Clyde's First Two Weeks

Mr. Clyde is two weeks old!  I wanted to do a little mini update, just to remember a few things about him in his first two weeks.

-Clyde is such a snuggle-bug!  I prayed to have another snuggly baby, because I love the cuddle time with my kids, and the Lord definitely answered my prayer.  He loves to snuggle while taking his naps, and even though it may not be the best habit to develop, I accommodate him whenever possible.  I love it.

-He lost his umbilical cord at five days old!  The hospital nurse called later that week to check on us and said he was an overachiever. He also has been trying to lift his head up since the day he was born, and he pushes really hard against things with his legs - he is such a strong little guy!

-His first few nights here were rough - he basically wouldn't sleep at all unless he was sleeping next to me.  I may have had a few sleep-deprived meltdowns during those first few days.  I knew we just had to figure out what he needed to sleep, and after some trial and error, we finally figured it out!  Baby Boy likes light and noise while he sleeps, and he likes to be warm.  So we turn on the space heater a little while before we put him to bed, we bought hime two new night lights for his room, and we downloaded the Sound Sleeper app on our iPads and play the "seashore" noise for him (all night long).  Yes, it's a lot of things to remember, but it works!  He's only been waking up once or twice since we started (and he even went a 7.5 hour stretch one night)!  I'll take it.

-He loves his pacifier, and I broke down and bought him a Wabbanub.  He holds onto it so tight while he sucks on his pacifier, and it's so cute.  I also think it's adorable when we pull the pacifier out of his mouth - he'll keep his lips puckered and make a few sucking sounds, like he doesn't realize we took it away.  It's adorable.

-Wyatt and Gwen have been doing pretty well.  Wyatt got to "hold" baby Clyde on his lap, and he loved it!  He was being so careful to hold him still, and gave him his pacifier.  Then he asked to hold him again later, which was so sweet.  Gwen will walk over and give Clyde kisses, and I found her giving Clyde his Wubbanub and trying to hug him in his swing the other day!  They are such sweethearts.  There have been some instances of acting out too, but it hasn't been too bad.

-Clyde cracks me up, because sometimes he'll scrunch up his face like he's about to let out a good scream - and then out comes this tiny little mew/whimper.  It's adorable.

-I love Clyde's hair.  And his skinny little legs - they are so tiny.  I love his left ear - it is pointy, I think just from being born, but it's starting to round out a little now.  I love his studious expressions.  I love the way he sleeps with his hands right by his face.  

I pretty much love everything about him.  What a precious little gift he is.

There are more photos on my private blog from when we were in the hospital and of our first couple weeks at home!

A Table By The Window Review

In "A Table By The Window" by Hillary Manton Lodge, food writer Juliette D'Alisa inherits a cooking table from her grandmother, and as she is searching through the drawers she finds an old cookbook with a photo taped to the dustcover - a photo of a man with a suspicious resemblance to others in her family.  As she tries to figure out who is in the photo, her brother approaches her about starting their own restaurant, and Juliette decides to give online dating a try.  Should she leave her food writing job to open the restaurant with her brother?  What about Neil, the man she met through an online dating site?  What does she really want?

I enjoyed this book.  It wasn't one of those books that left me dying to see what happened from one chapter to the next, but it was enjoyable and interesting when I did get a chance to pick it up.  I think that this makes it a perfect vacation book, because it is easy to pick up and put back down again while still holding my interest!  It was just a nice, cozy, laid-back book, and I liked it.

One thing that also makes this book unique is the recipes the author includes in the pages - gourmet recipes of all skill levels are included at the end of many of the chapters.  I feel like I should keep this book in my kitchen so I can try out some of the recipes!

I really liked the main character, Juliette, and she seemed realistic and relatable.  I'm also very interested to see what she ultimately decides about all the decisions in her life, especially her relationship with Neil! The ending felt really sudden to me, and the plot was not resolved in this book.   I'm looking forward to reading the next book to find out what happens!

P.S. You can read the first chapter here, and also check out some similar recipes on the book Pinterest board!

Note: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for this review.  This is my honest opinion.

A Sensible Arrangement Review


A Sensible Arrangement by Tracie Peterson follows Marty - as a Texan widow she has decided to leave her old life behind and become a mail order bride for Jake Wythe, a banker in Colorado.  After their marriage she soon discovers that Jake dreams of returning to Texas and owning his own ranch - which is just the life that Marty wanted to get away from.  As their feelings develop for each other and a financial crisis threatens the bank that Jake works at, Marty has to decide whether to tell Jake the truth.

I really enjoyed this book!  All the characters were likable, and the romance between Marty and Jake was really sweet, though subtle in it's development.  I also thought the message of the book was strong as we read about Marty turning back to God after blaming Him for her husband's death for so many years.

The one thing that I have to say is that I feel like a couple of the plot elements weren't fully resolved - through the book Marty's maid, Alice, is being followed and threatened by a Mr. Smitth, who thinks she is in possession of some gold bonds that were lost when her father was murdered.   At the end of the book we still don't know what happened to the bonds, or whether Mr. Smith will be caught.  We also don't get to see how Marty and Jake's life will pan out - will Jake keep his job at the bank, or will they go back to Texas?  I'm thinking (and also hoping) that we get to see what happens to these characters as this series continues?  Regardless, this book left me wanting to read more!

Note: I received this book for free from Bethany House in exchange for this review.  This is my honest opinion.

Clyde's Birth Story - Part Two

If you missed Part One of Clyde's birth story, you can read it here!

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I had a couple contractions while we were checking in at the emergency room entrance.  I felt a little funny doing my "he he" breathing in front of all the other patients in the waiting room, but everyone was asking a bunch of questions and they were all excited for us!

A nurse came down with a wheel chair and took us up to our labor and delivery room around 4:00.  We were introduced to our nurse, Helen, and I got changed into my hospital gown (yuck, but I'd rather make a mess of the hospital's clothes than my own).  

