Thursday, September 24, 2009

Elextrolux Text-A-Thon - 1 Week left!

Earlier this year, I shared with you a campaign from Electrolux to raise support and awareness for the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund (OCRF). At that time, Electrolux offered an easy way to support ovarian cancer research. And they are back again with another super-easy way to do the same thing.

For the month of September, Electrolux and Kelly Ripa kicked off a unique “Text-a-Thon for a Cause” to support the OCRF. Moms can donate $5 to the cause by texting “KELLY” to 85944 from their mobile phones (standard text messaging rates apply) – or by logging on to www.kelly-confidential.com. Also, each day you log on to www.kelly-confidential.com, you are entered for a chance to win a luxury frontload washer and dryer from Electrolux in Turquoise Sky, the color of ovarian cancer awareness.

I just stopped to send my text and it took me 20 seconds. So go grab your cell phone (or visit the Kelly Confidential site if you are too lazy to walk across the room to your phone) and donate $5  to ovarian cancer research! The money will be added to your next cell phone bill and there is no paperwork to fill out.

Also during September, visitors to Kelly Confidential can also help spread awareness for this important cause by sending a virtual T-shirt to a friend.  For every virtual T-shirt sent, Electrolux will donate $1 to the OCRF. You can also purchase a limited edition T-shirt designed by Ripa; 100% of the proceeds from the sale of the T-shirts will go to OCRF.

You can also visit Mom Central for another chance to win a turquoise sky washer and dryer from Electrolux.

"I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central on behalf of Electrolux and received a gift certificate to thank me for taking the time to participate."

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Week 2 of Mary's Physical Therapy

It is clear to me that Mary's sucking action is getting stronger. I have been faithfully stretching her cheek muscles and doing my best to stimulate all the nerves in her jaw, cheeks, and tongue each time she eats.

What I haven't been quite so faithful at is putting her to the breast to nurse a few times a day. It is hard to do that knowing it probably won't work anyway. She has been able to latch on a few times since we first started, but never for more than 1-2 minutes. It seems to me that she just gets worn out from the extra work that nursing requires and gives up.

The last 2 days were really hard for me. I've been pumping every 2-3 hours for 2 weeks now and don't really see any light at the end of the tunnel. I don't know when this will end. It isn't the bottles that bother me so much because I know they are giving Mary's tummy liquid gold. It is the lack of sleep and the amount of effort it takes to accomplish all of this pumping.

Yesterday morning, I sent the following message to my local La Leche League friends in hopes of getting some moral support:
I am hitting a wall. I am moody, short-tempered with my husband and 2-year old, and am eating everything in the house (and not because I am hungry!). My daughter has this book called The Way I Feel and every time she gets to the sad page recently, she points and says, "mommy." That is so not what I want my daughter to think of me. I feel as if I all I do is pump and feed and wonder if any of this is fair to my 2-year old.
They wonderfully replied with support and encouragement to keep on keeping on. Some of them shared their own stories of having to pump or adjusting to life with 2 children. It really helped to be virtually surrounded by other women who are supportive of my goal for Mary to exclusively nurse.

One of the leaders, who is also a therapist, responded that it is okay for me to be sad. She said it was even okay for Charlotte to see me sad. But she closed with the thought that it isn't okay for me to stay sad. So, I am going to end by focusing on the blessings in my life right now, in regards to Mary and breastfeeding.

  1. Charlotte loves Mary and doesn't seem to be jealous.
  2. Breastmilk diapers are WAY better to change than formula diapers.
  3. Bruce is very supportive of what I am trying to accomplish and let me sleep an extra 30-45 minutes each morning by waking up with Charlotte before he goes to work.
  4. Mary's suck is getting stronger and she rarely chokes or dribbles milk.
  5. I figured out how to pump hands free by cutting holes in a sports bra.
  6. I learned how to paint my toe nails while pumping (see #6).
  7. I am pumping 4-8 ounces per day more than Mary needs. This means I already have more than 24-hours worth of milk in the freezer.
  8. Sleep has not become my god. I am managing without caffeine by taking naps while the girls nap on most days.
  9. Mary is getting breastmilk. And this is the reason for all of the pumping... to give her the best start in life and provide immunity from illnesses (especially this year!)

