pack your bags!

It would make sense that now my son is almost 10 weeks old I am finally wrapping up my posts on pregnancy/before he was here. Like several of my other posts, this is something I want to reference for my next pregnancy. Plus, I have some preggo blog friends and know posts like this were super-helpful to me.

Anyhow, here's what we packed and my notes on some:

  • Camera. Duh. And batteries/the charger. We did use our iPhones a lot and they do take great pictures, but of course we still wanted the big one.
  • All the number of people who need to be called/texted programmed in your phone :) Although not all text messages may go out. Sigh.
  • Slippers/flip flops. I took both, but next time I'll just do flip flops. For the most part, I was burning up while in the hospital. But I'm not big on wearing shoes/socks either.
  • Shampoo, conditioner, body wash, loofah. The hosptial does provide these, but I'm picky.
  • Lotion
  • Ear plugs - didn't use.
  • Fan. My mom bought me one of those battery operated ones that you can also use to squirt water with, but it never came out of the bag. I will pack it again next time though, because labor could be much different.
  • Magazines/cards/books - didn't make it out of the bag. We watched TV and played on our phones when bored, but honestly, pre-baby, we just slept. (LOVE epidural/catheters :))
  • Snacks/hard candy. Hubby LOVED having snacks in the room. And as a breastfeeding mom who wanted five meals a day, it came in handy for me as well. Our hospital did have a room for patients/spouses with juice, water, sodas, jello/pudding and lunchables however, so we probably could have survived on those as snacks - especially the cracker lunchables as my late-night snacks :) Also, our hosptial provides three meals a day for the patient and hubby too. It was so nice to not have to leave!
  • Quarters - for the vending machine. Again, not something we needed :)
  • Notebook - to keep track of things for the birth story! I LOVED this. Although we probably could have used the notes app on our phones as well. It's nice to have while you are learning things like how to bathe, take temperature, etc.
  • Insurance and ID cards. We were pre-registered and actually did not need these.
  • Prenatal vitamins/iron pills (I was anemic). Didn't use.
  • Baby onesies, hats, socks, mittens. YES!!! I hated seeing my little nugget in the generic hospital stuff. Next time, I'll probably have it sitting out so he can be put in that immediately rather than the plain white onesie. Of course, you'll also need an outfit to come home in. We bought a 3 month at Carters and even though Cooper was 10 lbs, it was HUGE! Definitely will buy newborn next time.
  • Swaddling blanket. Mine didn't come out, we used the hospitals because we actually really liked it. We don't really like any of ours, next time I'll get some of the muslin ones that everyone raves about - they are similar to the hospital one I wish I would have brought home :(
  • Hair clips, pony tail holders, head bands - because you won't fix your hair and need it to be pulled back during labor at least.
  • iPod - stayed in the bag. Had I done the natural thing though, it would have been nice, so it will go again next time.
  • Phone charger
  • Makeup - didn't come on until our last day.
  • Straightener - only used last day (but nice for that coming home picture)
  • Hair dryer - our hospital had them in the room, so it didn't come out of the bag.
  • Car seat - of course!
  • Clothes for mom:
    • I thought about taking my own gown, but decided I didn't want to spend that money for something that would be ruined. It was a lot easier to wear a gown at first though, but I was totally ready to get into real clothes on day 2. (I didn't get out of bed other than to use the restroom that first day.)
    • I lived in black yoga-style pants and nursing tanks with easy-access shirts on top. Like I mentioned, I got really bad hot flashes in the hospital and the nursing tanks made it SO much easier when learning to breastfeed.
    • I took clothes that I could wear at about six months to wear home - and I was EXTREMELY swollen. I intended to wear mat jeans but just got lazy and decided not to change.
  • If you plan to nurse, you shouldn't need any breastfeeding supplies like pads or the pump. I actually got lots of samples. And soothies became my best friend once my milk came in, but we were home by then.
  • The baby book (if you're doing one) so you can get the footprints :)
  • Dad's things - clothes and toiletries. I intended to bring a blanket and pillows for hubby, but the hospital provides those and he isn't picky, so we left it at home - less to drag.
  • Folders for info: I took a couple (because you get LOTS of paperwork) but didn't use them, as our hospital provides a binder. But I would have if it weren't for that binder.
  • Boppy - once again, our hospital provides one to take home. But I LOVED this and think it would be helpful even for a mom who doesn't plan to nurse, because baby feels super heavy on the belly after just giving birth.
  • Birth plan. As I mentioned, it never came out of the bag. Even if you don't have one, make sure the nursery knows if you prefer the baby doesn't get a pacifier - I verbally told our nurses, but Coop ended up with one :( They say it should be posted somewhere on the bassinet.
  • A robe. Nice in case you are walking the halls (as I did when we went and was release the day before Coop was born) to help move things along. Those gowns aren't too attractive!
  • "Big girl" panties and other feminine products. I didn't pack any as a friend who delivered at the same hospital told me her nurses wouldn't allow any of that. My nurses would have OKd it, but I actually LOVED the mesh hospital panties and figured I was paying for all that, so I may as well take advantage of it. But to each his/her own.
  • Things to have once you get home: hemerrhoid ointment (just in case), witch hazel pads, Motrin (for the pain), stool softeners (to keep things moving, especially if you have hemerrhoids). I didn't think of any of this but luckily my cousin owns a pharmacy just a mile or so from the hosptial and came to my rescue!
  • Also, I didn't take one, but next time around would do garbage bags for dirty laundry, and a tote. You will get gifts in the hospital, and it's nice to have something to put them in, instead of making your husband have to carry them all to the car in several trips :)
I think that wraps it up! Obviously, things will be different for each labor, but for anyone else reading this, I hope I did a good job of explaining WHY we didn't use certain things. Definitely ask during your hospital tour what they provide so you aren't hauling a bunch of needless things!

