Friday, May 6, 2016

Things My Momma Taught Me

My mother is the most beautiful person in the whole world. Inside and out. In my short 26 years on this earth, she has taught me so much. I'll name just a few:

1. You can never have too much black/gray in your wardrobe. I'm pretty sure she's got Hepburn blood running in her veins. She wears black almost constantly. And she looks fabulous in it.

2. We work before we play. I can still hear her voice when I was younger, rightly scolding me for playing when I hadn't finished that day's chores yet. It's a valuable lesson I hope to pass on to my children.

3. There's always something more to learn. My momma loves learning. She's always reading. And not just books. She's the person that got a MacBook and instead of getting someone else to show her how to use it, she got out the manual and read it. And got all giddy when she learned all the fancy finger-swiping tricks. It was adorable. All throughout my childhood, anytime I would ask her what a word meant, she would say, "Look it up." I'm not sure why I kept asking her what words meant when I knew she wasn't going to tell me.

4. Don't be a quitter. I've watched her go through difficult circumstances over the years. Circumstances that she could have easily just decided to stop trying at. But she didn't. She would ride it out till it was time to quit, not when she felt like it. This is why I was technically in marching band for all of 7th grade even though we moved halfway through and I was way behind the other kids at the new school and my teacher didn't even really make me play because I was so terrible.

5. Make lists. Make list of your lists. To do lists. Packing lists. Shopping lists. I used to make fun of her for her lists. But I can't do that anymore...because I got the list making bug. Here I am, making a list of things she taught me. So yeah. #allthelists

6. Despite your circumstances, Jesus is always enough.

7. Having a hairdresser you trust is crucial to happiness. Yes I know this contradicts #6. I'm being hyperbolic.

8. Love is not always mushy gushy. I've gotten so many hugs and kisses over the years, but I also got tough love. And I'm so thankful for that.

9. She taught me how to sew.....twice.

One more. And it's a biggie.

10. She taught me how to cook. She is a fabulous cook and she has loved her family and many other people well with her delicious meals. Some of my most precious memories with my Momma are in the kitchen, with our aprons on, chopping, sautéing, tasting, laughing. She loves food and she passed down that love to me. And for that I am forever grateful.

I could go on and on with the depths of wisdom my mother has passed down to me. And I'm still learning from her. I am so thankful to call her my Momma and best friend. Happy Mother's Day, Ravishing Rita! I love your guts!


What is one of your favorite things your mother taught you?

Sunday, April 10, 2016

DEWPS: A Dietary Journey Part 2 Spaghetti and Meatballs

I recently started a dairy free, egg free, wheat free, peanut free, soy free diet with my 1 year old who is allergic to all of these things, (You can read that whole story, here). The only reason I started it was because he was still nursing. Then about 5 days into the diet, he decided he was done nursing. Gee thanks, kid, for making me go through the withdrawals from wheat and dairy just to quit nursing. However, instead of going to attack the block of cheese in my fridge, I decided I liked how I felt and to stick with it for at least 4 weeks.

Today is day 11. (Update: I procrastinated getting this posted so it's actually Day 16, but who's counting, eh?) (Update #2: My computer wasn't cooperating and I couldn't get the pictures to upload so it's actually day 17 #bloggingfail) So far it's been the hardest since I got over the withdrawal hump. I just really really want some rosemary olive oil bread, or a cheesy pizza, or a cheeseburger from The Pharmacy. Oy. In an effort to scratch the pasta/bread itch, we are having spaghetti and meatballs for dinner. We are using gluten free spaghetti made from rice and quinoa. As far as the meatballs go, I had a hard time finding a recipe online that was DEWPS friendly. It seemed like if you took out egg, they added wheat, and vice versa.  So I concocted my own recipe.

I made a really big crockpot size batch of sauce and meatballs since we like leftovers around here.

"Mmmm, this is good, Momma!"

"If I don't eat it all in one bite, it might disappear..."

