My Mush: 1 Month

Welcome to the FIRST monthly onesie photo for HG.  I stuck with the same overall ‘onesie’ theme from K’s weekly photos but with a few changes. Instead of a fantastic headband/bow and a different background fabric every week, little man will be using the same grey chevron background in each photo but sporting a different dapper bowtie every month. I’m already loving the way this first photo turned out and can’t wait to snap lots of photos every month! And in case you were wondering, YES I will be making a quilt with squares that represent each botwie I already have squares set aside for the bowties I’ve already made. {In case you missed my instagram post of the quilt I made K, check it out here. I finally got it done and turned it into her BIG SISTER gift when we brought mush home.}

What do you think of the new layout? I’ll also be keeping things short and sweet each month because, let’s be honest, who has time?

On to me gushing about my son.
My little mush is 1 month old! Seriously, how can that be?
Oh yeah, notice the nickname? When I was pregnant with K I called her ‘little manatee’ and then ‘the bean’ once she arrived because of how she loved curling up like a little bean whenever I’d hold her. I wasn’t surprised in the least that HG inspired two nicknames as well, ‘pumpkin’ when I was pregnant {thanks to my pregnancy announcement} and now I love calling him ‘mush’ because… well, he’s just so mushy and wonderful!

Here are some 1 month stats:

  • nurses like a CHAMP – hence the adorably delicious arm rolls
  • sounds like a cat when he really gets crying
  • has hulk-like strength when it comes to holding his head up
  • loves bath time and the post-bath hair dryer time
  • wakes up 1-2 times a night
  • loves sleeping on mommy or daddy’s chest
  • smiles all the time
  • giggles, snores, and gurgles in his sleep – this kid is like his own little orchestra
  • loves getting kisses from his big sister
  • squeaks like a clown horn when he’s nursing
  • loves his sleep sheep

Until next time…

Some other favs from today’s photoshoot. {another staple for these monthy posts!}


Stuff I forgot about newborns

They sleep all the time…except for when you want them to.
I’m constantly reminding myself that I don’t have to entertain HG during the day and that he has no concept of ‘bed time’.

Their little noggins smell amazing.
Is there anything better than the sweet smell of a newborn?

They go through diapers like nobody’s business.
Seriously, HG pitches a fit if he has the tiniest skid mark in his diaper. i.e. lots of changes to avoid banshee cries.

They have full body spasms when they are spooked, even in their sleep.
Bump the bouncer and watch as his arms shoot up in the air like that surprise kitty video.

They attract more strangers than baby bumps.
And if you thought strangers patting your pregnant tummy was invasive, wait until they stick their head in the carseat to see your new bundle of joy… then watch mamabear come out in full force.

They make the best faces when they smile.
Don’t you wish you knew what was going on in their little noggins?

They will root on anything.
HG roots on his hands, his blankets, his daddy, you name it.

They are so needy.
Seriously… you can’t do anything on your own? ;)

Their cries sound like cats fighting.
Oh, is that just my kid?

They are precious enough to make all the sleepless nights and spit-up covered shirts so worth it.

 Until next time…

Baby Boy’s Birth Novel… er Story

For those of you who don’t know, I LOVE reading birth stories. Give me all the details, even what most people would consider TMI, I’ll eat it up. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I’m sharing baby boy’s birth story in a full-length, super detailed, TMI-filled novel of a blog post. I thought about separating it into two parts, but what fun is that? So grab yourself a sweet tea, maybe some crackers and cheese, and kick back for a few minutes while I share his story with you!


So there I was, twiddling my thumbs at 41 weeks 1 day, just waiting for something {anything} to happen that even remotely hinted at the start of labor. My midwife Diane recommended I come in to see how things were going and talk about possible options for the next week if things didn’t start progressing. Let me just take a moment to say that I absolutely ADORE my midwife. She is truly a gift from God, totally behind my decision to have a natural birth, and wouldn’t dream of pressuring me into something I didn’t want to do. Her number one priority is the health of her patients and their babies and I can’t imagine not having her in my life.

During my visit Diane voiced her concerns about the baby getting too big and my fluid levels being low so she suggested an ultrasound just to make sure everything was ok. The ultrasound showed that my fluid levels were still great and the baby’s heartbeat was super strong. But as the doctor {and owner of the practice who had joined us for the ultrasound} looked closer at baby boy’s breathing movements he started to get concerned. He wasn’t seeing any of the practice breathing moments that babies generally have at that stage of pregnancy. It’s one of the check points they look at during a biophysical profile. I had never heard of fetal breathing movement, especially in terms of something my baby might be lacking. Needless to say, I was scared. He reassured me that it wasn’t something I needed to be rushed into a cesarean for but that I might consider induction in the next  few days, at least before 42 weeks, due to the fact that low breathing movements tends to be a result of the placenta reaching the end of its life. Because I was already anxious about having not gone into labor yet, this made my emotions even more heightened. My saint of a mother was with me, texting Z with updates and holding my hand when I needed it. Thank God she was there.

