Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Christmas Tree Hunting 2017

I figure I better bust out this post before Christmas is over! Ah, 'tis the season to be freaking busy, right?! 

We had a blast going Christmas tree hunting. We usually have to travel over an hour away to find a tree, but living in the mountains has it perks! ;) We surprisingly had a hard time finding a good one. So weird, since we have pine trees EVERYWHERE! But, Matt was on call at work so we couldn't be too far from the hospital. We ended up finding a great tree not too far out. We grabbed out sled and hauled Kess around on that. I had Manning strapped to my back. He's so chill. I hardly knew he was there. I mean, minus the fact that I'm incredibly out of shape and had some extra poundage on my back. 

This is Matt's family tradition so he gets really excited to incorporate all the little things his grandpa did. Tomato soup in a thermos is a MUST. Plus crackers & other treats. Matt packed snacks for Kess and Manning, too. So once we hauled our tree back to the truck - it was time to eat. Matt's family has a special recipe for tomato soup and it's my favorite! Sipping it out of mugs on the back of a tailgate is pretty perfect, too. 

We pulled Manning around on the sled for a bit. He wasn't too sure about it, but eventually liked it a little bit. Kane still isn't sure about this new little creature, especially in his snow suit - so he's always sniffing him.

We couldn't find our Christmas ornaments in storage. We didn't think we would be in our rental this long, so packing them in the front of our unit wasn't on our minds. But, you better believe my out of shape self climbed up and all around looking for those dang things. I was about the settle on salt dough ornaments and candy canes when a box fell on my head. But lo and behold, I found them. Kess pretty much decorated the tree herself after Matt and I got the lights on. I love watching her decorate. She's so fun with it and doesn't have a care in the world. Seriously, she put 3-4 ornaments on one branch. It's the cutest. Any other moms out there that DON'T care what their tree looks like. I mean, don't get me wrong I love a esthetically pleasing tree just as much as the next gal, but at this point in my life it's much more fun to see my toddler decorate and feel so proud of herself than to rearrange it after she goes to bed. So funky and eclectic our tree stays. 

I can't believe Christmas is less than 1 week away! Like, when did that even happen? Must have been when I was stuffing my face with advent chocolate. Shhh, don't tell Kess. I hope your holiday season has been everything you hoped for. I finished our Christmas shopping last week. I literally bought everything online, but one local gift card. Everything is wrapped and ready! YAY! 

Merry week before Christmas everyone! Only 4 more advent chocolates to go! 

Friday, December 8, 2017

Holiday Gift Guide for Her

Hi friends, I've rounded up a few ideas you can give your friends for Christmas. I'm not very good at giving ideas to others for Christmas. I always seem to know what I want - then Christmas or Birthdays com around & I forget. (insert facepalm here)

Here a few things that I've been eyeing (& may or may not have already purchased for myself - it pays to be Santa.)

I have tried to make a point of shutting off the TV for a good chunk of our day, but sometimes the silence mixed with baby cries and kid whines gets the best of me. I love having music playing in the background & I think these little Amazon dots look super handy!

I've been eyeing this DV Suede Shoes from Target for a while now & decided to wait for some Christmas money to roll in. ;) I love that they are a step up from my norm of my white converse. I've tried them on and they are true to size and very comfortable. I'll have to spray them with a water repellant for up here in McCall, but they're totally worth it.

Lash Paradise is my new favorite mascara! it goes on so smooth & builds without looking chunky. I've heard great things about using the Voluminous Primer before applying the mascara & can't wait to give that a try!

I'm a big fan of LipSense (& and even bigger fan of ShadowSense) but I don't find myself wearing it a lot since I'm home most days. I keep a tube of Orchid Gloss in the diaper bag for when I head to town to grocery shop. It's super moisturizing & gives a pretty tint of color without being over the top.

I actually found these MukLuk slippers on for about $15 so they're going to be part of my Christmas gift (seriously, it pays to be Santa!) I already tried them on & they're as soft as soft can be. It's killing me to not wear the already. (Ok, that part of being Santa sucks.) My last pair of slippers are about to die. Fingers crossed they last until Christmas.

I got this Tarte Blush as my free birthday gift from Sephora & I'm in love. It's so smooth & had great pigment. This color "paaarty" is such a pretty nude pink. It goes nicely over my MaskCara foundation & stays put! They also have tons of fun colors if this one doesn't fit your fancy!

These GapBoby Pajamas are my most favorite pj's ever. Seriously so soft and silky (without actually being silk) & I really love the star print. They have some cute Christmas prints as well, but I'm a sucker for something I can wear all year round. 

A quick tip for your Christmas shopping - check out I swear by this site for finding the best promo codes. They even have an app. We used RetailMeNot for most of my furniture purchases when we built our house, too. Can't beat a discount or even free shipping! 

What's on your Christmas list? Please, tell me! Maybe I need it. ;)

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Home Series: Make Shift Playroom

Hi y'all, it's been a while. I'm sorry. Life has been nuts. Living far away from family has made our lives a little bit more hectic & has upped our traveling. Let me tell ya.. traveling alone with 2 kids - no cakewalk. Phew. 

Alright, I'm terrible at writing my ideas down, so I'll have a post just swimming around in my head for weeks & I should just get it written down. Like this post... I've had some "home" ideas since we moved in... in March. I'm so on the ball it sickens me. ;)

I wanted to share how we did our "playroom" here in our McCall/Donnelly rental. When we built our house in Nampa, we decided to add a playroom in and I LOVED IT! It was right at the top of the stairs & across from our master. Kess could play while I showered & I could hear her if I was downstairs in the kitchen. When we moved to McCall we not only lost bedrooms but a good chunk of square footage as well. We have enough room for us, but all the little extra stuff gets tricky. The kids each have their own room which I love, but our office and all of the kids' toys are out in the open. Matt and I like clutter kept to a minimum, so we have worked hard to create a little wall space for all the toys in our living room. 

The biggest key for us is having a "spot" for everything. We bought this KALLAX shelf in white from Ikea when we moved into our new house & never got it put together. We put it up right away when we moved to McCall. Soon after I bought little storage bins to fit into each space. I initially bought these cute little baskets. They were a little smaller than I had originally thought (that's what I get for not looking at the dimensions) but they look super cute and they keep her toys sorted. A little while later I bought these storage bins because we needed some more places to organize things. I have the bins organized by toy type, activity, similarities, etc. I have a bin for just Kess' DVDs, another bin just for her pretend bug or outdoor stuff, a dress up/baby doll bin, a barbie bin, a puzzle/blocks bin, and a misc. bin. We also have two canvas totes on either side that have stuffed animals (soft toys) and the other one holds hard toys, i.e. Buzz & Woody, bigger toys, action figures, etc. I try to keep the top of the shelf clean and uncluttered so it falls in line with our house decor, but that doesn't always happen either. 