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miscellany monday

Linking up @ lowecase letters.

{1} The hubs and I went out for a bit on Saturday night. Some friends went to Buffalo Wild Wings for a birthday dinner and my parents always more or less beg for time with Coop, so we went out to eat. Delish. Our local franchise was also celebrating five years in business on Saturday, so we came home with some new T-shirts (yay pajamas!), Budweiser hats, and I won a cool Bud Light UFC octagon-shaped cooler.

Mister Cooper did well and they got him to bed just before we got home (around 11). He had A LOT to eat, so hubby and I were shocked when he woke up crying around 12:30 a.m. - Coop never wakes up and is that loud. I went in Cooper's room to rub his stomach and kiss him and he was OK a couple minute then started in again, so I sent hubby to do the same. After that, Coop was fine. I thought it was sweet but sad - like since we weren't home to put him to bed he still wanted his good night loves.

{2} Coop is growing so quickly and I hate that he's outgrowing clothes. NB to 0-3 didn't really bother me, because he only had a handful of newborn clothes, but now that he's too tall for the 0-3 sleepers with feet, I am very sad. I kinda refuse to pack them up. I am, however, excited to get him in some of his super cute 3-6 month clothes. This is what he wore while we went shopping yesterday ... oh my cuteness!

{3} I've mentioned before how much Cooper loves his swing, AKA the magician. Well, yesterday he was just a swingin' and hubby came to get me. Coop was looking in the mirror, making faces and smiling at himself. Too cute! Of course when I moved a bit closer to get a picture, he turned and smiled at me. Melts my heart.

{4} This morning I heard the song "In My Daughter's Eyes" by Martina McBride and it made me think of Coop. He really does make me want to be a better person.

When he wraps his hand around my finger,
How it puts a smile in my heart,
Everything becomes a little clearer,
I realize what life is all about,
It's hanging on when your heart is has enough,
It's giving more when you feel like giving up,
I've seen the light,
In my son's eyes.
(Changed to he/his :))

{5} I LOVE the Prime country station on XM. I'm really going to hate it when our complimentary subscription expires next month. 

{6} I tried out a couple of new Pinterest recipes over the weekend.

These were SO good. I'm actually considering doing the egg muffins every weekend so we'll have quick, easy and wholesome breakfasts for the week. I used sausage yesterday, but think ham and bacon would be delish as well ... gotta mix it up :)

{7} I am still on the payroll at my old job at the newspaper as a liaison/freelancer. Well, one of my former coworkers had hand surgery so they've asked me to help out however possible. So last week I clocked about 14 hours. (But five of those weren't in full - I stop at the local police station to look through the incident reports every morning and claim a full hour, although it's typically only 15 or so minutes a day.) I'm going to love the extra money, but it's rough doing it! Especially when I'd rather spend all my time with a cute little boy who likes to smile :)

{8} I'm wearing a dress today because I have no clean work-appropriate pants that fit. Ugh.

{9} Life is kinda blah. I really wish there were some holiday/time off work between now and March 14, when our spring break begins. I guess my birthday is next week, but it hasn't been made into a national holiday yet.

{10} Speaking of my birthday, I have no real idea what I want. I had the same problem with Christmas. I think it would be nice to have some new clothes though. Shirts for my post-baby body. Because things are still pretty lose. I'd love a treadmill, but that's a HUGE investment that we honestly cannot afford right now.

So ... how was your weekend?

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melts my heart

I've talked about my little friend Payton on the blog before. He is the kid who made me an aunt (in that his mom and I are bff) and taught me A LOT about being a mom. I call him my guinea baby - I learned to use a carseat with him, feed, burp, put together a pack and play and so much more.

Hubby has learned a lot from Payton also. And Mr. P definitely gives him a run for his money! Every time we've watched Payton since he turned 2, he keeps hubby on his toes and insists that he help feed "his" horses, and learns to workout and play pool from "Unk Jim." Now that we have a son, I know that it won't be long until our boy does the same things with daddy.Anyhow, last weekend, Payton & Mommy came to visit and I snapped a few pictures of the boys. They melt my heart - I so love that I have a boy that Payton can teach all sorts of things :)

So sweet.

Payton's family just found out they are expecting another little one! I can't wait to have another niece/nephew to spoil and love on, and from the looks of these pictures, I think he will be a great big brother!