When the ultrasound was over we went back to Diane’s office to chat.  Knowing the ultrasound had made me very nervous Diane helped calm me down and reassured me that the baby was still doing well but suggested she check me to see if there was any progress from the previous week. That way we could make a better game plan for the coming week. She quickly checked me and gave my knee a gentle squeeze before looking at me with a beautifully big smile on her face.

“You will NOT need to be induced”

My heart skipped a beat.

Diane told me that not only was the baby in perfect position, but that my cervix was nice and thin {effaced} and my waters were bulging. She told me to go home, relax, have a good dinner, and rest easy knowing my sweet baby would be here in a day or two. I called Z from the office to tell him the latest and heard Diane call to me from another room, “Tell my boyfriend {what she calls my husband} to place his bet on if baby will be here the 6th or the 7th”. She bet him that Keelin was a girl during my first ultrasound with her. We had guessed boy. She got a Starbucks gift card. Did I mention I love my midwife?

I was supposed to teach class that night but decided to cancel and focus on relaxing instead. Thankfully my students were incredibly supportive. My mom and I said “see you soon” to Diane and hopped over to my favorite cafe for a chai tea on the patio. Talk about relaxing. We sat and chatted for a while before getting back in the car to head home. After filling everyone at the house {my dad and brother were also there} in on the appointment, we ordered dinner from our favorite burger joint and kicked back for a nice relaxing night.

Baby boy had other plans…

Just after dinner I started noticing the strength in my Braxton Hicks contractions increase. They weren’t painful, just strong, but I only took note of them considering I’d had fairly powerful BH contractions for the last few months. To avoid alarming anyone else, and to keep getting my own hopes up, I quietly started tracking them on my handy-dandy contraction tracker app. By 9:00 they started to get pretty consistent. My hubby caught me using my tracker and I winked at him with my finger in front of my mouth to make sure it stayed our secret for a little longer.

By 11:00 I was pretty sure I was in early stage labor as I’d gotten a burst of energy and a sudden urge to work on K’s baby book. {I’d only made it through about month 4 when she was actually a baby, but it was a great to go back and reminisce right before welcoming another child into the world} I was still not in any real pain, but I did have to focus a little more with each contraction. We decided to call it a night, not knowing if we’d bet getting any sleep, and I told Z to go ahead and try getting some shut-eye since I was still pretty comfortable at that point in the labor. I took a shower to see if the frequency and duration of the contractions would change at all but they continued like clockwork. Joining the hubs in bed, utilizing my Bradley “sleep” pose to really help me relax, I started to get more and more uncomfortable with each contraction. I texted Diane to let her know things were moving but we were going to stay at the house as long as we could and would let her know when we were headed to the hospital. Soon it was my natural instinct to hum/moan through each contraction as the pain {mostly focused in my back again} had greatly increased and the need to relax fully through each one became more difficult. Z had taken full charge in his role as my coach and was encouraging me and rubbing my back during each contraction. What a Godsend.

I was feeling really confident in how things were progressing, especially the fact that I wasn’t getting sick between contractions like I did with K. Remember that crazy birth story ? Well, that confident feeling was short-lived when, at about 1:00am, I had to run to the toilet as soon as the last contraction passed. Great. Not again. I instantly flashed back to my 16-hour labor with K where I needed to be hooked up to an IV in order to keep my fluids at a safe level and was so exhausted from throwing up that relaxing during contractions was almost impossible. Something I did NOT want to have to relive. BUT, I pushed that thought out of my head and kept focusing on each contraction one at a time, despite the fact that my laboring had shifted from laying our comfy bed to frog-squatting on my knees hovering over the toilet. FUN. Although it wasn’t the most comfortable position to be in, seeing as how my knees were taking the brunt of my weight on the hard bathroom floor, it gave Z direct access to my lower back where he was able to really apply pressure with his fists and help relieve some of the pain. I did try different positions like laying over a chair and getting on all fours but because every third or fourth contraction was accompanied by the need to throw up, I ended up returning to my frog-squat.

At about 2:00am  Z started suggesting we make our way to the hospital. I distinctly remember a conversation similar to:

Z: Baby I think it’s time we go to the hospital.  You’re working so hard and I know you’re exhausted but we need to get you up before the next contraction hits.

Me: I’m trying {not moving a muscle}

Z: I know you are and I’m so proud of you. You’re doing an amazing job. Let’s get up

Me: –contraction–

Z: Ok, that was great. You’re doing such a wonderful job. Let’s get you up and dressed.

Me: grunt, moan, and mumble as I finally got up off the floor.

