Saturday, August 31, 2013

Meet Gabe the Babe

Gabe is such an adorable baby, I just can't get over it! He smiles and laughs a lot in his sleep, among other coos and noises he makes, and he sleeps a lot. Caden loves to hold him, until he starts to cry.

He loves being in our arms. I can't wait for him to fit in the Baby K'tan so I can hold him and get stuff done at the same time!

Just like Caden, Gabe loves sucking on our pinkies or his fingers, when he can find them. Speaking of which, his fingers and feet are very long. And look at all that dark, soft hair!

Sucking his thumb

Sucking on Caden's finger

He likes sleeping with his arms up all over the place; he doesn't like being swaddled. And, like Caden, he hates being dirty. That's good news for when we start infant potty training again!


He is so cuddly. I love how tiny and soft newborns are!

I think he has the same cheeks, chin, eyebrows, and mouth as Caden. Their eyes and noses are different. Caden's head was bigger; Gabe has more hair. Gabe looks more Native American and Asian than Caden. I don't see Justin or me really strongly, whereas Caden looks very much like Justin. Regardless, Gabe is absolutely beautiful! Who do you think he looks like?

Friday, August 30, 2013

Caden Is Three!

I feel like Caden has been 3 for a long time, but he didn't really turn 3 until Wednesday. Thanks to going to a birthday party and seeing them on Curious George, he knew it was a special day. He learned to answer the question, "How old are you?" with "I'm three!" and holding up 3 fingers. He watched How to Train Your Dragon 3 times that day. He couldn't wait until Daddy came home so he could open his presents. He got a Cars card and money from Great Grandma Kramer, wooden fruits and vegetables you can cut from Francine, a toy boat and submarine and a couple shirts from Grandma and Grandpa Nishimoto, and animal markers from us.

Next he went to a trampoline park with Justin.

He had his favorite foods for dinner, chicken and rice, and afterward we sang to him and ate ice cream, his favorite dessert. He also got to try Martinelli's, his first carbonated drink. He didn't like it!

In October when everyone comes for Gabe's baby blessing, my sister-in-law is going to throw Caden a real birthday party. Until then, some more cute photos of my growing-up-too-fast, silly, little boy. (I really wish we had better lighting in our home!) I can't believe how verbal he is, too! And bossy (I wonder where he gets that from? jk).

A grape in each cheek!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

FREE Nursing Pillow & Review

In the past I've done two reviews and giveaways for Udder Covers nursing covers and sets. They have a new sister company making nursing pillows. I asked if I could review one and they readily agreed. I was very excited! I told them to surprise me with the style, and they generously gave me a minky nursing pillow in spring green, along with Milk Bands and cloth nursing pads. It was a very nice surprise indeed! I couldn't wait to use the pillow. Once I did, I fell in love!

*Cute styles.
*Super soft, comfortable, stable, and supportive. I was afraid the minky one would be too warm for AZ, but I actually like it so Baby never gets a cold awakening.
*Great for multiple nursing positions, including pumping and nursing at the same time!
*Perfect size (see photo below for nursing pillow comparisons)

*None so far!

With Caden, I had won a Balboa Baby nursing pillow, the top-rated pillow by lactation experts according to one magazine. But I hated it! This nursing pillow is so much better. You can get your own FOR FREE by using the coupon code BABYGA. You just need to pay shipping, which is under $13, a great deal considering how pricey nursing pillows are!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Gabe's Birth Story: Part 3

Warning: Semi-graphic photos.

After Luana checked me, she said, "You don't want numbers, right?"

"Right. I don't care about numbers. All I care about is whether or not I've made progress."

"Well," she replied, "you've passed all numbers and the baby's head is all the way down. Do you think you're ready to push?"

I could not believe my ears! My body had been working the whole time I was sleeping, with an epidural and only 1 unit of Pitocin. I don't even know when I hit transition.

Soon I was ready to push. Even with the epidural I could feel the urge to bear down; it felt like I needed to go to the bathroom. I exhaled through each push. The first half was easy and went by quickly. I even got to feel the baby's head. I felt so empowered! Then things got harder, and the last 20 minutes were most intense (I pushed for a total of 1 hour and 5 minutes). By harder I mean I ran out of breath! It wasn't painful, just took a lot of stamina. I had to hold my breath for half the push and then breathe out the rest.

