Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Back to Normal... Whatever That Means

It was a long summer. Literally long, because 80 degree weather started in May this year, a good month and a half earlier than normal. That month felt even longer waiting for an overdue baby girl.

Then the days all ran together with feeding and pumping and sleeping and not sleeping and trying to entertain a two year old while rocking a newborn to sleep all day.

Just as we were beginning to settle in, we went to the mountains for a week with friends. And then home to reset again. Right at the three month mark, we finally felt like we could take a breath. Bedtime for both kids got really easy, the baby was sleeping all night and napping well during the day. Phew.

Then came Labor Day weekend. I went to bed one night and woke up with a horrible pain wrapping around my ribs and stomach. A trip to the ER and an ultrasound later, and I needed surgery to remove my gall bladder. Less than two weeks later, I had the surgery, and exactly one week after that we left for a previously planned 10 days in Colorado to visit friends and family.

Being one week out from surgery, I didn't really feel great the entire trip. Add in a teething toddler and 90 degree weather and I've had more restful vacations. :)

But now we've been back for a few weeks, and we actually get a chance to settle in. I just said to Mike last night that I finally feel normal again. I feel like myself. After 9 months of morning sickness, childbirth, dealing with a newborn, hormones, surgery, etc. it is a relief to physically and emotionally feel healthy.

So we're home. We're enjoying fall and looking forward to whatever the rest of the year brings. Hopefully no more surgeries. :)

Friday, July 10, 2015

The Day June Was Born

If you read about the birth of our first kid, you know it was a looong process. He was a nearly nine pound sunny side up baby with a huge head who had to be vacuumed out. Obviously the only thing we cared about for this birth was that she was born safely, and that she and I were both healthy. I felt like a good birth experience would be icing on the cake. Amazingly, it ended up being everything I could have hoped for.

They say first babies are always late. My first was four days late, so I figured this one would come earlier than that. My mom flew out two days before I was due so that Mike and I could get a little break before the baby was born. That was May 20th. Well, fast forward to Friday, May 29th, one week after my due date, and still no baby! Oops. I had been to the doctor the day before for a non stress test, was 3 cm dilated, and we scheduled an induction for Monday. It was really hot that Friday and none of us felt like cooking, so we decided to drive up to Central Market (it's like a local Whole Foods) to hit up their salad bar and get some Macrina bread.

A few minutes into the drive, I had my first contraction. I'd had Braxton Hicks contractions for months, but those don't hurt, so when I had one that felt a little crampy, I knew this may be it. I still didn't want to get my hopes up though! Between 5:30 pm and 7 pm, I had maybe 4 or 5 contractions. After we put Nash to bed around 7:30 pm, they started picking up to around 5 minutes apart. With Nash, I had contractions five minutes apart for 15 hours before I was progressed enough to be admitted. In fact, we were sent home once because the first time we went in I was only 2 cm. My goal was to just not get sent home. :)

We watched a little tv since I wasn't really in much pain at this point, but contractions were holding steady at 4-5 minutes apart. Around 8:30 pm, Mike and I packed some last minute things and decided to try to rest for a while before it was time to go to the hospital.

A funny aside: my sister in law Aaron was going to be at the birth (she ended up being out of town! sad!) and months ago I invited my other sister in law McCayla to be there if she wanted to. We hadn't talked about it for a while, and that afternoon she texted me and was like, "Can I still come?" I obviously said yes. Sometime in here I sent her a text that said, "Keep your phone on tonight."

Well, it turns out I was in too much pain to rest, so I ended up doing things like straightening my hair, packing and repacking toiletries, and random iPhoning. Once they were every 3-4 minutes apart and every third contraction was REALLY bad (I felt it majorly in my hips, which was weird), I decided to call the hospital. This was around 10 pm I think. Since I was able to talk to the nurse even through contractions, she told me to wait an hour or two and call back. I lasted about 45 minutes. :)

At 10:45 pm I called back and was like, "We're coming in." Now things got a little tricky because of our two year old and because my mom wanted to be there for the birth (and I wanted her there too.) Mike loaded up both of our cars. He got Nash into one car so my mom could drive him to my brother's house then come meet us at the hospital. Then he loaded me into the other car, and off we went!

We got there around 11:15 pm, and I just remember thinking "Please be 4 cm, please be 4cm." That way we could be admitted. Well we got checked and I was a 7!!! We seriously couldn't believe it. Even the nurse who admitted us was like, "You were so calm and joking around, I thought you were a 4, MAYBE a 5."

This was right after we found out I was 7 cm. So relieved! #doublechin

Since I was already so progressed, I was like, "Epidural, please!" (Give birth however you want, but I loved both of my epidurals and I would absolutely do it again. I LOVE my hospital and totally trust my doctor to only intervene as much as necessary. I also liked how calm and peaceful it all was. Thanks, drugs.)