DEWPS Stupid Good Spaghetti Sauce w/ Meatballs

4 big cans crushed tomatoes
1 small can tomato paste
5-6 cloves of garlic, minced
2 Tbs olive oil
1/4- 1/3 cup dry red wine (optional)
1 1/2 tsp each of parsley, basil, and oregano (fresh herbs make this even better, but I use dried most of the time)
1tsp. salt, more to taste
3/4 tsp pepper, more to taste

Dump all of this is your crockpot with seared meatballs (recipe below) and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 4 hours, stirring occasionally.

3 1/2 (ish) pounds of ground beef (for added flavor, sub a pound of the beef with Italian sausage)
1/8-1/4 cup chicken broth
2 TBS olive oil
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
11/2 tsp. each of parsley, oregano, and basil
1/2 tsp. onion powder (next time I want to try grated fresh onions)

In a large bowl, mix ground beef with chicken broth and olive oil with your hands until you can form a meatball that holds together well. Mix salt, pepper, parsley, oregano, basil, and onion powder in a separate small bowl and incorporate into the meat with your hands. (You could technically do all this mixing with your stand mixer but its easy to over mix and then you have tough meatballs. That would be no good). Now, roll out your meat into cute little cocktail sized meatballs.

Heat a couple more tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in an iron skillet, and sear the outside of your meatballs, before dropping them into your sauce to finish cooking in the crockpot.

When the meatballs are cooked through and the alcohol has cooked out of the sauce, boil up some gluten free spaghetti, add a side salad, and ENJOY!

"Nom Nom Nom!"

"Can I has some more, pwease?"

Happy Eating!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

My StitchFix Story + A Fashion Show

Shortly after my sweet , little Calvin was born, a friend of mine posted about her Stitch Fix experience on Facebook. I had just been lamenting about my own wardrobe being a bit ratty and quite frankly not age appropriate since the only things I could find to fit me were in the juniors section. Except now all my juniors clothes didn't fit my post baby body and getting dressed (when I did actually make the effort to do so) was getting downright depressing.  So I signed up for what would become my favorite way to shop in the history of EVER!

I carefully filled out my style profile and even read blog posts about how to get the most out of each "fix". I also created a Pinterest board specifically for my stylist and loaded it up with all my favorite pins that had been lurking on my fashion boards. After writing more specifics for my stylist in a "Fix Note", the only thing left to do was wait. When the waiting was finally over and that first box arrived at my door I was completely hooked. You can read about that specific fix HERE!

If you've been thinking about trying StitchFix or maybe you've never heard of it, you should definitely check it out! And in case you're interested, here's what I personally LOVE about StitchFix:

1. The clothes are unique, designer, and high quality! The jeans I own from StitchFix feel like BUTTER! The dresses I have are CRAZY comfortable and definitely not see through or cheap fabric. And same story with the tops I have. The clothes are just wonderful.

2. It's like Christmas morning! It's like a pretty box, just for you! And even though you know it's clothes, there's still that element of surprise in not knowing exactly what you're getting. :-D (Unless you're one of those heathens that has the StitchFix app and as soon as your fix ships, you peek at what they're sending. Sorry, but we can't be friends.)

3. No malls. No crowded stores. No pushy salesperson. Just you and the pretty box and 3 days to decide what you want to keep.

I could go on and on, but I'll leave you with those main reasons for now. I will however, mention a little something about the prices. As I mentioned in point #1 up there, these are quality, designer pieces. Not Target brand things that become misshapen after a few washes. Therefore, you're going to pay more. There is a section in your style profile where you can specify a general price range. I always have mine at "The cheaper the better" and the next level up is $50-$100. So yes, it is expensive. But I'm at a stage of life where I'd rather make the investment in pieces that are going to last me several years, than go buy a whole new wardrobe every season because everything from the year before is worn out. Since it is expensive, I have just been getting a fix every season and aside from my very first fix, I don't keep everything. I only keep what I LOVE.  Some people get a fix every month but no matter how often you get one, you're not locked into a fix schedule with Stitch Fix so you can get one whenever it strikes your fancy! :-D

And just to give you a little taste of what you can get from StitchFix, I decided to do a little fashion show with the pieces I've gotten in my fixes. I should also mention that a couple things I've gotten from a Facebook buy/sell/trade board for StitchFix items, which is a great way to get one specific item you're looking for without getting an entire fix.