Helen pulled out the monitors; I asked if I really had to wear them, and she said they would want to monitor me a little bit up front (which I already knew).  I asked for the wireless monitors so I could move around, and she said they'd get them for me so I didn't have to sit in bed.  It was really important for me not to be stuck in bed, because that was the worst part of my labor with Wyatt, and when I was in labor with Gwen I loved being able to move around.

I was still having painful contractions every 4-6 minutes, and Helen asked what I was wanting for pain management - I told her I didn't want an epidural or anything, I was just going to power through!  She was really supportive.  She warned me that I might doubt my decision around transition, but that it was normal to feel that way.  I was sure I'd be fine though.

Helen noticed I liked to be leaning forward during my contractions, so she set up a table and pillow for me to lean on while they got me set up with monitors and an IV (I wasn't hooked up to an IV, but they put a line in, just in case I lost too much blood afterward or had other complications).  

Derek was really there for me through the contractions, and he held my hand and rubbed my back.  It was so comforting to me, and I was just so thankful that the Lord had worked everything out so he could be there!  It makes the pain so much more manageable when you feel so thankful to just be in labor.

They had me on the monitors for a little while, and then they took them off to give me a break.  One thing I was really impressed with was how attentive the nurses were - once they knew I wasn't going to get an epidural they seemed to bend over backward to think of things to make me comfortable.  Helen brought in a birthing ball for me to sit on between contractions, and she showed Derek this hip-squeezing technique that helped me a lot.  

Derek and I decided to watch a movie, and we picked 17 Again.  I bounced on my ball and we made fun of Zac Effron's haircut and different plot elements (I really do like that movie, but poking fun at it was a good distraction during labor).  When I had a contraction I'd drop down off the birth ball onto my hands and knees and breathe through the contraction while Derek pressed on my hips.  

Helen brought me a towel so I wouldn't have to kneel on the hard floor, and she kept saying how impressive it was that I could get down on my hands and knees so fast for the contractions.  At one point another nurse came in right before I had a contraction, and when I dropped down she though I had hurt myself, but Helen told her that I was okay, that's just what I did when I had a contraction.  The labor was concentrated in my back, so hands and knees felt best.  

I really liked the birth ball, and it felt good to bounce on it between contractions.  Helen asked if I wanted to try some aromatherapy, and she brought in a washcloth with some oils on it.  It smelled really good.  She also offered to fill up the jet tub for me if I wanted to try sitting in the water.  I was thinking about it, but I was worried about getting back out if things progressed quickly (the hospital wouldn't let me give birth in the tub).

Dr. B had requested that she be called when I was checked in, because she wanted to be able to deliver my baby if possible, so she was calling in periodically to hear how I was doing.  Around 5:00 Helen said they'd like to check me, because Dr. B had an event at her kid's school, and she was wondering how close I was.  

One of my requests was to have as few cervical checks as possible - my cervix is positioned so that checks are really painful for me.  But I wanted Dr. B to be there if possible too, so I said that was fine.  I sat on the bed, and Helen checked me - it wasn't as painful as I was afraid it would be.  After a minute she said "Oh wow, you're at 6 or 7 centimeters!"  I think she was surprised I was that far, because the contractions were still really manageable.

I went back to my ball, and after that I started having some blood during contractions.  I could also tell they were getting a little stronger, and I tried to focus on relaxing during contractions so my body could do it's thing.  I had verses written on cards, but I didn't want to dig them out of my bag, so I just thought about the two I could remember then:

"I can do all things through Him who gives me strength."  Philippians 4:13


"Cast all your cares on Him, for He cares for you." 1 Peter 5:7

During contractions I started thinking on those verses, and it was comforting to focus on the Lord when I was in so much pain.

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Helen was back in the room shortly to put the monitors back on me for a little bit, but I felt like they kept slipping when I got down on the floor for contractions.  I was watching the monitors, but I couldn't tell if they were getting a good read on the baby during contractions.  Helen didn't seem to concerned though, so I assumed it was fine.  They took them back off after a little while.

Derek was still doing the hip squeezing during contractions, but I asked him to rub my back as the contraction was ending too, because the pain was starting to linger a little longer and it felt like it needed to be rubbed out.  I felt so bad for Derek because he came straight from work, so he was in his nice dress clothes during all this - not the most comfortable clothes when you are getting down on the floor with your laboring wife every few minutes!  He was so great during labor though, and did everything he could to help me.

My doctor came in about 5:30, and I could tell she was really torn.  She had an event with her kids from 6:00 to 7:30, and she asked me if I would be okay if she went to the event with her kids.  I told her that was fine, that she should go!  She said "Well, maybe he'll wait until after 7:30 and I can still make it in time for the delivery!"  But I knew at that point that it probably wouldn't happen - I could tell I was getting close.  I asked her if she would come back later though, and she said she would.

I had a couple contractions while my doctor was in the room, and she told me she was so impressed with how I was handling them.  "You could teach laboring classes!" she said.  I thought that was sweet, because you need encouragement like that when you are in labor!  It made me feel like I still had it under control.

Sometime between 5:45 and 6:00 the contractions started stepping up a bit again, and I started doing the "he he he who" breathing instead.  They were still only 4-ish minutes apart, but they became way more intense.  

I kept thinking "He He He Who gives me strength," and "He He He (cares for) who-you" (I know the second one is a stretch, but it worked for me).  I also decided to start standing and leaning on the hospital bed for contractions, instead of getting on the floor, because I thought gravity could help the baby move down.

Derek could tell I was in more pain, and I was starting to get uncomfortable between contractions too.  I was starting to whimper a little bit during contractions in between my breathing, because things just felt different.  Derek asked me if he should call the nurse, but I wasn't sure.  So he made the executive decision to go ahead and call her (I'm so glad he was there, because I just don't think straight at this point of labor).

After Derek called her, Helen came right in and watched me through a couple contractions (still 4 minutes apart), and then they wheeled the warmer in.  Seeing that warmer, where I knew my baby would be soon, suddenly made everything so real, and I started to cry.  I wasn't upset or scared, I was crying because I knew he would be here soon and I was excited!  

