Thursday, August 30, 2012

Please Let Me Introduce To You...

Introducing Hayden Arthur Howe.  Born on Monday 8/27/2012 at 9:20 am, weighing in at an even 8 pounds and measuring 20 inches in length, he is healthy and handsome, and we are in love. 
We survived our first night at home last night.  After a beautiful and blissfully happy 2 days spent cuddling and holding baby more than I ever had held one of my other newborns, I hit a bit of a dark cloud last night.  What I can best describe as a panic attack, I suddenly got a very sad and overwhelmed feeling of the enormity of it all.  I talked it through with Art and came out feeling good, then spent a restless night with baby Hayden.  He nursed fine until his 3 am feeding and hasn't nursed since.  When my milk comes in I get incredibly engorged and I think he's just a bit frustrated.  We will press on and I'm sure it will work out.  I've faced different nursing challenges with each baby and we've always worked it out, so I pray this is no different.
Today we are just spending the day getting to know each other, as I deal with my new found DD's, and trying to accomplish my first bowel movement, always a scary thing right?  Life is beautiful and I see that, and truly know that, just praying no more dark clouds hit me tonight.  The doula is set to deliver my placenta capsules tomorrow afternoon, and while I have no real reason to believe this, I feel deep down that they will work on some level, even if it's just purely psychological.  I'm sorry to mix such a beautiful post with some sadness, but I feel on this matter it is beyond important to be honest.  Tuesday night I cried with such emotion of how happy I felt, how truly in love with this little boy I was.  And then to have such a rush of sadness the next night is nothing short of maddening and frustrating.  It's not right, and it certainly doesn't make much sense, but it's the truth and I want those of you that have been through the same thing to know you're not alone.

I'll be back over the next week or so to update you, and share the birth story with you.  I have to say, I kicked this labor's ass.  It was hard and painful and long, but I am certain of one thing, I am proud of how it all transpired and will forever have those memories in my heart.

Thanks for everything you guys.  For the well wishes, prayers and support.  They have meant the world to me, more than you could ever know.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Ain't Nature A Trip?

Wednesday morning while the kids were at school I wrote.  I wrote the entire morning and it felt good to get all my posts out of the way for Disney so that I could relax the rest of the month.  The writing came easy to me and it flowed, which is always a nice thing.  I got 5 posts written, one of them being about how I was putting my feet down (or up rather), and Saying No To Nesting and instead resting.  I felt that way on Wednesday and turned a blind eye to my list of "nesting projects" I had put together weeks prior.

That night, I felt funny all night.  I just felt weird.  I woke up Thursday morning and realized I had lost my mucus plug.  A sign for me, that labor was soon upon me within a matter of days.  Anyone else know when they lost their mucus plug by the way?  I'm the only one in my circle of friends that has been able to tell with both pregnancies when this happened.  Mucus plug, sounds so gross too right?

Anyhow, after we got the kids off to school I had a freak out moment of epic proportions and told Art we were in no way ready for this baby.  The house was a mess, the pack n play or crib weren't set up, there were no groceries in the house and my freaking bag wasn't even packed!  I was about as hysterical as I get.  I decided the only reasonable thing to do was call my mom.  She talked me down from the ledge and agreed to come over for a couple of hours in the morning before she went to my sister's house to celebrate her birthday with her.

And so against my previous convictions and statements, I nested the hell out of this house.  I cleaned out all of my makeup supplies and toiletries, and tossed what I didn't need or want, including all those samples you collect over the years.  I washed my makeup brushes too.  I cleaned out my night stand and threw tons of old magazines away, I cleaned out my desk drawer and the freezer, fridge and pantry (with my mom's help), and she helped me tackle the grocery list.  I cleaned out my purse and wallet, throwing away or filing old receipts and such.  I went through the mail and all the kid's school paperwork and filed accordingly.

I even vacuumed out the tracks for the sliding doors and washed them down with soapy water.  They were disgusting.  Because you know, clean sliding door tracks are an essential part of bringing a newborn baby home.

So against any desire I had on my own, nature truly took over and made me clean like a freak yesterday.  I'm exhausted today, but did manage to gas up the car just in case, and get it washed.  Because clean baby must come home in a clean car, right?  Nature sure is a trip, ain't it?

Wish me luck guys!  I hope this baby comes this weekend, because me and this house are ready to meet our newest member.  I'll be sure to fill you guys in on any action that may occur first via Instagram (I'm @fourflights).

