Thursday, December 29, 2016

Road Tripping

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We just returned from our Christmas road trip to Boise, Idaho, and boy, it was a great one! A few weeks before the holidays, Mark and I decided to take Sara to visit his parents and extended family who had not met her yet.
This was Sara's first road trip and first time away from home as well. As usual, I overestimated how much stuff we'd need and over packed. Our car was absolutely stuffed!
We set out early Friday afternoon, as we'd hoped to make most of the trip in the daytime.  It was a 7 hour drive, and included a couple of snowy mountain passes. It was also snowing in the Seattle area, which added to our haste to leave. But because of the weather, it took us over an hour just to make it through the city to start our journey.
I chose to drive first, and crossed the first mountain pass without any issues, but by this time, it was getting dark. We continued on. By the time we reached Pendleton, OR, it was pitch black outside and snowing so heavily, I could barely see the road. We thought about stopping for the night, but decided to keep going, as I was traveling with a small convoy of cars, and we worried the road would be closed the next day, and we wouldn't make it in time for Christmas.
The next pass, Cabbage Hill, nicknamed Deadman's Pass, was really treacherous. Oh, and by the way, what a horrible name for a mountain pass! The road was packed heavily with snow and ice, and it was still snowing hard. I was traveling behind a big rig, which had chains on, and a Hummer H2, which I was thankful for, as they created a path for me to drive in. We made it over the pass, very slowly, and continued down the road. I stayed behind the Hummer for a couple of hours, until they exited the highway, and I'm so very thankful for that car.
It was still snowing hard, and kept snowing the whole way there, so the fastest I could go was 30 to 40 mph the whole time. We finally made it to Boise 11 hours after we started at 2 am.
Mark sat in the back with Sara, and kept her entertained, and she did so good! But she and us were so ready to be out of the car!
We had a wonderful Christmas, which I'll write about in a later post, and Sara got to experience many firsts. Her first experience with deep snow and her first sit down restraunt!
For the return trip on Wednesday, which was a sunny day with no snow, I volunteered Mark to drive, and I kept Sara company in the back. It was definitely a much easier drive! The roads were clear, and we made it home in just under seven hours. Again, Sara did great, but was happy to be home!
We'll definitely going again, but I think next time, we'll try flying!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

More Time Please!

Since Sara was born, I have been busier than I ever have been before. From the time I wake up, until I go to bed, I'm constantly busy with my to do list.
In days past, I used to watch a movie or two during my free time, and still have time to get whatever household chores I needed to do done. Then, maybe I'd go for a walk outside, or maybe head to the mall.
HaHaHa! Not anymore! I have whole seasons of shows piling up on the dvr..The Walking Dead, Once Upon a Time, among others. Hope I get around to watching them someday!
In the meantime, this little 15 pound person keeps me on my toes! Feedings, diaper changes, cleaning bottles, and pumping breastmilk consumes my day! Not to mention the laundry piling up, and the dishes that's been in the sink for a few days! Oh, and also throw in both a full and part time job, and I am one busy mama!
But it's okay. I've come to peace with the mountains of clean laundry in the baskets taking up residence in my closet, and the cat hair covered sheets on the bed that I may or may not get around to changing sometime soon. What I love is spending time with my little one when I get home in the evenings. Feeding her and watching her learn to roll around and play with her baby toys is now my most favorite entertainment! After all, the laundry and dishes will still be there later, when I eventually get around to them. Or maybe one of these days, I'll hire a domestic helper. Maybe. One day soon!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Yes, We Took Our Baby to a Christmas Party