Derek asked if I was okay, and I just nodded and thought that maybe I was in transition, even though I didn't shake the way I had with Wyatt and Gwen (I felt very slightly quivery, but that was it).  I could tell something was happening.

Helen called the on-call doctor to come in after that, and Dr. A (as we'll call her), stood off to the side and watched for a few minutes too.  At this point the movie had ended, and I was feeling serious between contractions.  I had a strong contraction, and Dr. A asked if I was starting to feel pressure, and I nodded.  It was weird though, because the pressure felt like it was in the wrong spot - it was like his head was pressing against my tailbone.  

Derek asked Dr. A if I should get ready to push, and she said they'd want to check first to make sure I was really fully dilated, because sometimes if the water doesn't break first you might have a little cervix left and pushing against it can cause problems.

The nurses started talking about how I could get up on the bed and hang on the back of it during contractions, but I just remember staring at them from my birthing ball and saying I didn't want to move.  I obviously couldn't give birth sitting there though, so they were trying to encourage me to move between contractions.  

Then I had another one and I stood up to lean against the bed.  I ended up screaming a little bit during that one while Derek was still helping me by pushing on my hips.  As it was ending I said "I can't!"  I didn't even think about the words as they came out of my mouth, I just said them - I think if I was a bit more coherent I would have meant that I can't get up on the bed, but I think my nurse thought I was doubting my decision not to get the epidural.  I wasn't though, the words just came out.

Then all of a sudden my water broke, and it just gushed everywhere (including all over Derek's new work pants - whoops).  It was crazy to me because it felt like a lot of water, and it was startling.  The pressure was still there, and everything felt like a blur.  Dr. A checked me while I was standing there and said we were good to go, and the nurses started helping me up onto the bed.  

They started talking about how there was meconium (baby's first bowel movement) and blood in the water, and I heard the words "placental abruption".  I remember asking a few times if I could push (even though Dr. A had already basically said I could), and I felt like no one heard my question (or I just didn't hear the answer, because Derek told me later that they had said I could).

They got me sitting on the bed.  I remember them setting the bed back, and I told them I didn't like sitting so far back.  (This was the only part of the birth that I wasn't completely satisfied with.  I felt like leaning back so far made it harder to push - I would rather have sat up more, but everything was happening so fast, it wasn't that important to me to insist at that point.)

With the next contraction I went ahead and pushed, screaming in the process.  It was such a weird sensation, because I felt like his head was still pushing on my tailbone.  I pushed a couple more times through that contraction, and I felt his head move down, with the infamous "ring of fire".  Then the contraction was over and I had to wait until the next one.  I remember saying "It hurts", and Dr. A was really sympathetic, and said that she knew this part hurt.  She told me he had a head of dark hair, and that made me smile.

The nurses told me to try to make more of a deep groaning sound while I was pushing.  They said they didn't mind the screaming at all, but making a groaning noise would help focus my energy in my abdomen instead of in my lungs.  It made sense to me, so with the next contraction I really tried, but I felt like I wasn't doing a very good job of it.

Derek kept rubbing my back through the pushing, and told me I was doing a great job, and that he was proud of me, which was really comforting to me.

With the next contraction I pushed and I got his head out.  I kind of expected his body to slip out easily after that, but it didn't.  I pushed and kept feeling him move down, but I couldn't get him out, and the contraction ended.  Derek says that I said "I can't" again (which I have no recollection of), and the nurses thought I was going to quit pushing - but I know that I was thinking "I can't get him out".  It just felt like I kept pushing and couldn't move him down.

I had one more contraction and gave a couple more big pushes - I kept feeling like I had pushed him out, but then I would realize I hadn't. 

Finally I pushed, and everyone gave a happy shout, and Derek told me to open my eyes - and I looked and there he was.  Dr. A was holding him up right in front of me - his face was scrunched up into a good cry, his little arms and legs flailing around.  I reached out and grabbed him, and just held him.  I remember saying how handsome he was, and telling him how much I loved him.  

He was born at 6:33 PM, just 2.5 hours after we checked into our room.  Derek told me later that he was born facing up (babies are supposed to be born facing toward your back, ideally), and that explains why I felt so much pressure on my tailbone.  

Derek asked what I thought about his name, and we both agreed that the name we had been thinking about through the pregnancy fit him - Clyde Daniel.  I also loved that he had dark hair, because somehow in my head, a Clyde would have dark hair.

After a few minutes they took him to the warmer and suctioned out his mouth - because of the meconium in my water, his lungs were wet.  They said the meconium was old (they guessed it had happened about a week before), and that the cord had been wrapped around his neck once.  They suspected that he had been stressed out when the cord first got wrapped around his neck, and that might have caused the meconium.

I delivered the placenta, and when Dr. A examined it she found a clot on it and confirmed that the placenta had started to abrupt (separate from the uterine wall), and that was what had caused the blood in my water when it broke.  I asked when or how that might have happened, and they didn't have a solid answer for me - they said it might have started to sheer off in labor.  I also wondered later if all my vomiting the night before might have had something to do with it, but I never got a chance to ask.  I am so thankful though that it didn't seem to affect Clyde at all - aside from some wetness in his lungs, he was really healthy!

She also checked me out and said that I didn't need any stitches!  I had torn just a tiny little bit, but it wasn't enough for even one stitch, so I was pretty happy about that!  The recovery after Clyde's delivery was probably my easiest yet, and that was a huge blessing.

We spent the next hour just enjoying our baby boy - I nursed him, and we called our families to tell them he was here!  I talked to my family right before they put Wyatt to bed, so I got to say goodnight to him over the phone and tell him that he would get to meet his baby brother the next day.  Clyde cried while we were on the phone, and Wyatt exclaimed "That's the new baby cryin'!"  It was so cute.

