epidural was in by 11 am.

By noon, I wasn't making much progress.  I was dilated 2 - 3 cm and not changing very quickly.  Heather accidentally broke my water, while checking me, and thought we would move along after that.

At 3 pm, I was still only 4 cm.  This was looking to be a longer day than expected, and William was leading the bet.

Things began to change around 6 pm as my epidural medicine ran low. Remember this from the first time?  Heather checked me right before, and I was getting close to 6 cm.  Still slow progress.  I knew Heather had to leave at 7 pm, and there would be a shift change.  My eyes started to water at the thought of a new nurse.  Heather was wonderful, and we had spent all day with her.  I was being emotional about the change.  Heather rushed to change the epidural bag, but by then I was contracting regularly and in pain.  This went on for about 30 minutes as I just tried to focus and breathe through each contraction.  (You have to go back and read Wills' birth story.  The similarities are uncanny.)

Heather called for the anesthesiologist to come in and give me an extra dose of medicine.  It was nearing 7 pm and quitting time for Heather.  She checked me at 6:45, and I was 9 cm!  Yay!  I had progressed so quickly in the time the epidural meds were running low.    I started to feel a good bit of pressure and an urge to push.  She checked again at 7 pm, and I was 10 cm.  Dr. Cook was paged and arrived shortly after.  I checked the clock: 7:05.  Heather was by my side.  She was staying!  I couldn't believe it.  My eyes filled with tears as I thanked her.  Dr. Cook quickly scrubbed in; I pushed 4 times (only on two contractions) and Drennan was born at 7:16 pm.

William cut the cord, and she was put on my chest. 

She weighed exactly the same as her brother, 7 lbs. 13 oz. and was 21 1/2 inches tall.  Her apgar scores were a 9 and 10.

Don't mind the shadows.  I wanted to show how long she looks!

She was perfect in every way and immediately stole our hearts.

Drennan is my mom's maiden name, and there is no one in the world I would rather her be named after. Simply put, she's the most amazing woman, mom, wife, and best friend I know, and I'm excited for my little girl to share her name. 

I couldn't wait for her to meet her big brother.

He arrived the next morning and was smitten with his "sissy."

They exchanged gifts; he was pumped to get Marshall (the fire pup from Paw Patrol) and his firetruck.

We visited throughout the day and were eager to head home the next morning and begin our lives as a family of four.

Drennan wore one of my dresses home from the hospital.  I am so grateful my mom saved a handful of sweet items that belonged to me as a baby.  It was really special to have one of my first dresses become her first dress.

She wasn't as thrilled. :)

This Thanksgiving took on a whole new meaning for us; our home and our hearts are completely full.  We are incredibly thankful for the care we received in the hospital and for the support and love of our family and friends.  Thanks be to God for our Drennan Elizabeth.  

Sunday, December 7, 2014

What I'm Loving...

Hello, my friends.  I promise I have a birth story coming your way, but I've had this post written FOREVER, and well...

That's all I will say, other than now that I am feeling back to my old self again, I am hoping (once more) for regular writing, blogging, and sharing the things I love most about being a mom, wife, yogi, writer, novice (but getting better) in the kitchen, and day-dreamer, along with what we cook and eat from time to time.

Here's what I am loving lately...

These two will always be at the top of the list.  13 days in as a family of four, and I'd say we are adjusting nicely.  Yes, we've had our sleepless nights, weary nerves (especially with flu season and germs), and challenges of a newborn and busy 3 year old boy under the same roof, but overall, the transition has been wonderful!  Wills has been such a helpful big brother. We are truly blessed.  

Salad Inspiration.  Jen, from the Peanut Butter Runner, can make a salad look better than dessert.  I love reading her blog and recreating her meals in my kitchen. 

Twice.  Nesting happened, and my closets were cleaned out.  This time, after hearing about Twice, I requested a bag (simple and free) from the website, filled it up, shipped if off, and was paid for the items they accepted.  I will definitely be doing this in the future.  Check it out!