Last week was my husband's company holiday party. He works for a tech company, and tech companies sure know how to party, so of course we wanted to go! But this year, with a baby, we were thinking we might have to pass. I had called my parents, but they were unable to make the trip over mid week, and one of my coworkers mentioned that she might be able to come to the house, but I was apprehensive because she lives downtown, and we were expecting snow that evening. Plus it would be a late night for her.
Luckily, my husband got permission to bring Sara if he wanted, and we thought, why not!? So I dressed her warmly and we set off for the downtown Seattle waterfront!
The party was at the Seattle Aquarium, which the company rented out for the evening. The theme was the 50s, and many people were dressed in 50s style clothes, which I thought was cute. There was a live band playing music from the era, which I was a bit nervous about, since Sara has reacted badly to loud music in the past. But tonight, she didn't seem phased by it.
In the back of the main lobby, there is a floor to ceiling fish tank, so we chose a table in the next to it, and Sara was absolutely transfixed! She loved watching the fish swimming around, and couldn't take her eyes off from them. Meanwhile, Mark and I enjoyed the delicious food, and a couple of really good drinks from the bar while we listened to the band and chatted with his coworkers and their guests.
Sara was the youngest guest, and the life of the party! Everyone was coming up to say hello to her, and telling her how good she was being! Sara is, after all, pretty mellow most of the time. There was a table nearby with props for a photo booth that you could wear, so I put a little headband on her and snapped some pictures. One of which is one of my most favorite pictures of her I've ever taken!
We decided to show Sara around some other parts of the aquarium that we could go in to, which included a wave pool and a jellyfish tunnel. But by far, her favorite was the big tank up front, so we took her back there.
We enjoyed a few more songs, and waited for the raffle giveaways, which unfortunately, we didn't win anything. I looked outside, and it had begun to snow quite heavily, so we decided to call it a night.
It was a really enjoyable night, and I'm glad we were able to make it a family affair. And Sara did so good! She was the belle of the ball! I'll definitely have to take her back to the aquarium some time!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Winter Morning Tragedy

I woke up yesterday morning, got Sara ready for daycare, and on my morning commute, while listening to the news, I heard the most awful story.
Not too far away, on Camano Island, there was a terrible car accident. A young mother, just 23 years old, went off the roadway, and her van slammed into a tree and burst into flames. She was rescued, but with serious injuries, and her two children inside, a 3 year old and a 5 month old baby, were killed. Not too many details have been released yet about what caused the accident, but apparently it was a winding road, and with recent snowfall and icy conditions in the area, I think she probably lost control and slid off the road.
Being a parent myself, and having a baby that's just about the same age as her youngest, I can't imagine what she and her family are going through. I haven't heard how bad her injuries are, and I don't know if she's awake yet, but I can't imagine what it will be like when she receives the news in the hospital that her babies are dead. I pray that those little ones didn't feel any pain.
This story has been on my mind since I heard it yesterday, and at times has brought me to tears. So quickly, this family has been ruined forever. I just hope that in the coming days, as more details are released, that the internet trolls and keyboard cowboys don't go on a witch hunt for this poor mother, as they did for the family of Lane Graves, another tragic story that brought me to tears this past summer.
Yes, she was the driver, and was probably going too fast for the conditions, but she was just dealt the worst hand you can get. The last thing she needs is strangers all over the world calling her horrible names and driving it in that she's at fault (if she even is, because it's still unknown what even happened.) So I pray that this family is left to grieve in peace without all of the "perfect" people attacking them.
Some other things I've been thinking about if I were in her situation, is how I'd react afterwards. Sara is everything to me. My most precious treasure. If I was driving and had an accident that resulted in her death, I don't think I could deal. I've never had a suicidal thought in my life, but something like that, especially that horrific, could possibly take me there. I don't know. What I do know is that my heart is aching today for this mom and all that know her. Her name was released by the news, and I looked at her Facebook page, and the pictures of her beautiful children, whose lives were ended so abruptly, and I feel nothing but compassion for her, no mater what the circumstances. A family friend also set up a Gofundme for them, to which I donated, but as a fellow mother, I know that it won't make it ok. It will never be ok for her again.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Turkey Day Traditions

Wow! Thanksgiving has come and gone already! It seems like Halloween was just last week! The holidays come by so quick this time of year. It seems like they put up the Christmas decorations right next to the Halloween decorations in August. Starbucks rolls out it's Pumpkin Spice Latte earlier and earlier every year too. I've always been a traditionalist. I wait for October to start celebrating or even thinking about Halloween, November for Thanksgiving, and December for Christmas. Lost in all of the holiday hullabaloo is Thanksgiving. It seems like it's just an afterthought in between, but it has always been one of my favorites, full of tradition in and of itself!

I love getting up Thursday morning, putting on the Macy's parade, and getting the turkey ready, and coming up with a plan of attack for my meal. I make spiced apple cider in my slow cooker, and have a bottle of wine on the ready. This year, with a new baby, I was excited to include her in the traditions!