Without further ado, I give you StitchFix!

First up: Pixely Greenich Striped Knit Top & Level 99 Giovanni Skinny Straight Leg Jeans in Green

This is my birthday fix outfit! I scheduled a fix to come the day before my birthday and specifically asked for a bonfire outfit and my stylist, Erin, nailed it! I wore these pieces constantly throughout the fall and winter!

Next: Market & Spruce Corinna Striped Dolman Top & Pixley Stacey Scallop Hem Cut Out Detail Skirt

Let's start with this shirt. OH MY! SO SOFT. It's a highly coveted item in the Stitch Fix world and there's a rumor that they're phasing it out. I SO hope that's not true. Because I need it in every color that it possibly comes in. It's unbelievably versatile and I kinda wear it all the time. Here I've dressed it up with a skirt that I got in my last fix. It is truly adorable and unique. And it's navy which means just about everything I own will coordinate. :-D

Below, you'll see even more of this fabulous top's versatility. I've dressed it down with a pair of Level 99 Giovanni Skinny Straight Leg jeans in a different color. (I got these jeans off eBay when I realized that the green pair fit me as if my fairy godmother had sewn it herself). And of course I added a pop of color with the converse I wore at my wedding!  :-) 

Neeeeeext!Queensland Dolman Jersey Top and Just Black Adorra Skinny Jean

This top was one of those pieces that I would have never picked up in the store. But my stylist sent it in my very first fix for me to try and I love it! It is CRAZY comfortable! It's not as versatile as some of my other pieces but is fun to put on for a casual date night with my leopard pumps and yellow beads. These jeans. Oh these jeans! I feel like a broken record, but these are also CRAZY comfortable. I like the darker wash for when I want a dressier look. I purchased these from a Facebook Stitch Fix buy/sell/trade board. 

 This next one has a story behind it: Gilli Jessie Maxi Dress

At this point you're probably thinking, "Wait...that's not a maxi dress..." Indeed, it is no longer a maxi.
 So here's the story. Once upon a time, my sweet hunk of a husband was being awesome and doing laundry. He was not aware that it needed washed on the delicate cycle. He was also not aware that it was line dry only. So when it came out of the dryer, it was at this awkward shin length that was extremely unflattering. So, I had it hemmed and to be quite honest, loved it way better on me as a knee length dress! I even thanked my husband for ruining my dress. He asked if he could have that in writing. I said no. I love him. The End.

And last but not least, my MOST favorite Stitch Fix purchase to date: 41 Hawthorn Sara Dress
Where to begin with what I love about this dress. The material is so soft, the cut is so flattering, the stripes are so fun, I heart that it's navy, it's the perfect length, it's so happy and feminine and wonderful and I JUST LOVE IT SO MUCH! Below, is how I wore it for Easter Sunday. Those blue mint shoes are just to die for as well, but they are ModCloth, not Stitch Fix.
 And as you can see, this dress is the very definition of versatile:

Isn't it so FUN!!??

 I got a little carried away....

 AND! It's not JUST for summer time! I dug out my cozy, thick mustard cardigan, boot socks and boots, and now I'm ready for fall again!

Okay. I'm done. I promise. 

As you can see, Stitch Fix is just a whole lot of fun, and you can acquire some really great pieces to add to your wardrobe. If you've never gotten a fix, you seriously need to try it! Feel free to pin any of my pics to your Pinterest inspiration boards!

Oh and one more thing! If you wouldn't mind signing up with this link right here, I'd appreciate it immensely! Ya see, one of the cool things about Stitch Fix is that after you sign up and get a fix, you can recommend it to other people and get referral credit towards your next fix! Super awesome!

Thanks for reading! 