My contractions were coming hard and fast and lasted 60 plus seconds each. The ones that caused me to get sick seemed right on top of each other because by the time I was finished throwing up, another one would hit. Overlapping contractions are generally a tell-tale sign of transition, which precedes pushing, so Z was on high alert and knew if we didn’t get moving soon we’d be having a baby on the side of the road. It took 30 minutes for Z and my mom to get me dressed and into the car with my puke bucket in hand but we were finally on our way {after a slight detour when I realized I’d forgotten my ID… points for me} around 2:30 am. The hospital is about 35-40 minutes away but thankfully the early morning hour made the traffic non-existent and Z was not afraid to push the speed limit a little.  I stayed as still as possible and continued having contractions/getting sick the entire way.

At 3:00am we arrived at the Women and Children’s pavilion and promptly got me into a wheelchair. After checking in we went back to the nurses station and sat for what seemed like forever. The nurse came up to us and said they didn’t have a room for me because 10 other babies had been born that night and they were still in the process of cleaning 5 of the rooms. So they wheeled me into a side triage room where they had every intention of checking my progress and the baby’s heart rate. I was still in the wheelchair as the nurses got a gown out for me to change into when I felt a really strong contraction building. I leaned forward in the chair and at the peak of the contraction felt a sudden release in pressure as my water broke all over the floor… and wheelchair… sorry folks. Z laughs looking back at this moment because he said I was mid-contraction and broke free of my moan to let everyone know my water had broken. To his recollection it went a little something like this:


Since my midwife broke my water for me with K, and I was laying on a bed when it happened, the sensation of my water breaking on its own, while sitting upright, was TOTALLY new. I laugh now wondering why I felt the need to inform everyone in the room that it had happened because the splash that followed the initial release of pressure was no joke. I believe one nurse described it as a “gross rupture of membranes”. Awesome. I’d like to formally apologize to the nurses who had to clean that up… and to my husbands tennis shoes which were in the line of fire. Blame the kid.

Almost immediately after my water broke I started feeling an intense amount of pressure in my nether regions. Not quite an undeniable urge to push, but it was getting there. I had a few more contractions while putting on my gorgeous hospital gown, each one causing me to fold at the hips and ‘rest’ my upper body on the nearby bed. I finally got onto the bed as my midwife popped her head into the room. She asked me if I was feeling pressure and I gave a quick and definitive YES response.  Then the following conversation took place between Diane and the nurses.

Diane: Why is she in here? She needs to be in a room.

Nurse: We are waiting for a clean room, but figured we’d bring her in here and check her.

Diane: No. She’s having this baby now. Get her to a room or we’ll be having a baby right here.

Nurse: Ok, we’ll get her in the next available room.

Diane: How about the closest? Go. Now.

Did I mention how much I love this woman?

Apparently a room had become available because they quickly wheeled me down the hall while I serenaded them with my labor moans. I had another big contraction with lots and lots of pressure as soon as we got into the room and I remember calling for Z to come hold my hand. He was there in a blink. As soon as my contraction was over I told him to make sure the nurses knew our birth plans… because, just like with K, we had left our printed plans in the car. He looked up to try to get someone’s attention but the nurses were all running around in different directions. Before he even opened his mouth, Diane put her hand on top of ours and said, “I know what you want, don’t worry about a thing.”

As soon as my next contraction was done Diane told me to roll over onto the delivery bed. The pressure at this point was pretty hard to ignore and I knew it was time to start pushing. Once I was settled on the bed Diane leaned over and whispered that the baby’s heart rate had dipped during that last contraction {I was unaware they had even gotten a monitor on me} and I needed to bear down during the next one.  She had also whispered the same news to him, to make sure he knew how to coach me during the next contraction. The nurses weren’t aware of his drop in heart rate and to avoid any panic on their end Diane only shared the information with Z and I. Z was at my head, holding my hand and giving me lots of encouragement. I looked at him and began to recite the Hail Mary. Who better to help support me than bringing a life into the world the Mother of Christ, right? During the next contraction I left the moaning behind and bore down as hard as I could. I was laying on my left side with my knees bent and my right leg slightly forward. After the first push Diane told me she could see our son’s head. Another contraction came and I pushed again while Z stroked my hair and showered me with guidance and encouragement. The “burning ring of fire” hit and I knew he was crowning as my position shifted slightly to my side/back. I felt a small release and I knew his head was out. I heard Diane say that the cord was around his neck but there wasn’t even the tiniest bit of panic in her voice as she gently lifted it over his head and told me to reach down and touch my baby. As soon as my fingers touched his sweet little head I got a rush of energy for the next push. HE WAS ALMOST HERE! I relaxed back onto the bed and gave one last, giant, push and Henry Graydon Pierce was born at 3:40 am.