A couple hours after Clyde was born they moved us over to the mom and baby ward, and my favorite doctor, Dr. B, came by to see us!  She said they had gone out to dinner after the event with her kids, and she called in and found out we had the baby.  I joked about how she missed all my screaming, and she told me again how impressed she was with how I handled labor.  She oohed and aahed over Clyde and gave me a hug.  I was so glad she stopped by to meet him!

After that we settled in for the night.  We decided not to have any visitors that evening and just wait for the next day, and I'm so glad we did - it was nice to get the rest of the evening and night just to rest and recover, and it made me feel more ready for visitors the next day!  We watched "The Strangest Weather On Earth" on the Weather Channel (it really is an interesting show), and cuddled with Clyde. It was just a nice time for the three of us.

The next morning I took a shower, we got Clyde a bath, had his hospital pictures taken, and then it was time for visitors!  My parents came with Wyatt and Gwen, and I was really excited to have the kids meet their baby brother.  Gwen was interested in the baby, maybe a little unsure, but she was sweet about it and smiled at him.  We let Wyatt "hold" the baby on his lap, and he had this huge grin on his face!  He was pretty excited.  My mom told me that he had talked about "going to see Baby Clyde" all the way to the hospital!

We had several more visitors, including Derek's mom and dad, his sister, my sister and brother-in-law, my grandma and aunt and cousins, and our friends Scott and Danae, and Jed and Ashley.  This hospital stay felt a lot more relaxed to me than in the past, I think because the nurses left us alone more.  
On Sunday morning, we decided to go home, and of course it started to snow!  We just drove slowly though, picked up the kids from my parent's house, and went home all together for the first time as a family of five!

The kids have been doing great with Clyde, and we've been trying to make sure they get plenty of attention from us too.  Derek has been working from home this week, so it's been nice to have him around while I try to get used to handling three kids!  

The first few night were pretty rough, but we finally figured out that Clyde likes light and noise while he sleeps - so a couple new night lights for his room and the Sound Sleeper app have seemed to do the trick!  He even went a 7.5 hour stretch the other night, right around his one week birthday, which was such a nice treat after all those almost-sleepless nights.

Thinking back over his birth, I am just so thankful at how everything worked out.  I can really see how the Lord worked through every situation that week and answered all of our prayers!  

-Derek was only two hours away instead of seven hours like he was supposed to be originally.

-I didn't go into labor while I was at work (which was actually one of my worries).

-Derek was able to be there for the majority of my labor and for the birth.

-We made it to the hospital at the perfect time, the nurses were all so supportive of my wish to have a natural birth.

-The Lord protected Clyde through a kind of scary situation with the placental abruption.  

I am just so thankful at how God worked out all the details for us.  It really couldn't have gone much better!  Now we are just enjoying our time with our sweet baby Clyde, and I am so thankful to have my little surprise baby in my arms!

Clyde's Birth Story - Part One

Usually I just post the entire birth story in one post, because I feel bad splitting it up and making you all wait - but for some reason Clyde's story ended up being realy long, so I'm making this two posts instead of one!

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Before I dive into Clyde's birth story, let's go over a few surrounding details, shall we?

As most of you know, Derek has to travel a lot for his job.  Throughout my pregnancy we were pretty stressed out about this, because we knew he was scheduled to be traveling 5+ hours away during the last few weeks of my pregnancy - and my entire labor with Gwen was 5.5 hours!  I was so afraid that if he was gone when I went into labor he wouldn't make it in time for the birth.  We tried talking to his bosses about working from home for a week or two, but they said it just wasn't possible, and we felt stuck.

In the last month one of the clients Derek had to work with rescheduled (thank you Lord!), and we knew he would only be a couple hours away during week 38 of my pregnancy (instead of the original 7 hours away).  I was so hoping to go into labor before the end of that week.  If he didn't come by 39 weeks, Derek would 5 hours away the week before my due date.

By the time I hit 38 weeks I was pretty stressed about going into labor before Derek had to be gone again, and I was trying all my tricks - walking, eating spicy food, etc.  I thought it might have worked on April 7th when I started having contractions - I called Derek and my mom and they rushed home. But the contractions didn't get any stronger, and they were gone four hours later.  It was so discouraging.  Derek and I just kept praying that the Lord would let the baby come before he had to be gone, and that he wouldn't miss the birth.

On Thursday, April 10th, I decided to take the kids down to the mall and walk around a little bit.  Wyatt and Gwen are such good little shopping buddies - they love riding around in our double stroller, and I thought the pushing and walking would surely do some good.  So we walked and shopped, and I bought Wyatt and me a chai latte to drink at this little shop in the mall (well, actually mostly for me, but I let Wyatt have sips).

Right as we sat down to drink it, I got a text from my friend, Danae, saying that she felt like she should be praying for me right then, so that was what she was doing.  I thought that was so sweet, though I was so wishing I could have told her that I was in labor at that moment!  It meant a lot to me though.  We finished our latte, walked a little more, then packed up and went home.

My mom came over later that night - she had stayed with me a couple nights that week since Derek was gone, and the plan was for her to be there on Thursday night since I had to go to work the next day.  I was feeling bummed, because the whole week I was hoping to not be going to work that Friday - I was hoping to be taking care of a new baby instead!  But I had resigned myself to it.

That evening, a couple things happened.  First I got a phone call from Derek - he had received an e-mail from one of his bosses saying that they decided to have him work from home the next week, instead of traveling 5 hours away!  To say I was thrilled was an understatement!  It was a huge "PTL" (Praise The Lord!) as we used to call it!  I was so thankful that the Lord had worked out that detail for us, and that I wouldn't have to stress anymore about going into labor by a certain date.  It was a huge relief.

The other thing that happened was that Wyatt threw up.  It was so sad.  I rushed him to the bathroom and leaned him over the toilet, and he was whimpering. It broke my heart.  Later he told Derek what happened over the phone - he said he "had oatmeal in his tummy" (it wasn't really oatmeal), and that he "dumped it in the toilet".  It was so cute to hear him describe the incident in his own words - he is growing up so much.