Thursday, March 31, 2016

DEWPS- A Dietary Journey

Let's start at the very beginning....a very good place to start. A couple months back, our son Calvin who was around 10 months old, started breaking out in eczema all over his face, neck, and even some spots on his back. The poor kid looked miserable. We weren't sure what was causing it since he had been eating a variety of foods since he was around 6 months old and we hadn't introduced anything new before the breakout. At our doctor's suggestion, we switched to fragrance free soap, cut out eggs from his diet, and started putting Aquaphor on his eczema spots. That seemed to clear it up a little, but it never really went away. Then a week or so before his first birthday, it got worse again. His face was bright red, his eyes were always puffy and watery with dark circles under them, and the backs of his arms would randomly get red and hot and puffy. He was no longer my happy-go-lucky, smiley baby. He was quite obviously, miserable. After seeing our doctor again (who we LOVE, by the way), he was convinced it was a reactionary rash to something he was eating and that a blood test would be the most accurate and fast way to pinpoint what we needed to eliminate from Calvin's diet.

I won't EVEN get into the circus that was my week trying to get blood drawn from that poor kid. The bottom line is, we got the blood and the results came back saying he was mildly allergic to the following: Dairy, Eggs, Wheat, Peanuts, and Soy (DEWPS-I made up this acronym all by myself!). Next, we made a game plan. Eliminate all of it for 4 weeks, and if the rash clears up by then, we re-introduce one food at a time to see which one(s) is causing the eczema. If it doesn't clear up after those 4 weeks, we have to run more extensive blood tests.

My brain was immediately like, "OMG WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO COOK FOR HIM??!!!" Then my our doctor proceeded to tell me that the blood test also showed that his iron and zinc levels were a tad low, and that even though I was about to quit nursing, I should keep nursing because that would help make sure those levels go up (And we're giving him supplements). Which means I need to not eat dairy, eggs, wheat, peanuts, and soy. Then my brain went, "OMG I AM GOING TO STARVE TO DEATH!! WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO EAT!!!!!!!!?????"

For those of you who may not know me, let me explain something....I LOVE TO EAT. ALL the foods! I love to cook and I use a LOT of butter and CHEEEEEESE!!!! We buy our cheese in bulk because we eat SO much of it. Ever seen Oprah talk about how much she loves bread in that Weight Watchers commercial? Yeah that's how I feel about bread too. I also love to bake. Just about every single one of my favorite baking recipes has butter, eggs, milk, and flour in it. All of which I can now not eat. WHAT in the actual what. Pity parties ensued as did massive withdrawal headaches and fatigue.

(Side note: The day before I got the blood results I had been praying that God would reveal idols of my heart that were taking His place. I believe this was a direct answer to prayer. Not what I had in mind. But when is His plan ever what I had in my finite, fallible mind?)

After I got over the initial pity party phase, I yanked on my big girl panties, got on Pinterest,  and planned an entire 4 weeks worth of DEWPS friendly meals. Some of them are brand new recipes that I've never tried and others are recipes of my own that I've adapted. I also tried to make the meals things that you could easily add cheese to for my Hubby and other son. For now, I'm trying to make do with ingredients I'm used to working with. I did however, buy some vegan cheese, (NEVER again) that Calvin seems to like a lot, but makes me shudder every time I take a bite.

Today was Day 7 of DEWPS.
Breakfast: sausage patties, avocado slices, tomatoes, and fruit.
Lunch: Leftover bun-less burgers, guacamole, and chili roasted sweet potatoes 
Snack: Skinny Pop Popcorn, 2 DEWPS friendly cookies I found in the healthy section at Kroger
Dinner: Lemon-Garlic roasted whole chicken, mashed potatoes, and green beans with tomatoes and bacon

There has been lots of guacamole made in the past 7 days. Thankfully, I can still get my carb fix with tortilla chips, rice, potatoes, and corn. And I can still have coffee and wine. So life is still pretty good. Not to mention, I FEEL great! Super energized, motivated to do yoga in the mornings, and just all around healthy. Calvin is back to his smiley self as well and his little chubby cheeks are starting to look as clear as they did the day he was born. So far his favorites of this new diet have been the guacamole and the chili- roasted sweet potatoes, but he's pretty much a garbage disposal for anything we throw on his tray.

