Birth Story

On June 11th, our little Flora was born at 8:30am after a quick and kind of crazy delivery. She is absolute perfection and has changed our family for the better. Life with her in it is pure magic. Yesterday, she turned two months old (how??) and I have finally finished up her quick birth story for you guys. I think about her delivery a lot. It was not what I planned, but it was really incredible.

Now how about a birth story?

On the evening of June 10th I’d started feeling contractions that were different than the Braxton hicks contractions I’d felt the past few weeks. These ones weren’t super painful or anything, but I could tell they were slowly and surely getting more powerful. Harrison had a soccer game and then we went to my parents house for a while and the whole time I could just tell some things were changing, but I decided not to get my hopes up yet at this point and just tried to continue to be patient.

That evening around 9:30pm I felt like there was another shift in my body. More pain. A little more intensity. But nothing serious, yet. I got some stuff done around the house after putting the boys to bed, then decided to go to bed myself around 10:30 to see if I could sleep off the pain. I could until about 1:30am. I woke up somewhere around 1:30 hurting significantly more. I decided to finally download a contraction timing app and laid there in bed, timing my contractions for a while. They were coming anywhere from every 10-30 minutes, their intensity varying all the while. I texted my sisters just to let them know I may be needing them to come over in the middle of the night, then went back to waiting and timing and breathing.

Finally around 4 I had a contraction that made me shoot up. I couldn’t do it laying down anymore. It was a real, painful and powerful contraction. I woke Craig up in the process and I just remember him rubbing my back. He told me a little while later than when he saw me sit up, he knew this was the real deal. As I stood up, my water also broke (but in the moment I wasn’t sure if it was my water or if I’d wet my pants), but when I went to the restroom and noticed blood – a true labor sign for me – I quickly convinced myself that this was it.

Craig and I got ready, I told my sisters to come over and we arrived to the hospital right at 6 in the morning. I was hooked up to the monitors and checked (I was at a 4, with contractions coming every 1-2 minutes apart) and was told I’d be monitored for an hour to see if I progressed, and if I had enough, I’d be admitted.

I don’t think it was coincidence that my nurse (who we loved) randomly decided to check me at 30 minutes. Turns out, I was progressing fast, so with that, she admitted me a half an hour early! She called for my epidural, I got my IV and things started getting real. I was in a lot of pain by this point and I was also as hot as I have ever felt in my entire life.

The next little while was just waiting for things to continue to move. I kept dilating and kept waiting for my epidural. My doctor came in to say hi and check me and asked where my epidural was and the nurses explained they’d called for it couple of times and it still hadn’t shown up. He told them to call for it again. Not too long afterwards he came back in to check again and we knew that it would be time to push soon. Its a good thing I was hurting so bad and just totally in my own head, otherwise I probably would have gone into panic mode. When I had Harrison, my epidural was only sort of working, and I just remember that hurting – so I didn’t want to have to have a painful delivery again. But I was too busy focusing on surviving each contraction and trying not to burst into flames (seriously, I was SO hot) to think too much of my anesthesiologist not coming very fast – although I sure wished he would have hurried.

Around 8:20 the anesthesiologist finally came in and administered my long-awaited epidural. This one hurt pretty bad. I’m not sure if its just because everything hurt so bad at that point or what, but I just remember so much pain. Also, Craig couldn’t fan me anymore while I got my epidural, so I felt so hot I wanted to scream at people. Immediately after laying back down after getting that taken care of, I was checked.

It was time to push. Now. She was right there. But guess what? I was told my epidural would take at least 15 minutes to start working. I asked my nurse and Craig if there was anything we could do to make it work faster (in hind site, I see thats a silly question, but I was desperate) and she very kindly told me that I could wait for the epidural to start working, but that things were moving and baby sister was coming out.

So I started to push. I can honestly say that delivering a baby with no epidural to help me was the most pain I’ve ever felt and a lot more awful than I’d ever imagined, but at the same time, doing it without an epidural made me feel powerful and strong – something I don’t feel about myself too often. It was really neat to literally feel her every move as she came out of my body. Delivering her head and shoulders were…there are no words. Just ouch, ouch, ouch. But thankfully I only had to push a few times – about five minutes – and she was born.

