Tuesday, December 29, 2015

2 days old!

We're home and Philomena is now six days old and kind of a dreamboat of a baby. I had to get my her birth story down quick before I forgot any here it is.

On Tuesday, December 22nd I had a checkup appointment and a stress test since I was a week overdue. I was feeling really crappy and cranky and in lot's of pain. My sciatica at that point was out of control and I had been experiencing contractions for over a week. It was literally to the point where when I felt consistent contractions, we were just whatever about it. 

5 cm dilated!

Me, my husband and Penelope all headed to my appointment and I went in alone to do my stress test. They hook you up to all this stuff and monitor the baby's heartbeat as well as your contractions. Funny story, while in there talking to my nurse she asked if my husband plays for the NFL and I laughed and said no, but we get that all the time. The funny part is she wasn't convinced I was being honest and actually said "Are you sure? Because our VIPs many times use aliases so the press doesn't know they are here" and then proceeded to ask me more questions about it. I thought it was hilarious she didn't believe me. Anyway, at the end of the stress test I asked her how it looked and she hesitated while looking at the paper then told me it looked great. But right after, she said she had to go have a doctor look at it. Immediately I got concerned, because the doctor looked at it and said he was going to run over and talk to my regular NP. Then my NP walked in about five minutes letter and walked me over to her office at which point I was kind of freaking out. She said that they found that Philomena's heart rate was irregular and dropping sometimes so they were going to induce me.

After squeezing me into their induction schedule my husband and Penelope came with me into labor and delivery. The nurses were super sweet to Penelope and she was so curious about all of the tools and gadgets, and as always talking talking talking! After my best friend came and picked up Penelope it was already around 6pm and the nurses hooked me up to Petocin. Ornan and I sat there waiting overnight and while we were in one room, his best friend was waiting on their baby to come in another room a few doors down. I thought it was pretty amazing that they got to be each others support while we waited our new little babies out. Sometime in the early morning they checked me and I was six centimeters, a few hours later I was eight centimeters. After I was 8cm for awhile the nurses suggested I break my water. I did the same with Penelope's birth so I was comfortable with it but SO scared of the pain. So they broke it and from there it's kind of a blur.

After they broke my water I started feeling really intense contractions and I was terrified of the transition stage. Since I went without drugs before I knew what that felt like. I finally decided to get the epidural and I was super scared that it would paralyze I don't even know where I heard that from. So I stayed rock still until it was in and let me tell you...that stuff is LIFE CHANGING. Holy crap! After that it was only about another two hours and I was ready to push...with no pain whatsoever. I could not get over the fact that I needed to push and I was just laughing and talking with everyone. I pushed for a really short period of time... I wanna say 20 minutes if that, and then Philomena came out. I remember in one of my last pushes the nurses called Ornan over and said "Look at all that hair!". She came out eyes wide open and they immediately put her on my chest. It was exhilarating and a moment full of joy to have my husband next to me and our newest addition to our family. I wished Penelope could be there in that moment but I knew that seeing the labor might have not been the best idea.

Weighing her and measuring
Daddy and Philomena

I was able to breastfeed her and snuggle her for a long time and then Ornan got to hold her for the first time. It was so cute when the nurses tried to take her for a second, she immediately started crying so they gave her back to me and she stopped right away. I ended up confirming her name right after she was placed on my chest, which I joked with my friends would happen. We weren't sure all the way up until that point, but literally when she was laying on my chest I just knew her name was Philomena. 

Ornan left the hospital and took Penelope home so she could get back to her regular schedule and sleep at home. I stayed overnight with Philomena and I had such a difficult time with learning how to breastfeed correctly. I had multiple lactation nurses coming in and trying to teach me different things, but it kinda left me more confused then the beginning. I remember at one point in the night specifically, I couldn't sleep and I got really sad when I thought about me and Penelope's bond being changed forever. I started crying and getting nostalgic about everything us two have been through together. Even though I obviously loved Philomena, I felt like my dynamic with Penelope was going to be ruined forever. I even felt a little guilty like having another baby was selfish of us. But after my good cry, I told myself that this new little girl is a blessing for not just us but also for Penelope. It's normal to have these feelings and I'm sure I'll have them again at some point but it hit me full force specifically at that moment.

My two girls :)

We got our little girl's name from an amazing movie called "Philomena". It's about an old woman who had horrible injustices done to her. You see through the entire movie though that she never wavers in her faith, she is kind to everyone and her positivity inspires people around her. I thought the name was beautiful and told Ornan a couple of years back that I wanted to name our girl that. Her name means "loved" and was very popular way back in the old days but kind of non-existent now. 

When I was pregnant her name went from Olivia, to Philomena, to Rose to Delilah. We just couldn't it was pretty amazing that the certainty came right after I gave birth to her. 

