Monday, July 29, 2013

Bennett: 1 Month

Wow, time flies! Our little dude has now been with us for an entire month, sheesh.  I can't believe hubs and I are actually normal, functioning parents in real life (okay, normal AND functioning might be strong words, but we're trying our darndest).

While we were having Bennett's newborn pics just 1 week after he took his first breath (which I am DYING to see by the way) a woman walked by ... got teary eyed, grabbed my hand and said boldly, "My sweet girl, don't blink. Do not blink and cherish every moment with this little guy. Time goes by way too fast." Boy was she right. A whole month?! I realize this is so little time in the grand scheme of things, but it seems so long already (yes, this is indeed the crazy "they grow up too fast" mother syndrome...)  But seriously, how did that happen? Just yesterday we were gathering our things to bring you home and reliving your birth story!

Well ... it happened. So I guess I have no other option than to get over it and move on.  So, let's start by jumping on the proverbial "I'm that mom" mommy band wagon and recap your first month of life with monthly photo ops and overly descriptive notes, shall we? 
Uhm, Duh. 
Yes. Yes, we shall.
Hey I'll even use my fancy camera and cool Mac software and call myself an amateur photographer, just because I can. And maybe because I'm a little stir crazy ... Mayyybe.

Anywhoodles ... Mister Bennett, happy 1 month anniversary baby BUB.  

How big are you?

  • At your 2 week appointment, you weighed 7 pounds and 14 ounces (25th percentile), and were 21.75 inches long (75th percentile) {Your numbers were somewhere close to this ... mommy was too sick to take you and daddy didn't get the actual numbers, so we're sort of guessing based off what he remembers ... silly boy! ... we'll do better next time!}. I know you've grown a lot since then, but regardless you're a precious peanut. Long and lean :)
  • You have another check-up in 2 weeks and I cannot wait to see how much you've grown when we go back for that appointment. 
What's your temperament?

  • You have QUITE the personality, little man. But overall you are the most happy and seriously GOOD baby. We sure lucked out with how great you are. 
  • You love to be held and being swaddled is your absolute favorite (although your PaPaw always says "Do you really think he likes his arms tied down like that? I would HATE it!" hehehe, silly PaPaw).
  • We're starting to learn your cries and sorry but we do laugh at your continual "awahh, wahh" noise -- wish I had a sound byte to enter here
  • You've started to find your voice and Oh. Em. Gee. is it enough to make your momma melt. Your coos and gurgles are the sweetest noises I've ever heard.  
  • You have also most definitely discovered your tongue and love to stick it out at anyone that will look (you're starting to look like your momma  posing for pictures after a few drinks)
How much are you eating?

  • First of all, you love to eat (you most DEFINITELY got your daddy's appetite). I tell everyone you'd eat 24 hours a day if I let you :) 
  • You were breast fed for 2 weeks before mommy's rash got the best of her and I had to stop because of the medicine and steroids I was put on.  But you switched to Similac advanced formula and have made a seemingly smooth transition.  
  • You started eating 2oz nearly every 2-3 hours, but quickly informed us that simply wasn't enough to keep you satisfied. Now you're eating nearly 3oz at almost every feeding (again about every 2-3 hours).  And you get the occasional 1-2oz snack if you start sucking those little hands of yours (this is a Bennett favorite).
  • In addition to your awesome appetite you are what the doctors refer to as "An Aggressive Eater".  Seriously. At a 3am feeding the other night I woke up your daddy because I was laughing so hard at the noises you make.  You grunt and growl all the way through the first ounce - you name it, if you can make that sound it comes out. You want your food and you will make it be known.
What are you sporting?

  • You are still in newborn diapers, we're Pampers people and they seem to keep you extra happy. Plus I'm a big fan of that blue line that let's us know if you're wet or not.
  • You've given your daddy about 3 golden showers ... I've managed to walk away with only one.  However, I think we're starting to master the art of changing a diaper ... knock on wood!
  • You're in between newborn and 0-3 month attire.  You've already grown out of some of your newborn stuff, but depending on the brand you can still get into some of it.
How are you sleeping?