Justin getting ready to catch the baby.

The last push was the longest, and out came Baby straight into Daddy's hands at 3:35 p.m! Justin helped during the entire pushing phase too.

Proudest catch of his football career!

Justin transferred him to my chest right away for skin-to-skin contact. He was beautiful! I was so overwhelmed and couldn't stop crying. Once we saw the baby, we knew his name: Gabriel Michael.

The cord pulsed out and then Justin cut it. Birthing the placenta, only moments later, felt like my water breaking again.

I did tear a little and had to get stitched up. Ouch! By this time the epidural was wearing off, so I felt the needle.

Nursing again--the thing I looked forward to most.

Adam and Kirsten brought Caden, wearing his "Big Brother" t-shirt, around 6 p.m. He wanted to hold the baby right away and didn't want anyone else to have a turn. He wouldn't stop kissing Gabe either.

My neighbor came to visit me too. Once everyone left, it was unending interruptions from doctors, nurses, and other hospital staff. You'd think you'd get rest at a hospital! Anyway, hours later Gabe was measured. He weighed 7 lbs. 5 oz and was 19.5 inches long. Poor thing was tortured twice during blood tests because he wouldn't bleed (just like his mama!). We went home the next day around 6:30 p.m.

The whole experience wasn't exactly how I planned it: I wanted to do it naturally, was expecting it to be a lot faster (I was in labor for about 36 hours, counting from Sunday morning not Saturday night, with 17 spent in the hospital), and definitely didn't want to tear. But I am very happy that I had a successful VBAC and that the interventions I received helped me get there instead of making things worse. I also stood up for myself this time, like telling a nurse I wasn't ready to get monitored again yet and not allowing a male tech nurse to be present. I most definitely am preferring this recovery over that of a C-section too. Most important, I am so in love with my baby!

Read Part 1
Read Part 2

Monday, August 26, 2013

Gabe's Birth Story: Part 2

When we got to the hospital, Justin wheeled me in because I didn't think I could walk. The delivery floor was dark and quiet, a stark contrast to my first time there. We were the only patients this time (last time I was stuck in a triage room for 8 hours because all the labor rooms were full). The nurse put me in a triage room and hooked me up to the monitor. She was very respectful and sweet, unlike the staff from my previous experience, but she did have to poke me a million times because my blood wouldn't come out, a common problem this pregnancy, unfortunately for me.

The midwife attending me was Jane Wilson, whom I had only met once but liked. She examined me; I asked her not to tell me any numbers. Crys told me that I had passed what I had ever been with Caden (4 cm). That was great news! I was also 100 percent effaced, just like last time. Apparently my cervix has no trouble softening, just opening up.

After the exam, I felt a very weird sensation behind my upper pubic area, as if a giant bubble were making it move around. It was the bag of waters being pressed down on by Baby's head. Then suddenly, splash! It exploded. Poor Justin got squirt. It gushed two more times like a geyser, and leaked many more times throughout the labor. So much fun dealing with all sorts of bodily fluids during pregnancy and delivery!

Finally I was moved to the "presidential suite," a room that used to be divided into four sections for recovering moms but was now one large labor room with an extra bed for Dad. I had to be hooked up to an IV for antibiotics since I tested positive for Group B strep. More poking--yay. The rest of the time I spent listening to more Hypnobabies and trying to rest while being monitored. I stayed in the tub for a while, but it didn't help like last time. I was still throwing up, so I only drank water and juice. The nurses limited monitor usage as I wished, and Jane left us alone most of the time. I appreciated it after feeling bossed around and put on a timetable with Caden. However, later I wished she had intervened so that things could have moved faster.