My recovery was only overnight and I was able to go home the next day. Such an easy labor compared to Penelope and so happy to be home with my family for the next three weeks. Philomena so far has been an absolute dream and my husband has been superman of the year with helping out with everything. Honestly, so blessed!


Wednesday, December 16, 2015

As you get older I think you start to really reflect on what you do in life and most importantly, WHY you do it. Since we've had Penelope I've been really conscious about not wanting to her to have too much "stuff". Mostly toys, but in everything else I really am conscious of simplifying everything in our household so that there is an appreciation for what we do have. That brings me to Christmas.

Christmas is my favorite holiday by far. And it used to be when I was a kid because of the presents, but now it's just the spirit of it. It's the hot drinks and fires in our fireplace and how everyone seems to be in better spirits. It's seeing little kids iceskating, wearing their big puff jackets, or couples snuggling up together to keep warm. The spirit of giving is thick in the air and I love that this time of year more then ever, people are so selfless. It's awesome.

This year though as I go further into becoming a Christian and what that means, I can't help but feel a little dissatisfied with what's been forgotten. Along the way it seems that Christmas has brought a sense of entitlement, lots of stress, lots of debt and most importantly forgetting the fact that it's the day Jesus was born. So in asking my self regularly why we as a family do the things we do, I asked myself "how will Christmas be celebrated this year...and why?"

This year is going to be so different because their isn't a huge budget for presents. It's not about getting the presents and I want to make that clear to our kids. You will get presents, somehow we'll work in who Santa is, but I don't want them to consider Christmas only a holiday in which they come to expect masses of crap under the tree. I want to teach them that the spirit of giving is just as awesome as the spirit of receiving. How are we going to do that with them so young right now? Baking cookies, taking time to decorate them and handing them out to loved ones. Plating leftovers from Christmas and handing them out to homeless people.

It's not about the stress that comes with "will this person like this" or "oh gosh, we have run our credit cards dry". I want to teach them to save a couple months ahead for the holiday and keep the budget low. It's not about the price of the gifts or how many your giving. It's simply about the thought that went into it. Even in picking a tree, every year normally I'm so crazy about getting the EXACT one. This year I really didn't care and we got a random one from Costco because I realized, it's not about the right tree. It's about decorating the tree together as a family and drinking our hot chocolate and playing Christmas music. The spirit of family and spending time together.

And what is Christmas? It's the day Jesus was born. I want my kids to know and understand that. To honor and be aware of that. This year we'll be going to the Christmas Eve church service and I'm also going to be purchasing some children's books about the story of when Jesus was born. When the kids get a little older, I want to delve into a daily advent reading of the bible and what that means. It's funny because I never considered myself super religious (whatever that even means), but I do want the kids to be raised in a Christian household. I do want them to know why Christmas even exists and the true meaning of it. One of the things I admired most about my husband when I first met him was his faith and his dedication to it.

So this year we're doing everything a little different. Not emphasizing the perfect tree, or giving tons of gifts to the kids. We're taking pleasure in the simple moments, like having Penelope help me wrap a present even though it could look a lot better. Or decorating the tree together (and me not going back and fixing the ornaments lol).  Baking gingerbread cookies together and talking about how much her friends will love them. Beginning to explain who Jesus is and what Christmas is. Just simplifying the materialistic aspect and really slowing down to capture the spirit. I want our memories to be ones of great company and great food.

In the meantime, I have a little more time to figure out some fun traditions my husband and I get to start as a family. What are some traditions you guys do?


Wednesday, December 2, 2015


How you start off your morning I promise you will set the tone for the rest of the day. Both in how the day goes and in how you respond to it. Getting some sort of morning routine down has been probably the most important aspect of having a great day as a stay at home mom. I've read tons of information on what the most successful business people do in the morning, I've also read what SAHMs do in the morning. It's pretty much the same. So I decided to adopt their methods and it really is life changing!


As in earlier than your little. I wake up at 5:30am every morning and I get Penelope out of bed at 7:00. I always get brushing, flossing and breakfast out the way immediately. I absolutely love having a hot cup of tea by myself when it's quiet. I know we are all wishing for a little more sleep, but I've found that by not rushing through the morning it really leaves me so much more happy and patient throughout the day.


Trust me guys. Do it for five days straight and tell me it's not life changing. I do it after breakfast, before I plan my day. It's only ten minutes and just sitting and noticing what's going on in my brain in silence is amazing. I use the app Headspace which is free the first ten days, ten minutes a day. Then I just re-use the first ten days over and over. If you want more then that, you can pay like $8.00 a month.


Speaking of planning your day, plan it early! I plan my week in advance, but I always grab my planner in the morning and look at what I got going on for the day. Usually, I add last minute stuff and I marinate on the events I've scheduled. This is the intention setting part of the day, I set my intentions on what's going to happen and also how I wish to act emotionally.