Diane quickly suctioned his nose and mouth and lifted him to my chest for skin-to-skin bonding, cord still attached. All I could say was “Oh my God, oh my God, he’s here he’s here, thank you God” as I tickled his feet to get a nice solid cry out of him. Once he gave me a few good screams I pulled him across my chest and he instantly latched. The resulting contractions were pretty painful but I was in my own little blissful world staring down at our perfect little miracle so I didn’t mind. It wasn’t long before the cord stopped pulsating and Z was wielding medical scissors. He was impartial when it came to cutting the cord but Diane winked and said, “Of course you’re cutting the cord, get over here”. They asked me if I would be willing to donate some cord blood and I happily agreed so once the cord was cut they extracted what they needed. Thanks to HG’s awesome nursing abilities I soon birthed the placenta and Diane was able to point out areas of the outer layer that were already beginning to deteriorate. The human body is kind of amazing, am I right?
Diane began getting things cleaned up and I realized I hadn’t asked if I’d torn at all. I know it might seem odd that I would need to ask such a thing but at this point in the birthing game things are kind of still in shock so I couldn’t tell. Since I had torn slightly with K I made sure to take extra steps during this pregnancy to ensure it didn’t happen again. When I asked Diane just smiled and said, “Not at all, you did beautifully. You were a champ!”. What a relief. In the words of a friend and fellow Bradley instructor, “Ain’t nothing cooler than not tearing”. So incredibly true.

We spent about an hour skin-to-skin, soaking each other in, before the nurses took him to be weighted. 8 lbs, 1 ounce, 21 1/4 inches long. Our perfect little boy.

It was an intense, joyful, and BEAUTIFUL birth. I wouldn’t have changed a thing. Ok… that’s a lie…. vomiting during labor is the pits, but apparently it’s just how my body handles the pain. That aspect I could have done without. But the rest was pretty close to perfect. And in case you weren’t keeping track of time, this labor only lasted about 6 1/2 hours from the start of what I’d consider “real” contractions to holding HG in my arms. I think that was his way of thanking me for hanging in there through 41+ weeks of pregnancy. Once he was ready he wasn’t wasting any time getting out.

We are so in love with our little one and can’t wait to share more stories of life in these times… Now with two beautiful babes.

Until next time…


He’s here!

Oh hey, remember me?

The last time we talked I had a giant basketball belly photo for you. Now I get to share this one.

We welcomed our beautiful baby boy on Tuesday, May 6, 2014 at 3:40 am.

I’m in the process of writing up his full birth story with all the juicy details but because I will most likely be a perfectionist about it and it may take me a few days I figured I’d let you know he’s FINALLY HERE! For now you may swoon over that adorable face and know I’ll be smooching on it all-day, every day!

Until next time…



Pumpkin Update: You had that baby yet?

Welcome to what SHOULD be my last Pumpkin update before his big arrival! I can’t believe I will be 40 weeks in just 3 days. My night-shirt is definitely getting a run for its money in this latest photo… STRRRREEEETCH!

Baby boy is still riding super low and even my midwife gets wide eyes whenever she sees how low and out he’s sitting. I thought K was a low rider but this little pumpkin is taking the term to a whole new level. Hence why my hips and pelvis are nice and sore. Oh and that iconic pregnancy waddle? Yeah I’ve mastered it. I particularly love when my waddle gets a slight hiccup when baby boy hits a nerve in one of my hips giving me a quick dead-leg sensation. Turns my waddle into a wiggle-dip-waddle. Clearly he has a future in choreography.

Other than that things have been pretty smooth over all and although everyone keeps telling me I probably won’t make it to 40 weeks I’m not showing too many signs of actual labor.  No mucus plug, waters are still in-tact, no substantial contractions. Plenty of ‘prep’ but nothing more.
I mentioned before that my Braxton Hicks contractions have been stronger over all throughout this pregnancy, which I attribute to my body having done it all before, but here lately they are much more frequent and even stronger. Not painful, just powerful. Any time I shift positions from laying to sitting or sitting to standing I’ll get one, which makes it SUPER comfortable when I get up to pee and all of a sudden my uterus turns into giant rock {think one of the Trolls from Frozen} sitting directly on my bladder. AWESOME! They strike at random times as well. A few nights ago I did have some patterned BHs which was new, but they only lasted for about 2 hours so my RED ALERT button wasn’t flashing too brightly. Z started to catch on when he noticed me poking my belly and checking my phone every 10 minutes so he decided to stop drinking his gin and tonic just in case. :) BUT, since I’m still here and still bump-tastic, it was clearly just practice. I’m fairly thankful that they are happening at all times of the day because I’m getting plenty of practice relaxing through them in different situations.

I’ve been getting lots of looks and comments in the last week that aren’t necessarily making me anxious but aren’t helping my patience either. Mostly stuff like, “Are you due TODAY?”, “Any day now, huh?”, “My goodness, when are you due?” and my personal favorite from a slender, 20-something cashier at Target, “Tell me, what’s it like having a big belly?”.  Luckily I can laugh them off and move on, but being so close to the end, anyone would get a little impatient as a result of all the questions.