Everyone noticed that she was a “good sized baby,” or a, “big baby,” immediately (I’ve got that with all my kids now). Craig cut the cord and my perfect little girl, my first daughter, was placed on my chest. There is nothing more magical than those moments.

A while later she was weighed, measured, cleaned and cared for. She weighed 8 pounds, 1 ounce and was 21 and 3/4ths inches, and 100% perfection.

We only stayed in the hospital one night due to Covid, and were able to go home the next day a few hours after noon. Only a couple of hours before we left, we finally named her Flora. The boys were beyond thrilled to meet their little sister. They greeted her so enthusiastically and sweetly, it melted me.

We are so, so happy to have our baby here safe, healthy and happy!

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I very recently hit 25 weeks with Baby Sister and this ones really feeling like an exciting milestone. 25 weeks! Thats 15 weeks left of this pregnancy at the longest! I’m so glad time is passing – and moving a little faster every day. I think thats a benefit of subsequent pregnancies. You don’t have as much time to dwell on time and how fast or slow its moving when you have other kids to chase around. Its a pretty great thing that I’m grateful for.

I’m feeling so thankful for a healthy baby girl growing inside of me. She’s already blessed my life and is starting to give me hints of her personality stronger than she used to, and I’m loving getting to know her better and better. I can’t wait to meet her and get to know her even better. This little girl is really going to change the dynamic of our family – I can just tell and I’m eager to witness it all happen. Craig and I are making great progress in her nursery and I need to start working on organizing her closet/clothes/bows/etc and I know thats going to make it feel all the more real and exciting!

Now, just to mix up these periodic bump update pictures, here is a little collage of my three pregnancies, all at 25-ish weeks! You have Harrison first, Emmett in the middle and baby sister on the right!

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Little Ones in Disneyland Q&A

By far the topic I get asked the most about when I’m talking Disney with someone, is about babies/toddlers/little ones in Disneyland Resort. I need to start working on blog posts for each subject I get asked about pertaining to small ones in Disney so when I get asked about it I can send them a post where I’ve given my in-depth answers, but for now while I slowly start working on those, I thought I’d do a little Q&A involving the questions I get asked most frequently. I asked on Instagram for people to send in questions they had about this, and I’ve compiled a list of the questions I get asked most often when people are planning their trips to Disneyland and picked the questions I get asked the very most/I feel are most important to know. If I didn’t answer your question in this post, please reach out to me and ask! I love talking about this – Disneyland and little humans?! My two favorites!!

 

Is it worth taking my little one to Disneyland? 

I will forever and always answer yes to this. Yes. It is always worth taking your little people to Disneyland. I know, its another person to watch, another mouth to feed, another person to care for, another factor to add to stress – but if you let it, its also another source of absolute magic. I know it sounds cheesy, but its true. The youngest I’ve taken my kids to Disneyland is at two months old, and even at two months I think its worth it. I know they aren’t going to retain any of the memories, but they still are taking stuff in. I think about my tiny babies in Disneyland and seeing them stare at lights and watch their little limbs flail around when they get excited about these new things they see. Its also adorable to watch their reactions to the new sounds. When they’re a little older, even though they still won’t keep these memories throughout their whole lives, they still will have the time of their lives in the park and you will take the cutest pictures of that. Walt Disney said that Disneyland is for people of all ages. He meant it. All ages can love and appreciate this wonderful, magical place.

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What shoes should my kid wear?

Wear what’s comfortable. Sometimes my kids wear sandals, sometimes we play it extra safe and wear comfortable sneakers. I recommend wearing what you know they walk well in and what doesn’t hurt their feet.

Is it worth it to wait in character lines? 

If you want those adorable character pictures, then absolutely. I love character pictures, so I definitely try to make it into several character lines, but my current problem right now is that my boys want nothing to do with characters right now and do not want to meet anyone. Such a fun phase. So right now it isn’t a priority for us (unless I’m in the mood to wrestle them a little bit), but you can bet as soon as they show even a little bit of interest in characters, we’ll be back in line!

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Where do I nurse my baby? 