This & That

  • We took Mr. Cooper to the doctor for his two month well check on Tuesday. That boy is a flirt! He was smiling at our doctor the whole time. Stats: 23.25 inches (50th percentile); 12 lbs. 5 ounces (75th percentile) and a head circumference of 38 cm. (25th percentile). Boy's growing - and about the size now that I was at four months!
  • He had three shots and also had to down an immunization for Rotovirus. I am SO thankful that hubby was able to come to this appointment, because seeing my baby get shots absolutely killed me. Mental note: wear waterproof mascara next time! As soon as he was done, I nursed for about five minutes, and then we had lots of cuddles the rest of the night.
  • This was our first appointment with his new doctor. We did not care for the pediatrician and ended up getting in with the family doctor like we'd wanted in the first place. It went very well and I felt a lot more support with my decision to breastfeed from this doctor.
  • Speaking of breastfeeding, I totally eat like a teenage boy right now. Whenever I quit nursing, I will be in BIG trouble. Yesterday, I decided I wanted a side salad to go with my sandwich for lunch. And I ended up ordering a hot apple pie also. Balance, people. Over the past week, we've made cookies at 8 p.m. three times. Oh, and this morning I decided I needed a snack before it was even 9 a.m.
  • Does anyone have HEALTHY snack ideas? It can't be too time-consuming because I am pretty much going from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day as it is, but I'd love to get away from the cheese crackers, granola bars, chips, trail mix and pretzels if I can - or at least do it in more moderation.
  • So I've mentioned my love for Amazing Race and Big Brother on here before, yes? But I can't decide how I feel about Brenden & Rachel on Amazing Race. I hated Rachel her first season and liked her last. But the girl seriously annoys me. Wonder if they'll have to do a detour where the floaters need to grab a life vest?
  • While making a diaper order on Amazon the other day before the Amazon Mom program changed, I tried to calculate how many diapers we would need in each size. And I realized that if we use all of our Size 1s which we should - they go to 14 lbs. while Size 2 starts at 12 - we will have used about 500 Size 1s. Yowza.
  • I read about people whose babies only go through five or six diapers a day. How is that possible? Coop typically goes through about four a day while at home, and at least another four while at the sitters. Is it a boy thing?
  • I'm debating what, if anything, I should get for my littlest Valentine this year. Maybe a book ... suggestions?
  • Wouldn't it be nice if we still had nap time, like in kindergarten. Seriously, we had no idea how great life was as kids.
  • I can't believe January is almost over. Seriously? I'm so glad, though, that the winter is going by quickly. I can't wait until summer time!
  • Did I ever mention that we work "summer hours" for two months? 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. will stink, but having every Friday off will be the bomb-diggity.
  • Yes, I just said bomb-diggity.
  • Last week, I made this taco pizza and it was delish! We aren't veggie fans so I just had the biscuits, beans, meat and cheese. I actually thought it was a bit too heavy though, so the second time around, I topped it with sour cream, lettuce and tomatoes. So yummy.
  • OK, time for another snack



Elizabeth tagged me for this fun link-up last week! If you don't already follow her, you should totally go check out her blog!

The Rules
1. You must post the rules.

2. Post 11 fun facts about yourself on the blog post.

3. Answer the questions the tagger set for you in their post.

and then create 11 new questions for the people you tagged.

4. Tag 12 people and link them on your post.

5. Let them know you've tagged them!

11 Fun (or not so fun) Facts:
 1. in the summer, i can eat wilted lettuce by the bowl. and it grosses my husband out. you basically clean the lettuce (I like romaine and other types fresh out of the garden), chop up some radishes and crumble bacon, then top with a vinegar-oil mixture and "wilt" with hot bacon grease. yum. and SO healthy - ha!
2. i call myself the "dog whisperer" because i have real conversations with hank dog and tell hubby what hank says. and now that i'm a mommy, i know *exactly* what Cooper is saying, too.
 3. i look forward to getting my hair cut more than is probably socially acceptable.
 4. i sometimes go for weeks without shaving my legs. these days it's better though, because i feel like bath time is my only "me" time.
 5. in the past two months, i've changed from one pair of pajamas into another more than i care to admit.
 6. i've begun dvr-ing my favorite soaps and watching them while feeding coop.
 7. we saw one of our nursery nurses at walmart on sunday and i wanted to run up and say hi. but i restrained myself. (LOVED HER!!!)
 8. we watch way too much HGTV in our house. i mean, we love our home, but it's so fun to see others :)
 9. i can polish off a bag of gummy bears in one sitting. now i'm thinking of going to buy a bag ...
 10. i spent big money on a good camera and primarily use my iPhone for pictures. seriously. i pulled it out on saturday and realized it hadn't been used since christmas. whoops.
 11. i still love koolaid. i can easily drink two quarts every day. my favorite is the green lemon lime - just like when i was a kid :) hubby doesn't like that flavor so it's what i make when i don't want to share - since for some reason he doesn't know how to make more when he finishes off a pitcher!
Elizabeth's questions:

1. what three words best describe you?
Energetic, sensitive and extroverted. I seriously cannot meet a stranger! I'm always up for anything. But my feelings get hurt very easily.

2. if you could change one physical trait about yourself what would it be?
My nose. I just think it's too sloped and point-y. While pregnant, I prayed that baby would not get my nose or hubby's (he doesn't like his either). So far, it looks like Coop got a pretty cute nose!
3. would you go back to high school? middle school?
heck no! i would go back to kindergarten though. I mean, daily naps? Yes, please!

4. what is your favorite gemstone?
I love my birthstone - amethyst.
5. are you a spender or a saver?
Both! For the most part I am a saver, but I like to have good, quality things that last. So while I may shop the sales and use coupons, it's only for things I know we'll use.

6. what is your favorite sports team?
College - anything Mizzou :) Football - the Colts! Baseball - St. Louis Cardinals.

7. if you could live abroad anywhere, where would it be? why?
Tough one! And not sure I can answer! I've said that if I had the money, I would LOVE to go from place to place, living everywhere for a month or more before moving on. Italy is pretty high on the list though ... 8. coke or pepsi?
coke. definitely.9. what is your "go to" meal? care to share the recipe?
Well, when i don't know what to cook, I get out hamburger meat. And it seems that when I still don't know, I make spaghetti. Here's the super-hard recipe (although hubby claims it is the best he's ever eaten!)
- Brown 1 to 1.5 lbs. hamburger meat. I like to season with salt, pepper, and taco seasoning (you can buy it in a shaker at walmart)
- Open a can of the hunts brand sauce. See, I told you it was hard :) We don't like veggies, so I use the meat-flavored.
- Add in a small can of tomato sauce.
- Simmer about 10 minutes.

Dunzo. I serve with noodles (duh) and garlic toast. Sometimes we decide to be healthy and throw in a salad, too.
 10. who is your favorite celebrity?
I really don't have one ...

11. what are you most excited about for 2012?
watching my baby boy grow up!

I think that most of my blog friends have already participated in this or been tagged, so I'm not going to tag anyone. Snoozer, I know. If you haven't, though, please tag yourself! If you have, you can answer some/all of my questions in the comments :)

1 - go back in time or to the future?