Have a great weekend everyone!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Craft Cabinet - Summer 2012

Sometimes the best things are those that are done at the last minute, thrown together spontaneously. That certainly proved to be the case with the first installment of The Craft Cabinet. Jules and I are typical textbook over-thinkers, but when you have less than 4 weeks to throw together an event, lest one of the co-hosts goes into labor, you don't have time to over-think, you just do, and that's exactly what we did. To say it came together exactly as I had imagined it would be a bit of an understatement, it came out exactly as I had imagined it, maybe even better. Witnessing women laughing, getting to know each other, creating, eating and drinking is one of the most enjoyable things I can imagine.
The venue was Salvage Life, a vintage boutique/studio own by Beth Giles. When I reached out to Beth about hosting the event there, she responded within a matter of minutes, saying yes, but could we just time it around the birth of her daughter, which set to occur at any day. "Sure, no problem, but could we just schedule it right before the birth of my child too?" It sounds a bit crazy when I replay the conversation back in my head, but when you love what you do (Beth), and you're passionate about making something happen (me), you don't let something like child birth get in your way ha! Beth, thank you from the bottom of our hearts, because we seriously couldn't have done this without you.
Beth's shop is chock full of pretty, and is bright and charming, so we knew it didn't take much in terms of decor to really set the space off. We were also excited knowing that the ladies coming to the event would appreciate such a venue, and it made us happy to see some ladies stay after the event to make purchases. Because of our limited budget, we went with simple, vintage inspired decor that tied in with our color scheme. The morning of the event I called up Jules and said "I'm getting balloons, lots of balloons." Call me old-fashioned, but nothing spells party to me like balloons.
All the other details just sort of came together, from the food to even the color coordinated bottles of Izze and sparking water, which was an inadvertent mistake, but a happy one nonetheless. The catering manager at the local Corner Bakery in Long Beach partnered with me on our order, literally the day before the event. They were amazingly nice and accommodating.

Jacqui of Baby Boy Bakery provided the mini cupcakes, and hand delivered them to my door the morning of the event. For that I can't thank her enough! She did not disappoint, as usual, and all 60 cupcakes were gone by the end of the night.
Since the purpose of the night was to craft, we made sure to carve out plenty of time to do that, and although some projects weren't finished, no one seemed to mind.
The people and companies that pulled through to contribute to the swag bags were incredible, and deserve a post all their own which will come later this week, but how cute did they end up? I stuffed and stamped (with our own stamp!) and Jules decorated. We divided and conquered really well together.

Thanks Jules for being a terrific partner, thank you Tristan for designing a gorgeous logo and invitation, thank you to my sister Tina and my husband Art for helping to set up and clean up, thank you Danni and Gena for arriving early and helping to decorate, and thank you to my good friend Mary of Yung Bean Photography, who agreed to photograph the event with just a few days notice. She did a wonderful job didn't she? And thanks to all the truly wonderful ladies who took a chance on us and came out to the event! If you'd like to visit their blogs, here you go! Jules and I are already busy planning the next Craft Cabinet, for sometime in November, just in time for the holidays. We hope you can join us again!

Danni | Oh, Hello Friend Andrea | He Calls Me Wifey Laura | Hollywood Housewife Rachel | Crimson to Wool JJ | The Blah Blah Blahger Brenda | Secret Agent Josephine Lisa | Trapped in North Jersey Kelly | The Reading Nest Vanessa | Little Grey Pixel Sarah | Little Penelope Lane (and Penelope Lane Boutiques) April | The Gingerbread Blog MJ | Teaching in Heels Melissa | Melissa Dell Monick | Lilly Bug Lane Gena | Bake All The Things Crystal | The Lil’ Cupcake Kara Murano

Sunday, August 19, 2012

SOS Plead!

(Big Belly saying a prayer at church that if this is the week, Lord let everything go safely and smoothly)

Guys, the countdown is ON!  10 days to go till the official D Day of 8/30, and only 4 to go before my guess delivery date of 8/24.  So since this may be my last week of freedom, if you will, I plan to do a whole lotta nothing while the kids are at school.  Screw the organization projects I had in mind, I'm sitting on the couch.

So I need help.  I've read three books in the last month, but for the past week don't have a single book to read.  I need suggestions for an easy, quick, mindless girly read (and please don't say 50 Shades of Gray because I'm not gonna do it).  I could also use a suggestion or two for a fun chick flick to watch.

The Craft Cabinet was a huge success and we'll be sharing pictures of the event tomorrow, as well as have a linky party in place so you can link up your blog posts if you attended the event.  But until then I thought I'd put out my SOS plead and see if you all could help a gal out :)

Much love and I hope your weekend was great!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Oh Baby - What Will It Bee?