Monday, September 21, 2009

Charlotte's First Time on a Fire Truck

We were surprised at the local children's museum this morning when our normal, Monday morning story time was replaced by a career event involving a demonstration by the Lakeland Fire Department.

Charlotte was able to see a fireman in full protective gear up close and personal. It hadn't occured to me before, but it is a really great idea for children to have some exposure to what a fireman looks like with all 48 pounds of gear and an air tank strapped on. Imagine being a small child, scared by a fire, only to see a monster-type creature coming at you through the smoke!

After the gear demonstration, the fire fighters let the children hang out on the fire engine for a few minutes. Charlotte wasn't shy about checking it out at all and I could see the awe factor in her eyes as she sat in the Lieutenant's seat in the front of the fire engine.



Then, when she climbed into the back seat, she just sat there and soaked it all in. I don't know if being a fire fighter will ever be a career goal of hers, but she looked cute in the fire engine anyway!


 

(Cell phone pictures... I was unprepared for such a cool experience on a Monday morning.)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

My Living Room at 4:30 PM Today

Lest anyone ever think I am one of those moms who has it 'all together,' I thought I'd share some pictures of what my living room looked like when my husband walked in the door.

Now, he didn't take these pictures to make me feel bad, I asked him too, just to prove that I am not super mom (ha, as if anyone actually thought that!).

 
  

And yep, I was watching the Food Network while my daughter 'washed' her hands in the bathroom... leaving some kind of watery mess that my husband cleaned up before I ever got my butt off the couch! (In my defense, Mary was asleep in my arms though.)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Mary's Pediatric Therapy Evaluation

This morning I took Mary for her pediatric physical therapy evaluation. As I mentioned previously, she has some oral motor issues that prevent her from nursing properly, or even taking milk from a bottle properly. And after a visit with the lactation consultant, we were referred to Pediatric Therapy Services for help.

Upon entering the facility, we were made to feel very comfortable. They knew who I was when I walked in with Mary and we didn't have to wait at all for our appointment. Nikki was the therapist assigned to evaluate her and was in agreement with my goal of exclusive breastfeeding for Mary. I have been pumping every 2-3 hours around the clock and giving Mary milk from a bottle, but that is not a situation I can maintain for very long before I collapse from lack of sleep.

Nikki watched as I tried to nurse Mary and could see that all Mary was able to do was chomp down, no latching at all. Then, she observed me giving Mary my milk in a bottle and how it dribbles out of Mary's mouth. Eventually, she asked to feed Mary the bottle herself so she could get a closer look at the situation.

After what seemed to be about 5 minutes, she had seen Mary dribble milk, chomp on the bottle, and gag on the milk (something that has been happening at home too). Nikki played with Mary's cheeks and did some therapist-y things until Mary was taking the bottle a little better, but with the flow increasing, Mary gagged some more.

Finally, she gave me her opinion. Mary has a lower jaw that is set back, kind of like an overbite which makes it hard to latch. And, she has week jaw and cheek muscles which make it hard to suck. Put it all together and you have a very poor nurser. The only red flag she mentioned was that Mary didn't seem to respond to some nerve stimulation in her cheeks, but said it might just be that her reflex is so weak we aren't seeing it yet. So Nikki said that we would just focus on the muscle strength for now.

I have been given several techniques to use for 'waking up' her oral muscles before each feeding session. Plus, instructions on a new way to hold Mary's face while she is eating to help her get a better latch. In addition to that, we will be doing cheek stretching exercises 4 times a day, 3 times on each side. Then, we are set up for weekly therapy sessions to check progress and make any adjustments as necessary.