  • You normally sleep right at 1.5-2 hours when you nap
    • Your daytime naps take place in your swing, in my arms and occasionally in your pack and play
    • And sometimes we have to get creative with the Boppy 
    • You sleep both non-swaddled and in a blanket swaddle at nap time
  • But you are an EXCELLENT night time sleeper and we can usually get at least a 4-5 hour stint out of you from the hours between 10pm-5am (somewhere in between those times)
    • You are currently sleeping in mommy and daddy's room in a bassinet attachment from your pack and play that fits snuggly inside an arm's reach co-sleeper next to our bed
    • Our goal soon is to get you out of the bassinet attachment and into the sleeper, more in your back and less cocooned (selfish nerves ... i fear you will not sleep for long periods of time this way at first)
    • You wear a Velcro swaddle-me at nighttime
  • Mommy is on night shift feeding because your daddy has to get up early to work, and he takes the morning shift so I can snooze an extra hour or 2
Bennett Likes and Dislikes:

  • Likes:
    • Your hands .. you are a total suck face
    • Tummy time .. you LOVE it
    • The sound sleeper "mountain river" noise .. your absolute fave
    • Car rides ... they lull you right to sleep
    • Your swing ... you've come around to this one ... it took about 2.5 weeks until you cared for it
  • Dislikes:
    • Mommy on the computer (I swear the child has computer radar and melts down the moment I try to type)
    • Being burped
      • you are NOT a good burper. Your neck is too strong for your own good and you're super pissed feeding time is being interrupted :)
    • Stoplights and traffic ... you want the car moving ... at all times

Fun moments, favorite notes, Bennett quirks & Milestones:

  • Watching you during tummy time is so much get so excited and start pushing up your arms, legs, and your head. You are SO strong!
    • Milestone: YOU ROLLED OVER!
    • From your belly to your back - 3.5 weeks old!
    • This is often a 3-4 month milestone, so to say you're ahead of the game is an understatement!
  • You celebrated your first holiday ... The 4th of July!
  • Grandma helped to decorate the house so all of your visitors and neighbors know you'd officially arrived
  • We had our first official family outing to Mike Linnigs
  • Your first babysitting adventure with Grandma
  • You experienced your first and second Wednesday gals night ...Bennett your aunts are AWESOME. Thanks to them your daddy and I have actually had real meals ... thank heavens :)
  • You sleep in the absolute most adorable positions
  • Capturing your smiles is a personal challenge of mine and I get wayyy too excited when I get a good one
Life with you is absolutely awesome Bennett, and I can only imagine just how much fun these next months are going to be because of you. Daddy and I are so in love with you!

More 1 Month photo faves:

Until next month ;)

Friday, July 26, 2013

7lbs 9oz and 21.5inches of love

Bennett Bernard entered the world at 9:08pm on June 28th, 2013 at Baptist East Hospital in Louisville, KY and hubs and I officially became PARENTS!  The idea that we actually have a son is still sinking in, but we are absolutely thrilled to have our little sidekick.

Alright -- so let's take a look back on how he came to be shall we??
Forewarning, this will be long and detailed, and the bulk of it is for my sheer memory so one day when Bennett asks me about it, I'll have it documented. Hubs and I kept notes on our phones to help us remember how the day progressed ... So I did have a little help to get most of the story and not a photographic timed memory :0).  And if you have the time to read my rambling sorry for the drawn out story! WHEW!

So here goes nothing ... 
Baby Bennett here is how you came to join the world my sweet boy:

At my last couple of doctor's appointments your dad and I were CERTAIN we would see some progression that would lead to us meeting our main dude, but at every appointment we left feeling discouraged. Every time I was checked the doctors were seeing no progress and you were showing no signs that you were ready to meet the world. I swear, if we hadn't sent you your eviction notice you'd still be in there.  And I can't say I really blame you ... after all you were warm and cozy and that still seems to be all you ever want :)  But your parents were antsy and wanted our little man in our arms, not my belly!