The epidural was in around 1 am, then they broke my water. I was feeling a lot of pressure and wanting to push, but was still only 8 cm, so we just hung out for a while. By 2:30ish I was 10cm, so they had me push a few times. Everyone was expecting her to come out really quickly. In fact multiple nurses kept saying, "Five pushes and she'll be out!" because they knew about my previous five hours of pushing. In my mind I was like, "Hahahahaha! Yeah right." Anyway, after a few pushes, they decided to have me labor down for another hour because she was still a bit high.

Around 1 am, then they broke my water. I was feeling a lot of pressure and wanting to push, but was still only 8 cm, so we just hung out for a while. By 2:30ish I was 10cm, so they had me push a few times. Everyone was expecting her to come out really quickly. In fact multiple nurses kept saying, "Five pushes and she'll be out!" because they knew about my previous five hours of pushing. In my mind I was like, "Hahahahaha! Yeah right." Anyway, after a few pushes, they decided to have me labor down for another hour because she was still a bit high.

Right after 4 am, they had me try pushing again, and that's when we found out we had another posterior baby. Ugh! That explained the horrendous hip pain and the urge to push before I was fully dilated. It also explained why those pushes the hour before didn't move her down very much. The nurse on duty kept saying, "You can do this, you aren't going to push for five hours, you won't need a vacuum." Since she wasn't a very touchy feely person, I totally believed her. She was the absolute perfect person for that last hour.

Best husband ever. We were in it together. :)

So I pushed. It was really hard, and I just kept thinking that I could not do this for five hours again. When she still wasn't out after 40 minutes, I remember looking at Mike and we almost had a breakdown moment. But I chose to believe the doctor telling me that she was almost out (even though I heard that for literally THREE hours before Nash was actually born.) But then five minutes later at 4:50 am she was born! The best part was not being totally exhausted and out of it like I was the first time. My epidural was perfect: I could feel everything, but it wasn't painful. I felt her being born and they put her right on my chest which was amazing. Mike and I just cried because we were so happy she was here, and it was such a great experience this time.

June was 8 lbs. 8 oz. and was 21.5 inches long.

Thank you mom for taking these pictures and for cutting the cord!

The one weird thing was that last few hours of labor my heart rate was really high and my temperature kept rising. They were worried about infection, so June and I both got antibiotics and we had to stay for 48 hours after the birth instead of just 24. It ended up that we didn't have an infection, but it turned out to be a good thing because we got lots of breastfeeding help. It did not go well at all with Nash, so the extra hospital day gave me a lot more confidence. (And so far so good.)
She had to wear this huge thing on her arm to keep the iv in place.

My mom and McCayla left to go take naps since they had been up all night. My mom brough Nash back later with my brother Tom, Aaron (who luckily flew back to town a few hours after June was born!), and their daughter Olive, who LOVES baby June. It's so cute. Then Mike's brother John and McCayla came back with their son Miles and brought Mike some dinner.

First family pic!
My beautiful mom!

It's funny, even though we were exhausted, the hospital stay was almost like a mini vacation for us! Haha! We watched movies, drank some champagne, and one night Mike picked up some fancy desserts from a nearby restaurant.

About her name: June is a name that we have loved for a long time. It was on our girl's list (for first and middle) when I was pregnant with Nash. When I got pregnant this time, it was never really a discussion, that was just her name. We like it Mike's and my birthdays are in June, one day apart. We also like that it's a little nod to our nephew Noah, whose life was contained entirely in the month of June, making it the most special month there is. And while we're at it, Mike's twin brother (duh), my brother's wife, our other nephew, and my grandma all have June birthdays. They can all claim she was named for them if they want. :) The middle name, much like last time, wasn't official until the very end. We love the name Austin: it's where we got engaged, and I spent a lot of time in the Texas Hill Country as a kid. But then it sounds like we messed up Jane Austen or something. In the end we decided we didn't care because we liked it the best.

Our little June is here, and we're so glad she is!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Baby June

Well, "Mayby" is here! She was almost a June baby, which is funny because the name we had chosen is June. On May 30, eight days after her due date, she finally showed up, and since then we've been taking it easy adjusting to life as a family of four. More to come...

June Austin Butler
May 30, 2015 • 4:50 AM
8 lbs 8 oz • 21.5 inches

Friday, April 24, 2015

Mayby: 36 Weeks

We are getting sooooooo close. I cannot wait! It's funny because the first time around, I couldn't have honestly said I was excited. I was so scared and anxious about the enormous life change that was about to happen to us. We obviously wanted a baby, but the reality of it was terrifying.

This time it's a lot more exciting. We know what to expect (within reason, every kid is different), and the whole thing feels so much less scary than last time. That's not to say there aren't anxieties, but this time we are going in with our eyes wide open instead of totally blind. 