I didn't mean to leave you all this week.  It's been a doozy, getting ready for Craft Cabinet and all.  I can't believe it's finally here.  Holy heck I'm amazed at what Jules and I have managed to pull off in a manner of days (less than four weeks to be exact).  This is by no means bragging, just a little realization of a dream and some hard work.  In the past 3 weeks we've secured a vendor, catering, rentals, amazing swag from some BIG and independent vendors who are all amazingly generous, and most importantly, sold out an event with awesome, amazing ladies.  Ladies who are inspired to create and inspire others to create.  I can't wait to see, and in some cases, meet those of you coming. 

I want to update you on Syd's progress at school since this is his first full week in Kinder, but I thought I'd wait to get the whole week completely under our belt, lest I jinx anything. 

I do want to share with you all the pictures from my "What Will It Bee?" baby shower though!  I posted them over at Disney Baby, but here's a little peek at a few of them.  I would be very appreciative and honored if you'd click through and see the rest of them :)
Wish me luck guys.  I'm tired but excited.  I can't wait to see it all come together tonight!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Nursery Sneak Peek

Well it was a busy weekend around here guys.  We started setting up the nursery!  Here's a little sneak peek for you.  I decided to set a bed up in there so I could have a place to rest in the middle of the night and if my comes to stay and help at all.  Remember our original plan for nursery?  Well I ended up ditching that color scheme and going for an all white theme with pops of bright, neon like colors and touches of beige linen.  So far I love it, what's set of it so far anyhow.  And because of my snoring escapades, Art was able to take advantage of the set up bed last night, so it's already getting some good use!
I've still been keeping up with the big belly project, so if you're on Instagram, follow along @fourflights!  Saturday night big belly was brewing beer, totally appropriate right?  We celebrated a friend's 40th birthday and had a great time at a local brew house, making pretzels and drinking small batch brew (small brew soda for me, the root beer was fantastic!).  
Friday night big belly took it easy though and hung out at our local concert in the park.  I just chilled while the men chased the kids around.  Perfection.  I'm going to miss being able to use the pregnancy card in situations like these ;)
In other areas on the web, I'm baring my soul, or my cover up anyhow, and showing off big belly in a bikini!  Say what?!?  Yes, I was shy at first, but there's really no reason pregnant gals can't rock the bikini too.  After all, when else are you not going to worry about whether your abs are rock hard or not?  It's liberating I tell ya.  
 I got a little crafty this past week too, and shared this DIY for a no sew leather pouch. 
And I also shared the most exciting news I've heard since, since, I don't know when...it's that exciting though!  Neiman Marcus and Target holiday gift collaboration yo!  Read more about here.
And I'm doing lots of baby and pregnancy journaling over on Disney Baby.  Last week I shared how we managed to gobble down dinner with a newborn during the dreaded "witching hour".
I'm splurging a bit on the non-essentials this time around.  Read here to see what those splurges are.
The best thing I ever did as a new mom was join a mom's group.  Read why here.
And lastly, the top 10 things I look forward to after pregnancy.  Number 7?  Walking like a lady instead of a duck again.
I don't want to say much about the last 2 days of school after I wrote this post, because I don't want to jinx anything, but I promise to share later in the week how things are going and our progress.  Thank you so, so much for all your kind and encouraging words.  They meant so much to me, especially hearing about all the sensitive boys!

Friday, August 10, 2012

An Emotional Start To Kinder

I know it's been a bit quiet around her.  The kids started school on Wednesday and I tried to stay offline as much as possible.  And you'd think since starting school things would have calmed down a bit, but it's been a bit of a roller coaster ride of emotions the past couple of days.   
The night before the big day, we went bowling together as a family treat, then followed up with dinner at the kid's favorite restaurant, CPK.  Things were going smoothly and everyone was up to their usual antics. 
Taylor learned to bowl sans ramp.  The good old between the leg toss got her a decent score. 
Syd, determined to win, stuck with the ramp and aimed most of his shots perfectly.
Art worked on perfecting his launch, in dramatic fashion.  He took 3 years of bowling in college.  He takes his bowling very seriously.
And I, well I just sat there most of the time, but I did at one point go head to head with a bowling ball.  The belly won without a fight.
The next morning came, and although Syd said he was a bit nervous, he trudged on and we trekked across the street to class. 
Luckily he was assigned Taylor's old kinder teacher Miss Peel, so we thought we had a slam dunk on our hands.  His big sister was at the same school, familiar playground, familiar teacher.  He had it made right?
He continued to be all smiles until it came time to leave.  And then the waterworks ensued.  Big ol' crocodile tears that break a momma's heart.
He had a super short day that first day and when I picked him up he seemed fine.  But when we got home he said he just stood there at recess because he didn't know what to do.  Within an hour he was telling me he didn't want to go back.  He continued moping around and whimpering all day.  Even Jules' boys, who were visiting so that we could get a little Craft Cabinet planning done, couldn't break him out of his funk.  By the late afternoon, he was complaining of an upset stomach.