2 - what do you eat for breakfast?

3 - you need a new outfit. where can you always find something?

4 - website you couldn't live without?

5 - blonde or brunette?

6 - plastic or paper (when it comes to paying for things)>

7 - best dessert. can you share the recipe?

8 - target or walmart?

9 - favorite photo/one you will always cherish?

10 - if you could pick a 10-degree outdoor temperature range to live in, what would it be?

11 - what would be a great date night?


Cooper: 2 months!

Mister Cooper, you are two months old today!

And this has been a BIG month for you. You had your first Christmas, which was also the day you took your first bottle. You shocked the heck out of me when you downed four ounces in less than five minutes. And yes, I cried that my boy no longer "needed" me. I mean, you could have at least taken 10 minutes to finish that bottle. And for the record, you ended up with six ounces at that feeding.

Bug, you continue to be a big eater. Most everyone is AMAZED at how much you eat. You typically finish off three five-ounce bottles at the sitters - one around 9:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and another around 3:30-4 p.m. Your first day at the sitter's (another tear-jerker for mommy) she questioned that you take that much food and mommy thought you would only need two bottles, but you showed us! You continue to be exclusively breastfeed.

Miss Robin, your sitter, says you are such a good boy and she loves you to pieces! Well, duh! You usually take a good morning nap but cat nap most of the afternoon - you are afraid you may miss something. You are not a fan of being held with your head over the shoulder - you can't see anything!

The other kids at daycare are quite fond of you, too. When mommy drops you off, they'll announce "Cooper is here" or beg Miss Robin to pick you up so they can see you :)

Some days, you go through 2-3 outfits at day care. Whoops. You have some serious drool and need a bib some days. And you get very cold feet - but kick off those socks!

It doesn't matter what time you've last eaten, you almost ALWAYS want to nurse as soon as we get home. But that's OK with me, I like having that time to bond with you, lovebug. You usually take a short nap from 6-7 while mama cooks and we eat supper, then you play with us until bedtime around 9:30 p.m.

Although you hated those sponge baths in the kitchen, you LOVE being in the bathtub. Some nights we put you in your little tub, and other nights you bathe with mommy in the big tub. You are definitely a water baby and we'll have to buy you a pool for this summer.

You also took your first ride in Susie the Silverado this month.

While we caught a few smiles your first month, you sure have emerged as a happy baby this month. Every morning, you just pass out the smiles while I am getting you dressed. And that big gummy smile is SO precious. It's all I can do to go to work instead of staying home to play with you Mister! Grandma says to be thankful you are so happy (because your mommy wasn't the best!)

 You went to Church with mommy for the first time this month and were an absolute angel.

You are a very good sleeper! For the most part, you are sleeping through the night and have been since the last week of December - you slept 9:30 to 6:30 one day and it scared me! There are mornings that you wake up hungry around 4-5 a.m., but then there are days like today when I'm waking you up at 6:40.

Your two month well check is scheduled for tomorrow, so no stats to report right now. But I know you are growing just from looking at/holding you and seeing how your clothes fit. You have outgrown most 0-3 month sleepers (they are too short!) but the 3 month still fit. Most 0-3/3 month pants fit, but some of the shirts are short - do you have a long torso like mommy? You are still wearing Size 1 diapers because I stocked up quite a bit, but I feel you could wear a Size 2 with no problems.


You HATE tummy time. So we don't put you on the floor as much as we should, but we do make you hold yourself up while we hold you. And boy, you are strong. You "stand" on your own and have great head control - we've even used the Bumbo! Our Parents as Teachers coordinator thinks you do great, too :) Your big green eyes follow everything that's going on. You LOVE watching TV and like to curl up in Daddy's nook. Mommy pulled out the playmat about a week ago and you like it as well. Of course, the swing and bouncer are still favorites as well.

You are definitely all boy! Mommy and Daddy miss those "sweet" baby poops that didn't really smell. Now, we immediately know it's time to change your diaper and thank goodness for the Diaper Genie to hide the stench. You aren't very shy when you fart/poop either and can seriously clear a room.

Part of me is floored that you are already two months, while the other half doesn't even remember what life was like before you came along. I know it wasn't near as happy. It is such a joy to be your mommy! Happy two months, Mister Cooper - we love you SO, SO MUCH!


It's OK

Its Ok Thursdays

It has been one busy day! So it's totally OK to take a blogging break, right?

It's OK:

... to pump while blogging. TMI? Sorry, that's true life right now.

... to tell your hubby you'll pack his lunchbox if he'll get the baby dressed because you are feeling sickly.

... then you kiss said baby all over his adorable little face.

... to apologize to adorable baby when you are carrying him into daycare with a blanket over his face - because he's grunting and you just KNOW it's because he hates feeling like mommy is hiding that pretty little face.

... to have FOUR loads of laundry to be folded. And it only gets accomplished because the PAT coordinator is coming for a home visit.

... to have no idea where your debit card is, but feel relieved to check your bank account and find no suspicious activity. It's somewhere, right?

... to forget how old you are when people ask - answering that you are OLDER than you really are.

... to constantly show off pictures of your kid because you know everone else thinks you are obsessed  he is the cutest thing ever, too!

... to wonder if he really is an ugly babe and you are just blind to it.

... to sneak in late to work your third week back because you just can't roll out of bed in the morning.

... to laugh at your "baby" horse because he's no longer going to be "a man" after the weekend. Too much testosterone!

... to be scared to have another kid not so much because of the pian, lack of sleep and expense, but because you are terrified of being stuck in a house full of boys!

... to savor bath time every night because it's the only "me" time you get in the day.

