Birth. Life. Healing.

Just a few short days after my last post we welcomed our son to the world. He was only 2.5 weeks early and considering we were preparing for a much earlier delivery, I was happy. My water ended up breaking in the middle of the night which meant we had to head to the hospital, but not before we each took a shower! For some reason that felt important for me, not that it made a difference. But, it was two more days until I got another one so in retrospect that was a good thing.

I needed to have a c-section because the baby was breech. As we drove to the hospital and I walked into the Labor and Delivery department, I really wasn’t nervous about being hours away from getting sliced open and becoming a mom. But as the hours ticked away, I definitely grew more nervous and started to feel more contractions which really felt like cramps. We would have been waiting a LONG time if I didn’t have a c-section.

At 8:41 am, my husband announced to everyone in the operating room that it was a boy! I couldn’t believe it because despite feeling like we were having a boy for most of my pregnancy I started to feel towards the end it was a girl- mostly I think to just prepare myself for a girl just in case.

One of the things they asked me before the c-section was how I planned to feed my baby. I was looking forward to breastfeeding, besides all of the benefits it has, I knew that I’d be able to bond with my child as well. I knew that it would be hard work but having just finished growing a human, Bring. It. On. He struggled with breastfeeding because he had a lip tie, preventing him from getting a good latch. The lactation consultants said because his mouth was small that added to his troubles. But we kept trying. We went the pump and feed with breast and formula route. The formula was his supplement until my supply came in. At 1.5 weeks old he saw the pediatrician (thanks to the polar vortex and not being able to go outside) that he was then refereed to the ENT to have his lip tie snipped. 

He still was struggling and after 2 weeks of birth I still had little supply to give him. I can’t tell you how badly I wanted breastfeeding to work. I cried so many times because I couldn’t figure it out and he wasn’t gaining weight fast enough. So we had to literally feed him every 2 hours which was stressful as well. We would finally get him to sleep only to have to wake him up less than an hour later. After I was ready to claim defeat in the breastfeeding department I threw my pride to the side and made an appointment with the lactation consultants. They were a great help and provided me with nipple shields to help him. Long story short after a few weeks of trying to breastfeed him right away in the morning when the supply was high enough, I kept growing frustrated and he hated the entire thing. I decided that this just wasn’t in the cards for him and that some was better than none. So I continue to pump. I have the same supply that I left the hospital with, but I so wanted to be able to just have my body provide for him. Clearly it didn’t get the memo!!! Which is frustrating and really bothered me (some days it still does). I’ve decided that a lot of this “guilt” comes from my background.

As a Registered Dietitian I’ve learned all about breastfeeding and how it’s the best for the child, the benefits to the mother, etc. It’s been engrained in the brain and something we would tell patients as well. Once I got past this mental complex – which my boss actually pointed out to me on a visit with the little man to the office-that my body just couldn’t do it, it got better for me.  I had to tell myself that I wasn’t a failure or a bad mom because of it. But every time I pull out that bottle in public I feel like I’m getting the mommy glares. Yea lady…I’m talkng to you. Most recently at a baptism meeting where another mom had her bottle of breast milk out as I fed mine. The facilitator asked the other mom about feeding solids to her much older son than mine. The facilitator recognized the color of the breast milk then looks over to me and says “Formula?” and had that look on her face. Before you’re so quick to judge others, you should think twice. You just never know the struggles behind the person who is feeding that child. It wasn’t a choice I really could make, my body made it for me! But boy did I hope and pray that my body would change it’s mind- today would be the day, I just knew it. Well…today never came.

 And let me tell you about C-section recovery. It is no joke! Here we are 8 weeks later and I’m starting to feel more normal and not in pain but it was one heck of a recovery. Having a C-section doesn’t make you any less of a mom either. I can only imagine what the woman who had a 12+ hour labor feels like. I give her mad props because you had to endure that pain and anticipation for a long time! I am sure that mom would do the same for someone like me. Laying on a table in an ice cold room as I quickly lost all feeling in my body below my chest from the spinal block. Staring up at the ceiling and a blue curtain while I hold my husband’s hand and waited to hear my baby cry for the first time. Because at the end of the day we both did something incredible and miraculous! If nothing else, this blog post is part of my healing process. While I’ve mostly physically healed, other healing takes time.