Tidy up your room and make your bed. It'll take you five minutes and you'll get that feeling of accomplishment. Works every time. It's so nice that by the time Penelope wakes up, our room is clutter free and my bed is made.


About 10 minutes before Penelope wakes up, I go and make her breakfast. Usually it's oatmeal. I use almond milk, sprinkle in some cinnamon, raisins, chia seeds and honey. It's super easy and by the time she wakes up and I've changed her diaper, it's cooled down so she can eat it.


Thursday, November 19, 2015

Hospital Baby Bag

Well now that I'm counting down to almost three weeks before I'm due, I'm getting the hospital bag ready. We had Penelope at Kaiser and are having the new baby at Kaiser and I gotta say they were AMAZING at supplying tons of stuff for me and Penelope when she was born. Food constantly coming in, snacks all day long. They sent us home with packs of diapers and extra pads and tucks... I mean they were awesome!

Now that I know that, this bag will be a little different then the one I packed for Penelope. First and foremost, birthing recovery is not pretty my friends. So bring tons of pairs of comfortable, dark underwear. Because you bleed tons after and the pads they give you are like the size of China. Comfort is key here. They will supply you with gowns and I suggest you stick to those, but if you'd like something of your own a robe is great and easy boob access for breast feeding. I brought slippers and never used them, but this time around I'm bringing big comfy socks because they do keep the hospital pretty cold.

Make sure you bring a camera and a charger and memory card for the camera. Also your cell phone and a charger for your cell phone. Those first moments with your little are priceless and I promise you will want pictures. 

For sanitary purposes you'll want to bring the usual. Deodorant, face wash, toothbrush, toothpaste etc. I will be bringing a very simplified version of my makeup bag including a BB cream I can just swipe on real quick. Dry shampoo and some chapstick (bring multiples!) at the very basic level and tons of hair ties.

For feeling good sake, I would highly suggest treating yourself beforehand and getting your toes done in Shellac. You and tons of other people will be staring at your feet and it's always nice to have a shiny polished foot to look at. I say Shellac because it is really hard to anticipate exactly when baby will come and this method of polish lasts longer so your not stuck looking at chipped toenails for 18 hours. Bonus for it lasting the first couple weeks of your baby being here.

Lastly, for when you are leaving the hospital pack some leggings and an oversized top. I'm packing these Athleta pregnancy leggings because I still had quite a belly when we left and I want to be comfy. Oh and bring some sunglasses, because you will look like you went on a weeklong bender with no sleep lol. For baby, something easy and soft that won't irritate their belly button stump. If you can find something that zips, it will be so much easier for you. Bring your own swaddle blankets, the brand above is my fav, to snuggle your new little love up and bring them home! 

Click the thumbnails above to shop any of the products you see.


Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Since I'm reaching the tail end of the pregnancy, (five weeks left!) it's getting very unpleasant to run around town with P. We've been having more inside days until the hubs gets home. I've put together a list of fun activities we like to do that get us both interacting and learning together.

I do want to say though, that something that is really important to me is making sure Penelope is independent. To really foster that independence I make sure I'm not spending my entire day entertaining her. It can really feel like that's your job when your staying at home with kids...that your supposed to entertain them all day. But I've learned to set aside sections of the day for me and Penelope time and REALLY be present. No phone checking, thinking of how much I'd rather/should be doing xyz etc. 

Another thing with all this play is I never tell her "how" to play. Like when she's painting and she decides to use the other end of the paint brush. Or when we are doing tea parties, I don't come up with what we're doing or eating. I follow her lead. I love watching how creative she can get and I really don't want to show her that there is a right or wrong way to play. It's just how creative she wants to get with her imagination and I'm there for the ride.

Cookie makin'

So here's a list of some really fun stuff that she loves:

PAINTING - Get washable paint!

LETTER TIME - To learn her letters I'll grab her foam bath letters (5 or 6 at a time) and bring them over to her chalkboard. We'll play find the letter I name, then I draw a big version of the letter and a little version. We'll go over what sound the letter makes and what words start with that letter.

COOKING TOGETHER - She likes to rinse the veggies and stir the pot. I always talk her through what I'm doing and what all the ingredients are. 

COLORING - Coloring books, chalkboard coloring

STORY TIME - I let her pick the books, many times I read the same one like 80 times at P's request 

DANCE PARTY - She literally is a dancing queen so I usually turn on a toddler radio station and try my best to pregnant waddle for a good while.

TEA PARTY - Her newest obsession. She brings out her dolls and we have a party full of cupcakes and oatmeal and chicken. Lol this is the food she is "making".

PUZZLES - We have a couple that we use, they are both educational but it really isn't about finishing it. I just sit with her and talk to her while she tries to figure out the process.