... to consider keeping the office door closed five more minutes and take a little cat nap :)


What I'm Loving

I can't believe it's already Wednesday! Here's what I'm loving on this COLD day:

{1} This little love bug. Big surprise, huh?

Does the song 'poppin my collar' come to mind for anyone else?

{2} That it's a short work week. I *needed* a day off to snuggle with my love bug.

{3} Coop's swing, aka the magician. There is a little mirror on it and he is now starting to make faces at himself. So presh!

{4} Cooper's bulb syringe from the hospital. He may not be too fond of it, but it does a great job of getting out the yuckies! The humidifier has helped too, I believe.

{5} Having leftovers from work events I coordinate. We ate roast beef and gravy, chicken tenders and salads for at least five meals.

{6} Jillian Michaels' 30 Day Shred. It always helps whip me into shape.

{7} A sweet, sweet dog.

{8} An even sweeter husband.

Picture from way back when ... summer of 2010 I believe

What are you loving today? Link up with Jamie to share!


My poor baby ...

Is not feeling the best :(

Sunday morning, Mr. Cooper woke up with a very stuffy nose. Poor babe. And lots of spit up ... but how do you like milk when you are congested?

We suctioned him all day. After the first couple times, he decided he didn't like it. Seriously, it was so bad he broke down every time we laid him on the changing pad. We ran the humidifier and also covered his little chest in Vicks.

Keep in mind the whole time, Momma wasn't feeling too great either. And daddy had just gotten over being sick as well.

So I kept him home yesterday. I was off work and though I had toyed with the idea of taking him to the sitter for 1/2 of the day (I have to pay regardless) I just didn't think it was far to my little Tuff boy to go while his momma was off work anyhow.

He had lots of fun on his mat especially with his new toy, Freddy the Frog. We let Cooper choose between it and a blue puppy dog and his face TOTALLY lit up when I held up the frog :)


And all weekend we did a whole lot of this! Cooper loves to cuddle with both his mommy AND his daddy :)

Totally not the best angle for me, but I don't care
In between loving on my two boys, I actually got some cleaning accomplished over the weekend! *Most* of our laundry is done (although not all folded), the kitchen has been cleaned for the first time in probably six weeks (and looks SO big) and our living room is mostly clean. Yay for progress :)

How was your weekend? Did you all get Monday off or have to work?


Let's talk about stretch marks

Like most pregnant women, I hoped and prayed I wouldn't get stretch marks. My mom said she'd never had any issues, so I figured I wouldn't either. I bought the belly butter, but only used it 4-5 times a week.

Around 23 weeks (I think) my doctor even noted how I was lucky and didn't have any stretch marks yet.

Woman jinxed me. One morning - not even a week later - I saw it. On the left side of my stomach, below my belly button, was that angry red line.

At that point, I went into belly butter overdrive. We're talking morning AND night. Typically at night, hubby would massage it ALL over, while I focused on just the belly in the mornings.

But there was no stopping them. Baby Cooper apparently grew so quickly that my usually sensitive skin didn't have the time to stretch. When I showed them to my mom in October (six weeks before Cooper was born) she was horrified. By the time I delivered, They were all around my belly. After he was born, I even noticed a couple on my hips.

Are they pretty? No. I'll probably never wear a bikini again. My doc agrees they are bad, but not the worst she's ever seen. They recommend Vitamin E, and I've been using Bio Oil twice a day, which seems to help A LOT. They also say the marks will continue to fade for a year.

Honestly, it really doesn't bother me like I thought it would. In my blissful pre-stretch mark days, I came across this on another mommy blog or board and tucked it back, just in case. Now, it gives me comfort - and I'm hoping will be a good read for some of you other mommies. (And honestly, I don't have near enough marks for all of this, but still a good read!)

A mark for every breath you took,

every blink, every sleepy yawn.

One for every time you sucked your thumb

waved hello, closed your eyes,

and slept in the most perfect darkness.

One for every time you had the hiccups.

One for every dream you dreamed within me.

… It isn’t very pretty anymore.

Some may even think it’s ugly.

That’s OK.

It was your home.

It held you until my arms could

and for that,

I will always find something beautiful in it.


What I'm Loving

Is it really Wednesday? This week sure is flying by. I'm linking up with Jamie to share a few things I'm loving on this rainy day.

{1} This little cutie. He is totally the sunshine of my life.

{2} I'm LOVING that I get a long weekend, thanks to MLK.

{3} I'm LOVING that I'm working out of the office Thursday-Friday, so those days should FLY by.

{4} I'm LOVING my mom's chicken and dressing. She knows how I love it (I mean, it is the bomb dot com) so she doubled a recipe and sent a batch home with me on Sunday. Meaning all I had to do was bake it for dinner last night. And have TONS of leftovers. Score!

{5} I'm LOVING this mild weather we've been having. Temps in the 60s in January sure is nice. Just hoping it doesn't really snow like they are predicting tomorrow.

{6} I'm LOVING all the people who tell me how adorable my angel baby is - even though I know you don't think he's the bees knees like I do. Y'all make me smile so big my teeth show.

{7} I'm LOVING my sweet hubby, the most amazing daddy I could ever have for Cooper :)


Happy birthday, hubby!

Monday was hubby's birthday. We had a great weekend to celebrate, and hubby said this was the best one yet thanks to this little guy :)

On Saturday, we played Texas Hold 'Em with some of our friends, and then hubby and I had a date on Sunday while my parents watched Cooper - his first time being babysat other than while I am at work. We had a yummy steak dinner at Logan's and watched War Horse, which was a sweet & sad movie.

Back when we were Christmas shopping, hubby picked out a pair of jeans and shirt he liked at the Buckle, so I actually bought them that day. Cooper bought him the "Father and Son" Willow Tree figurine, and I filled a bag with some of hubby's favorite things - peanuts, beer, chips, M&Ms, cookies, etc., as well as bought him a new tape measure since he lost the old one!