Hopefully someone else will read this and feel that it’s ok. Ok to make the unpopular decision. Ok to give yourself time to figure this all out. Ok to change your mind and certainly ok to laugh at yourself for all the things you “surely wouldn’t do as a mother!” There are far too many stories, posts and photos out there that make you feel like you failed or should have done something differently. But you didn’t! At the end of the day none of that matters! Years from now my son won’t ask me why I did or didn’t do certain things, because he will be too busy being the perfectly happy little man that we raised. So give yourself time to heal and then start enjoying the little moments! 

The last 9 months

I’ve been completely non-existent from my last post about the baseball game. I’m here to fill in the gaps and it actually starts with that very game. I won’t bore you with every little detail but give you the Cliff notes version.

The morning of the White Sox baseball game I found out I was pregnant. I felt like complete garbage and would have rather stayed home but that would have looked suspicious.

Once we received the official word that we were expecting we decided we needed to tell my immediate family as my sister’s wedding was towards the end of summer and we had a bridal shower and bachelorette party to throw and the issue of a bridesmaid dress that might not fit two months from now.

We told the rest of our family on my birthday and they were thrilled.

To say I was exhausted was a complete understatement but luckily that was the worst of my issues, unless you consider losing my sweet tooth for the first 4-5 months! It was terrible- I didn’t even have cake at my sister’s wedding!!

The munchkin was an honorary member of the bridal party!

We enjoyed our second anniversary weekend cheering on my sister as she ran the Chicago Marathon.

We went to our favorite spot in Door County for our anniversary and it was magical as always. It’s amazing how one little cabin in the woods can totally take you away from life and relax you.

We decided early on that we didn’t want to find out the sex of the baby. We’ve had two reactions to this: 1. How cool! 2. Are you crazy?!? Word of advice- don’t call a pregnant woman crazy! No matter what!! But I truly don’t care your opinion on the matter because every couple gets to make the choice. It’s been fun and exciting imagining a daughter or a son and picking out names.

At about 15 weeks I found out that I was passed down some lovely traits in the form of a heart shaped uterus. From that point on I knew there was a chance for a preterm birth and/or a breech baby. So because of that we had everything done earlier just in case. I’m sitting here 1 day shy of 37 weeks, still pregnant and happy I haven’t had to do much for a while.

We passed on hosting Thanksgiving this year but I still managed to make some of the food.

We enjoyed our Christmas vacation as it provided much needed R&R.

We’ve enjoyed so many fun outings as we prepare to add another member to our donut batch! While I’m sure you can’t fully prepare for something you have no idea how to do, we are as ready as we will ever be! All we need is our munchkin!

This was my grandma and grandpa’s hutch and first piece of furniture after they were married.

My First White Sox Game

When I was younger, my dad asked the 3 E’s if we wanted to go to a White Sox game. At the time I had no interest in baseball, so I let the other two go with my dad and I stayed home. My mom promised me we could see a movie and go to dinner and we had a blast!

Fast forward to Spring of this year when my dad asked if we all wanted to go to a game, it happened to be against the Brewers so my husband was definitely in. I knew it would be a fun time and my interest in baseball is much greater than “back in the day” so we decided to go.

We took the train with what seemed like every Brewers fan around and headed to Chicago.

I stood in line for my first game pin and certificate. Yes, there were mostly kids in line but I told the guy working that area that it’s better late than never!

The 3 E’s finally at a game together!

The Brewers won and my husband send home a happy man. But the Sox won that series. Until next time!

Kickboxing

This post is long overdue, but better late than never. I tend to write my posts on a train or as a passenger on a longer car ride. I’m currently heading back from Chicago, more on that in another post.

My sister Erin joined a kickboxing gym in the Spring of 2017 and she really loved it! In November they had a referral contest and a cash prize award for the winner. After months of begging me to give it a try I finally did.

I really enjoyed how it was a very different type of workout and needed something to keep me active during the winter months. Despite have to drive 40 minutes one way I took the plunge and joined. I figured I would get to see Erin at class and meet some new people too.

My goal was three times a week and for many months I did just that. Bad weather only kept me away a few times, much to my surprise.

I found muscles I didn’t know I still had and enjoyed hitting and kicking that bag every single time!

We had some friends join us to give kickboxing a try! And managed to make it to class after many nights of wine and Jingle Juice!!