Morning came and so did a new midwife, Luana Rodriguez, a native New Yorker like my parents. The new nurse I recognized as having taken care of me after Caden was born. By this time, my perseverance was waning. I didn't want to continue. The pain was too much. I was writhing every time a contraction peaked. I wanted to give up, and I let Crys know. I was making progress dilation wise, but my contractions were getting further apart instead of closer. Crys said Luana was really gung-ho about me having a VBAC and discussed with her my options: 1) continue as I was, 2) get narcotic pain medications, or 3) get an epidural. Also, I would need an intrauterine monitor for more accurate data, a catheter, and a saline rinse since my water broke. I was scared of all these interventions, but Crys assured me they were safe, helpful, and necessary. I trusted her judgment so I consented. I also decided to go with the epidural. I knew I couldn't go on naturally, I didn't want Baby to get narcotics, and another C-section wasn't an option though very tempting. The clincher was not wanting to recover from surgery again.

I was worried that with the epidural would come Pitocin--the devil. It would be needed to get my contractions going again, but they said it would be extremely gradual. At that point I just wanted the pain meds so I said yes. It took forever for the anesthesiologist to come, explain the procedure and risks, and finally give me the epidural. The effects were different than the anesthesia I had for my C-section, which made me completely numb and motionless. The epidural made me feel like my legs were asleep and very heavy, but I could still move them.

They started me on 1 unit of Pitocin. I couldn't even tell. I was finally able to relax and get much needed sleep. I felt so much better when I woke up. Justin and I discussed names since we still hadn't decided on one. The only negative was that I couldn't eat or drink, even water, anymore.

Luana came in to check me again and gave me great news.

Read Part 1
Read Part 3

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Gabe's Birth Story: Part 1

last belly photo (Thursday 15th)
Wednesday the 14th I had nonstop contractions all day. They were still far apart and manageable, so I didn't think I would need to go into the hospital that day, but I thought I was getting close and would be in by Friday. I wasn't happy that I felt it in my back, like with Caden, especially since this baby was in the right position and my water wasn't broken. Well, the next day they were gone, and I went to my appointment on Friday hoping it was my last one. It was.

Saturday was a normal day. We went grocery shopping, got chores done, and went to Rubio's for dinner. It was very windy outside, and made me think of my friend who gave birth during a bad dust storm. I swear the weather plays a role in when babies come!

That night contractions started again. I was able to get rest most of the night. By 4:30 in the morning they were getting stronger and longer, so I texted my doula, Crys, that she might need to come in a few hours. Justin went to work and I went back to sleep.

When morning came, I got Caden ready for church and asked his nursery teacher to take him. Shortly after he left, Justin and Crys arrived. We all napped. It was the last good nap I would have for a while. Crys made us some food while I got in the shower with Justin and the birthing ball. Things were going well. I felt like I could do this. I wanted to stay at home as long as possible and give birth naturally.

Caden came home from church; I wanted to see him. We had lunch and then we all rested again. I listened to Hypnobabies on the couch to work through contractions, which were getting more powerful. Then I started throwing up. When Caden woke up Justin took him back to his nursery teacher's house. Things got more intense from there. We tried watching Psych, but I spent most of the time throwing up so it didn't help. I didn't want to change positions. A second shower didn't help. I was getting frustrated with myself for not being able to relax. I felt I was losing control. Crys convinced me to walk up and down the stairs to help move Baby down. I didn't want to, but I did anyway. It felt good to walk around after sitting so much, but I felt the back pain more when standing during a contraction.

Caden got home around 9 and Justin put him to bed. The back pain continued to get worse and worse. It was time to go the hospital. I called up my sister-in-law, Kirsten, to come stay with Caden. I walked around the house with Justin while we waited, rocking and slow dancing in his arms, him supporting my weight, during contractions. He was amazing helping me through them and never stopped believing in me, such a difference than the first time around. (He later confessed he did have some fears, but didn't share what they were. I'm glad he never let me in on it.)

Once Kirsten and Adam arrived, we drove to the hospital, which thankfully is less than 5 minutes away. We checked in about 11:30 p.m. The first part of this birthing experience was over!

Read Part 2
Read Part 3

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Welcome, Baby Gabe!

Baby Gabriel was born Monday afternoon, on his due date, via VBAC (birth story and more photos coming soon). He was 7 lbs. 5 oz. and 19.5 inches long. He has a lot of hair and looks like his brother did when he was born. We are all in love with him!