I'll be honest with you our little play area still gets messy. Sometimes, at the end of the day we are just chucking toys in bins so we can go to bed. We are also working with Kess on putting away toys before she pulls out more... it's only going ok. ;) I have recently started grabbing toys that she doesn't play with often & putting them in a "toy rotation" box.  I, of course do this while she is asleep because if she sees me grab them then that toy is the best toy ever. ;) We have so many & I feel guilty throwing them out or donating them when family members have purchased them for her. This helps keep our play area from getting overloaded. And this winter when we have been stuck inside for 3 months with 4 months to go... I'll pull the "new" toys out. #momwin. 

Hopefully this helps you if you're tight on space. I would love to have a house with a small playroom or nook, but for now this is what works for our little family. 

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Cleaning Schedule

I've been wanting to start a cleaning schedule for a while now & I feel like I'm finally coming up for air after having Manning. I felt like I recovered quickly from Manning's birth, but there is just no "bouncing back" from a baby. Now that I'm inching my way out of survival mode I decided to gather the chores that I need to get done throughout the week and put them on paper (and in a cute little binder.) My mother-in-law gave me this idea a while back and I've loved it ever since.

If you're anything like me, then you want a cute, organized binder for your cleaning schedule. I dowloaded a clean, simple font (similar here) that made me happy & typed it all up on Word. I purchased a 1/2" binder, sheet protectors and some expo markers in fun colors for this little project. I put my lists in sheet protectors so I could make them off as I went.

Without further ado - the cleaning schedule.

DAILY CHORES (morning)

  • make bed
  • unload/load dishwasher
  • clean up breakfast
  • start a load of laundry
  • tidy up bathroom counter
- These are the chores that I need to do to stay sane. If I do these few things every day then the bigger chores seem less daunting. If these are done my day starts off smoothly. I've noticed that if my bed is made - I feel like I've already accomplished so much for the day. I try to unload the dishwasher while Kess eats breakfast & I sip my protein shake. And I clean up my bathroom counter after I'm done doing my hair and makeup for the day, mostly because no matter how clean m bathroom is if my stuff is scattered all over the counter it just looks terrible and cluttered. Some days I don't get everything done first thing in the morning though, but I try to have it done before nap time. 

DAILY CHORES (evening)
  • clean up dinner/shine sink
  • sweep kitchen/dining room
  • start dishwasher
  • tidy living room
  • plan breakfast

- These are the chores that I want done before I climb into bed for the night. It makes my morning so much easier. I load the dishwasher with dirty dishes all day long and start it right before I got to bed. Then in the morning I unload it all & start all over again. If I have my kitchen and living room clean before bed then I get to wake up to a clean house & feel one step ahead for the day instead of ten steps behind. Matt does the majority of this section of chores for me. While I'm bathing the kids he tackles the dinner dishes and gets them loaded in the dishwasher. Then we finish up the rest of the chores quick before we climb into bed or watch a show.


- I do these set of chores every week on a particular day of the week. 

  • clean out fridge
  • menu plan for the week
- I try to keep my Sundays simple because it's meant to be a day of rest - even though church with two small kids is just plain exhausting. I clean out my fridge and menu plan for the week.

  • grocery shop 
  • fold laundry 
  • wipe down fridge 
  • clean toilets
- Monday's are for grocery shopping! I have always liked to grocery shop on Monday's so I can have my whole weeks worth of meals planned out. Hence why I menu plan on Sunday after I clean out my fridge. I typically try to fold a load (or 7) of laundry, but this chore usually gets dispersed throughout the week. I wipe down my fridge with a Norwex-like cloth because it's stainless steel and always has tiny little fingerprints and smudges all over it. I clean my toilets quick whenever I have a spare minute during the day. I'll explain why I don't clean my entire bathroom all in one day later on...

  • clean office desk
  • dust all wood surfaces
  • clean bathroom sinks
  • clean mirrors
- I tidy up our office desk quick and then start dusting. Every other week I dust & polish (if you've recently watched my Insta-stories then you know that I loathe dusting.) I hate taking stuff off my shelves, dusting and then putting it all back - I don't know why it bugs me so much, but it does.  I recently grabbed a swiffer duster (Wal-Mart brand) for the in between week - it's super quick and gets the job done. I clean the bathroom sinks and faucets, then clean the bathroom mirrors. I find that if I break up the bathroom chores then it seems less overwhelming. 

  • empty all trash cans
  • sweep floors
  • mop - every other week
  • clean out car
- Our trash day is on Thursday and it's dumped before 7am. Seriously. We have our trash can out Wednesday night, so we empty all the trash cans before we take the trash to the street. We have laminate wood floors throughout our entire house (except the carpeted bedrooms & tiled bathrooms) so I feel like I should sweep 184 times a day. If I keep up on my nightly chores it's easier to do this chore. I mop all of our floors every other week. I recently bought a swiffer wet mop (Wal-Mart brand) for quick after dinner jobs if I made a mess making dinner or we made a mess eating dinner. I am terrible at keeping my car clean. I can blame it on Kess now, but I really had no excuse before kids. One of my new goals is to keep it cleaner. I've always have a toy bin for Kess, but it's also covered in goldfish crackers & whatever else she decides to snack on - it kind of drives Matt crazy when my car is trashed & I always feel better when my car is clean and shiny. Now with that being said - this chore is the last on my list for a reason... sometimes it just doesn't get done & I don't stress about it. I just make sure I get to it the next week.

  • vacuum 
  • deep clean oven - every other week
  • deep clean stove top
- I like to vacuum after I sweep because sometimes I sweep my bathroom onto my carpet in the bedroom ( please tell me I'm not the only lazy bum to do this haha.) Also, Thursdays are the days that we try to get out of the house so I keep this day pretty simple. We only have carpet in our 3 bedrooms so it's pretty quick to do, plus it gives me a chance to tidy the kids' bedrooms quick before I get to vacuuming. Cleaning my oven is not my favorite chore, so I try to keep these oven liners in the bottom of my oven. It makes it much easier to stay on top off, but it's not fool proof so I like to give my oven a once over every other week. We have a glass top stove that could probably use a good, solid scrubbing daily, but a quick wipe with a wet wash cloth with just have to do until I can get around to deep cleaning it. I like to use soft scrub and a dishwashing brush. (I just have cheapies from the grocery store, but these IKEA brushes look amazing. Totally just added them to my amazon cart.) Also, I use one brush for scrubbing off food and gunk and another brush for cleaning. Because I'm a germaphobe. I also scrub my stove top and shine/disinfect my sink with the dirty one. 