After he threw up he still wasn't feeling well, and I knew I didn't want to leave him the next morning if he was still sick.  Then I started feeling a little nauseous myself, so I decided to call work and tell them I wouldn't be in the next day.  It's a good thing I did, because Wyatt threw up again that night, and my nausea got worse and worse until I was throwing up too. I also had stomach cramps and other unpleasant symptoms.  It was a pretty miserable night.  

I thought that the chai latte we drank must have had spoiled milk or something. It was the only thing that both Wyatt and I had eaten that day.  I remembered Danae's text and wondered if this was why she was supposed to pray for me.

We made it through the night, and Wyatt seemed much better - I, on the other hand, was still feeling pretty awful by morning.  I was still having stomach cramps and felt like throwing up - I couldn't even think about eating breakfast, so my mom bought me a Slim Fast drink and crushed ice from the gas station instead.  I could only get half the Slim Fast drink down.  It was not fun.

I had a doctor's appointment that day.  We decided to head over to my mom's house and hang out there for a little bit in the morning.  My sister was coming over too, and the plan was for us all to head down for my doctor's appointment later that afternoon.  I wanted Wyatt to come to the doctor's appointment with me if it was going to be my last one, because he always got so excited to "listen to the new baby" through the doppler.

I pretty much parked myself on the couch at my mom's house and nursed my cup of ice while the kids played and watched Milo and Otis.  I was not feeling good at all.

My sister gave me weird looks, and I heard her talking to my mom about how she didn't think that I was still feeling bad because of the drink - she thought the nausea and cramps might be early labor.  I brushed her off, because I was pretty sure it was just the bad latte.  The cramps just felt like cramps, not contractions.

But that all changed pretty quickly.

Right around 11:30 I had a "cramp", but it definitely felt like a contraction.  I looked at the clock and waited, and a few minutes later I had another cramp that felt like a contraction.  My mom and sister were getting things ready for us to go, and the cramps kept getting more contraction-like.  I told my mom and sister that I thought we should probably just head down then. 

We all piled in the car, and I was pretty stressed out.  I had been timing the contractions, and even though they were still very mild, they were only about 4 minutes apart!  I called Derek and told him that I thought he should probably leave to come meet us, and he started to wrap things up at work so he could leave.

My doctor had been pretty adamant about me coming in at the first contraction, and even though I had that false labor on Monday, I could tell these contractions were different.  I went ahead and called my doctor to tell them we were coming down.  They said to head straight over to the hospital, since we were about an hour and twenty minutes away, and they thought it might move fast.

All the way down I timed the contractions, and they stayed steady at 4 minutes apart, but they started to get a little stronger.  I started sow-breathing through them.  Thankfully at this point my nausea had faded quite a bit.  I decided I should probably eat something before I headed to the hospital, so we stopped and my mom got me a smoothie.  We arrived at the hospital and parked in front of the emergency room to wait for Derek to get there, with me sipping my smoothie in between contractions.  I was really worried that I would drink it and then throw it up again, but it actually made me feel even better, and my nausea was soon completely gone.

I remember just sitting, chatting with my mom and sister, and then when a contraction came on I would stare at this smiley-face balloon that was tied to a stop sign across the street.  The contractions had definitely gotten stronger at this point, but it was that good, solid kind of contraction pain, completely manageable.  I just stared at that balloon and breathed through contractions.

Derek, in the meantime, was speeding through traffic, frantic to get to the hospital in case my labor went as quickly as it did with Gwen.  Finally he arrived, but I convinced him to go get himself some lunch before we went in.  It was about 1:30 by this point, and I knew the contractions weren't strong enough that we had to go in right that second.

Once Derek had eaten, I got out of the car, and we started to get our bags out so we could get checked in.  But after I stood up and moved around some, the contractions were suddenly way lighter - they were only lasting about 20 seconds instead of 40-50, and I could walk and talk through them, instead of having to breath.  I started to worry that maybe this really was false labor after all, and I was so discouraged.  My mom and sister thought we should try walking around the hospital before we went in to see if we could get them to pick up some, and I thought that was a good idea.   

I told Wyatt I was going to go have the new baby, and he was so cute about it.  We said goodbye to them, kissed the kids, and they left.  I was glad I got to spend some of early labor with my mom and sister, and I loved having Wyatt and Gwen to talk to and hug and kiss - I was sorry to see them go, and I was still hoping that this was the real deal.

Derek and I put our bags in his car and started walking around the hospital grounds - but it seemed like the more we walked, the easier my contractions got, though they were still 4 minutes apart.  I was really discouraged at this point, but I think a part of me still knew that this wasn't a false alarm.  We stopped by the bathroom on our way around the hospital, and I took one last belly picture:

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We had just finished our first lap around the outside of the hospital when I got a call from my doctor's office.  It was one of the nurses saying that she had received a call from the hospital wondering where we were (I thought they might be freaking out a bit, considering my history of not making it there).  I told them that we were there, we were just walking around outside because my contractions had slowed down a bit.  It was almost 2:30 by now, which was the time of my original doctor's appointment, so the nurse asked us if we wanted to come into the office to get checked out.  I didn't even think of this before, so I was happy we could at least go there for a quick check!  The office building is right next to the hospital, so we walked over.

We went in and sat in the waiting room, and I noticed that the contractions were worse when I was sitting down.  We were brought back to the exam room, and I started getting emotional because I really didn't want it to be false labor.  My favorite doctor (we'll call her Dr. B), came in right after I teared up.  Dr. B and I have really good rapport, and she asked if I was in pain, and I told her no, that I was just frustrated about the contractions slowing down.  She was really sympathetic and said she would go ahead and check my cervix.  

She told me I was at 4 cm, and I thought that was really encouraging!  I was hoping for at least a 4, since at my last appointment I had been at 2 cm.    She told us we could head over to the hospital, but if we didn't want to go yet she wanted us to stay close while things progressed. 