To further honor hubby, I wanted to list the things I love most about him. (I totally stole this idea from Elizabeth, who did it for her David's birthday recently!) I managed one for each year and a few to grow on!
  1. How great of a daddy he is. I always knew he would blow it out of the ballpark, but it's even more than I expected. He does so well at taking over when I need a break!
  2. Not only is he the best daddy for Coop, he is for our pets, too. He loves our Hank Dog and horses with all his heart.
  3. He takes pride in *everything* we own. Cars, our home, clothes - he always wants it spic and span.
  4. While J doesn't love to clean (who does!) when he does, he is a superstar! Ten times better than I do things.
  5. He loves to surprise me. And gets very upset when his plans don't go through.
  6. On my first day back at work, he didn't send me flowers that would make me cry every time I looked at them. He took me out for lunch, giving me something to look forward to all day!
  7. Sometimes I come home and he's folding laundry or doing one of the tasks that got pushed on the back burner. HUGE help.
  8. He went to of my doctors appointments while I was preggo. Not only to be there for me, but he was so excited to be a daddy he didn't want to miss a thing.
  9. Whenever I'm feeling down on myself and my post-pregnancy body (I may have lost all the weight, but things are different) he is so complimentary and encouraging. When I began doing sit ups and had NO ab strength, he sat there with me and pulled me through.
  10. He is SUCH a hard worker. I know he isn't necessarily in love with his job, but sadly, there probably isn't anything else around here he can do without a college education and make the same money, so he toughs it out so we can live the life we want.
  11. His big brown eyes. Seriously - that's part of what made me fall in love with him EIGHT YEARS AGO.
  12. His style. Cooper will always be dressed to the nines thanks to his daddy. Even if he does wear a dog collar as a belt.
  13. He is a great cook - especially on the grill. Just typing this makes me crave a burger and some chicken.
  14. We dislike most of the same foods. No onions or mushrooms in our house! (Poor Cooper won't even know what an onion is until Grandma tries to feed him food with them!)
  15. He is Mr. Fix-It/Handyman. Pretty much any idea I have, he can make into a reality.
  16. He loves to travel and see new things. If we had the money, the two of us (now three!) would see the world.
  17. He is pretty much fearless. Or pretends to be :)
  18. He is loyal. Even when people treat him like $hit he is still willing to give them another shot.
  19. His views on parenting are mostly in line with mine. And I'm weird on some things.
  20. Even when we do disagree, he respects me enough to listen to my opinion before we make a decision together.
  21. He is my No. 1 fan. Whenever I've had a bad day, I know I can call or talk to him to vent.
  22. He is a saver, but spends when it's important. And reminds me that it's OK to splurge every now and then.
  23. He convinced me to breastfeed. I totally didn't want to but now think it's one of the best things I've done as a mom.
  24. He's already talking about Baby No. 2. Although a part of me still wants Coop to be an only child. (How backwards is that? Aren't moms usually the ones with baby fever?)
  25. He gets along with my friends' hubbys/boyfriends.
  26. He'll spend an hour in the card aisle if that's what it takes to find the perfect one.
  27. Sometimes he texts me out of the blue in the middle of the day to as how my day is going. And it's always when I need it most.
  28. He is a dreamer and encourages me to sit back and think of all the things we'd do if money weren't an issue.
  29. He's great at helping me solve puzzles on Wheel of Fortune. We are totally that couple that wants to be on couples week.
  30. He watches dumb TV shows like Jeopardy and stuff on the History Channel. And makes me watch it with him so I can learn!
  31. He loves to read. I forsee us having "Family Reading Time" when Cooper is a bit older.
  32. He treats me like a princess. Most of the time :) Every now and then, I need to be smacked off the throne.  
  33. He smells great ...
  34. He teaches me to do "boy" things. Like build shelves. Drink whiskey. The good stuff.
  35. He totally quit smoking for Cooper. And now when we find Coop with cigarettes someday, hubby can be an example and speak with authority about why Coop shouldn't smoke those nasty things.
  36. He tells me when I can uncover my eyes when we are watching a scary movie.
  37. When I'm sick, he buys me Sprite and makes me chicken noodle soup.
  38. He cares so much about his appearance (but not in a vain way) that I find myself caring more about how I look so people don't think he's "The Settler" in the relationship.
  39. He smokes me when we play pool or darts, but takes an @ss kicking when when play air hockey or Big Buck Hunter.
  40. He does the grocery shopping - even when he has to ask the store employees where the items on my list are located :)
Happy birthday sweetie! I love you to the moon and back!


Me As A Mom: Parenting

You know how, before you have kids, you always look at how others parent and say "my kid will never do that" or "I'm not doing that."

Then you become a parent. And some things change.

Take, for instance, co-sleeping. I never wanted to get into that business. I didn't want my babe getting spoiled to sleeping with mom and dad and us NEVER have any privacy again, like we've seen with some of our friends. And let's be honest, I was afraid I'd smother and kill him.

But when your baby just wants to be held and you've only gotten a few hour-long stretches of sleep, you change your mind quickly. It took one whole day of being home from the hospital for Cooper to end up in the crook of my arm as hubby and I desperately tried to get some sleep. It happens. While on leave, if he was fussy and I needed a nap, same thing.
We've found that Cooper is in a GREAT mood in the mornings. Which is just amazing - except on the weekends when we like to stay in bed a bit longer. So those mornings, once he is fed and changed, he comes back to bed with us for a bit, and sometimes falls asleep. It's OK. Once he gets older, he'll understand it's a treat.