On a side note, I finally had my very first stranger-touching-my-belly experience about 2 weeks ago when a salesman came by the house. I opened the door {wearing my devilishly stylish and ill-fitting paint clothes} and the following conversation went down:

Salesman: Well hello! Are you the queen of this castle or are you just robbing the place? – yes he actually said that
Me: Um, yes. This is my house.
Salesman: {noticing my bump} My goodness you are about to pop aren’t you?
Me: {rolls eyes} Yes, yes I am.
Salesman: Well my, my, my how wonderful

As he says this last line he lunges at me in the doorway and puts both hands on my stomach. UMMMMM, excuse me? I was in such shock it was all I could do to throw my hands up in the air and back up further into the house while saying, “Can I help you with something?”
Needless to say I didn’t buy what he was selling. People, man.

We finally got around to taking a tour of the hospital where he’ll be born and absolutely love it! It’s a beautiful facility that is extremely natural-friendly and they even have an outdoor serenity garden that I can labor in. Namaste baby!
We’ve got just about everything else ready for baby boy’s arrival with the exception of a few things to add to the hospital bag. I’ve been slacking on that front. But the bouncer, bassinet, and nursery are all set. AND this morning I watched Z carry the car seat down the steps to install in the Flex which gave me a great rush of excitement, joy, anxiety, and a little bit of panic. A feeling that repeated itself when I went to put K in her seat so we could run some errands and saw both seats side-by-side for the first time. He’s really almost here!

At my 39 week appointment my midwife told me that baby boy is currently presenting posterior {or sunny side up} like K was, which means unless I can get him to shift before his birth I’ll most likely have back labor again as the back of his skull will be against my spine. Super fun. She gave me a great position to try that might help him roll over, and I’ve been scoping out Spinning Babies tips, so I’m doing them as often as possible but trying not to get too worried about it.

Obviously at this point we are just trying to soak in our time as a family of 3 and waiting until Thundercats are go! Here’s hoping the next baby update involves photos of our sweet boy!

Until next time…

Pumpkin Update: Month 8

8 months down.
35 weeks.

Today is exactly 1 month away from my doctor-given “due date”, which we all know is a load of hogwash {studies have shown gestation to be closer to 41 weeks and 1 day than 40 weeks, and even then there’s about 2 1/2 weeks on either side of your ‘due date’ that are considered within optimal gestation time} but it’s still fun to count down to. It’s hard to believe I’m already in the home stretch of this pregnancy! It’s gone by shockingly fast but I feel surprisingly at ease despite the fact that there is still a lot to get done around our house in preparation for baby boy! I’ve also reached the point where a number of my fellow preggos are starting to have their babies which means I’m in the “it’s almost my turn” stage… ahhhh!

Not a whole lot has changed this last month with the exception of some not-so surprising ‘end of pregnancy’ stuff… which mainly revolve around the fact that I have more weight to carry around so things don’t happen quite as quickly {or energetically} as they used to. I wouldn’t have a problem with it all if I didn’t have an uncontrollable urge to paint every room in our house! Yes, the nesting bug has morphed from a tiny bite to a spiderman-like superbug! Since I’ve been pregnant I’ve painted the nursery/guest room, the master bathroom {vanity and shower area, including the cabinets}, and front hall to our house. My ToDo list still includes the living room, kitchen, breakfast nook, and laundry room… but I highly doubt I will get it all done before he arrives.  Between getting tired pretty fast and the fact that the last time I painted anything I looked over at K to find she had the same brown paint I was using down the back of her pajamas, it’s not exactly an easy task any more.
Even if the painting doesn’t get done, the rooms have been re-organized and the essentials are in place for baby boy. We were able to borrow a crib from a friend in my MOMS Club so we avoided having to buy another before we transition K to a big girl bed. YAY for saving money! I pushed myself a little too hard pulling all of K’s old baby stuff to the front of the attic {not my brightest moment} but it’s all there, ready to be loved again! Now we just need a baby!

On a non-nesting note, I’m relieved to say that my pregnant choreographer days are finally over. In case you didn’t know, I’ve choreographed the spring musical for my mother-in-law’s theater class the last 4 years. This is the first time I’ve cooked up the classroom’s dance floor while cooking a human. It was a fun run but when you can’t really DO the moves you’re trying to get high school theater kids to do, it becomes more depressing than fun. Although I’m sure I gave the students quite a show swinging my ever-expanding belly around to tunes from The Drowsy Chaperone. You’re welcome sweet mother-in-law!