  • iron clothes
  • change sheets - every other week
  • wipe down appliances
  • clean windows
- I try to get Matt's clothes ironed for the new week. Lately I've been pretty far behind and have about an hour of ironing to do. I'm hoping to get on track and eventually have a few pieces to iron per week.  I'm trying to get into a better habit of washing our sheets every other week. I've been doing it about once a month lately. I wipe down all of our appliances with a Norwex-like cloth. That way they are rid of finger prints and meal-splatter for the weekend. I typically clean the windows that get touched the most (the windows by the front door & the sliding back door.) but I would like to wipe all of our windows down at least once a month.

  • clean office desk
- Yay for keeping Saturdays simple. We are usually on the go or relaxing as a family on Saturdays so I wanted to keep chores to a minimum. Our desk collects bills, extra papers and my relief society binders & papers so I try to tidy it up quick again. One of these days I will have a super cute command center and won't have to keep my stuff at the office desk, but for now - while we are renting... Matt's office desk will be the catch-all. I'm pretty sure he loves that. ;)

Phew, that's it. That's the whole schedule. I really wanted to implement this schedule so I didn't feel so overwhelmed. I hated that once I got Kess down for quiet time & Manning down for nap time that I felt like I needed to scarf lunch and get to work. While I still scarf my lunch and get to work - it's so much easier. I have a small handful of chores to get done and if i have my stuff together then I can do those chores while Kess is playing and Manning is chillin' in his swing or on his play mat. Sometimes my kids conspire against me and I don't get everything done that I intended to & that's totally ok. If I don't get a chore done I tack it onto my to-do list for the next day - if it doesn't get done again then I just put it off until the next week. I try to not skip things two weeks in a row, but ya know what - I've got two young kids and about 10% of the energy that they do sooo it is what it is. 

This system has helped me take more time for myself, too. Because I try to do things while the kids are chill - that means that I have time to read a quick chapter of my book or take a shower. Bonus.

What do you do to help keep your house a house of order? Along with trying to keep my house Christ-centered, I've also been trying to keep my house a house of order. It makes for a happier me, which makes for a happier Matt and happier kids. Isn't it amazing what a clean house can do for the soul?

Monday, September 18, 2017

Postpartum Depression Journey

I've been writing this post in my head for a while now. I feel like I wrote it perfectly in my head & now that I've sat down to type it my thoughts feel all jumbled. 

Let me preface this post by saying that I have been anxiety prone for most of my life. I was always told that I was a "worrier" or that I "worried too much." I truly didn't get why people would tell me that because it wasn't something I could control. Decisions didn't come easily to me; even simple decisions. I had a really hard time letting go of things & had a tendency to "obsess" over little things.

I started taking a small dose of anti-anxiety meds late high school - early college. They helped, but when I got pregnant with Kess I decided they weren't needed anymore. I wasn't depressed. I was perfectly happy. I had a good life, my husband was amazing & now we were about to start our family. What's not to love about that?

I felt anxious during pregnancy, but figured that was normal. I mean, my whole life was about to change. What pregnant woman wasn't anxious? Then when Kess was born the anxiety shot to a whole new level. I was truly nervous all.the.time. Everyone would look as us and say, "It's a special kind of love isn't it?" I remember smiling and thinking, "I love her, of course, but I'm mostly tired, afraid, clueless and did I say tired? Will I ever sleep again?" Time went on and I bonded with Kess and was truly in love. A few things got easier and they became our new normal, but I still felt mostly terrified.

At this point I was terrified I would lose her. I was so freaked out by how fragile she was & how easily I could hurt her. I was terrified that I would hurt her. Whether is be on accident or on purpose... I was truly scared. Then I thought how awful I must be if I was thinking about how easy it would be to hurt my own baby. Who thinks that? Moms with postpartum anxiety do. Then I was so scared that I would die or she would die. She would never know me, or know how how much I loved her. All of these thoughts were very intrusive. I felt like I couldn't stop them - which lead to even more anxiety which lead to depression. Something had to give. I started taking a an anti-depressant. Something that I wasn't thrilled about, but knew it would help. I needed the help. I needed to be a happy mom. I needed to feel normal, to feel sane. I slowly began to feel like myself again. After a few weeks I felt the nervousness lift and I felt like I could breathe again. Eventually I dropped to a lower dose and just felt like me. I was happy. Life is normal, regular and perfect. I eventually switched to some holistic methods and continued to feel great. 

When I got pregnant with Manning I started to feel some anxiousness come back. I'm sure this is all very normal, but I didn't ever want to feel that bad again, so I asked my doctor if I could go back on and stay on during my pregnancy. It was perfectly safe for Manning, so I decided to go for it. I felt really great during the pregnancy, no "prepartum anxiety"... until we started the process of applying for Matt's new job. Then I felt like my world was spinning. After dealing with anxiety for the last 20 some odd years I decided to take action; to not let this "happen" to me. I upped my dose and stayed there until about 4 weeks before Manning was due. My new doctor here in McCall was 100% supportive and so understanding when I told her my feelings and the route I wanted to take. We decided to wean off of the medication because it was better for Manning. I had heard that babies tend to be more fussy from withdrawals, when they weren't weaned before birth. I don't know if this is fact, but I wasn't about to mess with that. I had no issues. I felt great. Manning's labor and delivery was flawless. He was healthy, happy and just about the sweetest baby ever.

I bonded with Manning instantly, but about 5 days after Manning was born I could feel that cloud over my head again. I could feel all of those thoughts coming back. I was starting to feel that weight on my shoulders, to feel like I couldn't breathe. I was again so worried about something happening to him. He was so fragile, so defenseless, so tiny... I couldn't handle anything happening to him. Again with the intrusive, scary thoughts. When I took Manning in for on of his check ups I talked to my doctor (in McCall they have family doctors, so my OB is also Manning's and Kess' pediatrician) and she was beyond amazing. I told her that I felt like this was beyond "baby blues." I told her about my history with anxiety after Kess and what worked. I told her that I was nervous about just taking meds as a "blanket solution" and she was absolutely amazing. She praised me for even talking about it. She was so great and promised that this was normal. She said that taking medication isn't a "blanket solution", it comes with the territory of having a baby. I instantly felt better. It was a huge relief to feel understood and to know that I was going to get help that I needed. After talking it out I decided to give it another week to see if my hormones would level out. I didn't feel any better so my doctor called in a prescription and told me it would be ready for me. It was such a wonderful experience. 