At our last ultrasound (scheduled on June 26th) Bennett was measuring 8lbs 9oz. The doctors say ultrasounds can be close to guessing birth weight give or take a pound -- which potentially meant I could be be delivering a near 10lb baby! HOLY HORROR.

Induction was scheduled to begin on Thursday evening, June 27, 2013.  Thursday was a blur. I was a mix of emotions and did everything humanly possible I could think of to try and settle my mind, to no avail. I couldn't relax ... I was ABOUT TO HAVE MY BABY! A 9 month wait was about to be OVER. So much to comprehend and wrap my head around. Your daddy was in the same boat. He went to work that day, but came home early because he said he couldn't focus on a single thing ... and who could blame him? I don't think we had a single conversation for the next 4 hours that didn't involve "What's about to happen" or "What will he look like" or "When do you think he'll be born", etc.

We were instructed by our doctor to call the hospital around 6 o'clock to check bed availability, but to plan on coming in sometime between 8pm and midnight.  So, at exactly 5:59 (I was a little over excited) I phoned the hospital to check when we should arrive. The nurse checked their charts and asked if we could arrive at 7pm ... 7pm?!?!?! WHAT! That was one hour earlier than we were told!  You bet your bottom dollar we can make that happen ma'am! 

40 weeks 2 days

Let's be real ... our bags had been packed for nearly a month and a half ... we were beyond ready.  So your daddy and I frantically gathered all of our belongings, pillows, and everything under the sun we absolutely NEEDED (which in reality we needed almost none of it) and headed towards the hospital.  We made sure to take a photo op before we left the house so we would always remember just HOW BIG your mommy was...and how READY your daddy was :)

We snagged some Panera on our way ... and this was an EXCELLENT choice ... as I wouldn't have any food for a long while and would need that extra energy. Once we made it to the hospital, we were checked into our room (Lucky #13) got everything settled, and it was finally time for the show to begin. At 9:15 pm my first round of cytotec was administered by our nurse Jodi.  

Your dad was glued to the TV for the next several hours in his cozy hospital pullout bed-chair watching the 2013 NBA draft (he still owes me immense Thank You's for letting him screen the draft while I labored the night away ... don't you agree ladies?!).  Kind of ironically cool however ... the first pick in the draft was a player by the name of Anthony BENNETT ... it had to have been a sign that our name for you was meant to be. I'm sticking with that. Shear PERFECTION.

What a cool cat (I guess??) ... I think I'll buy you his jersey one day.

After several hours of letting the cytotec do it's magic ... a second round was administered at 1:15 am and I had still made very little progress ... only 0-1 cm dilated.  The nurse advised me to take an Ambien, because it would help me relax and be able to sleep a little.  She kept mentioning I would need my rest the next day, so I obliged.  I snoozed off into a slumber and woke up sort of dazed and confused around 4:30 am.  Embarrassing details aside ... As instructed, I buzzed the nurse and told her I was heading to the bathroom.  She came in and asked if my water had broken (mind you I was on sleeping pills ... so I was a bit out of it ... and Shane well ... Shane had been sawing logs for quite some time ...).  She checked me and sure enough (AND THANK HEAVENS, I hadn't wet the bed ...) my water had broken.  Things seemed to be progressing quicker than we thought! Wooohooo! Baby Bennett was on his WAYYYY! 

Finally, nearly an hour and 15 minutes later, enough commotion and nurses in the room finally stirred the sleeping giant and Shane woke up to hear the exciting news around 5:45 am.  The doctor ordered me to start my patocin at 6:00 am.  And at 6:45 am they cranked it up. 7 am brought a shift change and MORE contractions. Intense contractions. By 10 am my contractions were strong, extremely consistent, and I was starting to get uncomfortable. It was doable and not nearly as bad as I had expected them to be ... but yes, I was feeling it. My nurse at the time (Michelle ... LOVED her) mentioned my contractions were so close together and if I was in pain I was more than ready to get the epidural if I wanted it. She also made mention ... I would receive no medal for waiting. And if once I told her I was ready -- it would likely take up to 1 hour to get me prepped, get the doc and administer the drugs. So low and behold ... I made the decision to get the drugs :) .... around 11 am I'd received my epidural, my legs were numb, my family was hanging with us and I was thinking this labor thing is a breeze :) 

