Thursday, January 30, 2014

A Whole Bunch of Squishy Snuggly Cuteness (AKA–Newborn Portraits)

I was beyond excited when I spotted an envelope from our photographer in the mail yesterday.

Evelyn had her newborn photo session when she was 8 days old with Lindsey Dutra Photography.  She had a wonderful studio set up in her home with all kinds of cute props, wraps, and headbands.  And she was so gentle and patient with Evelyn and the two older kids.

After receiving a DVD full of photos yesterday, I’m not sure how I’m supposed to pick which ones to hang on my walls.

Newborn Photo - Lindsey Dutra PhotographyNewborn Photo - Lindsey Dutra PhotographyNewborn Photo - Lindsey Dutra PhotographyNewborn Photo - Vintage Baby Carriage -  Lindsey Dutra PhotographyNewborn Photo - Luggage - Lindsey Dutra PhotographyNewborn Photo - Lindsey Dutra PhotographyNewborn Photo - Lindsey Dutra PhotographyNewborn Photo - Princess Crown - Lindsey Dutra PhotographyNewborn Photo - Lindsey Dutra PhotographyNewborn Photo - Military - Navy - Lindsey Dutra Photography
Newborn Photo - Military - Navy - Lindsey Dutra Photography

Newborn and Sibling Photo - Lindsey Dutra PhotographyNewborn and Sibling Photo - Lindsey Dutra PhotographyNewborn and Siblings Photo - Lindsey Dutra PhotographySibling Photo - Lindsey Dutra Photography

I may just need to dedicate an entire wall to all this cuteness!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Coming Summer 2014 – Another Cross-Country Move!


As we near the end of our time at one duty station, I always become anxious to find out where we’ll be going next.  I research all of the possibilities – looking at houses, neighborhoods, and now that our kids are older – schools.

This go round was no different.  Jarrod would come home with different ideas about where he might want to go, and I would research them.  Once his time came to start negotiating orders with the detailer before Christmas, it wasn’t long before the detailer came back with verbal orders (which aren’t really “verbal” since they are given thru email rather than spoken word).  Verbal orders aren’t set in stone and can certainly change, so other than more research, not much else could be done.  No getting on housing lists, etc.

We weren’t expecting to get orders until sometime this spring, but the Navy surprised us and sent written orders a few days before Christmas.

So, where are we going next?

Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania.

Yes, Jarrod is in the Navy, and no, there is no ocean there.  But there is a HUGE supply/logistics center, and that’s where he will be working.

We’ll be close to Hershey (hopefully I won’t put on an extra 5 pounds), Amish Country, Gettysburg, and a slew of other places I want to visit.

We told the kids about the orders as soon as we got them.  Their first question was if Pennsylvania had snow.  I’m sure they will get their fill of it.

And this mommy is pumped about the snow after finding this recipe.

Snow-garitas! (click link for recipe)

The day after we told the kids about moving to Pennsylvania, Trenton asked me to show him on the map where we would be moving.  And boy was he excited!  Because “Pennsylvania is right on top of Virginia and that’s where Cullen and Bennett live.  We’ll be able to see them again!”  They’ll still be 2 hours and 20 minutes away (not counting Washington D. C. traffic), but we’re already starting to talk about a reunion!

I’m still stressing about finding a house, schools, church, etc., but now I at least know where to look.

And it looks like it’s time to finish knocking stuff off of our Monterey bucket list!

Monday, January 27, 2014

A “Fintastic” Shark Party

Trenton had his sights set on a shark themed 5th birthday party ever since he sat glued to the TV watching Shark Week last summer.

Thankfully the only requirement he had to make it a “shark party” was a shark cake.  And good thing.  Because this mom of a two week old baby did not feel like going all pinterest-y with party décor.  Tables covered with blue table cloths.  That was the extent of my decorating.

But I did search Pinterest for cake and snack ideas.  And came up with this -

Shark Birthday Cake
(Fin - graham crackers, eyes – Junior Mints, mouth – fruit roll up, teeth – mini marshmallows)

Shark Party Snacks

The shark was pretty easy.  For complete instructions, visit HERE or HERE.  One tip that neither of these sites mentioned was how to make gray icing.  Gray is hard when it comes to icing (which is why last years moon cake was such a dark gray).  Add a little black paste to white icing, and it turns lavender-ish.  But add in a bit of yellow too, and it makes a nice gray! 

