Thursday, February 7, 2013

Snow's a-comin'!

The snow is coming!!  This is our weather forecast for Friday and into Saturday as well.  Being a southern girl, it is still so exciting to me when we get snowstorms like this.  And I don't even care that it's coming on a Friday/Saturday and I don't get a day off of school (thank you, maternity leave!).  To most everyone else in New England this is no big deal.  In fact, they will probably have the roads cleared by mid-day Saturday (crazy, right??!!).  But it's all still super exciting to me.  They are also calling for thundersnow in some areas and they say that those areas will get upwards of 2 feet of snow!

I'm already planning all the cozy, comforting foods I want to make/eat during our snow storm.  We probably won't be going out to play in it.....I don't think our newborn baby is quite ready for that yet...but it will be fun to watch it pile up from the window.  I'll be back with updates soon!!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Silhouette DIY

 I made some silhouettes of my niece and nephew for my mom for Christmas and many people have asked me how I did it, so I thought I'd do a quick post about it.

I had my sister take profile shots of both my niece and nephew.  I honestly think she had the harder end of the job because it's really difficult to get kids to stand still and look straight ahead for the picture.  I highly recommend having a friend or husband help you if you are trying this with your own kids.  I also recommend having the kids stand against a white wall (or maybe a darker wall if they are blonde) and wear a dark shirt so there is more contrast.  Also I like the way Ben's turned out better with his shoulders perpendicular to the opposed to Mary Ellen's which are square to the camera (mainly because the only way my sister could get her to sit still was if she was watching TV).

I also flipped Mary Ellen's picture horizontally in Photoshop so her profile is facing the same way as Ben's (although I'm sure it would look cute either way).

Once I had the pictures, I used Photoshop to outline their heads and then filled in their heads with a solid color (any color other than black will do, since you are tracing onto black paper).  Then I printed this out and cut it out with scissors.  I traced their heads onto black cardstock (fadeless), stuck them onto white background paper with double-sided tape, and placed them into a black frame with a mat.

 Trace around their heads using the Magnetic Lasso Tool.

Fill in head using Paint Bucket tool with any color (other than black).

If you don't have Photoshop, you can easily print out the kids pictures directly onto paper, cut them out, and then trace them onto the black cardstock.  That might actually be easier than what I did.  You can find a tutorial using this method here.

Give it a try and let me know if you need any help!  It was actually a lot easier than I thought it would be and I was thrilled with how they turned out.

*Also, now that I know people are interested...if you'd like me to make these for you please let me know and we can talk pricing.  All you would have to provide is an electronic profile shot of your child.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Caroline's Birth Story

*Disclaimer:  I tried to make this as PG as possible, but there are inevitably some more graphic please read at your own risk!  Also...this is long.

In the last days of my pregnancy I found much comfort in reading other people's birth stories.  Before that I didn't have any plans to share Caroline's birth story on here.  However, after realizing how much it helped to ease my anxiety about labor and delivery to read others' stories, I decided to share mine here.  One thing I realized is that everyone's story is completely different and that helped me to  walk into the hospital with an open mind and ultimately have a great birth experience.

So here goes...

Caroline was 10 days overdue and I was pretty much convinced that she was never going to come out.  My mother-in-law decided to go ahead and come up here on Saturday, January 19th with the plan to induce me on Monday.  After she arrived we had a nice dinner and she asked us what the plan would be if I were to go into labor that night.  I just shrugged my shoulders and assured her that I was pretty confident that was not going to happen.  We vaguely talked about who would drive to the hospital, etc.

Fast-forward to about 3:15am...  I couldn't sleep and started praying that something would happen...that my water would break or contractions would start.  Literally as I was praying this I felt a "pop" in my belly.  I had heard that this is what it feels like when your water breaks, but there was no "water."  I got out of bed and started walking around...still nothing.  I started googling stuff on my phone to see if the internet could provide me with some answers.  Surprisingly, it wasn't very helpful.  I tried to wake Curt up and told him I thought my water "might've" broken.  He mumbled something, told me it was 3:30 in the morning, and to go back to bed.  Just then I felt a gush of fluid and I was like, "yup!  my water definitely just broke."  Curt was still half-asleep as I called the doctor on call and she told me to go ahead and come on in to the hospital.  She said we could take our time, but try to make it in the next hour or so.   This was amazing because we were all able to take showers, get our stuff together, and drive to the hospital in a calm and relaxed state.

We arrived at the hospital, the nurses confirmed that my water had indeed broken, and they gave me a small pill to help to soften my cervix.  At this point, my contractions still hadn't started and I wasn't dilated or effaced much at all.  The doctor said I would probably need another dose of that medicine and then they would start me on pitocin if the contractions didn't kick in soon.

 Obviously before the contractions started :)

 About 20 minutes after I took the first pill my contractions were coming regularly about 4-5 minutes apart.  I had to in the bed hooked up to the monitors for 2 hours because of the medicine and by the end of the 2nd hour I was feeling pretty painful contractions about 2-3 minutes apart.  Needless to say, I was ready to get out of the bed.

I tried lots of different things to help deal with the pain:  sitting in the jetted tub, sitting on the birthing ball, walking, etc.  but nothing seemed to help much.  Curt had practiced some different massage techniques, but I didn't even want him to touch me.  I got sick a few times (something I didn't expect!).  After about 2 hours I asked if the doctor could come and check me again to see how I was progressing.  I felt like the contractions were coming right on top of each other and they were getting more painful each time.  After some convincing the doctor came in to check me and I was already 4 cm dilated.  Woo hoo!  I was progressing much faster than they thought and I felt like I was drowning in the pain.  I went ahead and opted for the epidural*.

About 30 minutes after the epidural had been administered, the doctor came back in with a strange look on his face.  He said my contractions were coming very close together and he wanted to check me again.  I was at 9 cm!  I had progressed 5 more cm in just a half hour.  At this point, I was so thankful for the epidural.  He said about 30 minutes more and we'd be ready to start pushing.

So I started pushing....and pushing...for the next 3 hours almost.  The doctor was confident that we wouldn't have to do a c-section even if she took a long time to come out (which I was so thankful for).  It was definitely a long time to be pushing (and probably would have been shorter if I hadn't had the epidural), but I was not in pain and felt like it was more of an aerobic work out than anything else.  Finally, she made her way out and it was the most surreal experience.  They put her directly on my chest and I couldn't believe it!  I don't think I even cried because I was in such shock that she was actually here.

Proud Mimi!

 Curt is the sweetest dad...seriously y'all.

We are so thankful for a smooth delivery and a healthy baby!

*A note about epidurals:  After going through active labor I have SO much respect for mamas that do this naturally.  I didn't have any huge reservations about having an epidural before labor started, so I  wasn't opposed to it.  For me, it was definitely the right choice.  It allowed me to enjoy the labor experience so much more.