Let's skip over a bunch of details and fast forward to nearly 7 hours later ... 6 pm.  The nurses checked me and no great news. Aside from the fact that my contractions were nearly 30 seconds apart and were super strong ... I simply wasn't progressing. Dilation just didn't seem to want to happen for me, and Bennett had now been inside me with my water broken for close to 14 hours (they will only let you go for 24 hours before they take matters into their own hands). The word C-section started to come across the nurses and doctors lips. We still had time to wait it out, but with my progression pattern, they weren't hopeful.  Basically the doctor was going to give me until 8 o'clock and if I hadn't gone from 2cm to nearly 7 or 8 ... we needed to really talk about a C-section.

She had one scheduled at 9:30 pm ... so we could take the 8:30 slot and head in SUPER soon ... or we could continue to labor and see if anything happened (which we were not hopeful it would) and take the 11pm C-section slot.  Decision time.  

Bottom line, I was exhausted. I'd been laboring for quite some time, my water had been broken for a good while, and my fever and anxiety were starting to rise.  I was terrified at the thought of a C-section even though going in I said it didn't concern me at all. But I was ready. And hubs was EXTREMELY ready.  I remember holding his hand and making the decision to move forward with the 8:30 slot, I was so excited to meet my little guy - but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't terrified to have someone cut me open!

The room started stirring with commotion. All of the grandparents were present: Grandma (Penny), Papaw (John), Granpa (Mark) and Sissy (Susan).  Great Aunts and Uncles were also there: Uncle Jeff, Aunt Lori and Aunt Toby.  Everyone was ready!  

They brought hubs his scrubs and started prepping me for the O.R.

They took me back by myself and made Shane wait in a little holding room until I was prepped and ready. Next thing I knew, hubs was by my side and operation had begun. I'll leave out all of the details and save the TMI photos for our family viewing ... but bottom line it was a bit of a rocky procedure. I lost a little too much blood, it took BUB a little too long to start breathing on his own, and the epidural didn't take as deep as it should have so I the anesthesiologist had to completely knock me out :( I didn't even get to see my little man until nearly 2 hours after he was born! WAhhhhhh.

But his daddy did an excellent job at informing me of what took place (while I dozed in and out of consciousness) and made sure to show me every video and picture that took place.  Oh how my heart burst. You are PERFECT Bennett.

I was finally ready to leave recovery and head up to the mother/baby unit that we would call home for the next couple of days.  They wheeled us onto the elevator and we strolled past the nursery window where so many of our friends and family stayed way too late to catch their first glimpse of you.  Buddy, love is one thing you will never do without. The love that poured into that hallway brings me to tears as my hands type this. You are one lucky boy.  Admiring you from the window stood: Uncle Max, Grandma, Papaw, Sissy, Granpa, Uncle Jordan and Aunt Stephanie, and Aunt MaKenzie.  It was nearly 1:00 in the morning and your family had been there for HOURS waiting to see you.

I strolled by, shouted a quick I love you Bennett and the nurses started gathering you up to bring to us for the first time.  WOW ... I was getting to meet my son for the first time.  The most surreal moment of my entire life. 

Let's keep the focus on little man and 
not my striking beauty after 25 hours of labor, okay?! ;)

So, first question: 
Was I able to hold it together long enough to even really see you? 
Uhm, NO. Not in the least. 
Waterworks were in full effect and I could barely see you through my watery eyes, but what I saw made my life complete. 
And YOU my little dude filled my heart. 

Second Question:
How'd those first few days and nights being new parents go?
Hmm, well let's see...