Shark Birthday Cake
Shark Birthday Cake

Too bad I didn’t make an alien shark – with 6 eyes and 3 mouths.  Of course those were the parts that pretty much every kid at the party wanted!

Shark Birthday Cake

And just because – here is our first picture as a family of five.


And stay tuned for some cuteness later this week.  Newborn photos are on their way!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Do I Really Have a 5 Year Old?

Yes, as of today I do.


The past five years feel like they’ve flown by.


So what is Trenton up to this year?  Here is the annual survey of favorites.

What is your favorite color? Orange
What is your favorite toy?
What is your favorite fruit?
What is your favorite TV Show?
Curious George
What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch?
What is your favorite outfit?
What is your favorite game?
What is your favorite snack?
Chocolate Covered Strawberries
What is your favorite animal?
What is your favorite book? Curious George books
Who is your best friend?
What is your favorite cereal?
Honey Clusters
What is your favorite thing to do outside?
Swinging on the swings at the playground
What is your favorite drink? Chocolate Milk
What is your favorite holiday?
What do you like to take to bed with you at night?
What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?
Sprinkled Waffles
What do you want to eat for dinner on your birthday?
Cheese Pizza
What do you want to be when you grow up? Astronaut

Trenton challenges me every day.  He is stubborn, doesn’t always listen, and can sometimes take pleasure in getting Charlotte in trouble (I’m sure neither Jarrod nor myself ever tried to get our younger siblings in trouble). But he is also smart, caring, meticulous, determined, funny, and has a crazy good memory (which can be a bad thing too!).  I cherish seeing him grow everyday, and look forward to seeing the man that he will become (as long as it doesn’t come too soon!).

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Evelyn’s Birth Story

Friday was the big day for our family.  We welcomed this little cutie into our lives.

photo 5 (1)
(I ordered the Evelyn’s onesie and cap from Zulily and made the leg warmers out of women’s socks from Target.)

It started out pretty normal (other than Jarrod not having to leave for school).  We got up, got everyone breakfast (other than me who could have nothing to eat or drink after 3am), and got dressed.

Then it was out the door for pre-k/preschool drop off.  And one last photo as a family of four.

photo (22)

After dropping the kids off, Jarrod and I still had a little while before we had to report to the hospital, so we went out to the beach to take in the beautiful morning.

photo 2 (14)

We got to the family birth center right around 10:00, were given a check-in room, and I was given rags to clean up with (maybe the beach wasn’t the smartest decision).

The third try was finally a charm in placing my IV.  My veins are rarely friendly.

Just before it was time for me to walk down to the OR, we were told that a regular room opened up for us.  Jarrod took our things to our new room and got changed while I was taken to the OR.

Walking into that operating room was overwhelming.  The lights, the instruments, everyone in scrubs, and the fact that Jarrod wasn’t there with me (he couldn’t come in until the doctors were ready to slice into me) was A LOT to take in.  Thankfully one of the nurses and my anesthesiologist caught onto this, and calmed my nerves pretty quick. 

Once my doctors were in and had me all prepped, Jarrod was brought into the room.  Blood can make Jarrod pretty queasy, but he was determined to stand up the whole time and watch my c-section.  And he did great!

The whole c-section sensation was a little weird.  I couldn’t feel the doctors cutting me, but I could feel pushing, pulling, and pressure.  Definitely weird, but oh so worth it.

It wasn’t long before they pulled our baby girl out of me and I heard a wail.  And that she immediately peed everywhere.  She was also frank breach with her feet right in her face.  Apparently she hadn’t been like that long because she straightened right out.

She was taken over to the warming table to be checked out by the pediatrician, and Jarrod got to cut her cord.

Once she got the okay from the pediatrician, Evelyn Delores (Delores was my Nanny’s name) was brought over to meet me.  It was a much different experience than when Trenton and Charlotte were given to me immediately following delivery, but it was just as special.


