Friday, December 17, 2010

Wardrobe Facelift Needed!

It has been a few years since I have done any serious clothes shopping. I have picked up a few items here and there when I see a really good deal--a t-shirt here, a cardigan there, for example. However I am getting to the point where my wardrobe needs a serious face lift. When trying to put together outfits to wear to church, I came to two realizations. One: 95% of my clothing does not fit me properly and two: there really isn't anything I own that I LOVE. Somehow I shrank after having two kids rather than gaining weight. Also much of my clothing is actually worn out since I have been wearing it for 8 or so years. I would gladly throw everything I own away and start from scratch. Now that would be nice if some "ambush makeover" type show would come give me a $5,000 shopping spree, but the likelihood of that happening is nil.

So when Bill asked what I wanted for Christmas, I said, clothes! So we went shopping and I went to my two go-to stores for clothes: J.Crew and Ann Taylor Loft. Well, actually we went to the outlets for both places. I didn't even end up trying on many items. I ran into a huge disconnect between how much I thought things should cost and how much they actually did. I spent most of the time in the stores going: oh, that looks nice, pick it up, look at the price tag, $90 for a pair of pants! $30 for a t-shirt! $180 for a jacket!

For now I'll continue to wear my early 2000's wardrobe, that doesn't fit very well as I save up for some new clothes. Then I will just have to bite the bullet and readjust my expectations of what I need to spend on clothing!

Monday, December 06, 2010

Tis the Season to choose your Christmas Card

One of my favorite things about this holiday season is reconnecting with old friends and far away family members through the exchange of Christmas cards. With a busy pace of life it is hard to keep in touch with loved ones all over the country, but the Christmas season is the perfect time to reach out to let them know you are still thinking of them the year through.

I always enjoy picking out a design each year--it is part of my Christmas decorating tradition. Especially now we have two growing girls who change so much every year it is important to incorporate one or more photos on the card. is the perfect website to turn to to help me put together that perfect card. They have a huge variety of photo cards to chose from.

I was especially draw to cards with three photos: one larger and two smaller. It provides me with opportunity to highlight our two girls' different personalities and also include a photo of them together or of the whole family. While I haven't gotten the perfect photos to put in the cards yet, here are a few of my favorite designs. You'll have to let me know which card you like best, then wait to see which one you get in the mail!

First, is this Picture Joy card. I love the simplicity and exuberance of the message.

The Dotted Collage Christmas Card is a mix of Christmas red and white, with a less traditional brown. I like using brown because it is one of my favorite neutrals, much softer than black.

A beautiful script and a 2010 banner are the hallmark of the Starlight Ribbon Christmas Card. I especially love the different fonts used for the message here.

I think this card may be my favorite: The Peppermint Pink Christmas Card. A reference to a fun Christmas song, traditional Christmas red, monogram, three photos, and a bit of pink for my girls thrown in.

Shutterfly has a bunch of other photo products that you can use for your memory projects as well. I have done a photo book in the past, and am planning to do a desk calendar for Bill at work soon! They also have cute items like personalized gift tags for all your Christmas gifts.
Thanks for helping me pick our family's Christmas card this year!

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Time to Eat!

I have been enjoying getting back into making baby food. One of my goals for my girls is to give them as healthful a start in life as I possibly can. This is why I breastfed Aubrey and am breastfeeding Evie and why I make my own baby food from organic produce. Such a happy feeling of satisfaction comes from seeing all those baby food ice cubes in the freezer: a rainbow of oranges, yellows, and greens. So far Evie loves eating peas, pears, and butternut squash the best. I have also made green beans, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, carrots, avocados, apples and mangoes. The options for variety are endless when you are making your own food--not limited to what jars are on the shelf at the grocery store.

Now while I do have a goal of healthy eating for my girls, I am not going to be one of those hyper-protective mothers regarding the food they eat. Especially after their first year, the bulk of their food should be organic, whole, nourishing foods, but an indulgence in eating a few french fries or an ice cream cone every now and then is certainly allowed.

In fact.....that reminds me. It is almost time to be baking some Christmas cookies!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thursday, August 19, 2010

What's Cookin'?

Ever since I was old enough to help out in the kitchen I have enjoyed cooking. Now that I am a stay at home mom, one of my "jobs" is to make most of the meals that our family eats. Every week it is a challenge for me to plan seven dinners--a challenge that I sometimes enjoy, sometimes I don't. I try not to get stuck in a rut, without spending too much money on more creative meals. I don't want to have "pizza fridays" and "pasta mondays" every single week. Incorporating seasonal produce is one of my favorite things about cooking this time of year. I love a big salad piled high with local tomatoes, cucumbers, and corn. Since my mom's garden is overflowing with green beans right now, I have inherited quite a few. My favorite way to prepare these is to blanch them and then toss with a balsamic dijon mustard vinaigrette. I am looking forward to having enough time next year to grow a garden of my own: at the very least with tomatoes, cucumbers, and some herbs.