Manning is now 4 months old and I can feel myself relaxing. I can feel my mind sorting things out. I use essential oils daily, which I believe help significantly. I have changed my diet a bit. We are striving to eat more whole foods, which I think is making a difference. Don't get me wrong, we have treats and soda from time to time, but overall we have shifted our diets for the better. I believe that experience has made this time around much easier. I know that things eventually get better, I know that I have control over my mental health and I know that I'm not totally nuts. 

I am starting to think about weaning off of the medication and doing all that I can to naturally take care of my mental health, but I wouldn't have started that way. I truly believe that my body needed that medication. When I was younger I hated the fact that my body/mind needed anti-anxiety/depression medication. Now I realize that I would rather be a happy wife/mom/woman that is "on" something, than be completely miserable without it. I believe that our Heavenly Father has provided so many options for us to take care of our bodies and our minds and we need to reap the benefits of that. 

In case anyone is struggling with the things that I was these are a few things that helped me...

This has always been one of my favorite conference talks and it rang even more true during this time of my life.

After having Manning I started "googling" which isn't always the best option but it was an answered prayer when I came across this article. It touched my heart, mind and soul. It provided so much relief. I truly love my babies beyond measure & this helped me see that I wasn't going crazy. My nervousness and thoughts were a symptom. Just a symptom. 

I also 100% recommend reaching out to your OB. It's the best choice that you can make. And if they don't help you in every way that you need - find a new OB. 

There is a big stigma when it comes to mental health. It makes me really sad to know that people aren't getting the help they need. Mental health issues are so very common, much more common that I had ever understood. I know that this little post won't make much of a difference when it comes to changing that stigma, but if any of my friend are struggling with it I hope that through this they know that they aren't alone. 

Thank you for taking the time to read this. It takes a lot for me to put my heart and soul on the internet, but for some reason I feel like I should. Thank you for your continues support and love. It doesn't go unnoticed. 

Friday, September 1, 2017

Family Pictures + Mom Thoughts

We attempted to take Manning's newborn pictures ourselves. We threw in a few family pictures as well. We bribed Kess with (lots) of skittles. Matt and I were both sweating and tired by the end of it all. They turned out pretty good, if I do say so myself. We have pretty amateur editing skills, but we didn't need anything fancy. We simply wanted to document Manning as a bitty baby & what our family looked like at the time.

Manning will be 4 months old in about a week and a half & it seems to crazy to me that he has grown so much in such a little amount of time. Heck, even Kess has changed a ton. We have changed so much as a family, too. Kess is such a good big sister, Matt is loving having both boy & a girl (he's ready for Manning to be walking so they can go on adventures like he does with Kess) & I feel like I'm falling into a groove with both kids.

I was talking to Matt the other day about accomplishments. Mostly about how proud I am of him. And then I started feeling a little sorry for myself and eluded to the fact that "I'm just a mom." I love being a mom, but sometimes I'm wondering if I'm doing enough. I see these moms who go back to school, or work stellar jobs, pay the bills with blogging  or whatever else they can dream up AND be a mom and wife. Is it ok that I'm not chasing my dreams? Is it ok that I'm just a mom and wife?

Matt said, "But those kids bring you a lot of joy." Holy crap. There it is. He is so right. The day in and the day out isn't easy. I know I've said this kind of stuff before, but I truly feel blessed to be home with my babies all day. I can honestly say that I have cried a grateful tears as I've thanked my Heavenly Father that I get to be the one to be with my kids all day. I can also honestly say that it's flat out exhausting. Not only physically, but mentally and emotionally. But they bring me so much joy. I mean, like gushing over them to Matt, scrolling through my camera roll late at night, sending pictures to Matt, sending pictures to the kids' grandparents daily and feeling truly, truly proud of my children.

Joy! I get so wrapped up in the mundane parts of motherhood that I completely forgot that they bring me joy! How could I do that to them?  I wish I could always find that balance of motherhood. Yet, I find myself on the highest high or the lowest low. I've been working on finding some balance, organization amongst the chaos & a good schedule for my little family of 4. It's definitely not easy. It's been an unorganized, hectic and tiring almost four months as a family of four. I am praying that I find some motivation to stay on top of all of the things I need to balance as a person, a woman, a wife and a mom. 

How do you guys keep balance and organization within your life? 

Monday, August 14, 2017

Fridayyy Faves

I told you guys I was going to try to be better at Friday Faves. But, what do ya know - Friday came and went and here we are smack dab in the middle of a Monday. Again

First things, first... has anyone tried these handy little toddler clocks? This one is from Amazon & I think I'm going to get it for Kess. She has never gotten out of bed without our permission, but now that she is a little older and more independent she comes out every morning. She doesn't get up particularly early, but she does walk super quietly (unlike any other time of the day) and scare the H*LL out of me every morning. So there's that.

I am dying to try Spindrift Sparkling Water. Has anyone tried it? I've cut way back on Dr. Pepper (I know. I'm losing it) and I need something yummy and refreshing. I can do La Croix, but it's really not my favorite. It doesn't have enough flavor. I need more!

Matt and I recently started cleaning up our diet. We did 2 weeks meat and dairy free (practically vegan) and now that we are done with that tomorrow, we will be slowly adding in meat and dairy, but in less amounts that we used to be eating them. Hoping to stick with whole foods, clean ingredients. But, trying to be realistic and know that as we go on vacations, or go home for the weekend that we will splurge and have fun. The only way I survive diet changes is with treats. Healthy treats. I made these Vegan No Bake Cookies & they were delicious. Matt hates oats. Even in cookies, but he loved these. Probably because we haven't eaten anything decent in two weeks, but even then. They were s'good!

I got these jammies from Finn+Emma before Manning was born and could hardly imagine him ever fitting into them. Now he does. They're still a little bit big because he's a tiny tot, but they look so darn cute! These pajamas are made of organic cotton & they are as soft as can be. Kess loves her "e'phant jammas" and is even more excited that Manning can "match" her. They look pretty darn cute together - if I do say so myself. Finn+Emma has lots of unique patterns and prints. You can get 15 % off when you spend $50+ on Finn+Emma products. 

Also, they love each other. Manning was fussing in the car today & Kess started randomly singing "Families Can Be Together Forever" in the best way she knows how & he totally stopped fussing. 
Thank you, Kess girl!

Have a great week everyone!

Monday, July 24, 2017

Bath time Favorites

Bath time is a little bit more hectic than it used to be. I remember than once Kess was old enough to sit up & play in the tub, I was able to read a book while she splished and splashed. Bath time became kind of relaxing for me. Now that we are back in the newborn stage of bath time & I'm bathing two kids at once... things get a little hectic. Manning loves to take baths. He just kicks and smiles as he watches Kess play on the other side of the tub. Poor Kess is squished into 1/2 of the tub, because Manning's little bathtub takes up a lot of room. But, I will say that Manning's little whale tub (similar here) is super helpful when bathing a tiny baby. They sit up great & it keeps them contained really well. The one I linked actually looks even better than the one I have.