We know that there is a good chance that I won't produce enough milk, so for the first month or so, I'll be nursing and pumping like crazy, taking fenugreek, etc. And if I'm not making enough, I will have NO problem supplementing with formula or just giving up nursing all together. This time it won't take two months to figure out that our baby is starving. :)

We also know that it's likely I will have post-partum depression again. (I've literally been writing a post about it for a year. Someday I'll post it.) I will be leaving the hospital with anti-depressants in hand this time instead of waiting for five months to seek treatment. 

We also set up some boundaries for visitors the first month. Mike and I are both introverts, and we recharge by being alone, be it with each other or on our own. So for the first month, we are only allowing our parents and siblings to visit, and we are kicking them out at 6:30 pm each night. Then we can have time alone as a family before Nash goes to bed, and time as a couple after that. Nash's nap time is also going to be a no visitor time, so that I can have alone time with the baby. Last time we had people in our house 24-7, we had random friends and relatives stopping by most days, and we had 20 people over for Easter dinner when Nash was two weeks old! (Our moms totally did all of the work, but still. There were 20 people in our house!) We LOVE and adore all of our family and friends, we just think these boundaries will be helpful in the transition to being a family of four.

I realize these boundaries mean that our house will be less clean, there will be less laundry done, and fewer meals prepared for us. But honestly all I want is time and space to enjoy our new baby. Because of the nursing issues and PPD, I really didn't enjoy those first few months with Nash. I was overwhelmed by everything, and when our nephew died a few months later, I completely lost it. In addition to overwhelming grief, I felt an incredible amount of guilt having a healthy baby that stressed me out so much. But seriously that's another post for another day. 

I am excited to really revel in the newborn phase, and thankful that our family is so awesome in supporting us and what we need the first month or so. That time and space is going to be so great as we adjust, and we are excited to welcome our little girl home!

Anyway, we are just trucking along for the next 4 weeks! The nursery is pretty much done. We still need to raise the crib back up to infant height, but it's officially girly in there! I packed my hospital bag this week, too, because I'm a freak, but I just kept thinking about it and wanted it done in case anything weird happened and she came early. I don't actually think that will happen, but you never know! I also packed a bag for Nash in case baby comes before my mom comes to town, and he needs to spend the night at my brother's house or something. 

I semi-regret having everything done though, because now the next four weeks are going to drag! Haha! We'll see what happens!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Big Boy Room

You guys. It finally happened. A parenting thing was easier than I thought it would be. That particular thing was moving Nash out of his crib into a huge bed in a new room! This is really exciting for us because we have basically been homebound since the end of August when he outgrew/refused to sleep in his pack-n-play. Although, we found out I was pregnant a few weeks later, so it's not like I was up for leaving the house for more than 30 minutes. Anyway, with baby sister coming at the end of May, we knew we needed to make our move to give him time to adjust.

I think the last time I shared nursery pictures, was here. We added nursery stuff into our existing guest room, and kept our office in the smaller spare bedroom since Mike was still working on his MBA. Well, when Nash was a few months old, Mike finished up school, so we turned the smaller bedroom into his nursery, and the old guest room/nursery became a guest room/office/dumping ground. When it came time to figure out what to do with baby number two, we decided to keep the nursery where it is, move a small desk into our master bedroom, and turn the guest room into Nash's new room. Still following? :)

It's a bummer to lose our guest room, because both sets of grandparents live out of state. Thankfully both have other options of places to stay when they come to town, and hopefully we will move in the next one or two years to a bigger place.

Anyway, we didn't want to get rid of a perfectly good queen sized bed (our guest bed) to then have to buy a twin bed, so Nash has a HUGE bed all to himself. Mike and I would be lying if we said we weren't jealous. It looks very cozy and comfortable!

The airplane art is a set of three stretcher frames that used to be covered in fabric in the tv room, but were relegated to a closet for a few years. After cutting out an airplane shape, I made a super janky projector with a shoebox, saran wrap, and the flashlight on my iPhone. Don't judge. Then I traced it and filled in the outline with red paint.

I was going to just leave the existing white duvet cover that we had, but then Ikea tempted me with an adorable twin sized one. I just cut it open and sewed it to an old queen sized flat sheet we had to make a new queen sized duvet cover. It was super easy, and the fabric is so cute. It's all different kinds of vehicles, and Nash loves to point out what each of them are.

The only big item we bought was a shelf thing (also from Ikea) to hold books and toys. So far it has worked out really well. And the little grey drawers (which used to hold office supplies) work perfectly for nighttime diapers, socks, shoes, and things we don't use as often like gloves, hats, and swimsuits. Cloth diapers and wipes fit perfectly in a couple of Target Dollar Spot bins on top of the drawers.