Evelyn and Jarrod left to the nursery while I was closed up.  I remember feeling nauseous as soon as they left the room, but the anesthesiologist put some Zofran in my IV, and I managed not to get sick.

Before long I was all stapled up and headed to the recovery room.  Jarrod and Evelyn soon reunited with me and I was able to feed Evelyn.  When it was time for me to go to our regular room, Jarrod and Evelyn went back to the nursery for a bath, eye ointment, and Hep B vaccine.

My ride to our room wasn’t a fun one.  I all of the sudden had a huge rush of nausea.  But I didn’t throw up.  And there was a tray of food waiting for me in the room.  Now it was just a liquid diet, but after not eating or drinking for 12 hours, I dug into the strawberry icee and ice chips.  And then threw up.  And I kept throwing up off and on the rest of the night.  It was definitely not a fun side effect of surgery.  And up-chucking most certainly did not help with c-section pain. 

But Little Miss Cuteness made up for it!

photo 3 (7)

My parents brought Trenton and Charlotte to the hospital after dinner.  They were so excited to meet their new sister!  I just loved seeing their faces light up when they saw her.


Thankfully I was able to make it through the middle of the night without any more puking.  And by morning I was able to keep down a liquid breakfast.  I was also able to get up out of bed for the first time and make it to the shower since I wasn’t nauseous any more.  I had some pain, but it wasn’t unbearable.

My parents and the kids came by again Saturday afternoon and the kids got to hold Evelyn for the first time.


Saturday night, I was hit with another type of pain.  Gas pains.  In my shoulder.  It was the weirdest thing ever, and it hurt so bad.  Like every time I took a breath.  Which is pretty often.  My incision site was fine, but I was taking Percocet for weird gas pains!  Thank goodness they went away over night, and they didn’t come back!

Sunday I was feeling even better.  I was still really tired though.  I found out that my blood levels were low from loss of blood during surgery.  Combine that with pain meds that cause drowsiness, and I was always wanting to sleep.  I decided Sunday morning that I wasn’t going to take anything stronger than the prescription strength Aleve unless I absolutely had to.  And I haven’t taken anything stronger since.

photo 4 (5)

Anyway, since my blood levels were low, my doctors decided to keep me until Monday.

Monday came around, I got my staples taken out (just steri-strips now), Evelyn got checked out (Little Miss Guzzler only lost 6% of her body weight – 7 ounces – during our time in the hospital), and we were ready to go home!

photo (23)

Time to start a new chapter with our family!


*Thanks to everyone for all of the congratulatory comments and the advice/encouraging words before my c-section.  You guys are awesome!*


Friday, January 10, 2014

She’s Here!

Evelyn Delores
7 pounds, 4 ounces
19 inches



Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Big “C”

Baby Girl will be here before too long.  And I’m not going to lie.  I’m nervous.  Not so much about adding a third kid to our crazy mess, but because I have to have a c-section.

Little Miss Stubborn did not turn when she dropped.  She is still breech.  And because my fluid levels are on the low side, my doctor doesn’t want to try to manually turn her.

So a c-section it is.

I’m not really that nervous about the surgery itself.  I know that it’s the best way to get my little girl out healthy.

But I am nervous about the recovery.

How will a c-section affect breast feeding?
Can I expect nausea after surgery?
Will I be able to take the stairs once I get home so that I can sleep in my own bed?
Am I a total nutcase for scheduling Trenton’s 5th birthday party for two weeks post-op (his actual birthday is one week after Baby is born, but I talked him into pushing a party back a week)?
What else am I supposed to know because I feel totally clueless even though this is my third kid.

I definitely know not to expect to be able to do this anytime soon.

Two Babies
Trenton – 14 months and Charlotte – 2 days old weighing 5 pounds

I know that no matter how nervous I am, that God has this thing all planned out, and it will all go according to His plan.  It still doesn’t keep a momma from stressing out though…

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Don’t Judge Me

“Judge not, lest ye be judged.”

Now, I’m not going to say I’m perfect on the not judging thing.  Far from it.  Show me a mom with a baby in one arm and a lit cigarette in the other, and I’m more than likely going to judge.