Funnily enough, all this work and as of a few days ago, I can't get Calvin to nurse. He is just not interested anymore. So, I could technically go back to eating whatever I want. However, I made it a whole week. And like I told my hubby, this is good for me to do something I don't want to do. It's good for my physical health and I think it's good for my spiritual health as well. Learning to look to Jesus for comfort, rather than food. Learning to use self-control. Learning that just because I "want" something, doesn't mean I need it.

Throughout the rest of the 4 weeks, I will be blogging some of the recipes I'm trying and maybe someone out there is looking to the cyber world for inspiration, because they just found out their kid has food allergies. And maybe, just maybe, this little blog might be of help.

Happy eating, folks!


Friday, September 18, 2015

The Sick Bell

I'm currently laying (Lying? Laying? I didn't pay attention in Grammar class) on the couch at 12:26 in the afternoon. There are tissues stuffed up both of my nostrils. I've got a cough drop tucked in my cheek, and next to me on the coffee table sits my 4th cup of hot tea, a box of Kleenex with lotion, a bag of Ricola throat drops, the TV remote, and about 473 dirty tissues that were all dirtied in the last 22 minutes. To state the obvious, I have a cold.

I. Hate. Being. Sick.

What's worse is that my babies are sick too. It's been a fun 2 days of us all sneezing, snotting, and snoozing together. Lots of Pixar movies and Thomas the Tank Engine have graced the screen of our TV.

Much like my own kids, I want my Momma when I'm sick. When I was sick as a child, my mom would send us to bed to get plenty of rest and drink lots of fluids. (Rabbit trail: I never could quite understand how I was supposed to be sleeping and drinking lots of water at the same time.) She would come tuck me in my bed, kiss my forehead to check for a fever, and give me the sick bell. 

Ah, the sick bell. I loved that thing. It was the only fun part about being sick. It had magical powers to summon the woman that usually did the summoning and then you could ask her to bring you things.... And she would bring them! Unless it was candy, of course. I would lay there (lie there??) trying to think of things to ring the bell for. "Can I watch a movie?", "I'm hungry.", "I need another blanket." 

I don't remember it ever happening, but I imagine the magic sick bell was taken away from me a time or two due to me abusing my power. With great power come great responsibility, eh? 

I'm 25 now and I don't live in my parents house anymore. My mommy doesn't drive across town to tuck me in when I'm sick. I have no sick bell.  While my hubby is at work, I have to go fetch my own food and water, not mention nurse a growing 6 month old, and feed the odd appetite of a two year old. I'm not complaining. I'm just...reminiscing. And thinking about how much my mom took care of when I was younger. It's something I could never fully appreciate until I was a mother myself. So, thanks Momma. 

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go look on Etsy for a bell....

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Stitch Fix #1

Imagine with me for a moment, that one day you open your front door and there on your front porch is a box. A beautiful box that contains not one, not two, but FIVE pieces of quality, designer clothes. They are all your size, and chances are you will fall in love with most of them. And you didn't have to step one foot into a store with pushy sales people and too many options to process. Ladies, welcome to StitchFix.

I first heard about StitchFix from a friend on Facebook. She had posted about loving her most recent "fix" and I decided to check it out. After talking to my hubby about it, I decided to give it a try. So here's how it works: 

First, you fill out a style profile. It has info for your very own personal stylist about your sizing, age, general style, modesty preferences, and ballpark budget. There's even a nifty section to write down extra notes so you can tell them stuff like, "don't even send me a mini skirt" or "I love the colors yellow and gray together." I was sure to specify that I was nursing and a stay at home mom who likes fun colors and comfy clothes that I can still look put together in. 

Also, you can add a link to a Pinterest board on your style profile. I recommend making an entire new board and pin things on there for your stylist to get a good idea of your overall style. Make notes on each pin telling what you do and don't like about it. 