I also love these soft little washcloths are perfect for scrubbing that soft baby skin. I use a fluffy loofah for Kess. She used to love when I would tickle/scrub her with these. Now she all grown up and opinionated and usually says, "I no scrub." Sorry kiddo.

As an infant Kess used to love playing with these little bath letters - now she grabs whatever barbie or little toys she's been playing with that day. I'll bust these back out when Manning can hold onto things.

As a mom, I feel like every baby product I use is controversial. Some component of whatever you use on your kid is apparently terrible. I try to not get too wrapped up in that random ingredient or piece of toy that's out to "kill your kid" but I do try to be mindful of what I'm feeding my kids, letting them play with & putting on their sensitive skin. Enter Tubby Todd. I first heard about Tubby Todd right when they opened up shop. It cost more than we typically spend on baby soap/shampoo, but I figured I would give it a shot. Santa put it in Kess' Christmas stocking that year.

It smells so good. It's not overpowering at all. Very light, fresh & clean. I love that I don't have to worry about the ingredients. In fact, you can find every ingredient listed in every one of their products on their site. I love that! Newborn skin is so sensitive and I've noticed that certain soaps make Manning's little baby skin red. I recently got their hair & body wash in the Fresh Floral scent & it smells so delicious. The Fresh Floral was part of their Spring line & their Summer line is now available for purchase. I think the Pineapple & Passion Fruit sounds heavenly. They also have Lavender & Rosemary as part of their every day Basics line. I am also a huge fan of the All Over Ointment. Kess had some eczema on her face that would flare up and the all over ointment kept it from drying out. I also love using the all over ointment on bum rashes and even my own hands. It's super soft and non-greasy!

As a momma on a budget I totally get that it's not ideal to spend $13 on baby wash, but I will say that I'm impressed with the ingredients, the light scent & how my babies skin reacts to it. I love spending a little extra to help someone's small business grow. Plus, we always buy it for special occasions like Easter Baskets & Christmas Stockings. They last a while & I love that I don't have to use a ton of the product to get a good lather & I love that you can now buy it in bulk to save a few dollars! Be sure to sign up for emails. You will hear about the good deals, sales and promo's first!

Friday, July 21, 2017

Friday Favorites

I've admitted it before, I'll admit it again... I'm not a fashion blogger. But, I do like to find decent deals on something I need/want.

A few years ago my sister & I planned a trip to Salt Lake City for a shopping trip. We had survived our first year of motherhood. And we needed a break ;) We happened to plan our trip the same week of the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. We didn't know much about it beyond that fact that all these fashion bloggers raved about it. We still couldn't afford half of the things they were sharing - even on sale... but then we arrived at Nordstrom & found some killer deals on every day things we would actually wear. We splurged a little on a few things like jeans that made us feel less frumpy and more fabulous.

I found a few pieces that I'll be purchasing from the #NSale that I wanted to share with you.

I've been looking for a slit neck tee for a more relaxed & grungy look. I'm still not sure if I can pull it off, but for $10 & free shipping both ways I'm going to give it a try.

Main Image - Topshop Slash Choker Boxy Tee

I love to dress up for church & since that's about the only time I'm not in some form of jeans & a t-shirt I tend to buy lots of dresses. I have a stash building up so I probably won't buy this, but I loooove it. Look how pretty!! & that price is unbeatable.

Main Image - Band of Gypsies Faux Wrap Maxi Dress

This tunic is great for fall. It pairs perfectly with leggings or jeans. I love this color, too! Tons of colors to choose from.

Main Image - Lush Perfect Roll Tab Sleeve Tunic

I'm always looking for a cute, comfortable flat to wear during the fall. I have all but worn out my converse, because I love them & they go with practically everything. These are a fancier step up & super cute. 

Main Image - Blondo Riyan Waterproof Sneaker (Women)

I bought these jeans last year & they are by far my most favorite pair of jeans. As soon as I could squeeze my postpartum bod into them I did. And squeeze I did. I must have squeezed a little too much because They ripped in the crotch. I almost cried. They aren't in my size right now, but they restocked last year so I'll be watching these like a hawk. The price is awesome & the quality is great... despite my tragic story. 

Image of Vigoss Chelsea Released Hem Skinny Jean

Ok, enough of the Nordstrom Sale. A few other things I'm loving right now are...

My Fitbit Charge 2 & leather replacement band. The new band looks just like a leather watch band which I love. I also love the pink & the snakeskin. I wear the original black band for *when* I workout. Which should probably be more often than it is... 

LeapFrog: Learning DVD Set

I've been working with Kess on her letters & let me tell you this... preschool teachers & kindergarten teachers are saints. Saints, I tell ya. Teaching Kess her shapes & colors was much easier than letters. I have a few activities up my sleeve, but because Kess is no longer napping, I usually have her watch an educational show & then she can watch a fun show. My kindergarten teacher friend swears by these videos, so I gave it a try. Kess absolutely loves the Letter Factory one. She's picking up on the things I'm teaching her quicker now, which is so much more fun... for everyone. 

I'll try to keep up with the "Friday Faves" more often. I always have fun stuff to show you guys & then my kids are all like, "Mom, we need attention" & crap like that. ;)

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Family Weekend in McCall

Last weekend was such a busy blast of a few days. We decided to celebrate Kess' 3rd birthday & Manning's blessing all in one weekend. We did Kess' party at the park down the street from our house. We kept it super simple with burgers and hot dogs. I made Kess' cupcakes & popsicle cake. Just enough of a theme for her to get a kick out of her cake & that was about it. No decor, no frill... just a summertime BBQ with family and friends. Kess and her cousins & friends ran, played and ate until their hearts content. Of course, Kess loved that she got to open presents. She barely paused to say thank you before saying, "Let's open another one!!" I told my family to keep toys to a minimum - because let's face it she has way more than she needs already. So they stuck to clothes, art supplies and a few fun toys made their way in! ;)

Kess now has enough clothes to out last her constant outfit changes over the summer, enough play dough to last us through the next winter & plenty of fun activities & toys to keep her busy throughout the day. I love it! She played with play dough, painted, changed her outfit a few times and just kept on going yesterday. She was loving it - I finally had to put a cap on activities and outfit changes! Momma is tired. She was truly spoiled and loved every minute of it. In case you missed in on Instagram, Matt & I gave her a new balance bike. She loves it. She is slowly getting the hang of how it works. She watched her cousin Conrad & seemed to grasp how to use the bike a little better. Conrad has it down pat! It was so cute to watch them ride bikes together! I'm pretty sure Kess was on a birthday high because she couldn't fall asleep for a few hours after we put her in bed. I however, could have crashed at 9:00pm without a second thought.