      - We were terrified of your Heyena noises while you ate.
      - Your Dad fell asleep sitting up at your first 3am feeding.
      - I bribed the nurse for two extra hours of sleep before being forced into       
        walking laps around the nurses station for recovery.
      - Hubs and I deemed it necessary he head to Kroger and bring back our 
        favorite coffee creamer, as caffeine in mass quantities was still not 
      - You wasted no time in demonstrating to your dad how efficient you are at 
        giving golden showers. :)
      - In hubs excitement to shower, he hopped in towel-less, and when done, 
        walked right out in front of the nurse...embarrassment level reached all 
        time high.
      - Your first couple of swaddles were grade F's.  Failures.  Laughable.  We 
        have since perfected.
      - Daddy found innovative ways to use your boppy for his own benefit when 
        you were not using.  (Now that were home I'm considering purchasing 
        one as his own...he still continues to use it.)
      - I was way too excited for your nighttime feedings...only because it meant 
        more Graham Crackers for me.  I developed a serious addiction.
      - Your first outfit took 30 minutes to put on.  Daddy's fingers too fat and 
        the sleeves too small.
      - Lesson learned on departure time - requesting wheelchair assistance to 
        arrive in 10 minutes was wishful thinking.  We left the room 30 minutes    

The next couple of days/weeks in the hospital and at home were a whirlwind. Unfortunately, my recovery was not nearly as gracious as your welcoming party. Your momma suffered from what was likely C. Diff or a stomach virus, a bad reaction to the surgical tape, and a ridiculously itchy body rash from the overdose of histamines that my body couldn't metabolize. It was not the homecoming we expected to say the least, but thank goodness it is now all behind us. 

 At the hospital and throughout your first few weeks of life, we had visitors non-stop.  Everyone wanted to get their first peek at the most amazing little boy.  You were greeted by your endless aunts and uncles (both family and friends), all of your cousins, most of your family members (you've got some that live far away ... but they will meet you soon!) and even strangers who couldn't get enough of your cuteness!  You were cuddled, kissed, and stared at more than any of those Hollywood hunks. For reals.

Here are some of my favorite photos from the hospital visits.

The Proud Grandparents!:

Your Grandma Penny

Your PaPaw John

Your Granpa Mark

Your Sissy Susan

Your Poppy Steve

The Proud Cousins!

Your Cousin Maebyn and Her identical twin sisters due to make an appearance sometime in August/September.  Maebyn even sported and I heart BUB t-shirt. Crafty girl that lil' Maebs.

Your Cousins Tatum, Brody and Emmie.  They can't wait to play with you!

So there you have it little man.  The story of the day(s) you came to be!  
We are elated that you are finally here and are so excited to start our journey as parents.  Our little family is complete (for the time being ... we may have to add a brother or sister someday).  But right now, we're ready to move forward with the greatest gift God has ever given us: YOU!

Bennett Bernard: Our Perfect Little Miracle.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Recipe Monday: This is how we roll

Hiya kids! It's been a while since I've participated in my own Recipe Monday post ... but today I am back. And back with a vengeance, ya hearrrrrd?!

Okay, so if ya'll remember a while back hubs and I conjured up a plan with my pops, and surprised my momma on their extended vacay in the Bahamas.  Because I was roughly 5 months pregnant, I knew I needed a good paperback companion to keep me entertained, while hubs partied the vacay away :).  A coworker had suggested I read "Black Heels to Tractor Wheels" by The Pioneer Woman: Ree Drummond.  She thought I'd find it extremely relatable (a blogger + love story + pregnancy + a knack for cooking/baking).  Why yes, I'd say she was spot on. And I loved EVERY single page. 

I plan to do some book reviews this summer in my "down" time ... not that I'll be busy with a new baby or anything ;).  So, I'll do a full on review of the book when I get around to it. But for the time being trust me ... it's a good and easy read.
Throughout the book she shares a ton of recipes, in such a fun way.  You find out when and why she made them ... how some didn't go over so well etc. However, there was one recipe that from the moment I read about it in the book I simply knew I HAD to try it.  I don't know if that was the pregnancy talking or the fact that reading about it's deliciousness made the words and ingredients seemingly ooze off the page and forever create a delectable image in my mind - but either way, it's been on my to-do list since February.