Wherever your heart desires! I mean really, there are so many good places to breastfeed in Disneyland. There is also a Baby Care Center in both Disneyland and California Adventure (click on my link to it – this place is amazing, I love it) where you can privately nurse in a nice, quiet area. I, personally, am a fan of nursing on Small World, Pirates of the Caribbean or the Disneyland Railroad because they’re long enough that my little one gets a good feed and I don’t feel like I’m depriving myself of activities while nursing. (does that make sense?) There are also benches galore, spots at restaurants to sit, you name it – I’m sure you could nurse there. I was also asked if there are any places you can’t nurse. To my knowledge, no. I am more comfortable nursing with a cover, so I feel totally fine nursing anywhere.

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Umbrella stroller or our big stroller?

I am team big ol’ stroller. I absolutely get the appeal of the umbrella stroller because its smaller and in theory, you could move around the park quicker, but I will never use an umbrella stroller because I refuse to sacrifice the comfier seats for my kids, the storage and the drink holders! I will happily accept that I’ll move a little slower in crowds with my big stroller (I use the Baby Jogger City Select Double stroller) knowing that my kids can take better naps in their reclinable seats, I can stick my bags, etc underneath and can store drinks, phones, etc in the drink holders.

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What are the stroller measurements now? 

Strollers can’t be larger than 31 inches wide and 52 inches long.

What rides have no height restrictions? 

Way more than you think. Read this postI did earlier that maps out all the non-height requirement rides in Disneyland and California Adventure. (I know its a little dated – still has Bugs Land, etc, but you’ll get the general idea!)

Is it an issue if my toddler has a tantrum? Will they ask me to leave the park?

Disneyland Resort is so loud. More than likely, your kid, even while tantrum-ing will blend right in. Don’t worry about your noise, everyone is making their own noise and if you ask me, people need to be more accepting of the fact that kids will be kids! Also, I’ve never heard of a family being asked to leave the park because of a tantrum. I’m like 99.9% sure it doesn’t happen.

What age is the best time to go with a baby?

This one is tricky for me to answer because I love taking all ages, but if I had to choose one, I’d say 2 and older (broad, I know). Before age 2, I don’t know that they get into it quite as much, but once they’re two, they can understand rides, lines, characters, parades, fireworks, etc. Also, they’re still free when they’re two! (you start paying for their tickets at three).

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Should I do the rider switch/baby swap passes for rides? 

Absolutely. My husband especially swears by these – I think he’ll be real sad when we no longer have babies to use for this! With the rider switch passes you and your group go up to the Cast Member at the entrance of the line and tell them you need a baby swap pass. Then they’ll give you some kind of slip of paper. Then the first half of your group will go through the regular line and ride the ride. When the first group is done, the second group will then take the slip of paper to the Cast Member at the entrance of the ride and be able to go through the Fast Pass line and get on the ride. Thats the very simple explanation of how to baby swap. If you have questions on how it works, ask a Cast Member! They are friendly and ready to answer your questions!

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How do you do naps in Disneyland?

This is half the reason I love bringing my nice, big stroller to Disney – so my kids can take a nice nap in them and we can stay in the park. I’ll recline them in their chair, pull the shade over them, bring a light blanket for them to use if they want and let them snooze. Sometimes we’ll still walk around and do our regular Disney things, or sometimes we’ll sit somewhere quiet and let them sleep in semi-silence. However, I also think sometimes going back to the hotel for nap time is a beautiful thing. We don’t do that nearly as often, but when we do I never have regretted it. You know your kid the best though – you know how they’ll nap the best!

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What do you recommend we don’t miss with little ones?

I’m going to be broad here – but if its a ride that your child is tall enough to ride on/has no height requirement, I say go on it! I’d especially be sure not to miss Jungle Cruise, Small World, Disneyland Railroad, Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion, Casey Jr. Circus Train, King Arthurs Carousel, Storybook Land Canal Boats, Disney Junior Dance Party, Ariels Undersea Adventure, all the parades, fireworks (if they’re not too scary) and all the Main Street shows!

Are there good food options for little ones in Disneyland?

I will bring baby food in (pouches, juice, etc) when my babies are at that certain age, but with feeding my little ones in the park, I typically just let them eat what I eat. I’ll break it down into little pieces and give them what they’ll eat.