We told her we had been thinking about going to a movie theater.  This was part of the "birth plan" that Derek and I had discussed before - that we might go to a movie in early labor so we could be close the hospital (since we live an hour away), but not in the hospital.  Dr. B got this funny look on her face and said she didn't know about a movie - she suggested maybe we just get something to eat first and see where we were.  So Derek and I decided to go get some ice cream.

We walked back over the hospital, climbed in the car, and drove two minutes over to Baskin Robbins.  Right after we got in the car my contractions spaced out to 6 minutes apart, but all of a sudden they were more painful again.  

I didn't really want a whole ice cream to myself, so we decided to split one.  I just waited in the car while Derek ran in to buy it, because I didn't want to have a contraction in the middle of Baskin Robbins.

The contractions had definitely taken a step up in intensity just in those few minutes, and I started doing my "he he" breathing through them.  After Derek came back out to the car I made him wait until I had my next contraction to drive back over the the hospital, because I didn't want to be driving while I was dealing with a contraction.  It amazed me how quickly things got more painful.  It happened suddenly with Gwen too, but it still surprised me.

We ate a little bit more of our ice cream in the hospital parking lot, but I knew that we shouldn't wait too much longer to go in.  I was already not looking forward to trying to check in through my contractions.  We finished up, grabbed our bags, and headed in. . .

Look for Part Two tomorrow!

Easter Basket Ideas For Toddlers

 I'm still working on the birth story post for Clyde - I'm hoping to have it up next week!  In the meantime I wanted to get this post up about the kid's' Easter baskets, because I always have so much fun picking out stuff for them.  Stay tuned for more on Baby Clyde!


I'm really looking forward to Easter this year.  I feel like Wyatt is understanding more and more.  The other day we were talking about how Easter is the day that Jesus came back to life, and he has brought it up a few times since then!  He was also pretty interested in his Easter basket "presents", but I know more and more about Jesus is sinking in too, and that is what is most exciting to me.

Anyway, we went shopping for the kid's Easter baskets the other day, so I wanted to post some of the things we picked out!  The best part is that most of the things I found for their baskets only cost $1 - I like that price!  So here are my (inexpensive) Easter basket ideas for toddlers.

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If Jesus Lived Inside My Heart book - Alright, we already had this book, but I wanted to post it here because it's one of my favorites.  I can't even explain it, you just have to read it.  It makes me cry every time, and I think it's such a sweet little book for an Easter basket, so I thought I'd recommend it now!

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Hot Wheels cars - Wyatt loves Hot Wheels cars - the other day at the store he grabbed one and was asking me if we could buy it, and I told him we'd have to wait.  So I'm going to sneak one or two into his Easter basket.  I love that he loves these, because they are only a dollar, and such an easy present that I know he'll like.

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Bubbles - What toddler does not like bubbles, I ask you?

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Ponies - Gwen picked out these little pony horses at the dollar store the other day - similar to My Little Ponies, but cheaper.  I want to try to find a couple more for her basket.  This is the first toy that she has actually picked out for herself, which I think is so cute!

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Water bottles - Thank you dollar aisle at Target.

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Fun dough - Or Play Doh, or silly putty.  Whatever you like best.

Flower growing kits - I found these at Target too and snapped them up.  I think it will be a fun project, for Wyatt especially, to water them and watch the flower grow!  Hopefully they actually do grow or it will be disappointing, but if these don't work I have some seeds and some soil in our shed we could use instead.

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Yogurt Melts - I just feel weird about putting too many jelly beans in the kids' Easter baskets.  Plus Gwen can't chew that stuff even if I did want to put it in her basket!  Yogurt melts are a good alternative, and my kids think they are candy anyway.  I just put a few in each of their plastic eggs!

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And I decided to change it up a little and put it all into these:

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Toddler Backpacks - These are Skip Hop backpacks - I had been eyeing them, but I just wasn't sure I wanted to spend $20 a piece on backpacks for the kids right now.  Then I was walking through JC Penny the other day, and spied these on clearance for $6.99 each!  Yes, please!  They only had the shark and the ladybug, but I wasn't going to complain if I could get them for such a good price!  Wyatt has been really into bags lately, and I think he'll love having his own little bag to carry his stuff around.

And Clyde is a little small yet for all this fun, but his favorite thing at the moment happens to be his pacifier - so I finally broke down and got him one of these:

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 He might get to use his before Easter though.

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What are you putting in your kids' Easter baskets?

Guess Who's Here!

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Clyde Daniel was born on April 11th at 6:33 PM, weighing 7 lbs, 10 oz, 20 inches long!  

Everything went smoothly, Derek was there for most of the labor and for the birth, and we all are doing great!  Mr. Clyde has been such a content baby so far - he is perfect, and we are so in love with him! 

Thank you for all of your prayers - it has meant a lot to me to know you all were praying.  We feel so blessed to have him here!

Birth story coming soon!

The Watched Pot And All That

Hey everyone!  No baby yet.  If you follow me on Instagram, you already know that I had a round of false labor on Monday.  I had contractions about 10 minutes apart for four hours!  It was exactly how my labor with Gwen felt at the beginning, so I thought for sure this was "it".

I called my mom and Derek and they drove home to be with me.  Around midnight they convinced me that I should try to get a little rest, so we went to bed.  The contractions did continue for another hour and half or so - I know because I'd wake up with a contraction occasionally.  But they didn't get any stronger, and by morning they were pretty much gone.

I have never had false labor contractions before.  I don't like it.  I hope it doesn't happen again.

I've been feeling pretty much normal since then, and instead of obsessing and planning about when I'm going to go into labor, I decided to treat the rest of this week like a normal week.  I'm coping much better now.

I even scheduled some posts for next week even though I had been hoping to start the week off with a baby announcement.  But the watched pot never boils, and if I act like I'm not going to have the baby this week, then I'll be more likely to have the baby this week, right?  At least it seems like that's how it works.