From the medical side of things baby boy is doing great. I have strong BH contractions randomly throughout the day and sometimes at night when I shift positions or get up to use the bathroom – which is a night-time staple these days. I’m definitely running out of room as pumpkin’s feet keep finding their way up under my ribs and any time his head shifts I am reminded that he’s parked directly on my bladder. My midwife is always so impressed with how low I’m carrying and at my last check-up informed me that she thinks he’ll come early. We shall see.
Should we start a pool and let the guessing begin?

So now I have another month {give or take} to take it easy, soak in all my one-on-one time with K, TRY to get a date night or two in with the hubby, and gently check things off my TO DO list with the final check box sitting neatly next to “become a mother of 2″. Squeee!

Until next time…




Homemade Laundry Detergent

A few months ago… actually more like a year ago… my best gal pal Lindsie passed along a recipe for homemade laundry detergent. As horrible timing would have it, I had just been to Costco and purchased a huge jug of detergent that very week, so I wasn’t in need at the time but decided to save the recipe anyway and whip up a batch once mine ran out. And now, a year later, it was finally time to get all domestic and give it a shot.
It was incredibly easy to make and a much faster process than I was expecting. As a bonus, my house smelled like fresh laundry for a good week thanks to all the yummy-smelling ingredients! I wanted to make sure I liked how it worked with my machine {we have an HE washer) and I’ve been really happy with the results thus far. There’s only one complaint I have which I’ll share that at the end of the post!

What you’ll need:
5-gallon bucket – I got one of those obnoxious bright orange bucket from Home Depot and made sure to get a lid.
1 bar soap (Fels-Naphtha)
1 cup arm and hammer washing soda
1 cup borax
2 tbsp Unstoppable scent beads in your favorite scent. (optional)
The best part of this recipe is that with the exception of the bar soap, which is only like $1.00, every other ingredient will stretch through multiple batches. And considering a single batch makes 5 gallons of detergent, you’re saving a ton of money!
What to do:
1. Grate the bar of soap in a large pot. Make sure you grate it as small as you can or it will take forever for the soap to melt. I used a regular cheese grater.
2. Add 2 quarts of water to the grated soap and heat on low to melt bar soap- stirring frequently.
3. When the soap is completely melted, add washing soda and borax to soap solution while it is still on the stove. Stir to remove all the lumps. Add optional 2 tbsp scent beads to pot solution and stir until beads have dissolved.
4. When stove top solution is finished, fill the 5 gallon bucket half-way with very hot tap water. Add soap solution then fill the bucket the rest of the way with very hot tap water. Stir to mix thoroughly and then cover the bucket with lid, foil or plastic. This keeps the heat in and aids in melting the soap powders.
5. Let sit overnight. When you open the next day it will look like egg drop soup. Using a long spoon {or your arm if you don’t mind getting soap-y} mix thoroughly.
It’s ready to use! And don’t let the consistency fool you. The little bits dissolve just as well if not better than powder detergent.
Each load uses about 1/2-1 cup detergent. I use the line-amount that’s already listed on my HE washer’s detergent tray.
You can leave it in the big bucket or place it in a smaller container for easier use.  Here’s where my only complaint comes in and it’s probably just something I’d discover. I wanted to re-use the easy-pour spout on the large 2.5 gallon detergent bucket I had just finished {from Costco}. But because of the consistency, it gets stuck in the spout. Not a big deal, I transferred it to another small detergent container. If you do transfer it over to a smaller container, just be sure to give it a good shake before pouring to break up any lumps that have settled between loads.
Do you have any other made-at-home recipes that are worth sharing? If you give this one a try make sure you let me know how it turns out and what you think!
Until next time…

Potty Training Update

It’s been almost two months since the THREE DAYS OF TODDLER POTTY TRAINING NAKEDNESS ruled our home so I thought it might be nice to give you all an update. Yes, I know you’ve been eager to hear all about my child’s toilet usage and it’s finally here. Rejoice readers!
But seriously… if you are currently or plan on using the naked method to potty train, it might help to know a little more about others’ experiences so you aren’t blind sided when your child doesn’t magically hit the nail on the porcelain head right away. So, here I am to share.

First of all, if you remember from my first potty training post, I love this method. It’s stressful, hard core, and quite hands on for a solid three days {at least} but it’s really successful and, at least in K’s experience, a great way to learn how to use the potty FAST.

Secondly, it’s important to note that making it through those three days does not mean you are done training. Even if your little one seems to take to using the potty with flying colors, there will still be accidents and times when you need to remind them to go. Especially at the 2-3 age when they can easily get wrapped up in a game and not realize they have to go until it’s too late.