Sara is only 4 months old, but she is very aware, and loves watching tv! I'm pretty sure she's drawn to the shapes and colors, and enjoys watching and listening to people on the screen talk. She seemed pretty transfixed watching the Broadway numbers, and looking at all of the pretty floats! My parents, who moved to the state a few years ago, came to the house, and watched the parade with her while I got my meal ready.

In years past, I've always been kind of stressed trying to get all of my dishes ready on time so that my guests wouldn't have to wait forever for dinner. But when purchasing new appliances, I'm really glad I chose my double oven, as it makes cooking multiple dishes at the same time a breeze! I had dinner on the table by 3pm!

Sara is still too little to eat solids, but I still wanted to include her at the table. We sat her in her high chair, gave her her favorite toy to play with, and ate dinner together! She seemed to enjoy sitting with us, and was definitely interested in what we were doing!

The next morning was Black Friday, another tradition I take seriously! I don't get up and go shopping super early with the craziness, but I usually go mid to late morning. I've always enjoyed being around everyone at the mall, and still nabbing a few good deals!

This year, I took Sara with me. I dressed her in a comfy warm outfit, and headed out to one of my favorite stores, Nordstrom Rack. I was mainly shopping for Sara, looking for 12 month size clothes, and I wasn't disappointed! The Rack always has good deals on designers, and I can get them at a fraction of the cost that I would in their main store. Also, if you look really hard, sometimes you can find some real treasures! Jimmy Choo, Burberry, Prada, are just a few of the brands I've found here with affordable prices! Today, I found some great Hudson and True Religion Jeans, as well as a two piece Splendid outfit for Sara, each under $40!

I didn't leave empty handed, either. For myself, I found an oversized orange sweater and some gray skinny jeans, perfect for the season! Afterwards, we went over to the mall for a bit, where I picked up a set of Carter's onesies at Macy's, and wandered around a bit. Sara got a bit upset by some loud music playing at a few stores, and I reassured her that everything was ok, and she soon fell asleep.

We went home, and relaxed for the rest of the day, and watched a few shows on TV. Planes, Trains, and Automobiles and Charlie Brown Thanksgiving are two of my faves that we watch each year. I also started digging out all of the Christmas decorations to deck the halls with.

It was a fun holiday, filled with traditions from turkey to shopping, and football and decorating! As Sara gets older, and her future siblings come along, we will continue to make Thanksgiving one of our most treasured times of year!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The Wonderful World of Instagram Shopping

This post contains affiliate links, and I will be compensated if you make purchases after clicking on the links. Thanks for supporting GuG!

I love to shop! And living in a large metropolitan area, just about anything is available. I love perusing high end designer stores like Louis Vuitton, Prada, Jimmy Choo, and others. Although these brands, and those like them are quite spendy brand new, I love perusing consignment shops, thrift shops, and the internet looking for those labels second hand, and in some cases, replicas.

I love having a little girl, and shopping for her and dressing her up in cute little outfits is more fun than I thought it would ever be. A few months before Sara was born, I discovered a plethora of children's boutiques available on Instagram. These shops, which are usually small time, and run much like etsy, have so many cute clothes and accessories to choose from. As well as original pieces, they also have what are called "designer inspired" pieces! Anything you can think of, from Burberry to Chanel, Dior, LV, and others. The cutest little shoes and outfits! Everything I have bought has been great quality, and fairly inexpensive. The average price I've spent on items from these shops has been around $20, and they all use paypal, which makes payment super easy!

Sara always gets compliments on her "Chanel" shoes, and when she gets a little older, will have her own little "Louis Vuitton" bag to carry around, just like Mommy! I have found that many of the sites do sell the same items, so if one sells out, I can usually find what I'm looking for on another. Some of my favorite sites are Bowties and Tutus Boutique, Atlier by Sienna Ray, Glitter and Glam Shop,
4 Eva Eva, and Gilded Kisses, among others.

As Sara grows, I'll continue to scope out Instagram, always on the lookout for children's shops, and she will be the most stylish little girl around, and best of all, her little outfits won't brake the bank either!