As spring approached and travels for business and pleasure kept me away for almost a month it became harder to keep up my three days a week. My commute to and from class became longer and longer each time due to the ridiculous amount of construction on the interstate and my 1 hour class started turning in to an all evening production.

I totally went into this while thing expecting to hate it, get sick of it by month two and be stuck paying this huge monthly bill for my membership, But that wasn’t the case! I mostly had those thoughts because I hated group fitness classes. The thought of everyone “staring” at me was freighting. I quickly got over that fear and realized no one cared what I looked like!

So while my time at kickboxing is coming to an end (my membership runs out soon) I really enjoyed my experience! That 60 minute class kept my booty moving, I met some awesome people and I got to try something new. How else would I have learned to do a wall sit, planks, kicks and punches?!

Should a studio ever open up MUCH closer to home, I’ll be there ready to get back on that mat! 🥊

Road Trip to New Adventures

Last year for spring break we took a trip to the East Coast to visit my cousin and her husband and watch our future brother-in-law and his father run the Boston Marathon. We somewhat invited ourselves to Easter 2018 at their future home in Colorado. To which my cousins hoped we would actually come! Just a fair warning, this is a long blog, but there’s plenty of pictures!

3/29/18

We began our trip at 3:00 pm after I picked my husband up from school and on our way we went! We drove six hours to Des Moines where I found a hotel online one hour before we arrived. I was nervous about such a great deal, but it was 8pm on a Thursday in the middle of Iowa.

I haven’t seen a Hy-Vee in so long!!

3/30/18

We had a 10 hour drive ahead of us and hit no traffic until we hit Denver en route to Colorado Springs. I took a short nap only to be woken up by the brakes being used and I saw mountains! I was quite amazed! We reached our destination shortly after 5:30pm Mountain time. We shortly turned around to pick up my older sister at the Denver Airport.

3/31/18

We woke up and had breakfast then went on a walk while the two runners and Penny, the dog, went for a run. A walk at altitude was more than a workout for us!! After lunch we took a trip to the US Air Force Academy where my cousin attended college. He told us so many interesting stories about what life was like in college and the history of the buildings.

We finally changed into regular clothes and hit a Wisconsin bar to watch the Loyla basketball game. My sister is an alum as she attended for graduate school. They sadly lost, but we enjoyed our time.

We ate dinner at Bingo Burger. The burgers were huge and the fries were delicious! I loved the Cranberry BBQ Sauce. The burgers had Peublo Chilies mixed it which added some kick. Complete with locally made Root Beer!

On our walk my cousins pointed out Tasty Freeze but weren’t sure if it was open. We stopped by after dinner to which they were excited to see an OPEN sign. I love soft serve ice cream AND sprinkles. They had the coolest machine to apply sprinkles to the ice cream cones.

Cheers to Tasty Freeze opening!
She’s Karla’s daughter a chocolate Malt

The evening was capped off with making The Prinsis carrot cake- a recipe we developed back in 2008 or so and watching Back to the Future.

4/1/18

HAPPY EASTER!! A delicious brunch with the best Lemon Sticky Rolls was followed by church.

We took a trip to see the Garden of the Gods. Very fitting on Easter to see the beauty! It was very busy.

“God’s Thumb” just like in the movie Holes

We went up Cheyenne Mountain where my fear of heights was solidified! Maybe it was the windy, skinny roads or the altitude, but it was high! We were able to see the city down below and the beautiful sights.

The girls!

Delicious Carrot Cake!
Penny did grow on me...
Proof that I pet Penny!

4/2/18

Our time in Colorado Springs came to an end. My cousins had to go back to work and my sister needed her ride to the airport. We would then be spending time with my other cousin and her husband who live outside of Denver. We took a drive into the mountains and stopped to eat and try some beer at Tommy Knockers.

NBD, just a regular Monday!

Dillon Dam Brewery was stop two on our day’s adventure.

Drinking a Peanut Butter & Chocolate Porter

We had to take a stop at Red Rocks Amphitheater. My cousins only live about 10 minutes from it. I thought it was pretty cool that the CCC helped to build this. They earned $1 per day and only kept $5 a month and sent the rest to their families back home. 