I will say that the false labor mentally prepared me even more to have this baby here.  I can actually picture it now, I can imagine the weight of his little body in my arms, I can almost feel his little head snuggled under my chin.  I am ready.  Now if my body will just cooperate, we can do this thing!

Anyway, now that I've updated you on the littlest little's antics, I posted a couple pictures of Wyatt and Gwen on the photo blog.  I can't believe how big they are getting!  Also, it is so hard to photograph toddlers.  Wyatt's "cheese" face definitely looks fake, even if he does sit still long enough for me to capture it.  And Gwen will still look at the camera and smile, but she is constantly moving.  I chased them around the house for a while to get these!  They definitely keep me active, those ones!  Anyway, hop on over there to see their beautiful smiles.  Also, Wyatt looks so grown up these days.  *sigh*

Maternity Wardrobe: Final Notes

One of the frustrations with maternity clothes is that since options are pretty limited, it is very likely that at least one other pregnant lady in your vicinity owns the same item of clothing as you. And none of us like that thought (even though it's probably true of most of our non-maternity items too).  Two bits of advice for making sure you don't end up wearing the same outfit as one of the other pregnant ladies in your MOPS group . . .

1. Take advantage of all your non-maternity pieces.  It might be likely that someone else is wearing the same maternity top as you, but it is not very likely that another pregnant lady will be wearing the same non-maternity item as you!  I feel like all my non-maternity-but-works-during-pregnancy clothes have kept my pregnancy wardrobe more interesting and unique in general.  I also never really worry about another pregnant lady wearing the same stretchy shirt that I bought at Forever 21 (or wherever).  So if you are going somewhere where pregnant women will be attending in force, something non-maternity is probably your safest bet.

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(I was trying to decide which picture to include here and realized that nothing in this outfit was actually maternity!  Safe to say no other pregnant ladies would be wearing the same outfit.)

2. Accessories, cardigans, and jackets are your friends.  Someone else might have the same shirt as you, but will they pair it with a cardigan and belt the same way you do?  Will they wear the same jacket and scarf as you?  Probably not.  If you are looking to keep your own style and not be caught wearing the same exact outfit as another pregnant woman, change it up with some different accessories and layering pieces!  Even if people notice that you and another person are wearing the same item, you most likely won't be "twins".


(I think this top that I got from Pink Blush is a pretty popular seller, but it's unlikely the other pregnant women who bought it also have the same non-maternity red jacket that I paired it with here.)

Overall, when maternity shopping, I'd say just to look for pieces that you feel good in.  It's hard enough dressing a pregnant body without feeling like all your clothes make you look huge.  If you try something on and it makes you feel good about the way you look, get it!  Feel pretty wearing it.  All pregnant women are special and gorgeous - there is such a thing as a pregnant glow, but sometimes it's hard to feel the "glow" when you are the pregnant girl.  Finding maternity clothes that make you feel cute helps with that.


And that concludes my advice on What To Wear When You Are Pregnant.  If you are wondering where I got any specific items that I've worn, just shoot me an email and I'll tell you!

Twirl Review

Twirl by Patsy Clairmont is basically a collection of thoughts on life from the author, specifically how to keep life meaningful and peaceful amidst the "twirl" of the everyday grind.

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To be honest, this book just wasn't my style.  Each chapter is it's own entity, kind of like individual blog posts - which I don't usually mind, but I felt like the subjects weren't really connected to each other at all, which is what confused me.  While I occasionally caught glimpses of the main theme of "twirling" and how that impacts different areas of our lives, I had a hard time picking out a solid point in this book, and even in most of the chapters.  The Type-A side of my personality likes a clear point, which I felt was lacking in this book.  I just need clearer purposes or points in my non-fiction.

However, I will say that I liked the general concept of the book, and I liked that each chapter was short and focused on a narrow theme - those kind of books are perfect for a brief re-focus as you read chapters throughout the day.  I think more poetically-minded, artsy people would probably get more out of this book than I did.

Also, she made a reference to "Christian mystics" which confused me though (she said it like it was a good thing?), so if anyone knows what that is, I'd love it if you'd enlighten me.

I wouldn't necessarily recommend this book, but I'm sure there are some people who would understand/appreciate it more than I did.

Note: I received this book for free from Booklook in exchange for this review.  This is my honest opinion.

Full Term! (38 Weeks, Baby #3)

Crossing my fingers that this is my last pregnancy update!


I'm writing this on Saturday and scheduling it for Monday, so technically he could even be here before this posts! Wishful thinking much?  I'm not sure if the news will hit the blog or Instagram first - but if you want to be safe and not miss any updates, you might just follow me there.  Because really, he could come any time, and you all wouldn't know because I have the next week of posts scheduled.

We are officially full term by any standard now (there seems to be some confusion about whether full term is 37 or 38 weeks).  Baby could come any time and there would be no problems with him being early!  

We had our growth ultrasound last week, and he was measuring right on track about 6 lbs, 14 oz.  Those ultrasounds usually aren't completely accurate, but that would put him right about the same size as Wyatt and Gwen!  So I'm hoping for a nice, average sized baby.  His heart rate was 132 bpm, and I have to say, he is a cutie!  I didn't get his ultrasound pictures all scanned yet, but I took a picture of one:


I feel like he looks like Derek here.  I can't wait to see his sweet face!

I'm measuring about 2 cm dilated, 50% effaced or so.  Though if I had to guess, I'd say I've probably dilated a little more since my appointment.  It's been getting more and more uncomfortable, and other things have been happening.

I'm having a lot of lower back pain, still getting Braxton-Hicks every day, and they seem to be getting stronger.  I can no longer eat spicy food comfortably  - I get the most horrible heartburn and stomach aches when I eat spicy things, but I continue to do it anyway (1) because I have always liked my food spicy, and (2) because if there happens to be a bit of truth to spicy food bringing on labor, I'm all for it.  I also had one other sign that labor might be starting soon, but it's probably a bit TMI to share here (those of you who have had babies can probably guess).