Gymboree Sale On Now!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

The Long and Bumpy Road to Motherhood

Sara isn't my first child. In the Spring of 2014, I became pregnant.  Mark and I were elated, and having always dreamed about having children, I began to imagine what life would be like with our baby. Everything was going great, and at 10 weeks, I had a blood test and found out that we were having a boy. We had already agreed on a name, Carter. I was very excited, and ran out and bought a whole bunch of boy's clothes. At 18 weeks, just days before my mid pregnancy scan, I had a large gush of fluid come out. Panicked, I called Mark at work and told him to come home, and I raced to the ER.  I was hoping that it was just something else, like a bladder problem, but deep down, I knew something was wrong. Sure enough, they confirmed that it was indeed my water that had broken. While sometimes when this happens, the pregnancy can be saved, mine couldn't. The cord prolapsed, and our baby passed away. The next day at the hospital, I delivered Carter. We spent some time with him, and then I was released and we went home.

I immediately wanted to start trying again, because I wanted another chance to bring life into the world, and be a mother. I wanted another chance to try it again, because I felt that my body let me and Carter down, and I wanted to prove to myself that I could somehow carry a baby full term. When we got the ok from the doctor, we started trying, and I hoped that I would become pregnant again right away. It didn't happen. We'd try and try, for months. Sometimes I'd be late and I began to get really hopeful. I was obsessed with it. I tried not to make it a wedge that would come between Mark and I, because I knew he was mourning too. But I wanted to have life in me again.

After 6 months of trying, I talked to Mark and told him that I wanted to see a fertility doctor. Being 35 and quickly approaching my birthday, I had a feeling something was wrong, and began feeling like my pregnancy was a fluke, and it would never happen again. He agreed, and we began seeing a doctor. They ran tests on both of us, and I was told that I have a great chance of becoming pregnant again. Except it didn't happen. We discussed our options with the doctor, and I began a fertility drug therapy. They put me on a drug called Chlomid. I tried it for several cycles. It didn't work, and I started losing hope again. The next step was a stronger drug called Letrazol. I tried it, and after 14 months of an emotional roller coaster, I became pregnant again! I had another chance.

Because they were never able to figure out what exactly caused my water to break so early the first time around, I was labeled as high risk this time around, and saw a high risk doctor for weekly ultrasounds. Most people have just a couple of ultrasound pictures, I have a whole photo album full! Everything was going just fine, but this time around, I was a nervous wreck. Every little twinge or ache, and I panicked. I didn't want to be one of those hypochondriac types that constantly bothered my doctors, but they assured me that it was ok.

My 18th week was approaching, and I was very nervous. I was determined to go all the way, but just thinking about how we lost our son at this point, and having his bag of clothes that I had bought in our spare room, that I often went through, made me cry. That week came and went. I started to feel better, but still constantly nervous. Weeks continued to pass, and I finally made it to week 25, which is the age of viability, the earliest that a baby has a chance of survival if born too early. I relaxed a little more.

Finally, I was at the beginning of my third trimester, and at my last high risk ultrasound. All had been well so far, and I was finally letting myself be excited. I had even begun buying things for our baby, who would be a daughter. They did the ultrasound, and then the doctor came in to talk to me. They had found an issue with her brain, where they thought that they saw too much fluid on her brain, and they wanted me to get an MRI for a closer look.

I had to go straight to work, but I couldn't concentrate, and I was in tears. I made the appointment for the MRI, and waited anxiously for the week leading up to it. I prayed that everything would be fine, but I felt like my body was betraying me again. The day of the MRI appointment came, and luckily, everything turned out to be just fine. It was just bad positioning on the ultrasound.

I went into labor naturally 2 days before my due date, which was on July 22nd. All day Wednesday, I labored at home, and that night, went into the hospital to be checked. They told me I still had a while to go and sent me home. My water broke early the next morning on Thursday. We went to the hospital, and the next 2 days where a whirlwind. I got my epidural pretty early on Thursday morning, but did not start pushing until about 9 pm that night. I pushed, and I pushed. For 5 hours. Sara's head was turned awkwardly, and she was stuck. After each contraction, there was no progress. Finally, in the middle of the night, they took me to get a C Section.

Sara was born on her due date early in the morning on Friday, and at first, appeared completely healthy. Mark noticed that she was holding her right hand awkwardly, but the doctors didn't seem too concerned. We went back to our room and to our routine of the nurses coming in and out and lactation helping me get breastfeeding established. Every time we tried a feeding, Sara would go into a screaming fit, and sometime early Saturday morning, I noticed that after every crying fit, her whole body would shake. I thought it was hiccups, because she had been prone to them all through my pregnancy. Except she wasn't making that normal "hiccuping" sound. She had these shaking fits more and more often, and I began to feel like something was very wrong, and alerted a nurse. I was right.