Nikki made me feel very encouraged that we will solve this problem, even though we didn't discuss time lines. So, I'm still pumping and bottle feeding Mary, but we now have some direction to improve the situation. I'll share more as I learn and experience more. Thanks for all your prayers as we try to sort this out.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The First Time Charlotte Held Mary

Mary is 1 week old and I was finally brave enough to let Charlotte hold her. You see, Charlotte likes to poke eyes and heads and things, so I wanted to make sure Bruce was around, just in case. Here are my favorites pictures from what will likely be Charlotte's happiest moments today!

 
 

(Again, the coloring is off because Photoshop time still can't be found.)m

Surviving a Newborn

Today Mary is 1 week old. And sometime in the last week, Charlotte became 25 months old. The whole week is a little blurry in my head.

I just wanted to share a couple of things with you before signing off for a little while.

First, most of the posts over the last week were written 2 weeks ago. So I haven't been a blogging maniac.

Second, Mary has some oral motor issues that we are trying to resolve. In the mean time, she can't nurse so I am having to pump every 2 hours to maintain my supply until we get more guidance from the therapist. This means I also have to give Mary bottles of breastmilk. I thought I'd never have to use a pump again!

As for her oral motor issues, we have an appointment on Monday. Hopefully they will teach me some exercises for her that can strengthen her jaw, tongue, cheek, and other related muscles to make latching on possible.

Anyone who knows me well enough, or was around the blog when Charlotte was little, knows how important I think breastfeeding is. I am praying these issues are temporary because waking up every 2 hours to pump and also have to be awake to feed Mary is taking its toll on me. I am emotional and tired.

My mom is back at home and Bruce has to go to work, so I will be flying solo this week. So, that being said... I may not be posting much  in the next week or so. There are still lots of things I want to share about Mary and Charlotte too, so if I get a burst of energy I might write up a bunch of posts and spread them out a bit. Also, I'll try to post an update after our appointment on Monday.

Need A Vacation???

I am always trying to figure out the next way for our family to get away for a few nights. Mostly, it is just the planning of a trip that makes me happy. If I can dream up a long weekend for a little bit, I will feel better and able to move on to my realities of diapers, dinners, and driving to play groups.

But every now and again, dreaming just isn't enough. I am fortunate though, that I live in a wildly diverse state and can get away to any number of different types of places - the beach in St. Pete, theme parks in Orlando, woods for camping all over, or even the bright lights of a big city like Miami.

I've been thinking about another one of those weekend getaways recently and recently found out there is a name for the kinds of trips I plan. They are called "state-cations." Mom Central defines these as "countless opportunities for adventure, education and rejuvenation reside within the borders of your own home state."

They asked me to share the way Holiday Inn can help you plan a "state-cation" of your own. I know many people will be planning trips for Labor Day weekend (not me though, I'm hoping to have a new baby by then!), so here are some ideas to keep in mind as you book your travel plans at the Holiday Inn. They have
  • new signature bedding,
  • power showers,
  • your choice between soft and firm pillows, and
  • more than 2,500 locations in the US, in every state.
Um, and this wasn't in the material I received... but hello! Someone else will make your bed and wash your towels! Oh, and you won't have to clean the pool before everyone can jump in. They've got that one covered too. :)


“I wrote this review while participating in a blog campaign by Mom Central on behalf of Holiday Inn. Mom Central sent me a gift card to thank me for taking the time to participate.”

Thursday, September 10, 2009

New Pictures of Mary - 5 Days Old

Is it possible to show you too many pictures of Mary at one time? Will you forgive me if these are all straight out of the camera? I just haven't found time for Photoshop yet this week. :)


And can you believe she is only 5 days old?

My Labor Story - Part 2

Unlike the first half of my labor story, this was not written in real time. I was too busy trying to finish up the hard part so that I could hold our new baby girl! (Plus, laptops and water tubs aren't very compatible.)