By that night, whimpers had turned into sobs and he was distraught beyond comfort, saying over and over again that he didn't want to go back and begging me, yes begging, to be home schooled.  He was scared to eat lunch by himself, scared he'd have to play by himself at recess. 

The next morning he woke up at 6:30 (early for him) and crawled into my bed.  I could tell he had been crying, and he started again begging me not to send him to school.  He sobbed the entire morning as we got ready for school, and sobbed loud pathetic sobs at drop off.  Outside of the classroom I almost punched another mom in the face when she looked at me, not realizing Syd was my boy, and said "There's always a crier."

The thing is I know he will end up being okay.  Taylor cried for 6 whole weeks at kinder drop off and one day she just stopped and now she genuinely loves school.  Syd's teacher told me at pick up yesterday that he cried for all of 1 minute and then was fine the rest of the day.  Today's drop off was a little whimpery, but no real tears or sobbing fits, so there's improvement already. 

But in the mean time, there's a part of me that can't help but wonder what I'm doing wrong here.  Why are my kids so afraid of change, and so stuck with the idea of being at home?  I wonder if I've done something to make them feel insecure, or haven't given them enough confidence.  I know it's probably unrealistic for me to think that way, but as a mother sometimes you can't help but feel your child's behaviors are always a reflection of how you're raising them.

Art reminded me that I was the exact same way, from the stories I told him, when I was a kid.  After all, I called my mom to pick me up from Junior High camp because I was so terribly homesick.  I always assumed it was because of my chaotic and dysfunctional upbringing, that I wasn't secure enough to feel safe to leave home.  But maybe it is just inbred in me, and now inbred in my kids?  Homebodies that feel most comforted at home and resist change at all costs, but will adapt if completely necessary?

Either way I've been doing a lot of praying that he makes this adjustment a bit easier than Taylor did, for his sake and ours.  At this age, I think all any of us want for our kids is for them to just be happy.  And it breaks my heart to see his personality and moods affected this way.

If any of you have similar sob stories, especially as it relates to boys, I'd love to hear them.  I had breakfast with Sarah yesterday and she told me her son's teacher said that a boy cries the most in Kinder and 1st grade than in any other time in their life.  I sadly want that to be true so that I know his emotional tug of war is somewhat in the realm of "normal".  As a woman, I can understand more of where my girl is coming from when she cries, but I honestly feel so helpless when I see my son cry over sadness like this.   

Thanks so much for listening guys.  And again, any feedback, advice or commiseration that you'd like to share, I'm all ears :)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Learning To Love the iPad

I'm going to be honest with you, I'm not a big fan of using the phone and iPad to entertain the kids.  I'm not being judgmental or negative, it's just that to be honest, I haven't really spent a lot of time to find games and apps that I feel good about the kids using.  We're still fairly new to the world of the iPad and so far we've only managed to download lots of mindless games for the kids when we search "free games", and truth be told it can drive me a bit bonkers seeing them move a guy through a pipe till he comes out the other end.  I have a hard time seeing any real educational value in that. 

That's why I was happy and encouraged to hear that Disney had just created 2 new apps that are not only free, but perfectly age appropriate for both of the kids, 5 and 7, and are engaging and educational, especially for Syd as he just entered Kindergarten today in fact!
The first app we downloaded was the Jake's Neverland Pirate School, which they were both excited about because they love the show.  They both loved that they got to customize their games by adding their own photo and really found each level interesting.  
You can download the free app here, which is available for iPad, iPhone & iPod Touch:
The second app we downloaded for free was The Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Road Rally is for iPads only and can be downloaded here:
I thought Taylor might think it was a little too young for her, but she loved it and had fun going through an entire episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, and I loved that it was interactive and voice activated so it got the kids to actually answer the questions out loud.  Love that they're engaged instead of just sitting there.

As a mom that's still navigating her way through the world of the iPad, I feel good about these apps and feel good about telling you guys to go download them!  :) 

If you download the apps and are a Disney fan, join Disney on August 8th at 9 PM EST for a Disney Junior Twitter party! You could win an iPad. RSVP at http://bit.ly/QsXDE2 and use the hashtags #spon and #mackidtips. Who couldn't use an iPad, or an extra one? 

And I just discovered that Disney Junior Watch makes full length episodes of its most popular shows available online, for free, at www.watchdisneyjunior.com and via the Disney Junior WATCH app on iPad, iPhone and iPod touch.  

A big thanks to Disney Junior for sponsoring this campaign. Click here to see more of the discussion.


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