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Can I bring baby food/snacks/juice in?

Yes! You can bring any food in you’d like to. Also, if your baby is a baby food eater and you’ve forgotten to bring it into the park, they also sell baby food at the Baby Care Centers!

Should I try to get there at rope drop even with a baby/toddler? What about for staying until close?

This one is hard to answer because again, you know your kids better than anyone else. If you kid can handle getting there early at rope drop and it won’t make them overly tired or cranky or hard later in the day – totally try to get there at rope drop so you can get there when the park first opens and the lines are a little shorter. If your kid can stay up late without ruining their night, or will sleep good in the stroller while you wait it out until close, go for it. Just do what you know will be best for your little ones! I personally just play it by ear every trip because as parents, we know sleep schedules can change weekly!

Tips for going to Disneyland while pregnant? 

Its totally doable! Just be prepared to move a little slower and take extra breaks. When I’m in Disneyland while pregnant, I know that I’ll have limited rides I can go on, but I also give myself permission to eat extra treats 😉 I get pretty sick when I’m pregnant, so I also make it a point to know where the nearest restroom is at all times so I can run there to throw up if needed (fun fact: I have a list of my favorite restrooms to throw up in, in Disneyland). Other tips I have would be to stay hydrated, don’t be ashamed if you need to go back to the hotel for a nap, sit a lot – watch the parades, go to the shows, etc, eat a lot and don’t rush yourself! If you go when you’re big pregnant, I’d recommend renting a wheelchair, too. That was a lifesaver for me when I went at eight months pregnant.

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*****

I’d just like to wrap this up with saying, Disneyland can be so extra magical with your little ones there. I promise! Its more work, but its 1,000% worth it. Again, I promise. Seeing the magic through your little ones eyes, no matter the age, is something you’ll remember for the rest of your life! Also, if I didn’t answer your question here – like I said, please reach out to me!! I’m happy to answer you!! I just tried to answer my most frequently asked questions!

Have a great time in Disneyland!

xoxo

Being a Mother

This quote has been replaying in my head a LOT, lately. It sums up what I believe motherhood, for myself, to be, perfectly. Becoming a mom introduced me to a new, strong, exciting side of myself I’d never met before. It also gave me even more things for my already very worried self to fear. It opened my eyes to so many things, both good and bad, scary and exciting.

By far the thing that has most surprised me about turning into a mother is how in-tune to my children I am. I can confidently say I know them better than anyone else, and that’s empowering, overwhelming and awe-inspiring. I have been given a gift to receive personal inspiration about them and I know better than anyone else what is best for them at this point in time (oh how I know this will change, especially in their minds, as they grow older). I’ve only been a parent now for almost four years, but in that time I’ve felt a lot of power from those special feelings I, as their mama, receive. It’s validating and spiritual and like I said, so, so powerful.

I think if I could give any new mom, or mom-to-be a bit of advice, it would be this:

Only YOU are their mother. Only YOU have that deep, personal connection to them. YOU know what is best for them, yourself and your family and it’s ok to stand up for that even if it is unpopular, embarrassing or hard to admit. Stick with your gut. Follow your mother’s intuition.

I feel very passionately about this. I’m very lucky to have a husband who supports me and my intuition. I am lucky to have family who does as well. Lastly, I am lucky to have these sweet boys to mother.

Mommin’ Truth

I have good, good boys. I really do. They are sweet and my favorite little people in the whole wide world. We have way more good days than bad days, but it wouldn’t be real life if every day were 100% perfection, right? Right.

A few days ago was rough. So rough. It all started with a weirdly off and chaotic morning. The night before, E had a terrible nights sleep, so he desperately needed a great nights sleep and I really hoped he’d sleep in too. But that didn’t happen because early, early in the morning, H woke up screaming. And when I say screaming, I mean it. Screaming, kicking, yelling, punching, swinging and screaming some more. He kept yelling, “I don’t want to be home!” It took us a minute, but we realized that he’d woken up from a dream where he was at a splash pad and when he woke and saw he was no longer at the splash pad, he was ticked. Pair that with being half asleep and it was just a bad, loud, violent combination. Seeing as the boys share a room, there was no way E slept through the freakout.