The curtain are super simple and not especially cute, but they get the job done. The job being block out the sunlight so Nash sleeps as long as possible. I got blackout fabric, cut it to size, didn't hem it, and added some grommets along the top so that we could use it with the curtain wire hanging thing we already had in there. So far so good!

All of Nash's nursery art found a home back on the wall with the door, along with his cute reading cushion made by his Aunt McCayla.

We started working on this room in January, and had it mostly done by mid-February, so he had a month of fun playing in there, while still sleeping in the other room in his crib. We officially switched him over Easter weekend, and other than a nap time or two that took him a while to settle in and go to sleep, it has been such a smooth transition. He even stays in bed until we go in and get him! I had visions of him waking up at 4 am and thinking it was morning and getting up and playing, but so far, so good. Phew! One less thing to worry about now. :)

Duvet cover (only available in twin): Ikea Ljudlig
Shelves: Ikea Kallax
Bins (orange no longer available): Ikea Drona
Gray drawers: Ikea Helmer
Play rug: Ikea Lillabo
Corner curtain system: Ikea Dignitet
Blackout fabric: Roc-Lon Blackout Drapery from JoAnn

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Nash: 2 Years Old

Well, as of a couple of weeks ago, we have a two year old! It's amazing how much Nash has changed in the last six months or so. He went from baby to little boy, and we love it. Bibs are gone, and high chair has given way to booster seat. He is moving out of his crib later this week. (Wish us luck!)

He is running everywhere, and loves going down the tallest slides at the park. He still hates swinging though. We just got him a balance bike, and he hopped right on. He still doesn't get the whole "sit on the seat" thing, but oh well.

He loves vehicles and trucks of any kind, and makes sure to point out every car we see anytime we go anywhere. He can identify a crazy amount of vehicles by name. Garbage truck, dump truck, fire truck, ex-avator (excavator), tractor, crane, police car, airplane, boat, bozer (bulldozer), and I'm sure there are more I'm forgetting. He also knows the parts of a lot of trucks too, probably because those are some of his favorite things to read about. He love to point out the driver's seat and the "steery wheel" every time we get in my car.

He is (most of the time) really sweet and fun to be around. He loves picking out new books at the library. Then we go home and read them all. We sit on the little couch in his room, and usually he says "snuggle", which means I get to put my arm around him while we read.

The best part of Nash's day is without a doubt when Mike gets home from work. This has a little to do with the fact that he loves playing in Mike's car and getting the mail with Daddy, but mostly he just loves being around his dad. It's super cute. Now when Mike does yard work, Nash is right there with him. He isn't helpful at all, but he loves being outside and he loves being with his dad, so it's a win win.

We had a little party the weekend before his birthday where we celebrated my brother's birthday too. We had pizza and cake. and Nash had fun playing with his cousins Olive and Miles.

On his actual birthday we went to the park when Mike home, and I made his favorite meal (pasta and cheesy bread). We had cake and ice cream after dinner, and put candles in his to blow out. Unfortunately, all he has heard about fire thus far is "Fire is hot! Don't touch!" so he was terrified of the candle. Maybe next year...

I'll end with some two year old pictures of our sweet boy. We love him so much, and are excited for what the coming year has in store.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Brown Butter Shortbread Thumbprints with Salted Caramel

I don't know if it's a boy/girl thing or if it's just a funny coincidence, but when I was pregnant with Nash, I wanted red meat and salty foods. It was only the last month or so that sweets sounded good again. This time the pregnancy sweet tooth hit a lot earlier. Yikes!

I have been making a batch of cookies every week and eating way too many. Last week I tried something other than my go to chocolate chip or snickerdoodle, and oh my. They were delicious.

Brown Butter Shortbread Thumbprints with Salted Caramel

3/4 cup butter, browned and cooled (just cook butter, stirring constantly until it turns brown)
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 1/2 cups flour

1 cup sugar
1/3 cup milk or half and half
2 tbl butter
1/2 tsp sea salt (plus more for garnish)

1. Mix the butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla until creamy.
2. Add the dry ingredients, and mix together until well combined.
3. Chill in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
4. Roll into 1.5 inch balls, then press onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. Use your thumb or whatever to make a little well in the center of each cookie.
5. Bake at 375ยบ F for 8-10 minutes, or until the edges just begin to turn golden. Cool on the cookie sheet.

1. Put the sugar in a saucepan and cook over medium heat. DO NOT STIR! Once the sugar has completely melted, you will start to see spots where it starts to caramelize. At this point you can gently stir or swirl the sugar in the pan so that it caramelizes evenly.
2. Once the sugar is a nice golden brown, quickly whisk in the milk. If clumps of caramel form, don't panic, just keep whisking over low heat until it's smooth. Add the butter and salt, and pour into a jar or bowl to cool.
3. Once the cookies have cooled, fill up the "thumbprints" with the caramel sauce and sprinkle a bit of sea salt over the top if you want to.