But it seems like every few months there is a blog post about moms on cell phones that goes viral on Facebook.  Moms telling other moms that they are missing out on their children’s childhood because they are using their cell phones.

I have no doubt that there are moms (and dads, but they don’t seem to get judged the way moms do) who ignore their kids to check Facebook or play Candy Crush.

But unless you’re a spy with the NSA, you have absolutely no clue what that mom you are judging is doing on her phone.

The mom on her cell phone in the doctor’s office while her sick kid is crying?  Maybe she is trying to find someone to pick up her other children from school since she can’t.

The mom talking on her cell phone in the car (using her hands-free device in many states) instead of talking to her kids?  Maybe she is talking to her husband who is in Afghanistan and is only able to call once a month.

It has been said that your children won’t remember your Facebook posts, Instagram pictures, or blog posts.  Well, I don’t know about you, but I don’t print out pictures and put them in photo albums like my parents and grandparents did (and no one judged them for toting cameras around saying they were missing out by being behind the camera instead of playing with their kids).  My blog IS my album.  Heck, I have a 1/3 finished baby book for Trenton and never even got around to buying one for Charlotte, so real albums obviously don’t work for me.  My kids love looking at blog posts – especially ones when they were babies.  Just like looking back at old photo albums at my parents’ house brings back memories of my childhood, looking at my blog will bring back memories for my kids.

I carry my phone with me everywhere.  It is my camera.  If I didn’t have it on me, I’d miss out on moments that I wouldn’t want to forget.

Like these from today…

photo 1 (13)photo 2 (13)

My phone is my notepad.  There are many times that we are out and about that one of my kids say something really funny.  With my phone, I can type it right in so I don’t forget it later.

My phone is how I stay in touch with my family who all live two time zones away.

My phone is my calendar and to-do list.

My phone can lead me in the rosary.  It can serve as a jukebox at a moments notice so that we can have an impromptu dance party to stop a fit in its tracks.  It gives me pregnancy updates.  It is my flashlight.

Yes, I use my phone for Facebook and games too.  But don’t assume that because I am on my phone, I am wasting my time and neglecting my kids.  And I won’t assume the same of you.  Moms have a hard enough job without worrying about other moms judging them.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Wild Things

I hit the 38-week mark today.  We have been spending a lot of time getting ready for Baby (and I’ve spent a lot of time on the couch resting too), so this afternoon we decided to go on a family outing.

When we went to Lake Tahoe our first summer here, we boarded Bailey at a kennel on the same property as an exotic animal sanctuary.  I’ve been wanting to get back to tour the facility ever since, but we had never made it.

Until today.

Wild Things - Salinas, CA

And what a beautiful day to tour Wild Things.  70 degrees in January.  I’ll take it!

Wild Things isn’t a normal zoo (although they are working to convert to a true zoo within the next five years).  Animals are housed in large cages/enclosures – with the exception of the elephants, ostrich, zebra, and African water buffalo – but caged animals are all taken out during the day for walks or training.  Some of the animals have been in movies and commercials.

Wild Things - Salinas, CA

What I really enjoyed about visiting Wild Things was that it wasn’t like walking around a normal zoo, looking at different animals and maybe reading a bit about them.  At Wild Things tours happen once a day, and a tour guide/animal trainer takes your group around to each different animal and teaches you about them.

Wild Things - Salinas, CA
Did you know that alligators are not green in color?  They are actually grey.  They get their green coloration in the wild from algae and moss in the water they live in.

The kids were great.  Trenton took pictures with his camera and asked questions about nearly every animal.    

Wild Things - Salinas, CAWild Things - Salinas, CAWild Things - Salinas, CA

After our tour ended we stuck around for the elephant meet and greet.  The kids loved feeding the elephants!

Wild Things - Salinas, CAWild Things - Salinas, CAWild Things - Salinas, CAWild Things - Salinas, CA

Our fun afternoon ended with trying out an amazing ice cream shop/water shop/post office.  It was the most random place ever, but the ice cream was delicious and very reasonably priced.

A-Plus Water - Marina, CAA-Plus Water - Marina, CA   

Now back to working on my before Baby comes to-do list!