BATH TIME - I love taking baths with her but jeez our bathtub is so small, it doesn't happen as often as I'd like. But she LOVES it.

LEGO BUILDING - More like I build and Penelope crushes it. Or steals my building and tries to build...and crushes it.

PLAYING CATCH - She actually loves playing catch. So we can do this for a good while.

FORT HOUSE - Break out all the blankets and pillows and I play with her on the floor of her little fort.

HIDE AND SEEK - She still isn't understanding hiding from I have to run and get away from her in time to hide. She absolutely loves it though.

I really don't believe in TV everyday for kids. I think we've gotten by for so many years before TV's were invented and children are better for it. She does watch it, but like 2-3 times a week at most. So the days we are inside we do fun activities together and the rest of the day she has to use her imagination.  The best and most creative things happen when she's bored!


Monday, November 2, 2015

This past weekend we had a party with all of our friends for Penelope's 2nd birthday. It was at Small Talk Cafe this super cute place in Walnut Creek. She absolutely loves that place and the second we walked in she ran off to go play on her own. I must admit, it was so nice not to have to do any work and no clean up for the win! We got her a cute little Hello Kitty cake and when we all sang happy birthday to her she kept looking around amazed like "is this for me??". 

After cake we brought out her present from Mommy and Daddy, a hot pink balance bike and she just about died. If I remember correctly she was glued to that bike for the rest of the time there. Such a fun day and so easy and affordable!


Wednesday, October 21, 2015

A couple of weeks ago we went to this fun little pumpkin patch in Livermore called Joan's Farm. Mainly I wanted to drive out there cause it had pony rides, so we trekked about an hour to get there. Penelope loved it but it was SUPPPERRR windy, which is why in one of the pics you see her wearing my sunglasses. They had other cute stuff like little games, a maze, individual little cars and tons of photo op stuff. Overall I'm sure you can find most of the stuff at other pumpkin patches, but we went for the pony. So happy we did!


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Guys, I think for like...years, on my Fall list of things to do is making something with apples. I finally did. It felt so Fall-ish. Is that a word? My husband and I cooked it together while P was sleeping and it's super simple. It makes your house smell delectable and it makes my baby inside my tummy jump around. It's a snicker doodle cookie, on TOP of cinnamon sugary goodness apples. Baked, warm and topped with vanilla ice-cream? Sooooooooooo yum and totally not my recipe, so here's the link and enjoy!
P.S. I am not a professional food photographer, so please excuse my amateur food photography skills!


Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Guys, this month was a difficult month for me for a couple reasons. Penelope was getting a molar in and I had no idea whatsoever. She wasn't sleeping very much and super cranky, and in having no idea I thought my kid just turned crazy overnight. I was sure it was the terrible twos starting early. I'm seven months into my pregnancy and it's just harder to be mobile for me then it was with my first. But with all that being said this month was amazing as well.

I know I keep saying she's like a full blown kid, but this month it really showed. Penelope is so creative and making up games on the daily. To see her use her imagination and "cook" oatmeal or cookies with random objects, or invent emotions for her baby and try to fix them is super cool to me. She's in her "what is that" Her curiosity overall seems to be at an all time high, so my husband and I have to be really careful about leaving things around the house.

I love that she's such a great helper too. She's loving when we are around babies right now and is genuinely affected when she sees the babies crying. She'll stop playing and look at the baby and then look at me like "what should I do?". She'll bring over bottles and pacifiers and when a baby drops something she'll always run over, pick it up and then try to hand it back. When I'm cleaning, she'll go grab cleaning stuff and clean with me or if we are putting on our shoes she'll grab my shoes and put them in front of me. She is so kind and thoughtful and I love it!

She's also become a lot more verbal to people. Since we live in apartments we always see our maintenance workers on the way out. She lights up when she sees anyone and says "Good morning!" and is forever asking me if she can go say hi to other people we haven't seen before. She has friends we see regularly that she asks about and lots of times brings me our phone and asks if we can call someone she knows. One of my absolute favorite new things she's saying is if she really appreciates something I've done for her is, "Thank you so much Mommy". Melt.

NEW PHRASES: Thank you so much, Oops I'm sorry, No like that please, Mooommmmyyyyyy, What is that?
FAVORITE ACTIVITY: Playing with baby, playing ball
FAVORITE GAME: Dancing, playing catch, "cooking", up high down low
CHORES: Load the laundry, set the dinner table, throw away her diapers, put laundry away, clean up before nap time and bedtime
FIRST TIMES: Used the potty, getting a molar in on the bottom right, gesturing to hold her friends hand together on a playdate
SIGNATURE MOVES: Getting REALLY frustrated at something then being fine 10 seconds later, asking to hold my hand, stomping her foot when she dances