Next, you schedule a fix! You can schedule a fix anytime you want for as often as you want. I signed up for a fix every 3 months. It seemed like a good idea to get a fix per season. It will be a way to jazz up the clothes I already have without going out and buying an entirely new wardrobe. There's even a spot in the fix scheduling process to make more notes for your stylist about that specific fix. I mentioned that it would be nice to have a new dress for church since all the dresses I own are not nursing friendly.

And wait (cue the theme song from Jeopardy).

This is the hardest part. Waiting for your fix to show up at your door. I love surprises and even though I knew I was getting clothes, I didn't know what exactly, and it felt like I was waiting for Christmas day. However the day FINALLY arrived and I was NOT disappointed! Without further ado, here is what I got in my first StitchFix.

1) The Jessie Maxi Dress ($74).

How cool that the name of the dress is my name?? I love, love, love everything about this dress. The fit is perfect. It is comfortable, flattering, modest, high quality fabric, and not to mention...ADORABLE!! One of my favorite parts of this dress is that I don't have to worry about it gapping anywhere. Oh AND!! I can nurse in it! WIN! (sorry for all the words in all caps, but I just can't help myself) This dress was definitely a keeper. 

2) Kate Distressed Boyfriend Jeans ($78)

I have never spent $78 on jeans before. I usually wait for sales at Old Navy. Little did I know what I was missing out on. The saying "you get what you pay for" makes so much sense to me now. The second I put on this pair of jeans, I was in love. They are so comfortable! I was also surprised at how well they fit, considering the trouble I normally have finding jeans that fit in the waist, but are still long enough. These were ever so slightly too big in the waist, but nothing a good wash/dry and a belt couldn't fix. Needless to say, I kept these as well. 

3) Queensland Dolman Jersey Top ($48)

When I first pulled this top out of the box I immediately loved the color. But, my excitement dwindled a little bit when I saw the style. I don't normally gravitate toward the baggy, flouncy look. StitchFix encourages you to try everything on even if you don't think you'll like it. So I tried it on and loved it! It's not overly flouncy and I like how it gets tighter around the hips so it doesn't look frumpy.  Keeper #3!

4) Corinna Striped Dolman Top ($48)

This top is so soft. I love that it can be dressed up or dressed down and is so comfy! It's kind of a thin sweater material so not exactly ideal for summer time in Tennessee, but it works with shorts for the less sweltering days and will be awesome when colder weather rolls in. Keeping!

5) Cannes Scoop Neck Blouse ($48)

I immediately did not like this top as soon as it came out of the box. However, I tried it on anyway. I still didn't like it. And not just because it was way too big. I'm not a big fan of floral, and off white shirts tend to not look so great on my pale skin. I did not like this top at all. However, if you keep the entire box, StitchFix gives you 25% off of your order. And since I'd already earned $50 in referral credit, I decided to keep this top and see if I could sell it. It was actually cheaper to keep it than send it back.

The next step after trying everything on is going to your StitchFix account to pay for what you are keeping, send back what you're not in the postage paid bag they send to you, and leave detailed feedback on your box for your stylist. They take your feedback into account so as to make each fix better suited to your style.

Overall, this was a super satisfying first Stitch Fix experience and I am SO excited for my next fix in October! If you want to have a fun box of cute, stylish, high quality clothes show up on your front porch, you should check it out (and please use my referral link, because I will get $25 credit if you schedule a fix. #shamelessplug)

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go scroll through countless fashion pins on Pinterest for my StitchFix board.


Thursday, July 16, 2015

A Birth Story: Round 2

On Saturday, March 14, 2015, I was 40 weeks and 2 days pregnant. For the previous three months of my pregnancy, I had been nearly bed-ridden with lower back pain that left it impossible for me to take care of myself, much less a 2-year-old. When my husband, Ben, wasn't home taking care of us, my wonderful family and church friends stepped in and helped above and beyond the call of duty. So when I say, "I WAS SO READY TO HAVE THAT BABY", I want you to understand my full meaning.