Cooking Light has been a good resource for new dinner ideas, what are some of your inspirations?

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Three Years and Three Months

It must be that the more kids you have the faster time flies by. Aubrey turned three last week and we celebrated with a fun birthday party. For a few weeks she was really anticipating her birthday, "am I three yet, Mommy?" Per her request we had a butterfly party which was a little awkward since her guests were boys, but hey, it was her party, so it was a girly one! She got lots of fun presents--she has been using her new pretending skills playing with them: trains, horses and a stable, calico critters, and some dishes and a cake decorating set. Aubrey is getting to be such a kid now--I was watching her make new friends at the church picnic and thought, this is it, this is the end of the constant need for Mommy. Aubrey is still my little snuggler, but she is also developing into her own independent little person. Always a very thoughtful and sensitive girl, Aubrey takes good care of her sister. She is always very concerned when Evie cries and even thought to pick out some books for Evie at the library when she went with Gramma. Aubrey is also is good at keeping us all laughing with her silly sense of humor.

I am happy I have another little bundle to fill my arms, wiggly as she may be. Evie is three months old now and laughed for the first time on her three month birthday. Maybe it is because of all the wiggles or just because she is a different kid, but Evie is a whole size smaller than Aubrey at the same age. This is working out well for the hand me downs :) It is different to have a baby who everyone exclaims over how little she is rather than how big she is!

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Two Months Old

Evie is now two months old and getting to be such a big girl! She was 11 lbs 6 oz and 23 inches long on her dr. appointment on July 7th--right around the 50th percentile in both. Besides the reflux issues which we have learned to manage pretty well we have been blessed with a very good baby. Evie now gets up only once a night on average--she has even slept eight hours in one stretch twice now! She still can't sleep flat on her back, so for now she is still in our room in the special bassinet. We had Aubrey in the crib in her own room at 6 weeks, but I am not in a hurry this time. Maybe because I know how fast they grow up now! Her personality is very different than Aubrey's was, Evie is a much calmer baby. It looks like I won't be getting two drama queens, haha! She also is not a snuggler at all--she is all about the wiggle, wiggle, wiggle. Her happy personality shows through in all her smiles and coos: she gets especially happy when she sees her daddy. Bill gets home from work and it doesn't matter how cranky the two girls are, when they see him, they are happy as can be. He probably doesn't believe me when I tell him we had a bad day. It is so adorable that they are such daddy's girls--melts my heart when I see how much they love him. (and I only get a tiny bit jealous)

The Daddy's girls on Father's Day.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Some Evie pictures

One Month Old

I think it is funny how babies can sleep with their hands up in the air.

Catching one of her smiles on camera isn't easy. Evie is six weeks old in this picture

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Eighteen days...has it been that long already? Days blur into sleepless nights as we adjust to having baby Evie with us. She really is a good baby, but is just has her days and nights confused so since I have one awake all day and one awake all night I don't get much sleep anymore! When Evie does sleep at night she is so noisy--she grunts and makes all kinds of noises as she wiggles around. She has a lot more spitting up issues than Aubrey ever did, so we bought a reclined sleeper/rocker bassinet made by Fisher Price. It does seem to be helping somewhat, she still is a noisy little thing though.
Aubrey is doing wonderfully with her new role of big sister. She is always kissing and hugging and wanting to hold Evie. Every time the baby makes a bit of fuss she tells me, "pick her up, Mom, she needs some "mom milk." One benefit of having Evie sleeping a lot of the day is that I still have plenty of time to devote to Aubrey. When it is nice out I pop Evie in my Hotsling and we can take a walk or Aubrey can play on her swingset. I do confess on rainy days I have resorted to allowing Aubrey a 1/2 hour of Veggie Tales or Thomas the Tank Engine--sometimes I run out of entertaining creativity. :)
Each day that passes I am gaining more confidence as a mama of two--I am sure pretty soon we will be out and about like we were before Evie arrived. I am thankful that the first three weeks have just about passed with their rollercoaster of hormones and emotions. Having been through all this before I know just how fleeting these newborn days are, and while I am grateful that I won't be up all night forever, I also am clinging to the sweetness of the wee hour cuddles with Evie who won't stay so little for very long.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Sunday, May 02, 2010

She's Here!

Evangeline Emma Crane was born at 5:58pm on May 1st. She weighed in at 6lbs 15oz and is 18.5 inches long.