And lucky for you ... the day has come. While I've been "working from home" these last couple of days before Baby Bennett made his big debut (Bennett reveal and birth story to come! ~ I promise ... the homecoming was not exactly how we imagined and it's taken a little extra time!), I've had to find EXTREMELY important things to do to keep me busy.  And making The Pioneer Woman's Cinnamon Rolls was at the top of the list, the tippy tip-top. So my momma accompanied me to the grocery store. And as of today, the recipe has been sampled and I am here to report: it will now forever be a staple in our household. I can't wait to make them around the holidays for everyone. GOOD GOLLY are they good ... and I promise they're good ... that is not the pregnancy talking. 
I followed her directions exactly as you'll find them in the link above .. so I'll spare a double dose of the same instructions, but below you will see my experience and the recipe itself.  

My only suggestion would be to let the dough sit in the fridge before heading straight away into the ingredient adding and dough rolling process.  I'm a bit of a perfectionist and although it obviously has absolutely zero affect on the taste ... the fact that they weren't as neatly rolled as they should have been led me to know I should have waited a little longer for them to chill. Fine by me however, that just means I need more practice and will have to make them again :0) DARN. She's also got some good pointers on her notes tab ... info about dough, freezing tips, etc.

Anyyyyways ... here's a peak into how things went down during my rendition.

OH. EM. GEE:  Cinnamon Rolls
The Roll Ingredients:
  • 1 quart whole milk
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 packages active dry yeast, 0.25 oz. packets
  • 8 cups (plus 1 cup extra, separated) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp (heaping) baking powder
  • 1 tsp (scant) baking soda
  • 1 tbsp (heaping) baking soda
  • Plenty of melted butter (I used 1.5 cups)
  • 2 cups sugar (1 in dough, 1 in topping)
  • Generous sprinkling of cinnamon 
Maple Frosting Ingredients:

  • 1 bag powdered sugar (2lb bag)
  • 2 tsp maple flavoring
  • 1/2 cup milk (I used skim)
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1/4 cup brewed coffee
  • 1/8 tsp salt (or generous pinch)

Mixing together the dough ... and finding things to do to occupy my time while I waited for it to rise.
 Getting the prep station ready to start rolling my rectangle. Next time I'll use a larger space, because I think I could have rolled the dough a little thinner and that would have helped to keep some shape.

 Adding the BUTTER. Ohhhhhh the butter ... don't be shy she's right. It makes them EXTRA delicious in the baking process.
 Adding the sugar and cinnamon. Next time I think I'll be even more generous with the cinnamon.
 During the cutting process.  She ain't kidding about the oozing. Check out the oozy mess ... YUM.
 Lining up the pans! Yippeee, this was before I popped em' in the oven.  This recipe made me 6 pans opposed to 7-8, but again I think had I rolled it a bit thinner and longer we'd be about spot on.
 Making the icing. OH. EM. GEE. I was skeptical with the maple and coffee as ingredients, but goodness gracious. In the end, it all comes together. HOLY delicious.
 "Drowning the puppies" in icing. Left is iced ... right is awaiting the delicious drizzle.
 All 6 of my beauts. GIMME GIMME. Gimme mooooore!
 The pie pan hubs and I chose for ourselves.  We agreed on the bottom right in the picture above ... which would you have chosen?
 INDULGENCE. And confession: I ate two.
 And the remaining 5 pie pans I neatly placed in our garage freezer (Ree says you can pop the frozen rolls in the oven at 250 degrees for 15 minutes and they're fine! We shall see). I thought they would be nice "thank you's" for our friends and family that will likely be bringing us baby dinners in the coming weeks :)  
And if I just so happen to forget to give them away ... then I guess I'll just have to eat them. Dang. What a rough life!

So there you have it folks. The bestest cinnamon rolls I've had to date. Seriously, make time to make them!