The next morning we gave Manning a name and a blessing at church. I searched high and low for a cute blessing outfit. I couldn't find anything that I loved. So I settled on a white button down onesie, khaki pants & a cute little bow tie. My friend made his "brotie." You can find her Facebook group here. It was perfect & I figured since boys don't really care about passing down their blessing outfits to their kids - maybe Manning's wife will once day appreciate that I kept his bowtie!

Matt gave Manning a beautiful blessing. I always love to hear the spiritual things that cross Matt's mind as he uses the priesthood to bless our lives. He told Manning how much we love him & how we will always support him. He blessed him with the skills to develop the passions of his life. He blessed him to always seek the truth and to find the truth for himself. He blessed him to remember that if he falls he can get back up and keep going. He blessed him to be able to find peace and solace in the natural beauty of the world around him. I remember Matt blessing Kess with that same thing & I find it very fitting for where we now live. Sweet Manning was wide awake during the entire blessing & didn't make a peep. Then crashed for the rest of the meeting & every single picture. I think the rest of the men in my family wished they could have done the same thing. ;) Manning was surrounded by so many wonderful men during his blessing. Even those who were not in the circle - he is one blessed little boy to have so many wonderful examples in his life.

This weekend was chaotic in the best kind of way. I loved having our families here to celebrate the little things with us. It's pretty quiet around here now & I'm 50/50 on it. ;) A huge thanks to all of our family who joined us & who helped us out all weekend. We love you!

Monday, July 10, 2017

4th of July

We decided to avoid the craziness that is McCall on the 4th of July & went home for a few days. Matt was dying to hike into a lake just outside of McCall. He would be gone overnight & I haven't quite braved up enough to be home along overnight with both kids yet. Two kids is a game changer. Why do they both always need you at the same time?! It's one thing to be outnumbered during the day, but all day and all night without being able to text the hubby to complain... yikes. I'll have to give myself a big pep talk before that happens.

So after sacrament meeting on Sunday, the kids & I packed up and drove to Nampa. As we pulled in to Nampa Matt called us to tell us that he reached a little bit of cell service at the top of a mountain. His hike was killer, but he & Kane were having a good time!

It always feel so good to be home, even though it was hotter than h*ll in the valley. We got to go swimming with cousins at my sister's neighborhood pool. Kess loved it & Manning didn't care to have his feet in the water, so I snuggled him & he fell asleep. Matt joined us the night of the 3rd. We drove to Middleton on the 4th for the parade. We got there early & saved our spots for the parade. It was Thankfully my sister had a mini fan for Manning - he crashed out and slept through most of the parade. Kess was bright red from running around with her cousins. Our parade spot happened to be in the "Wet Zone" so we spent the last part of the parade back off the road. The kids still thought it was cool to see & we knew they would hate getting sprayed.

After the parade we stopped in to see some friends who are building a house. I totally miss the house we just built so it was fun to see the process again & I was only a tiny bit jealous ;)

We put the kids go down for a nap (quiet time for Kess) - we all relaxed & made desserts for our BBQ later. My younger brother is in Florida working for the summer & my older brother was at Disneyland with his wife & 3 girls. So it was just my grandparents, parents sister & I with our little families. Which is a huge difference from what I grew up with. As a kid I remember being SO excited to go to my mom's parent's house for the 4th. Tons of food, swimming & our very own... totally legal ;) ... firework show. I grew up with 20+ cousins - so we were all running around like crazy kids - hopped up on sugar and summer time. But, this 4th was quiet and relaxing. Honestly just what we needed. We all ate together, then let the kids have a go with the hose. The 3 grandkids ended up nakey & running around together until it was time for "fireworks"... none of our kids like loud noises so we let them throw some pop-its & we lit some smoke bombs which were a total hit.

We rounded up the kids around 9:00 & decided to head home. Once we got Manning and Kess down for the night, Matt & I ate junk food & played Ticket to Ride with my parent's. I won, just in case you were wondering! ;) We even watched fireworks for a few minutes from my parent's deck. By then we were beat. You know you're old when midnight is way too late.

We spent the next morning slowly packing up. Then we stopped at Matt's parent's house to say hi! We miss not being able to see our families as often as we used to, but we are lucky enough to not be too far away. We grabbed lunch at our favorite Chinese restaurant - ate way too much & drove to Matt's grandparent's house on our way out of town. We made it home round 5:30 & instantly had a vacation hangover. You know that feeling when you have too much to do & you're back in "real life mode" and you're not having any of it? Yep, that feeling.

Thank goodness for the shorty 2-day week before the weekend ;) I hope you all had a great 4th with your families! You deserve it!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Ollie Swaddle

Kess was a total swaddle baby. Tighter the better. Manning is a little less so but I'm trying to get him to come around ;) We've been using the Ollie Swaddle lately, but before it arrived we were using Carter's Swaddle blankets - which I love, but that boy kept busting out of them. Even his doctor was shocked at how many times he broke out of his swaddle after his circumcision. 

The Ollie Swaddle is a moisture-whisking, breathable fabric swaddle blanket. It can be used in a few different ways including arms in and arms out for transitioning out of the swaddle. When Manning first got here I was still trying to figure out what he preferred. He seemed to fight against the swaddle for a bit, then fall asleep & sleep good, long stretches. But I felt bad that he struggled early on. I'm a little stuck in my ways because I am a diehard-swaddler, but I just want him to be comfortable... so he sleeps longer. Because I'm selfish. ;) Now he makes the association between swaddling an sleep, which is great. He is sleeping longer stretches - hallelujah! He still goes to bed just before Matt & I do, that way I get a long stretch of sleep when he does. I need to start getting him to bed around 8:00, but if he goes to bed when I do, then he wakes up once in the night. If he goes to be earlier he will wake up twice or more in the night. He's not a great "dreamfeeder" because his long stretch of sleep starts from the first time he goes down. I tried dreamfeeding a few times & it messed with his sleep cycle. Again, I'm selfish and kinda love only waking up once per night. 

The bottom of the swaddle is open, which makes it easy to do diaper changes, but I still have to take it off entirely because Manning wears one piece jammies.  I try to change him quick before I even feed him, then swaddle him back up for his nighttime nursing sessions, so it's not really inconvenient. But sometimes that backfires with a poop session while I'm feeding him. Because I take the entire swaddle off I feel like he wakes up enough to get a long enough feeding in the help keep him fuller longer. He's usually tired enough after his feeding and a good burp that he swaddles easily and conks right out. 