Birth Story

(warning, don't read if you don't want to know all the details, might be tmi for some, haha)

May 1st I woke up at about 2am with some contractions. They were too serious to sleep through so I decided to go upstairs and start timing them rather than tossing and turning uncomfortably in bed. I watched Food Network TV and had a heating pad on my back as my contractions were ranging from 4-8 minutes apart. I woke Bill up around 6am and let him know that I had been up for 4 hours and I thought that today was the day! We slowly started getting ready, packing the stuff for the hospital in the car, etc. Contractions were pretty steady all morning, not terribly uncomfortable, but enough to make me have to stop what I was doing and concentrate through them. Walking intensified them and made them come only about two minutes apart. Around 10am we called the dr. and she said to come in and get checked. We got to the hospital to discover that I was still only one cm dialated (same as at my dr. appointment earlier that week). So, we turned around and headed home. At that point I was rather discouraged that all the contractions I was having were not being productive!

We decided to eat a yummy lunch and see where things went. By one pm contractions were getting a lot more painful, I needed Bill to apply counter pressure and help me breathe through them. They were all four minutes or less apart at that point. We headed back to the hospital, arriving around 3:30pm. In the car and on the way into the hospital I was starting to really hurt during the contractions--and was starting to be pretty vocal about it!

Our doctor met us and checked me and said I was 3cm. Again I was a bit discouraged that all the pain I had been through hadn't gotten me too far yet. However the doctor said that she could tell by how I was acting I was going to progress a lot faster from there on out.

Per our birth plan I wore my own clothes, didn't have an IV. I didn't even get in the hospital bed until after the baby was born! Our nurse was amazing, she would find the baby's heartbeat in whatever position I was in, helped me with my breathing, and encouraged me.

Our doctor was right! It took me 1.5 hours to get to 8cm, and then only a little bit longer to make it through transition to being fully dialated. These two hours I was experiencing the most intense pain of my life, that is for sure! Bill was the best birth coach ever, supporting me, rubbing my back, helping me breathe and focus. The dr. even asked afterwards if he had taken a class on how to be a birth coach.

The dr. moved me off of the birthing ball I was on onto a birthing stool. She just let me feel the urge to push, and it took over. I pushed for only about 12 minutes (a bit different from the 3 hours it took with Aubrey!) My water broke as I was pushing--then came the ring of fire. Let's just say I hope that memory fades soon. As Evie came out I reached down and pulled her up into my arms and couldn't believe she was finally here. I remember thinking how much smaller she looked than Aubrey did when she was born. We waited a few minutes to cut the cord as I just half laughed/half cried and talked to Evie. Then I moved to the bed and Evie started nursing. Everyone just let her do her thing and we waited almost an hour before we even knew her weight and length.

Overall the experience I had was great. Everything went like we planned and requested of the hospital and the doctor. Our doctor was so much more hands off, but still present than I had expected. She was there most of the time that I was in labor in the hospital (probably because she could tell Evie was coming fast!) Natural childbirth was the most insanely painful and intense thing I have ever experienced, but seeing the wonderful difference that it made in how alert and calm Evie was compared to Aubrey made it all worth it.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

the waiting game

Not too much going on here, we have been pretty ready for baby to make her appearance anytime now, but she seems pretty content to stay put for the time being. :) Less than a week until my due date, and I do expect I'll see it come and go before baby arrives. That's okay though, I want her to wait until she is ready! May is a nice month to have a birthday in.

She is still as active as ever--I think sometimes it feels like she is participating in a one baby break dancing marathon. Praise God she is healthy in there and everything has been going well with this pregnancy. I have gained 24lbs, my blood pressure is still low, no swelling--lots of aches and pains, but nothing that is keeping me from doing what I need to do (except sleep!).

Hopefully the next post I make will be a birth announcement!

Friday, April 09, 2010

Ultrasound Tech: "In all my 30 years of doing ultrasounds I have never seen or felt a baby move so much!"
Baby girl two is looking quite happy and healthy in there--measuring about 6lbs, 6oz which is right on track for being about the same size as Aubrey was when she was born. I guess it is just me that is measuring small for some reason. Oh yes, we did double check that she is a girl--they were right with the first ultrasound.
Recently I have been saying to Bill that I just don't remember Aubrey moving as much as this baby. I am glad to know I am not just forgetful--this little one is a very active baby! And her nose and chin definitely look different than her big sister, more like daddy and less like mommy I am guessing.
Only about 3 weeks now until we get to meet her! Very exciting. :)