We're still praying that Baby Boy will decide to come this week, before Derek has to be gone.  I really wish he could just work from home for the last week of my pregnancy so we wouldn't have to worry, but his bosses say no-can-do.  So it's Operation Get-Baby-To-Come!  I'm going to try all the tricks in the book and just hope it'll work so I won't have to go through 5+ hours of labor without him.

We've been walking a lot the past week - we went to the zoo twice, and walked around the mall one night too.  I usually feel like I've been hit by a truck by the time we are done.  My back just can't take it anymore, and he is sitting pretty low now.


We did buy this cute little giraffe stuffed animal for him at the zoo - so now we have something for his comparison pictures!  It also goes nicely in his room.  Even though the spots aren't actually correct for a giraffe, but it's still cute.  I can almost picture him sitting on his chair next to it!


I can't believe we're already here!   I keep getting weird feelings, like I could go into labor any time - I even took a random belly picture the other night, because I just thought that maybe he'd come before morning.  No such luck.

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I'm so looking forward to seeing his sweet face and smelling his sweet newborn smell.   If he follows his sister's example, this will be my last pregnancy update.  Not much longer now, so I'm just trying to be patient!

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Dancing With Fireflies Review

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Dancing With Fireflies by Denise Hunter is a small-town, Christian romance book.  Jade arrives back in her hometown pregnant and alone, looking for a job so she can support her baby.  Daniel, who Jade has always viewed as a brother, helps her as she settles in.  but Daniel has had feelings for Jade for a long time, and tries to hide it from Jade to avoid scaring her away.  Through the course of the book Jade starts to have feeling for Daniel too, but has to overcome some previous traumas before she realizes she needs to trust God and allow herself to love someone again.

I've read a couple of Hunter's books before, and I like them because she knows how to keep the reader interested in the story throughout the book.  But not in an infuriating, you-want-to-shake-the-main-characters kind of way, more in a I-have-to-keep-reading-to-see-what-happens type of way.  This book was no exception, and I didn't want to put it down!  The characters were likable, and not too perfect, and the story was interesting.

The one thing I don't like as much about Hunter's romance books is that in certain scenes I feel like she focuses a little too much on the physical attraction/temptation aspect of the character's romance.  Nothing inappropriate ever happens - the books I've read from Hunter have been clean.  The descriptions just get a little heavy for me at times.  Also, in this book Jade finds herself pregnant as a result of date r.ape - I feel like Hunter handled this plot element with tact and didn't put an excessive focus on it, but I would recommend discretion before letting a younger girl read because of those elements.

Overall though, I really enjoyed this book!  Hunter's writing style is easy to read, and I don't know how she keeps a relatively simple story so interesting, but she does.  If you want a quick, romantic read, this is one to check out.

Note: I received these books for free from Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for this review.  This is my honest opinion.

Creating A Custom Watermark


I was asked recently how I made the watermark I used on my photos, so I thought I'd write a little tutorial!

A watermark is just basically just the name of your blog or business, with or without a logo, that you can "stamp" onto your photos.  There are several reasons why I watermark my blog photos - to protect them from being stolen and used elsewhere on the web being chief among them.  If you are a blogger and you don't currently watermark your photos, it is something I strongly suggest that you consider.  Especially in this Pinterest age, it is very likely that your photos will end up somewhere else on the internet, and using a watermark ensures you protect your photos and it allows you to still get proper credit (because people don't always reference their sources properly - shocking, I know).

If you do not have your own photo editing program, you can still add the name of your blog to your photos using an online editor like PicMonkey - just type out your blog name or address into a text box, and you can adjust the colors and opacity to give it a watermark effect.

Personally, I use Photoshop Elements to watermark my photos - this really is the easiest way to watermark, because you can create a brush of your watermark.  Once you have the brush, it is literally just one click to add the watermark!  I first learned how to create a watermark brush in Photoshop by reading this tutorial, but I'll go ahead and tell you the steps here as well.

1. You want to create a blank file in PSE.  Just go to File>New>Blank File.


2.  You can make your blank file up to 2500 pixels in width, but don't go over that.  You can't create brushes that are larger than 2500 pixels across.  Make sure the background is set as transparent.

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3.  Next, go ahead and create your watermark.  Get creative!  The one thing I didn't realize when I first made a watermark is that you aren't just limited to text - you can add shapes or whatever.  Just make your text and shapes black in color.  We're creating a brush, not an image, so the final color will just be whatever color you choose for your brush when you "stamp" your image.

Hint: If you add shapes, I recommend making sure the shapes are behind the text, and adjusting the opacity to make them more transparent than your font, like I did in the image below.

Note: If you are creating a watermark for your blog images and you ever plan on making money off your blog, make sure that you choose a font that is free for commercial use.  My first watermark was created with a font that was not free for commercial use, and when I started advertising I had to buy the font to still be legal - not fun.


4.  Once you have your watermark the way you like it, you need to make it into a brush.  Go to Edit>Define Brush, and it will add it to whatever set of brushes you have open.


5. Name your new brush.


6.  Now you need to make sure that you save the brush into your set - otherwise it will be gone the next time you open PSE!  Click the drop down menu for your brushes, then click the little arrows that point right in that box.  You want to scroll down and click "Save Brushes".  Name your brush set and save.  If you can't find your brush later, you may need to load this specific brush set - follow the same steps here and click on "Load Brushes", and then select the set that you just saved, and your brush should be there!


7.  Now you are all set to use your new brush!  Open an image to try it out.  Once you have your brush selected you can adjust the settings of you brush with the top settings bar:


You can adjust size, type of brush, and opacity there.  I like the "Overlay" settings for watermarks because it has a more subtle effect, but feel free to experiment!  For example, here is the watermark used on the "Normal" setting, full opacity:



And here it is used with the "Overlay" setting, full opacity:



You can also make your brush different colors (I use white a lot too).

And that's it!  You now have a custom watermark that you can add to photos with one click.
Let me know if you have any questions!
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