Sprinkles.  We have a bit of a big time picky eater on our hands over here.  Thankfully, the handful of things he will eat are relatively healthy; however, we've found that adding a few sprinkles never hurts and cuts down on the fight.  We've had sprinkles on yogurt, oatmeal, apple and peanut butter slices, English muffins, pancakes, and even noodles.  Next up...broccoli.  :)

Quick and Easy Dinners.  We love fajitas, and this Pinterest inspired recipe is perfect for hands-free cooking.  Boneless chicken strips on the bottom.  Topped with taco seasoning, sliced veggies, and Mexican cheese.  I baked it in the oven for 35 minutes on 350 and served it in tortillas.  It was easy to prep ahead of time and didn't require sauteing over a skillet.

Outside fires are my favorite.  Need I say more?  Tis the season.

Rustic farm-house weddings.  Chris and Maggie's day was perfectly them, and I LOVED every element of the style and detail Maggie created.  The pictures speak for themselves. 

Beaufort:  I miss you.  My bags may or may not be packed for...February.  We are looking forward to our first trip with Drennan and introducing her to our favorite place.

Crafts for the Win!  We are spending a lot of time at home, for obvious reasons, and Wills' box of crafts (Thanks, Gaga and Papa) is the perfect solution for a restless little boy.  He's particularly loving his stamps.

Being a mom to a boy.  Although I am now a mom to a little girl, as well, there's something that will always be extra special to me about having a boy to raise.  Never, in a million years, did I dream I would hatch a turtle (for days) on the fireplace hearth.  We watched and talked about this creature, daily, as he slowly emerged from his shell.  Wills loved it, and thus, so did I. 

This snack.  Dipped apple slices in 3/4 cup of 2% yogurt (2% is life changing) plus a tablespoon of Nutella mixed in. 

The Christmas Season. I will be sharing more of what we are doing to celebrate my favorite time of year, but for now, let me say, the Christmas music is blasting, decorating has ensued, Jack the Elf is here, William and I are enjoying red wine and fires, Wills' Nativity Scene is his favorite thing to talk about, and Hallmark movies are slowly replacing nightly Sports Center.  Although we are missing our annual Night on the Town in Beaufort, a few Christmas parties, and Drennan and I will have to pass on Lights of the South and picking out this year's tree, we are truly enjoying our first few weeks and couldn't think of a better, more exciting time to have a new baby.  Cheers.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Overnight Pumpkin Oats

Before you scrape the sides of the peanut butter jar, afraid of being wasteful, STOP! Go ahead and open the next jar you have waiting in the pantry, and make these overnight oats.

They will be waiting on you in the morning, and you will be so glad you did. 

Here's what I used. 

1/2 cup almond milk, 1/2 cup oats, 1/2 very ripe banana, and a tsp of pumpkin spice.

Plus this jar.

Slice up the banana. Mix it all together. Place it in the fridge until tomorrow morning. 

When the alarm clock goes off or your three year old begins yelling "mooommmmyyyy" at 6:30 am, brew a cup of coffee, and quiet those stomach rumbles in a matter of seconds. Three cheers for simple! 

I topped mine with chia seeds and a little granola and wasn't hungry until noon. Which is saying a lot for an 8 month pregnant gal. :) 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Spinach and Chicken Bake

I'm loving this weather!  The windows are open, my UGG boots are on, and I'm sipping on an afternoon cup of decaf coffee, putting together this new recipe I tweaked from Pinterest.

It's the perfect healthy, comfort food for cool nights, curled up on the couch with your favorites, watching the first few episodes of The Voice. At least that's what we are planning on over here.

It makes plenty for leftovers or to share with company.

Here's what I used.  I totally cheated and bought already cooked and pulled rotisserie chicken.  This may be my new favorite find.

Wills occupied himself coloring inside of a box.  Excuse me, I mean a garage for his rescue trucks and cars.  Geez, Mom.

The recipe is super simple.  Mix together chicken, Italian diced tomatoes, mushrooms, onions (I sauted those in garlic olive oil, first,) thawed and drained frozen chopped spinach, salt and pepper.

I cooked half of the box of rigotoni and then added in 6 oz of light chive and onion cream cheese.  Add it while the pasta is hot, so it melts easily into the noodles.