We decided to start small with K and focus on training her for times while she was awake. In other words we didn’t worry about nap time or night time training right from the start. We’d make sure she went on the potty and shift her over into a diaper just before laying her down, then take her back to the potty as soon as she woke up so she’d know those were the times she was supposed to go. We were actually surprised to find that nap times were almost always dry. It only took us a few days to test her without a diaper during her nap {she takes one 2-hour nap a day} and with the exception of one very stinky instance she made the transition beautifully. We kept her in diapers during the night for a little over a month and stuck with the reinforcing potty time just before going to sleep and just after waking up. Again, it wasn’t long before I started noticing that her diapers were totally dry when she woke up so about 2 weeks ago we ditched them all together! WAHOO! This mama gets a few blissful diaper-free months before baby boy arrives and we start all over again.

At least it’s cut back on my weekly laundry not having ANY  loads of cloth diapers to worry about! But enough of my personal celebration… on to more potty details.

I’m proud to report that there hasn’t been a single nighttime accident since her training began {knock on wood}. I’m such a proud mama.

And now for the not-so-positive aspects of these last few months. Poop regression.
Yes, it’s time to talk about poop.

I have read and heard from many people that kids often regress in their potty training when a big event occurs. Something like moving or having a new baby {eep} will sometimes set them off. Either they have legitimate difficulty readjusting to the change or they decide to pee and poop in their undies to get some of the attention back onto themselves. Obviously we haven’t reached that point yet… something I’m praying doesn’t happen… but we did come across some random poop regression. About a month after we started potty training, K had a good 5 days of accidents. Nothing was different in the house, but for some reason instead of telling us she had to go to the potty {needing to poop usually involved a little fussing and an adorable “gotta go” run/dance all the way to the potty} she’d get upset after she’d already gone. She knew it wasn’t what she was supposed to do, and would usually cry, but for those 5 days something just kept her from making it in time.

So how did we handle the regression?
When she would have an accident we’d make sure she knew that undies {FYI – I hate the word panties} were NOT the place where poop goes, only in the potty. We’d say things like “so yucky” and “Oh no, now your undies are dirty. That’s not good” to really emphasize that it was wrong. I would also make her sit on the potty while I washed out her underwear and continue to make grossed-out faces while talking about how much cleaner it is to poop in the potty. That reminds me… a friend of mine who used a similar method of potty training gave me a great tip that has worked wonders with K. When I went to buy underwear for her I made sure that she was with me and helped me pick out some ‘pretty’ undies and she gets to choose which pair she uses each morning. Having her pick out bright colors and her favorite characters {Elmo, Rapunzel, etc} is a great way to inspire her NOT to mess up her pretty undies. During the regression phase she would get sad about the fact that Elmo and Abby Cadabby got dirty. I don’t know if this is something that works better for little girls, but I imagine that even little boys might be bummed about messing up their Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle underwear with a missed trip to the potty. Something worth trying… I’ll let you know in a few years!

So there you have it. Our tale of successful, three-day potty training, without the use of rewards, only excessive praise. It worked for us. It might work for you!

Like I said in my first potty training post, I apologize for the graphic content, the overuse of the word poop, and the complete lack of shame in saying POTTY instead of toilet. Seriously, I was over at a friend’s house the other day and I asked she could point me in the direction of her potty. It’s common vocabulary at this point but I’m a mom so I get a free pass. Hopefully my experience, specifically with the three day naked method, can help someone else who is looking to start potty training their little one. We moms should be excited to share tricks of the trade and eager to help one another out when we can. In other words, it’s my duty.

Pun intended.

Until next time…


Nursery/Guest Room Update

You may remember a month or so back I shared a photo of our navy blue guest room and mentioned my intentions of transforming it into a nursery/guest room for baby boy’s arrival. Then I shared some floor plan options on how to make the transition work. I received a lot of great feedback from you all here and on Facebook and after much deliberation {and a professional consultation from my expert furniture re-arranger: my mother} I finally picked the layout that works best for the room and its future inhabitant. So one day last week while K was napping I dove head-first into shifting it all around. I have to say… I LOVE IT!

As I’ve mentioned before, the room is quite small and it’s hard to get a decent photo {I’ll try to get a panoramic shot when it’s all done} but here’s a peak into how it all looks now!

As you can see, I went with layout #2 from the three options I created on Eventually the crib will go in the back corner parallel with the bed. Pigs decided to be a placeholder in the top left photo. Such a generous pup.

It’s a tighter squeeze than I’d thought because I needed to pull the bed out slightly from the wall so that if two people are visiting they don’t have to climb across the bed to get in on that side. You do have to step past/over the ottoman to get to the crib, but it’s what I had to work with considering the size of the room.
One of my favorite parts of the room is the new closet/changing area. I moved the small dresser from the back corner of the room to the closet and it fits perfectly. There’s just enough room for the changing pad to fit and the shelf that was already in the closet is a great height for my diaper/wipe basket. Plus all of his clothes will be within reach so I can do all of his changing in one area. K’s changing table was on the opposite side of the room from her closet so I always had to get her clothes ready before I went to change her. Not a huge inconvenience, but it will be nice to have it all at arm’s-length. There is plenty of room next to the dresser to add a laundry basket and trash can as well.