So then both boys were awake for the day and the lack of desperately needed sleep really took a toll on their day and in result, our day, too. There were so many tantrums. So many tears. So many melt downs. So many fits. So much attitude. So much whining. So much stress.

I don’t blame them. I don’t function well under hardly any sleep either. Everyone has ‘those days’ and it just so happened that both my boys had one of ‘those days’ on the same day. Bad luck for us, but thats real life. Thats life as a parent.

It was a hard day. I was short with my husband. Short with my boys. Short with myself. It was, as H would say, “a tricky day.” It was absolutely a day that I went to bed feeling defeated and annoyed with myself and how I handled the day. Usually I feel like I’m good at being patient with my boys. More than anything, I want them to be able to feel how they feel. If they’re angry then I want them to feel ok about expressing their anger. If they’re frustrated or annoyed, I want them to feel free to express those emotions as well. Their feelings are valid and I feel like my job as their mother is to remind them daily its ok for them to feel whatever feeling they have. But I wasn’t very great at it on this particular day. I wished I could have a do-over.

Thankfully, the next few days following this hard day were much better. The boys slept, Craig and I slept. And our attitudes were much happier, calmer and kinder.

If thats not mom life, then I don’t know what is.

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My Wild Man

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Today is Craig’s Birthday!! 

I can’t think of anyone who deserves to be celebrated more than this guy. I mean, really, he should be celebrated daily, but I’m glad that today, he’s the center of attention. I love this guy and am truly in awe, quite often, about just how lucky I got in marrying him and living life with him. He is the best of the best. The cream of the crop.

He is the husband of my dreams and then some. He is so supportive, always has my back and understands me in ways I don’t even understand myself. I really think he can read my mind, too. I feel so comfortable with him. He is my safe place. He is my happy place. He makes me laugh harder than anyone else has ever been able to do. He is a great shoulder to cry on. He has amazing advice, a tremendous listening ear and he doesn’t forget things I’ve told him, even if it was years earlier. He has a heart of gold. He is helpful and recognizes that marriage and parenthood is an equal thing. He has never made me feel unimportant, un-special or less valued. In fact, he constantly is building me up. He’s my greatest cheerleader. He makes me believe I can accomplish all my wild dreams I’m too nervous to believe in myself. He calms my anxious heart. He doesn’t judge all my worries. He genuinely cares for me and puts me before himself. He treats me like a queen and loves me fiercely. I’m proud to be his wife. He is the grandest human being earth will ever know.

He is the best dad in the world. Just ask our boys. Our kids will forever know just how valued, important and special they are, because Craig lets them know this daily. He encourages our kids to be exactly who they are and to be proud of it. He is proud of them and never lets them forget. When he’s home and the boys are awake, you better bet that he’s down on the floor playing dinosaurs, Avengers or cars with the boys – just making their day. He is a hands on dad. He changes diapers. He gives baths. He picks good outfits. He knows their schedules. He knows their stats. He knows their favorite foods and the ones they hate. He knows their personalities and how to work with them in the best ways. He loves them and not only tells them that, but he shows them that. He teaches them through example, how to be a good helper, how to be respectful and kind and how to be a friend to everyone – no matter what. He is a super-dad and my kids are the luckiest little ones ever to be his child.

Happy Birthday, Craig! I hope your day is magical and wonderful. I love you to infinity and beyond.

Mom Life Realness

I don’t know what it is, but lately day to day life has been hard! My boys have been hard and emotional. I feel like I’ve lost all of my mom-skills. My brain is scattered. My motivation is is chaotically unpredictable. My emotions, especially my anxiety, are all over the map. I feel guilt about everything – all the things. I feel like I’m just trying to survive each day and make it to bedtime without a meltdown or blow up.

I know its just a phase, but geez its exhausting! Being a mom is crazy and quite literally all the emotions and just when you think you’ve got the hang of it, you learn that you actually don’t.

What a ride!

 

My Hulk Boy

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Three is a funny age. You always hear about ‘terrible twos’ but I dare say that whoever coined that phrase hadn’t parented a three year old, yet. H is hilariously unpredictable. Most of the time he is our happy, enthusiastic, curious, adventurous, rambunctious little boy. He enjoys doing good, he follows rules and he is kind.