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Now I am past the 36 week mark--only about a month to go--provided she comes on time. I just had a doctor's appointment yesterday that went well. We had an encouraging conversation with the doctor about our birth plan: she is very supportive of our desire for a very low intervention birth. I won't need to get an IV or even a Hep lock (yay for no needles!) and as long as everyone is feeling good after the birth we can check out of the hospital in as little as six hours.
I am measuring on the small side so I am going to be having an ultrasound on Friday. They want to check the fluid levels and her growth. The doctor, after feeling the size of the baby, said she expects her to be much smaller than Aubrey was--around 7lbs vs. 8.5lbs. I am looking forward to having another peek at her (and having them double check that she is a she), just praying that she is growing well in there and that there are no problems. Maybe I'll have some more ultrasound pictures, but at almost 37 weeks it will probably be too crowded in there to get a good view.
For now we are enjoying this nice spring weather we have been having and savoring the last few weeks of just one child. Aubrey is such a sweetie and is so excited about her baby sister coming, but I know her world is going to be rocked. It will probably be really hard at first, but having a sibling will be so wonderful for her. I am just getting a little sentimental that my first baby won't be the baby of the family for much longer. (with as good as she is at being bossy, she probably won't mind the older sister roll all that much.)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Marching along

March is filling up, time is flying by! We ordered new carpet--exciting (but yikes lots of money). Once that is in I'll post pictures of how the rooms are looking. I have been waiting for the carpet to be put in to get most of the baby stuff out of the attic. I also ran out of steam on the trim painting, I got the baby's room done and haven't done any since, even though our's and Aubrey's rooms need it. I guess I need to get going on that again...

With plans for a hospital tour, dr. appointments, celebrating St. Patty's day and Mom's birthday before I know it, it will be Easter! I think I am not going to make my self imposed deadline, but that is okay. This baby will probably not be early, although there is a full moon only 5 days before my due date...

We did decide not to get a double stroller and just see how it goes, then once the baby is 6 months I'll look for a second hand double jogger so I can get back in good shape. The stroller that I wanted to get was just so expensive, not a cost I could justify thinking about the handful of times Aubrey has actually sat in a stroller in the past year. I think I'll be fine putting the baby in a front carrier and Aubrey in her stroller if I really needed to have her in one, but she is such a good walker, I think that will only come up rarely.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Winter is dragging on here, I am looking at a forecast with snowflakes on the next five days straight! Happily February is almost over, and March has to be the last month of snow, right? Now if we were in Virginia still we would be looking forward to cherry blossoms and daffodils next month, but spring comes a bit slower around here...

I am really looking forward to getting outside more with the warmer weather. It was "nice" today: sunny and 36 degrees so Aubrey and I went for a walk and spent over an hour outside. It helps the day go so much faster and neither of us get as cranky with a good dose of fresh air. :) I am counting the days until I can trade in my boots for flip-flops.

We are getting closer to getting ready for the baby now, I have one more coat of paint to put on the trim in the baby's room, a lot of stuff to wash, and a few more things to buy, but I feel like it is under control now. Ten weeks to go (provided she comes when she is expected). I'll have to take pictures of her room when it is done, definitely after the new carpet goes in next month.

Aubrey said something really cute today. We were sitting together and I was reading to her and she was looking at my tummy and asked, "The baby can't hear us, Mommy?" and I replied that she could hear us. Aubrey tried to figure out how that worked since she was inside of me. Her solution, "She listens through your belly button?"

I guess I should post more Aubrey updates too: she is getting to be such a big girl so fast! She knows all her letters and can tell you what most of them say. She loves to sit and read each word, letter by letter, out of books with me. Besides books and reading she loves art, just about every day she colors, draws on her chalkboard, paints, and plays with playdoh. Little princess that she is, she hates going outside when it is cold and windy, so she has only enjoyed a few of our winter outings lately.

I' ll leave you with a picture of her latest outdoor fun: building a giant snowman with Daddy.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

nesting and exercising...

Hello from here in mommyland! We have been pretty busy doing all kinds of nesting things. Bill and are very close to finishing the painting downstairs which also has included rearranging of much furniture and shuffling around of "stuff." Our guest bedroom is now becoming the nursery/guest room so we had to take out all of the random things that we stashed in there after the move. We also got a new couch for our tv room and have been hanging up paintings that have been in bubble wrap since last year. Nothing like a baby to get you motivated to get stuff done! I have had the strongest nesting urges this pregnancy, I certainly don't remember it being like this when I was pregnant with Aubrey. I have been washing windows, cleaning out and reorganizing the attic, pantry, and closets, etc. It is hard for me to sit still and not be cleaning, I am always thinking of new projects!

All this painting, moving stuff, and cleaning has been hard on my back. So I decided that I would start to do some prenatal yoga--provided I could find a routine that was just about the stretching and breathing and not the more "spiritual" empty your mind mumbo jumbo. We get netflix so I found a good 45 minute routine on the instant play that I have been doing. Can I just say how wonderful it is? I always feel so much better after doing yoga--especially since I haven't been able get on the eliptical machine for a few weeks now (too many BH contractions so my dr. told me to take it easy). My back pain is so much better on the days that I do the yoga. I am also hopeful that doing the yoga will help me in my goal of having a natural, unmedicated birth.