Mix it all together and place in a baking dish.  Sprinkle with mozzarella, cover and bake on 375 degrees for 30 minutes.  Then uncover and bake for an additional 15 minutes.

Here's a close up of what was left after we enjoyed our dinner. 

Happy fall!

Monday, September 22, 2014

See Ya, Summer

Happy Monday morning! 

Aren't Mondays just so much brighter when they begin like this? 

Somehow coffee, my devotion and a 10 minute yoga session happened before either of my boys woke up.

I must admit, my mind is on all things fall, cozy fires, and holidays. Today marks the end of summer, so it's justified, right?

I have three fall-ish easy peasy recipes to share with you this week. I can't wait!

For now, I'm snuggled up with my computer, grading papers, in the drizzling rain, daydreaming of this...

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Celebrating 30

For as long as I can remember, my best girlfriends and I have been planning a 30th birthday trip.  We had lofty dreams of wine country and promised we would make it happen. 

Instead, life happened.  There are babies and pregnancies and job interviews, etc. that brought us back to reality.  At least for this year. 

Regardless, we were still determined to be together, for a few nights, celebrating our 20s, our life-long friendships, and toasting to our 30s.  So that's just what we did. 

Bags were packed, reservations were made, and we headed to Athens.  We may not have been sipping wine in Sonoma, but I wouldn't change a second of our trip...other than a UGA win. :( 

After quite a few recommendations, we chose The National for dinner on Friday night.  I was thrilled to see many of the wine lists offering a half glass.  So I settled on a 3 oz Cabernet Friday night and saved my second 3 oz glass for Saturday night.  Win - win situation.

We had after dinner drinks and dessert at the infamous Last Resort.  Decaf coffee for me.  Irish cream coffee for Sam and Jennifer. 

We spent Saturday morning, strolling the streets of downtown Athens, picking up a surprise or two for our kiddos (my how times have changed,) and ended with relaxing pedicures.

Lunch took us off the beaten path to White Tiger.  We all loved the eccentric decor and atmosphere of this little spot.  Plus, the food was delish!

After showers, changing into our red and black, and a weather game delay, we found ourselves at Hershel's Kitchen for a prime viewing spot for the UGA vs. South Carolina game.

Cheney joined us for the afternoon and Saturday night.

Not our best looks of the weekend, after walking through the drizzling rain, but I wanted to include one.

At halftime, we moved to Trapeze for a change of scenery...and I was ready for my 3 oz glass of wine.  We shared a delicious cheese plate and hummus for a snack.

After a sad ending to the game, we walked over to Teds Most Best for pizza and salad.  We sat outside, under the lights and trees, and enjoyed a quick and delicious dinner.

The night ended with cupcakes followed by a Sunday brunch at Big City Bread.  To say we indulged is an understatement.  :)

I can't say enough about these girls and what they mean to me.  I adore my boys, my growing family, and this season of life, but it is such a blessing to have a close group of girlfriends to also share this journey with.  For one weekend, I wasn't Mom... playing with firetrucks, practicing letters, and making dinner.  All things I love.  Instead, I got to be the girl who loves to sip a glass of wine, laugh with her girlfriends, enjoy some college football, and soak up a town I love.  I believe in the importance of taking time for ourselves; it definitely makes me a better mom and wife.

Don't get me wrong, I was so happy to be home to my boys on Sunday; I missed them!

After a weekend away, Monday looks like this.  Laundry didn't make the weekend agenda for those two. They had a fun weekend, as well, and I'm so glad they did!

Unpacking, catching up on laundry, and sneaking in a few extra snuggles and kisses from both, meant dinner needed to be simple.

I tried a tweaked version of a "Sunday chicken" recipe.  It's called Sunday chicken based on the idea that you put it in the oven before you leave for church on Sunday, and you have a hot lunch ready when you get home.

I mixed one box of wild rice, fresh mushrooms, cream of celery and cream of mushroom and placed in a greased baking dish.

Topped with two boneless seasoned chicken breasts. Covered with tinfoil and baked on 325 degrees for a little under two hours.  Easy and delicious with a side of green beans. 

See you from Napa at 40!