I washed Manning's Ollie Swaddle today. I love that it comes with a little laundry bag to wash it in. It cleaned up really well & the laundry bag kept hair and fuzzies out of the velcro. 

For color & sizing references... We have the Ollie Swaddle in the color Stone. Manning was born at 6lbs 5oz & I felt like the swaddle was a little too big for him. I would velcro it as tight as it would go & it was still roomy. He is now about 8 pounds and it fits great now. My sister used it on her 8 pound newborn from day 1. So I think 7-8lbs would be optimal for starting to use the Ollie. 

The Ollie Swaddle will be restocking in the next few weeks. Use the link below for 10% off.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

1 month in & sleep

Manning is 1 month old & I'm happy to report that we are totally surviving. We aren't thriving yet, but I promise myself that I would give myself a little bit of grace this time around. I was super anxious/nervous/miserable when Kess was this small. Don't get me wrong I was over the moon about her and being a mom, but I had no clue how hard it would be. I had no clue how much stress I would be under. I had no clue about how anxious I would be over the little things - like changing her diaper, breastfeeding, sleep schedules. I had no clue. This time - I had a clue. ;)

My experience with Manning has been much easier. I'm chalking it up to actually have experience under my belt. It's easier to have less anxiety when it's familiar. Yes, I'm still nervous when I can't calm Manning instantly. It's still hard to be sleep deprived. It's hard to not be able to give Kess all my attention. It's hard having a little human that is totally & completely dependent on me. But, then I remember that I promised to cut myself some slack & enjoy this tiny phase of life. I didn't enjoy it enough with Kess. I wished it all away for schedules, routine & my new normal.

My most favorite thing about being a mom is "figuring out" my kid. Figuring out what makes them tick, what makes them happy, what makes them smile or laugh... but mostly figuring out what makes them sleep. Sleep is life.

I also love using our Dock-A-Tot because it keeps him cuddled up & cozy. It's made of breathable material, so I don't worry about Manning not being able to breathe if he rests his little face against the side. It's super easy to strip the cover off & throw it in the washer, cuz you know - baby spit up. Matt made fun of me for getting the "pristine white" color... I couldn't help it. It's so pretty.

We aren't big into co-sleeping, mostly because it makes me nervous & I like my space when I sleep. I've got a baby attached to me all day & a good chunk of the night so when I get a chance... I want my own space. But when they are so tiny and new I can't help but snuggle them. The Dock-A-Tot makes me much less nervous about co-sleeping if needed. It fits in between Matt and I. Granted, it doesn't give each of us a ton of space in our queen bed, but it gets the job done.

The Dock-A-Tot is easy to move around the house. Make fun of me if you will, but Manning is a super loud, grunty baby in his sleep. Louder than Kess (and I didn't think that was possible.) So, after his first nighttime feeding I grab his Dock-A-Tot & set it on our closet floor. He gets to grunt away and I get to sleep. He's close enough that I can hear him fuss or cry, but I don't hear every single grunt. This is a win on so many levels. (Insert fist-bump emoji.)

I'm glad the Dock-A-Tot is so light weight, too.  It will make our summer travels much easier. Plus it helps babies feel secure. And I swear they sleep better when they are familiar with where they are sleeping - so even if they're not in they're own home - they'll feel at home in their Dock-A-Tot. Total bonus. The majority of Kess' sleep troubles were because she was sleeping in a Pack&Play in McCall and then in her crib at home. We were traveling back and forth so much and she was always waking up in a new place. Sleep training gets tricky to do when consistency isn't there. Now... if I would have have a Dock-A-Tot maybe I would have gotten more sleep. ;)


Thursday, May 25, 2017

Manning's Birth Story

I've been meaning to get Manning's birth story written down. I thought I would be on the ball & get it posted right after he was born, but he's over 2 weeks old now.

Sweet Manning decided to be a little stubborn and show up 2 days after his due date. I know everyone says your due date is an estimate - which I know, but it's hard to not take that date to heart. Kess was 4 days early, so I thought for sure Manning would be at least that early if not earlier. Nope. I thought I was in labor multiple times leading up to his actual labor and delivery, so that only added to my anxiety. Plus, not having any family around & knowing that they were all two plus hours away made me nervous, too.

On April 25th I had my 38 week check up. I was dilated to 1.5cm. My doctor stripped my membranes; something I never had done with Kess so I was counting on him arriving any time.

On April 26th I woke up early in the morning with cramps & I was starting to lose my mucus plug. Exactly how Kess' labor started. Mild, but consistent cramps. They didn't regulate, so I figured if I got moving they would kick into gear. My mom and dad were in town working, so I was super happy that Manning chose to arrive then. Less stress for me. Kess & I went to breakfast with my parents, walked (& did squats; couldn't do lunges - couldn't get back up) around the hotels they were working on, I even rubbed Clary Sage on my ankles. (Clary Sage helps intensify contractions... it doesn't typically send you into labor, but I thought I was in early labor.) By that afternoon nothing had changed and the contractions had stopped. I was so dang bummed. My parent's went back home and I just knew my contractions would pick back up as soon as they got home. Nope.

I had multiple occasions when I felt like I was in early labor. On May 2nd, at my 39 week appointment showed progress, I was dilated to 2 cm. Yay! I had my membranes stripped again. I was so ready to have this baby. I felt overdue because Kess was early. My doctor was leaving for a week long trip on May 3rd & I really wanted my doctor to deliver Manning. I prayed and prayed that I would go into labor sometime during the night on May 2nd so I could have her deliver him real quick like before her trip. May 3rd came and went, along with May 4th & my due date May 5th. I might have cried. Ok, I cried. I was in so much pain. Manning constantly hit some nerve that would hurt so bad it would double me over or knock me to my knees. I just wanted him here so we could start our new normal & I could stop having anxiety about how quickly someone could be here to help with Kess. Thankfully I have a good friend here who promised to help with Kess day or night, so that offered some serious relief.

On May 6th we decided to go for a long hike/walk in Donnelly. We headed out that morning and took a 20 minute, very bumping ride... that definitely kicked my contractions in gear - only to have them stop once we got walking around. Kess had a blast on our hike & it was a nice distraction! It was a beautiful, cloudy day. Matt was in his element and that's always fun to see. We went out to eat that night. We opted for Mexican so I could eat something spicy. I ordered nachos with extra jalapeƱos. ;)

My aunt Jenn was in Cascade for the night with her family, so after dinner we took the 25 minute drive to see them & eat some ice cream. Again, I needed the distraction. It was so fun to see them & have a little bit of home in the mountains.