They rushed Sara to the NICU. Because I had just had surgery, I couldn't go, so Mark went with her. That was agonizing for me, and I couldn't believe what was happening. After several hours, I finally found out that with her head being stuck, and all the pressure from the pushing, had caused major head trauma. They brought me to the NICU to see her, but she was about to be transferred to another hospital. I said goodbye to my baby, and I didn't know if I'd see her alive again. Mark went with her, of course, and I had to stay at my hospital for another day and a half.

The next week was very long and stressful. Sara had several tests, which included an MRI, CT scan, and two EEG tests to watch for seizure activity. She had a brain injury and had to be put on medication to control the seizures.  She also had nerve damage to her arm from the way her head had been turned while I had been pushing, which had caused the problem that Mark first noticed. I didn't know if my baby would ever fully recover, and if she'd ever be a normal child, or if she would have cognitive disabilities.

We finally got to go home, and try to get back to normal. Luckily, the medicine kept Sara from having more seizures, and she seemed pretty normal, making eye contact, and even smiling at me at just a few weeks old. Unfortunately, we were never really able to get a good breastfeeding habit established, so I nursed her sometimes, but had to start pumping and also feeding her formula. I started falling into a routine, and enjoyed motherhood.

Finally, after a follow up MRI and EEG, I can happily say that Sara is doing great, and is on the road to recovery! She is such a happy baby, and has even started daycare, where all of her caregivers just love her! The last few months have seemed to fly by, and I can't believe everything that happened. Hopefully, it will all be behind us, and she'll never have another problem due to this injury again. And I am now hopefully and happily getting ready to try to give her a sibling!

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Sara's First Halloween

Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays for as long as I can remember. When I was young, I loved helping to decorate the house, picking out a costume, and going trick or treating! Afterwards, I would watch scary movies and Halloween specials on television.

This year, with a new baby, we happily included her in the festivities. I decorated the house, as this is one of my favorite activities, and I always go all out! I included a grave yard, pumpkins, bats, and some hanging ghouls. I even added a fog machine this year, although I will admit, wasn't the best, and I'll have to find a better one next year. But even so, we still got a lot of compliments on the decorations!

One of the activities that Mark and I have enjoyed doing since we've been together is going to a corn maze and pumpkin patch. There are two near our home, Stocker Farms and Thomas Family Farms. This year, we chose Stocker's because their theme was the Peanuts Great Pumpkin. We dressed Sara in one of her two costumes, as Pikachu, and loaded her into her Bjorn so I could wear her in the maze. She was so darn cute in that little outfit, and got so many compliments! October is the start of the rainy season here in Western Washington, so the ground was very muddy and slippery, so I had to be extra careful with my little one strapped to my chest, but we still had a blast! Sara fell asleep almost immediately, and Mark and I navigated the maze using Peanuts themed trivia questions as clues to which way to go at various checkpoints throughout the maze. After about an hour of slushing through the corn, we finally solved it, and made it to the end!

Next, we wandered around the pumpkin patch, where Sara finally woke up, and was looking around, taking in all of the new sights, and all of the people. We also checked out the Family Fun Park, which is part of the farm, where they have all kinds of games and activities for the kiddos to enjoy. We will definitely have to bring Sara back when she's older, and I'm sure she'll have a blast! It was starting to rain again, so Mark and I shared some mini frosted donuts, and headed home for the day.

When Halloween night finally arrived, we were excited for Sara to greet all of the little ghosts and ghouls who would be coming to the door. We dressed her in her second costume, a Starfleet Captain, and got all of the candy set up. It turned out to be a rainy night (of course) but Sara had a good time, none the less, and even stared down a kid or two, lol!

After the last little goblin graced our doorstep for the night, we retired  upstairs to the bonus room to enjoy some Halloween faves on TV such as Hocus Pocus, The Nightmare before Christmas, and of course, It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown! It was a great holiday, and we had so much fun celebrating it with our little munchkin!

How To Book a Disney Cruise

Well, we did it again! Cruise life has been calling, and we listened! We've just booked another cruise on Disney Cruise Line for Summer ...