I said I'd never let my kid be "babysat" by the TV or a toy. But there again, I was so wrong. While I was working at home on leave, I'd have the TV on and he would stare at it - our PAT person says a lot of kids like the contrast in colors. We've also found that, when all else fails, the swing works every time. No, we don't immediately shove him into it - first we try food, check diaper, hold, etc. - but we do refer to it as the magician.

All in all, I'd say that my parenting style is a flexible, roll-with-the-punches, listen to your gut type of thing. We never know how we would deal with a particular situation until we are confronted with it, and that's what I keep reminding myself. Furthermore, I am Cooper's mommy and truly believe I know what's best for my little man. I can read the books and hear the advice but in the end, I just have that feeling where I know, without a doubt, that what I'm doing is right.

I'm not much on changing the environment to fit my kid, but changing my kid to fit the environment - it's a lot easier for him to adapt, and that makes life easier when we are somewhere else and they don't think Cooper hung the moon like we do :) At home, if he falls asleep for a short nap, the TV and lights stay on. At my doctors appointment last week, the lights stayed on while we were waiting. His babysitter knows that too, and we've told her that her job is to make sure he has a full belly, clean diaper and stays alive. Slowly, he is figuring things out -  he's learned already that he doesn't get a bottle at daycare past 4 p.m., so he demands his last one at 3:50 (no lie.)

Luckily, I have an extremely supportive husband who happens to agree with and share my outlook. As much as I said before that I would let my baby cry it out, hubby, too, can distinguish his cries and is holding me back when we know nothing is wrong. In fact, Cooper rarely cries when he goes to bed now - he "talks" to himself until he falls asleep. Honestly, it's about the sweetest thing in the world.

And of course, I can't talk about this little man without a couple of sweet photos of him.

I stole daddy's spot!

Big wide eyes!


The birth plan that wasn't

I never would have even thought to have a birth plan if it weren't for blogging. And man, there are some total rockstars out there, which totally made me think I could handle all the pain of childbirth without meds. Haha.

Anyhow, I wanted to keep this plan to look back and laugh on someday. Seriously, it never even made it out of my bag. But that's OK - I always knew I would be open to whatever and that what I wanted a month before labor would probably be different. Plus Cooper was a very big baby, I'd had some kidney issues and more. 

My notes are in blue text :)

* All parts of the plan are subject to change if mother/baby are in distress. Michelle also realizes that some preferences can not be allowed if she does use pain medication.
 • Only Jimmy is allowed in labor/delivery room. This totally happened. Mostly just because other than my parents, no one else even knew we were in labor :)

• Pain medication/epidural upon request only. If possible, let Jimmy know when the last chance is for the epidural so he can let Michelle know. Although I caved, I did request this. Not sure if they would have encouraged me to get one had I tried to wait it out.

• Michelle prefers to bring her own music and be allowed to labor in whatever position is most comfortable to her at the time. If possible, she would like a room with a tub, and access to a birth ball. I don't think I could have handled music! I did take a bath the first time, and by the time we got to the hospital when I was really in labor, I was so tired and immediately got the epidural, I just wanted to lie down and rest.

• Prefer hep-lok only. Ended up with an IV ...

• Prefer not to receive pitocin I got it and reacted horribly. Not only did it not push me into labor, it made me extremely emotional and put me in a lot of pain. If/when we have another, I'll REALLY try to avoid this.

• Prefer intermittent fetal monitoring. Sorta. If I didn't have to be hooked up, I was't.

• Goal is a vaginal birth Yup! Although they told me at my pp checkup that had they known Coop was so big, I would have been a scheduled c-section. Whenever I have another, we will have a u/s at the end to check size, but hopefully I can try to avoid a c-section even if Baby 2 is also big.

• Episiotomy only if necessary My doc prefers to let pts tear on their own and since my labor progressed in a typical timeline, I probably wouldn't have torn had Cooper not been so broad and practically be pulled out. All things considered, I didn't think a second degree tear was bad.

• Prefer no vacuum extraction or forceps be used None

• Prefer cord is not cut until it stops pulsating, offer Jimmy the chance to cut Due to Cooper's traumatic entrance, hubby didn't get to cut the cord :(

• Allow breastfeeding as soon as possible after birth. I think it was about 2 hours? I held him after about 30 minutes though. And Cooper is a pro so no problems.

• If Michelle is unable to breastfeed, offer Jimmy the opportunity for 1 hour of skin-to-skin contact with baby. N/A

• No one in to visit until consent is given by Jimmy and/or Michelle Again, no one knew we were in labor :)

• Prefer no pacifiers, sugar water or formula be offered to the baby Oh boy this is a big one! It was smooth sailing until my last day, when the nursery brought Coop to my room with a pacifier in his mouth, to be fed! One of the primary reasons not to use a paci at first is to avoid nipple confusion - which lactation consultants, etc. preach! So it was very upsetting to see. They tried to brush it off by saying they didn't know that (I had verbally told nurses the day he was born) and that there should have been something on his crib to note that. How the heck was I supposed to know that? Anyhow, the LC told me not to worry about it and said that, sometimes, nursery workers will just pop in a pacifer if the kid is unsettled. Ugh.

• If the baby is a boy, circumcision is to be performed.

• If a c-section is necessary, Michelle wants Jimmy to be present during the operation and to have the screen lowered a bit so she can watch the birth.

• Following delivery, we wish for all possible newborn procedures to take place in the room. This pretty much happened. It was just across the room and we had no idea what was going on.

• We will decide sleeping arrangements depending on how we are feeling. We took advantage of the nursery while we could! Being first-time parents, we were scared and knew we would not sleep wondering if Cooper was OK, so after his check at 9-10 p.m. both nights, we told them to keep him and only bring him to the room for feedings. In our opinion, this was a big help in getting us semi well-rested before we went home.