But every once in a awhile lately he turns.

He goes from that sweet boy explained above, to a little Hulk. (fitting thats his favorite Avenger right now) He explodes with rage. He screams and starts kicking and punching. He gets mean and mad and there is no calming him down.

I’m truly at a loss right now to know how to control these outbursts, while still allowing him to be himself and let him know its ok to feel things and express how he feels. You know? But at the same time, its not ok for him to kick and punch me all the time, right? Oh, the joys of motherhood. As frustrating as it can be I honestly wouldn’t trade it for the world.

He is a great boy who I feel very lucky to be able to witness grow up and learn more about each day. This is fun. It really is.

E’s Ears

I’m not sure if you know this or not, but my sweet baby E has had a rough go when it comes to his little ears. In his fourteen months of life, he has had twelve ear infections, most of those happening since August/September-ish, and most of them being double ear infections. We also found our pretty recently that for a while now, both of his ear drums have been ruptured. Isn’t that awful? You’d be floored to hear this if you know him or have seen him recently though, because he’s just so happy still. But it definitely now makes sense why when he was ticked, he was ticked. The pain tolerance his little body has is absolutely incredible. During a recent discussion with E’s ENT (ear nose and throat doctor), he told me that the pain he must have been feeling was so excruciating it would send a grown man to the Emergency Room. That shattered my mom heart. I had no idea. I mean, I knew it hurt, but I had no idea it hurt that badly.

We finally got him into the ENT a little while ago where they told us E needed tubes (no shock – thats why we were there). Thats also where we learned about the double rupture. Poor baby. So earlier last week, he finally got his tubes put in, along with a small exploratory surgery just to check out his ears and make sure there isn’t anything else to be concerned with. Good news, everything looks great. I’m so grateful for modern medicine and for doctors. I’m especially for doctors who make your children feel special. I was so impressed with all the doctors and nurses we talked to on E’s day of surgery. They all got down on his level and talked to him – something that social little boy really loved. It made me feel even more comfortable and confident.

Recovery has been pretty good, all things considered. The first few days involved a lot of blood and a lot of ooze, but thats all stopped now. He hates the ear drops we have to put in multiple times a day with a passion, but those are almost over with. We are so excited for a pain-free baby who hopefully hopefully hopefully won’t have to deal with anymore painful infections anymore.

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What I Hope My Kids Learn from Disney

Dear Kids,

You come from a family of Disney obsessed people. Your great grandpa started this journey, passed it to Grammy, she passed it to her kids (one of those is me) and now I’m doing my part to make sure you guys all have a special place in your heart for Disney and all its magic and wonder. I don’t know how the Disney-love will translate in your own lives as you grow up. I don’t know if you’ll find yourself saving your money to take another trip to the park or if you’ll be to every Disney movie on opening day, if you’ll have Disney decor throughout your home or if you’ll be more of a quiet and reserved fan. I’m aware of the possibility that you may not all be as Disney-crazed as some of the rest of this family, but as I said before, I just hope there is always a special spot inside of you that respects Disney and is able to identify the magic it brings into our lives.

Because Disney magic is raising you. You’re being built by Disney Magic. When I think of all the ways I want you to grow up and all the ways I want to be a good mom to you all, I find myself thinking of things I’ve learned from Disney. As silly as it sounds, its 1000% true.

Disney can teach you to dream. Disney can give you hope. Disney can remind you that there is good in the world and that most people are good. Disney can help you find joy. It can help you cope when you’re sad. It can teach you lifelong lessons and it can implant song lyrics into your mind that you’ll never forget. It can be a source of happiness. It can be a safe place you run to, to get away from reality. Disney can be a refuge. It can help you feel carefree when you are feeling weighted down. It can create magic in a regular day and a regular moment. Disney can help you embrace who you are and the unique, special individual you’re meant to be. Disney can help you change your point of view and look on the bright side. You’ll find things and characters you relate to. You’ll have moments in Disney Parks you reflect on for years and years.

Disney is a part of your childhood, I pray you always think of that with a smile on your face and are thankful for your Disney roots.

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Love, mom