Ben had given up hope of going to the board game convention that was in town that weekend. He assumed we'd have a new baby by then. However, the weekend arrived and I was still as pregnant as ever. I decided that William and I would hang out [at] my mom and dad's house that day and send Ben to the convention for a day off from Daddy Duty, since he had been working so hard to take care of us.He happily agreed to that idea. "Watch you go into labor as soon as I get there and start a two-hour board game," he joked. I smiled and said, "Whatever it takes!

During lunch, I had a few contractions that were definitely more than just Braxton Hicks, and I wondered if these might be the first twinges of labor. I put William down for his nap at 1:00; and, since I was still having sporadic contractions, I figured it would be a smart idea for me to take a nap too. 

I didn't sleep very soundly. Basically, I just dozed in between contractions that were gradually becoming more consistent. When William got up a 3:00, I was convinced that this was it. Can you say, "IT'S ABOUT TIME!!"?

I called Ben at the convention and told him it was show time. He left immediately and came to pick me up. (He had just sat down to a new board game.) We were already planning on William staying at my mom and dads house when I went into labor, so we gave goodbye kisses and headed home. 
At about 5:00 I was having to focus more on the contractions and breathe through them rather than continue chatting Ben's ear off and singing along to my Labor Playlist. He had been busy since we got home with a "Things To Do when I go into labor" list. 

Around 5:30 my back was killing me during each contraction so I went to go take a hot shower. Just before I got in the shower, I lost my mucous plug and was shaking. I had Ben text Susie and she responded with, " I'm on my way ". In the meantime, I was on my hands and knees in the shower thinking, “Holy cow these contractions are coming really fast! I don't remember it being this intense with William." The hot water eventually ran out and I had to get out of the shower. FYI, it's really hard to get dried off and out of the bathtub when you're in intense labor. I thought I would never make it to the bed. 

I finally did make it to the bed and Susie's assistant, Cindy, got there at about 6:30. Susie and my mom arrived at 7:00. By this time the contractions were pretty insane. I remember feeling like there wasn't much of a rest in between each one and I was having to focus really hard on breathing. The only position in which I could get in the zone and focus was lying on my side. Ben was next to the bed, holding my hands, talking me through each contraction and giving me sips of water. I could NOT have made it without him. 

Just after Susie got there, my water broke. I was 5 cm dilated at that point. The contractions just kept getting more and more intense and I remember thinking once again, "I don't remember it being quite this fast and intense with William". Susie and Cindy were scrambling to get their stuff set up because I think I was progressing faster than they thought I would too.  Mom had set to work making [coffee and] food for everyone, because she's awesome like that.

Not long after my water broke, I started feeling REALLY pushy. I told Susie and she checked me again. I was 7 cm - no pushing allowed yet. It was soooooo hard not to push. Like, really hard, almost to the point of impossible. 
Thankfully, not long after that Susie checked me again and said "10 cm”. I was so happy. Just before that announcement, my mom had stepped out of the apartment to meet my Dad in the parking lot, who had brought the biscuits my mom had forgotten at her house. When she walked out of the door, she thought I was still at 7cm. This was the update she then gave my dad. Little did she know that I had jumped to 10 cm in a matter of minutes and that we were shouting, "Mom! Get in here! You're gonna miss it!!!"  She made it back just as the baby’s head was crowning - just in time!
Three or four good pushes later, Calvin Benjamin was born at 8:15p.m.  All 8 lbs.and 14 oz. of him!! As soon as I saw him, I burst into tears of joy and exclaimed, "WHAT IS IT?!" I don't remember who said it, but someone answered, "IT'S A BOY!" I noticed immediate back pain relief, and I was just so happy he was out of my body and into my arms. 

He was the chubbiest newborn you ever did see and had a head full of dark hair that still sticks straight up in the air. Unlike his big brother, he had a hard time getting the hang of nursing, but with the help of Susie, we got him on the right track. 

It's hard to believe that chubby little baby turned 4 months old yesterday and is a whopping 15 lbs. He is the happiest baby ever, and his squinty-eyed smiles and infectious laughter light up any dreary day.