The filing cabinet that was in the closet turned out to be a great height for an additional shelf/lamp stand right by the door. You can see the corner of it poking out in the bottom left photo. I’m still deciding if I like it there {and will definitely be making some kind of slip cover for it, as well as adding some cushion to the crazy sharp corners} but once we get the crib in place it will be easier to see if it fits anywhere else. Possibly up against the window as a nightstand for the bed.

So, with the exception of the crib and a few more decorative touches, the room is just about ready for baby boy! Here’s an updated checklist on its progress:

1. paint room 
2. remove large dresser 
3. remove sliding mirror doors from closet 
3. empty closet 
4. move small dresser inside closet for changing area
5. bring glider/ottoman in from K’s room 
7. Paint small nightstand {maybe}
8. Slip cover for filing cabinet
9. Add wall art
10. Add baby :)

So, what do you think of the new layout? Any additional suggestions on optimizing the space?

Until next time…

Pumpkin Update… Let The 3rd Trimester Begin!

Hello 3rd trimester, I didn’t expect to see you so soon!

No seriously, this pregnancy is flying by WAY TOO FAST! I’m so excited to meet this little one but I feel like we just announced it to the world! It’s been a very eventful month and baby boy is growing strong and riding low! He’s giving me LOTS of crazy movements these days which leads me to believe he’s going to be one energetic little boy! These aren’t little pokes and jabs but back flips and full stretches. Fairly soon after my last update another exciting milestone started happening: braxton hicks contractions! Gotta love these practice runs for the BIG DAY. They seem to be stronger this time but I just credit that to my body being more used to the sensation since it’s done it before. I’ve been using each one as a chance to practice my labor relaxation techniques: focusing my attention on relaxing every part of my body sans the contraction itself and really letting my body do what it’s designed to do.

I’m definitely more tired these days and  have been dealing with dry eyes from time to time. I probably look like I’m mad but I’m just squinting through the dryness! I also blame the weather on that last part… nuts. One day it’s 70 degrees and the next they are talking about another POLAR VORTEX hitting us. Anyone else ready for spring and summer weather?

I’m still sleeping about the same; up at least once to use the bathroom and lots of adjusting throughout the night but overall finding it easy to drift back to sleep. It has become more of a process actually getting OUT of the bed since lifting my big ol’ belly requires a sideways push up. What little abs I have in there are no match for the weight of baby boy!

It’s also getting harder to hold K for long lengths of time… which makes it SUPER convenient that she’s been more whiney and clingy lately. It’s as if she knows she needs to get her 1-on-1 time in now so she’s always asking to be held, especially when I’m making dinner.  It’s not that she’s too heavy but just heavy enough {and tall enough} to be sitting uncomfortably on her brother.

As far as cravings go, I blame Valentine’s Day for my obsession with conversation hearts. Not the yucky chalky ones that taste like Comet but the good “Sweethearts” kind that actually have flavors. Shame on Kroger for offering 3 boxes for $1. It’s been my guilty pleasure! That and I could probably eat tacos for every meal. It’s not a mexican food craving, just tacos. Good thing the hubs likes them too because they’ve graced our dinner table a number of times in the last month!

One thing I’ve actually been struggling with this month has been successfully managing stress. I lost my grandmother at the end of January and had a really hard time dealing with everything surrounding her death. Not just dealing with the grief, which was quite painful, but the stress of traveling for the funeral {sadly without Z}, family dynamics, patience in parenting, etc. I broke down in tears a few times like when I was looking up airfare and the very unfriendly United Airlines woman told me it would be $841 for a bereavement plane ticket from Atlanta to Norfolk with a 5 hour layover in DC and K would have to have her own ticket {also at $841} because she was 1 month past the 24 month limit. Yea. Never flying United. Delta offered $480 round trip bereavement tickets {and had excellent, sympathetic customer service} but I still would have had to get K her own seat. Needless to say we did not fly. Being that I tend to be a crier even when I’m not pregnant, I was surprised that with the exception of a few more ugly cries, mostly I was just mad. My stress morphed with my hormones and turned into pure frustration and anger. I try to be as relaxed, happy, and calm as possible when I’m pregnant but I just could’t manage it. Thankfully when I was back home and into the normal routine with Z things got better. He really is my rock and I’m so thankful to have him. 

That’s about all the pregnancy updates for month 7. I just can’t believe I’m already in the home stretch! Every time someone asks me when I’m due their reaction is always “WOW THAT’S SO SOON!” As I look at my to do list I’m realizing that more and more. Lots to get done but I’ve also gotten a lot accomplished, INCLUDING making some great headway on the nursery transition {pictures to come} and pulling all of K’s  baby things to a more easily accessible section of the our lame excuse for an attic {overexerted myself a bit with that one}. I’ll keep all the updates coming!

Until next time…