This really did taste like a graham cracker

4/3/18

We set off early for Voodoo Doughnuts. We found it interesting that they are open 24/7 and take cash only, but do have an ATM inside. If you haven’t figured out that I LOVE donuts, I’m not quite sure what to say!! I gave up donuts for lent. I had two on Mardi Gras, which feels like forever ago!! My excitement level was through the roof!! Yes, I wore my donut attire!!

Voodoo Doughnuts!
I loved their display case.
The best part was that whatever kind of doughnut you wanted, they had in stock!
Pot Hole Doughnut- Custard Filled LongJohn with Chocolate Icing and crushed Oreo’s.

We killed some time in Downtown Denver at Union Station and walking around until it was time to taste some beer. We started at Wynkoop Brewing Company, Denver’s first brewpub. I have an affinity for milk stouts so I went with that. My husband on the other hand was dying to try Rocky Mountain Oysters (RMO), see: bull testicles. He had a beer that had RMO brewed in it. The bartender noticed my donut short and asked if I liked donuts. I enthusiastically said yes, to which she explained that they have a beer brewed with 1000 donuts and espresso. She gave us a sample of the Bad Habit. Then she said they have Badder Habit, which is the same beer brewed in whiskey barrels. These beers were tasty. Thanks to that shirt we would have never even tried them as they weren’t on the beer menu!

About to drink the Rocky Mountain Oyster beer
Cheers!

Badder Habit (L) and Bad Habit (R)

A short walk to The Great Divide Brewing Company was our next stop. It’s a small brewery but the staff was very friendly! We really enjoyed the beer here. I ordered a Chocolate Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout.

Chocolate Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout

Food was a necessity so we stopped at a Wisconsin fave that’s also located in Denver, Ian’s Pizza.

Gigantic burger with Tator Tots as a side!! 😍
Mily and Egan!!!

4/4/18

Our time to leave Colorado arrived. We enjoyed our time there so much! We made a last-minute decision to head back to Colorado Springs and visit the US Olympic Training Center. I recently posted about my love for the Olympics if you need the background story. I was so excited to visit and walk in the very location of decorated Olympian’s and talented athletes.

I obviously loved seeing the kitchen!
This High Altitude Training Center chamber allows the athletes to train at any altitude. Before the Rio Olympics they were able to change the humidity and temperature in addition to altitude to allow the athletes to train in the same conditions.

We departed and made our way across the also boring state of Kansas to arrive in Kansas City, MO for our next stop. I had made a hotel reservation months ago and we arrived late to our hotel. We were given our room and keys and we headed to the room. We opened the door and there was a suitcase and an unmade bed. We had been given a room that was already occupied!!! I had heard of this happening to others but I’m unsure how this happens!! We were given a new upgraded room.

4/5/18

We slept in! I rarely sleep in but the hotel room was the darkest room I’ve slept in since we left home! We had breakfast at the hotel and made our way on foot to LaMar’s Donuts. We were completely overwhelmed with all of the choices so we settled on 6 donuts. We took advantage of the buy 2 get 1 free specialty donut, which is anything without a hole in the middle.

These donuts were so delicious! Soft on the inside, just the right crispness on the outside, not oily at all!

We headed to the National World War I Museum and Memorial. We had trouble figuring out where the entrance was as we walked from our hotel and the sidewalk was closed. It was a very interesting museum with great interactive pieces and videos.

To enter the exhibit, you walk over a glass bridge with 90,000 poppies underneath it.

The Hallmark Visitor Center was a short walk away and a stop I wanted to make. We learned about how JC Hall started what we know as Hallmark.

The Emmy award was heavy!! Now I know why they lift with two hands!

Artists describing how they develop products and ideas.

Our next stop was the Harry S Truman Library and Museum. This is my third Presidential library. I enjoy them because they provide such a vast amount of information from various areas. Every where you turned there was some type of interactive activity.

Can we just go back to this thought??

We took a short trip to Truman’s home. My dad told us to stop as he made the same stop in 1973.

We came to Kansas City and we wanted some great BBQ!! I had read a bunch of blogs and websites about where the best BBQ in the Kansas City area. The consensus was that Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que was the #1 spot to go. They have quiet the interesting history on how they began. Check out the hyperlink above! Because of that I wanted to check out the original spot- in a gas station!

The BBQ sauce had just the right amount of heat, the smoke on the meat was perfect! I could’ve eaten two full dinners it was so good!!!