• Prefer parents be included in the process for the first bath. We didn't get the first - I was still in bed and didn't want to be alone - but we did join in giving Cooper a bath/learning how on Thursday night (He was born Wednesday.) For us, that was good :)


What I'm Loving

It's been at least six weeks since I've participated in WILW, so I thought it was perfect to join in with Jamie today.

{1} I'm LOVING this sweet little guy. How he can be so happy at 7 a.m. confuses me (sometimes I question if he maybe got swapped at birth) but I love my morning smiles.

{2} I'm LOVING our babysitter. I hate that it's necessary, but she's so great and I can tell he is content to be at daycare. Plus she clipped his fingernails for us on Monday - I've been terrified to! - so that's even better.

{3} I'm LOVING that I have a job and good coworkers that make it worthwhile to go back to the office. Don't get me wrong, I'd love to be home with Cooper, but the past couple days have gone by more quickly than I anticipated and I am grateful for that.

{4} I'm LOVING all the time we've gotten to spend with friends and family over the past couple of months. They've all been so generous to Coop as well. If he's this spoiled at 4.5 weeks, I hate to see how bad it is next year.

{5} I'm LOVING after-Christmas sales. I wanted some new things to go with my new body and scored a haul at Old Navy last week.

{6} I'm LOVING that I have good insurance. Once hospital/medical bills start piling in, you realized how lucky you are - one bill was originally almost $13,000 and our share is less than $600.

{7} I'm LOVING that our family is all healthy and happy.

{8} I'm LOVING that we'll be celebrating hubby's birthday on Monday :) Actually this weekend, but his actual birthday is Monday.

{9} Of course, I'm loving my sweet boys. They are the light of my life!


2012 goals

Before talking about my goals for this year, I thought it would be fun to take a look at last year's goals, especially since we had one VERY big surprise.

So here is what I posted last January...

{1} Spending even more time with my great fiance and getting started with the wedding planning :) - Totally did this! We didn't end up having the wedding we had thought we would have because we ended up moving things up with pregnancy and me starting a new job, but it was absolutely perfect! I wouldn't have changed anything! And now I recall that I never posted about the wedding ...

{2} Eliminating all debt other than the mortgage (I hope). It's just such a crazy time economically, so I hate to have any more payments than necessary! Plus, we plan to continue paying extra on our mortgage every month. Not so great. We did pay off our shed and lawnmower. However, we did borrow some money to help pay for the wedding and ended up buying my new vehicle at the end of the year. Plus we had several baby-related expenses AND we have saved the money to pay all of the medical bills right away.

{3} Traveling! We are hoping to visit my friend Bel in DC, and would also love to go on a beach trip. We never made it to DC. However, we did get the beach trip, with our wedding in Gulf Shores, Ala. We also spent a long weekend in Branson.
{4} Trying out new recipes and working toward a healthier me. Honestly, I didn't do much on the cooking front. I tried a few new ones, but I really didn't cook much during my pregnancy because raw meat grossed me out and I just didn't have the energy/want to cook. Thankfully I could do a lot of fast food/convenient stuff (although I hated doing that much processed food!) without gaining a ton of weight. I'd say that I've cooked more since Cooper was born than I did all summer. And that's just sad.
{5} Being a better blogger and forming more relationships with YOU GUYS. I kinda sucked as a blogger because I got so sidetracked. I mean, I have no posts from our trip to Branson, wedding recaps, etc. Which really sucks because I use this blog as a journal/scrapbook of sorts. However, I have made some of THE BEST friendships blogging, and a few of you girls even got texts when Cooper was born.
 {6} Putting more personal touches on our home. With the spring floods, it's probably  in worse shape! We had to rip down all the trim in our basement due to the dampness. However, we did design a super-awesome nursery, which is now the only complete room in our house. Hey, furniture is expensive!

{7} All of the surprises that life throws my way! I'd say I totally succeeded at this! Between a baby surprise that we totally weren't expecting to moving up our wedding and doing it on the beach to being surprised by Cooper's gender, all the while being blessed with and beginning a new job, we really embraced the unexpected.

Now for 2012:

{1} Really focus on the here and now. I am so guilty of playing on my iPhone or other distractors while I should be spending quality time with my boys. Or looking toward things rather than being in the present. So I hope to put down the computer/phone more, turn off the TV, and just live in the present!

{2} Rebuild our savings, begin a savings account for Cooper, and continue to pay down debt. As I mentioned, all the medical bills have been/will be paid in full. Our tax return, which should be pretty nice, is earmarked for our wedding loan. Hubby's truck will be paid off in March. And the Terrain payment is big, but because we chose to finance for 36 months to take advantage of 0 percent financing. I'm not sure if we can realistically expect to pay off anything but the truck this year, but that's OK - we now have a baby and need more cushion for unexpected expenses. Any "extra money" will go toward either our wedding loan or a vacation fund - I'm really toying between going on a trip or just getting rid of that bill. I'd love to go back to Gulf Shores, but don't know about traveling with an eight-month-old. 

{3} Even if we don't make it to the beach, I want to go on at least one family trip. Hubby and I have talked about taking Cooper to the St. Louis Zoo every year.

{4} Take more pictures, and be sure to print them and make photo books!

{5} Bring more healthy food into our house. If junk isn't there, we won't eat it!

{6} Breastfeed until Coop is at least six months old. Maybe longer. We'll see.

{7} Kick butt at work and lead a successful capital campaign. 

{8} Lose the 15 lbs. I wanted to get rid of before I found out I was pregnant. And finally run that 5K!

{9} Be better at documenting life on the blog!

{10} Just survive! I know that may sound weird, but I really want to make sure my little family is always fed and clean. Ths includes letting go of the little things like having a totally clean house when visitors come (presentable is OK) and being a Type-A personality.