I was fully anticipating to be pregnant until 41 weeks. My doctor would be home on the 10th & she said I could be induced on Friday the 12th. I had accepted my fate considering that nothing had worked. All those labor tricks that everyone tells you about... eating pineapple, spicy food, going for walks, doing "homework" with your husband... nothing. nada. Manning was not budging.

May 7th at 1:30am I woke up to a sharp contraction. I got up to pee for the 5th time since going to bed at 10:30 & tried to fall back asleep. I knew this wasn't really labor anyways - I had been tricked before. Around 2:00am I decide to wise up and start timing my contractions. They were about 7-8 minutes apart. I tried to rest, but couldn't. I got up. I checked on my Kess. I gave her kisses & knew that these were my last minutes alone with her before her brother arrived. I accidentally woke her up & started to panic a little because she usually doesn't let me leave her room at bedtime. I just kissed her again and told her to go back to sleep. She rolled over and conked back out. Phew! ;)

Around 3:00-3:30 I was starting to really feel these contractions & they were definitely coming closer together. I was so nervous to wake Matt up & to call our parents because I was afraid I was having "fake labor" again. By 3:45 I kept telling myself, "I'm ok, this isn't that bad..." Then a contraction would hit & I would think, "Ok this hurts. I should wake up Matt & call my mom." I finally woke Matt up around 4:00. He was excited & asked how far apart my contractions were. I said, "About 5 minutes." "Uh, so we need to be going to the hospital like right now?!" "Eh, we have a little bit." He wasn't convinced, he immediately got up & told me to call my mom. I called my mom, he called his mom. They were both on their way. Matt took a quick shower & I brushed my teeth. He checked my phone and saw that my contractions were about 3-4 minutes apart. "Uh, babe! They're super close together. We gotta go." I thought maybe we could hold out until someone got there, but my contractions were too close together. I told Matt that I could call my friend Hailey to come stay with Kess, but then he reminded me that my aunt Jenn was in town so we opted to inconvenience family first ;) Jenn was at our house in about 15-20 minutes (thanks for driving so fast Jenn!) I was already in the car when Jenn arrived at our house, so we took off as soon as she arrived. Matt flew down the highway & even turned on his hazards. I begged him to do that for Kess, but nooo. ;) We made it onto town in record time & as we turned left into town we got pulled over. Seriously. I remember saying, "Oh come on!" As Matt pulled over he said, "Act like you're in pain!" I laughed because I was in pain, but in between contractions so I wasn't dying. He said, "I'm serious." The officer asked us why we were going so fast in the most nonchalant tone. Matt said, "We are having a baby." He sent us on our way.

We were taken back to the OB room. I'm pretty sure I was one of two patients that night. The on-call ER doctor checked me and told me I was at a 4. So I wasn't going home. Yay. I was bummed to not be very far along since I was in so much pain. I told him I was nervous to get an epidural early on because it slowed my labor with Kess. He suggested I labor in the tub for a while if I wanted & as soon as I was ready they would call the anesthesiologist ready for me, who would need about 30 minutes to arrive and set up. I labored in the tub for about 45 minutes. I loved it. It didn't take all the pain away, but it helped so much. The jets were a dream on my back. About 10 minutes before I got out of the tub I told my nurse I was ready for my epidural. I wanted to tell them a little early so I wasn't dying by the time the anesthesiologist was here, but they told me he was already getting ready for me. As I was getting out of the tub the nurse told us that my parents were here. After I got dressed they came back to see me. I was so glad they made it in time. Seriously they made it in record time... I don't want to know how fast they were going. ;)

I got my epidural a few minutes later & I will say... best epidural ever. He talked me through the whole thing. He let me stay lying down and he did everything in between contractions. The epidural I got with Kess was rough. I basically had to hold still during transition contractions and then when it didn't go in - I had to hold still for the entire process again. This was smooth and quick. I was so dang happy. Matt made me let go of his hand after the epidural was set because I was squeezing his hand so hard that his wedding ring was cutting into this fingers. Sorry, babe! :)

I was checked again & hadn't changed. I was bummed, but relieved that my epidural was kicking in. I figured I would be in labor all day because I was with Kess. My parents came back in & Matt told me that his mom had arrived at our house. About an hour or so later I was telling Matt that my epidural was making me feel funny. I was too numb. I was getting nauseated. They called the anesthesiologist in to turn it down. At one point I told him I was scared to turn it down too much, because I could feel pressure. He said, "We won't let you be in pain." Seriously, the best experience ever. I felt much better after the epidural was adjusted. A little while later I told Matt that I was pretty sure I could feel Manning's head. I felt it drop lower and lower. The on-call OB was on his way & arrived right after I told Matt I felt like I could push. The doctor arrived, introduced himself and chatted about the delivery. He checked me and said, "Ok, we are having a baby!" Even my nurse was like, "Really?!" Things got moving really fast. We asked my mom to stay in the room & I'm pretty sure there were about 7 other people in there as well. I'm not particularly shy about medical stuff so it didn't bother me. I could hear one of the nurses say something like, "I feel left out, it's a party in there." So we invited her in, too.

I pushed about 12 times and the doctor said that Manning was delivering himself in between contractions. Sure enough, he slid out during contractions. 10:23am & he was here. The tears were flowing & I remember saying "Hi, buddy" as they handed him to Matt & I.

I remember thinking that everything was truly perfect during Kess' labor. Manning's was just as perfect. And I was pretty happy to go from a 28 hour labor to a 9 hour labor. Much nicer. ;)

Nan & Kess arrived about 20 minutes later. Manning was being checked by the doctor and nurses on the other side of our room. As soon as Kess came in she said, "Hey, there's a baby!" I said, "That's our baby! That's brother!" She looked at me, my belly & back at Manning, "It's brother!" Seriously, it was so cute. She couldn't get enough of him. She kept looking at him while he was being checked over. When she finally got to hold him, she wouldn't let anyone else hold him. She was pretty devastated to leave the hospital for nap time and bed time. She was so sad that mommy, daddy and brother weren't going home with her. Which, of course made me cry.

We were discharged from the hospital the next morning. They were on their game and had us out before noon. The entire staff was awesome and made sure we were well taken care of. We were a 3 ring circus leaving the hospital which was half hilarious and half exhausting. At one point we lost our keys & all we could do was laugh... and be irritated. ;) BUT, we made it home. We are adjusting to life well. Kess wasn't so sure about Manning for a few days, but she loves him to death and always sticks her head by his hands. When he reaches out and "gets" her she just laughs & says, "Oh, he get me!" :)

Thank you for the well wishes & love. We couldn't appreciate it more!