We had quite the busy day and wanted to just have a relaxing evening before our final trek home the next day, so we just chilled out and watched some movies.

4/6/18

We had a very uneventful drive home. A little bit of snow, some very cold weather. I managed to watch 3.5 movies thanks to being able to watch certain Netflix movies being downloaded. We arrived home to a new kitchen sink and new hallway lights and a desire to just chill out!!

We had a busy week away from home, but I wouldn’t change it for the world! Now to see where next year’s spring break will lead us….

The Girl on Fire Cowl!!!

True confession time, I’m a huge Hunger Games fan! I started reading the books when I was in my previous job waking up in different hotels every week. It was the perfect escape from the monotony. I read through the series quickly!

With every new movie release that I would grab my sisters and head to the theater. I loved Katniss, THE GIRL ON FIRE (said in a Caesar Flickerman voice). Then about five years ago I became the actual girl on fire when there was a small accident with a gas fireplace. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time and things could have been much worse. I became airborne as I flew across the room with the hair that famed my face ignited. It was traumatic but, The nickname Girl on Fire stuck.

I loved the cowl that Katniss has in the movies. I wanted one so bad! I even put it on a Christmas list, but all I received was a gift card to purchase yarn to make it! There was NO way I’d ever be able to knit that! I only knew how to knit square things.

But after my non-square project, my first hat, I was feeling brave. I figured it would take me months to do, but it didn’t take nearly long at all. I’m sure i could have completed the cowl much sooner but I’m not a knit til it’s done person. I knit them out it down, come back a week later, etc.

I’m VERY happy with the result.

Cake Decorating

Cake decorating isn’t something new to me. I grew up with some of the coolest cakes then I “graduated” to helping my mom to eventually making them on my own. I’ve wanted to attend cake decorating classes so I could learn some fundamentals!

I attended two classes in February and learned some cool new tips and tricks!

Birthday season in my family will be here soon! I’m excited to try some of the things I learned on the many cakes we will be making.

My first hat!

I learned to knit in college and crochet some time after that. I’ve done a ton of different projects, but aside from the few pairs of slippers I’ve only ever knitted things that were square or rectangles. Blankets, scarves more blankets.

I’ve wanted to venture out and try new things but never found the time or guts to do so. With the urging of my boss who made her first pair of mittens, which look so cool, I decided to attempt my first hat! With a few minor lessons, including double pointed needles, after work I was able to finish it and it’s not something I want to throw away!

I wanted a hat with an open top because by the end of my work day my hair is usually up (Hairnet hair isn’t something I can recover from!).

My first attempt at knitting was pretty pathetic but I’ve come along way in eight years as it was during the Vancouver Olympics in 2010 when I first attempted to knit. I’ve started my next adventurous project, cross your fingers it turns out and you’ll see it on a future blog!

My first “book club”

Three years ago, there was a Big Read in town. The book was Fahrenheit 451 and available at the library. I rode my bike to the library after work on a warm summer day and picked up the last copy they had at my local branch. I was excited for all of the activities they had involving the book. I started reading the book and I couldn’t get through it. I tried more than once to finish it and never managed to get far enough. So I never went to any of the activities because I had no clue what happened in the book.

I had read in the paper back in January that there would be another Big Read but this time the book was Station Eleven. The book sounded interesting so my husband graciously volunteered to go pick up the book at our local branch. They had to go get the last copy on the bookmobile. We must have great timing to have received the last copies at the library two Big Reads in a row.

To be honest, I wasn’t sure I would like the book. A post-apocalyptic novel about life after a flu pandemic wiped out most of the world’s population didn’t really seem up my alley. But, I read the book in a week and a half and I couldn’t put it down.

On Valentine’s Day my husband and I went to a talk on flu epidemics and the media. As someone who loves science it was right up my alley and I learned quite a few things.

The following evening I attended the opening talk with the author, Emily St. John Mandel. I struck up a conversation with two women behind me before it began. It was so interesting to hear the author’s reasoning for why certain things are in the book.

There was a book signing event after the talk, which is always cool!

There are tons of other activities left with the Big Read. I’m unsure if I’ll be able to attend anything else, but I’m happy that I was able to read the book and meet the author. If you ever have the opportunity to be a part of an NEA Big Read, do it! If I had to sum it up in one phrase, it’s one giant community “book club”!

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