Friday, August 16, 2013


The new winner of the "It's a Girl!" multiple prize giveaway is comment #69 by Cassandra Marquez. Thank you for leaving me contact info! Many people missed out on being the winner because they did not leave their email addresses. More giveaways coming soon!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Little Chef

One of Caden's favorite movies right now is Ratatouille. When it was time to make dinner last night, Caden got out his apron and chef's hat his grandma made for him last Christmas and asked me to help him put them on. Then he found his "mouse" stuffed animal (it's really an armadillo but he insists it's a mouse), which he had been calling "Little Chef" all day, and put it in his hat. It was the cutest thing ever!

And a photo of Caden sleeping for the last time in his toddler bed.


The winner of the "It's a Girl!" multiple prize giveaway is comment #127 by Crystal Rose. Congratulations and enjoy your prizes! More great baby giveaways coming after this baby comes!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

New Furniture

Thursday we said goodbye to our old couches.

We got them secondhand for a steal of a deal when we first moved here, and they have served us well for the past 4 1/2 years. It was time for new ones, and we finally found some for another great deal at a local place called Pruitt's. Great customer service there! The couches came Friday afternoon. They are super comfy and fluffy.

We also got Caden's mattress at the same store. We had set up his new bed from IKEA a week ago, and Friday night Caden was finally able to sleep in his new big-boy bed with his new sheets he picked out from Target.

The last thing we need to do is put the crib back together and we are all set for Baby! I have a feeling he will be coming soon.

Belly sticker courtesy of Watch Me Grow Stickers

Friday, August 9, 2013

Featured Seller: Erin from This One's Mine Ceramic Design

This week's featured seller is Erin from This One's Mine Ceramic Design. Erin makes buttons, earrings, ID clips, ornaments, and other cute trinkets from ceramic. Her whole story is worth sharing. She is a pretty amazing woman!

I married a wonderful man. He was 6'6", incredibly strong, my best friend, a bit of a goofball, and one of the best men I've ever known. Nine years ago, he died of cancer, leaving me a single mom with 6 kids under the age of 13.

Up until that point, I'd been a stay-at-home mom and home-schooled our kids. We didn't have life insurance (my husband used to joke and call it dating money), so I went back to school and worked odd jobs to make ends meet. I even spent a couple of summers working seven days a week in a local cannery, graveyard, for minimum wage, to help put myself through school. I'm currently in my last semester of nursing school and looking forward to graduating in December. The kiddos went to public school for the first time as well. Needless to say, life changed drastically for us.

I've learned to do a lot in the last few years. I can now change a garbage disposal, switch out circuit breakers, replace a ceiling fan, tile and grout, roof a house, program the air conditioner (hey, it was a real accomplishment), and other exciting feats. The hardest lesson has been to learn how to ask for help when I really need it. Guess you could say I'm pretty stubborn.

I started making ceramic buttons a couple of years ago, and have developed my product through trial and error. I've always loved sewing, and buttons are fascinating to me. If you've ever stuck your hand in your grandma's button jar and just felt them, then you know what I mean. And they're the part that can make or break a project, in my opinion. They're the icing on the cake. And they just plain old make me happy. It's a good combination.

My shop name came about when I was in a store one day. I picked up a crazy birthday card and thought, "This one's mine!" As I stood there with a big grin on my face, it struck me that I wanted others to have that same smile. I wanted to make something fun and bright and happy that resonated with my customers. I wanted them to see something in my shop and think, "Yeah, this one's mine."

My buttons, badge reels, and beads are all made of ceramic clay and use lead free underglazes and glazes. Everything is hand painted; I never use silk screening or decals. I love working with vibrant colors. I research popular fabrics, looking for color and subject trends for the season. Then I draw up my designs, make special cutters, cut and dry the clay, smooth rough edges, paint it, fire it, glaze it, and fire it a final time to about 2000 degrees. The whole process takes a minimum of 5 days from start to finish to make a single button.

I went through a pretty rough time when I lost my husband, and when I came out of it, it was with the realization that life can be good again despite the challenges. I think the colors I use and the designs I make are a result of my decision to be happy, to live life, and to look for the fun in each day.

Check out This One's Mine Ceramic Design for more wonderful items in fun themes!
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