Warning: My biggest purpose in writing this is to have a record of what happened, even the not so pretty stuff. So, if you don't want to know details (I'm talking to you Dad and you Brother), then just skip ahead to the next post. :)

***
5:15 pm - Arrived at the birth center and continued laboring on a birthing ball and the floor. It turned out, for this phase of labor, kneeling at the coffee table during contractions was the most comfortable. In between contractions I remember resting my head on the table or falling back to sit on my feet with my head and arms completely relaxed. I did try sitting on the birth ball again, but it was too hard to relax the right muscles, so I used it in the same way as the coffee table.

***
7:00 pm - I asked Melissa to check my progress again because the contractions were just very painful and I needed some motivation. She confirmed that I was fully effaced and at 7-8 centimeters. My water was still in tact and Mary was floating above the opening of my cervix. While she didn't want to do it, she said we may want to consider breaking my waters if I hadn't made any progress in the next bit. Mary still had to push her way through the last bit of fluid before she could be ready to come out. After the check, I decided I was ready to get in the birthing tub.

I stayed in the tub pretty much all the way to the end, getting out to walk for a few minutes at one point and to use the toilet at another.

***
9:30 pm - I got out to use the toilet and finally found that I had lost my plug. I wasn't expecting it and actually said, "ew, gross." Charlie, the birth assistant came back to see what I was talking about and got excited because she knew we were getting closer to the end. Because the contractions were so painful, and I really wanted to know what was going on, I asked Melissa to check my progress again. We were happy to discover that Mary had moved down and was in a good position to come out. While Melissa was feeling Mary's head, Mary moved it and Melissa accidentally broke my water. It wasn't painful, just wet. :)

I had been thinking that Mary would be born 'in the caul.' I wasn't hoping for it, or counting on it. I just had a feeling it might happen that way. Melissa apologized for what happened, but I know it wasn't on purpose, and I was okay with it.

When I got back in the tub, the contractions were considerably more painful. The cushion of the bag of waters was gone and I knew it. I spent most of the rest of my time in the tub kneeling at the edge. It felt good to be on my knees and let whatever small amount of gravity I could use in the tub work to my advantage.

***
10:38 pm - All of a sudden, the pressure in my pelvis changed. I could tell it was time to push. This was a new feeling for me and it felt empowering to have observed the change in my own body and for my body to know how to respond to it. I pushed for 22 minutes though it felt like much longer.

When we were almost done, I reached down to feel Mary's head, because I wanted to make sure what I thought was happening was really happening. It made it so much more real to have tangible evidence after a VERY long day (remember, we started this story at 1 am!).

After her head was mostly out, she snuck back inside for a minute or so. That meant I had to push her head out again. I thought that would be the hardest part. I was wrong. Turns out, her head was 14 1/2" in circumference, but her torso was 15"! In all the birth videos I'd watched recently, once the head came out the rest was easier. That wasn't the case for me.

I had to push even harder to get the rest of her out. While I didn't say it, and didn't even really mean it, giving up seemed easier. But, as we all know, that isn't how delivering a baby works. Melissa had to yell at me sternly right at the very end to push even harder because Mary had to come out right away. There was no specific distress, but her head had already been out for a few minutes and she was still under water.

So I gave that last push, and out she came, with a little help from Melissa. I rolled over and leaned against the tub, exhausted and watched as they gave Mary a quick exam and rubbed on her back to get those first breaths out of her.

At first, I was very nervous because she was very purple. And it didn't look like she was breathing. But as Bruce later pointed out, neither Melissa or Charlie seemed worried. I just kept holding Mary's hand, repeating, "breathe baby breathe." Bruce told me he thought it was both sweet and sad to watch that.


Then, I got to hold her. I just looked at her and she kind of just laid there. It was a quiet moment. After a few minutes, it was time to push the placenta out. This was MUCH easier. Once they cut the cord, they dried Mary off and handed her to Bruce so I could get out of the tub. He seemed a little surprised at first to be holding her so quickly after she was born, but I think he enjoyed the responsibility.

When I got out of the tub, I had a horrible cramp in my right side. I realized the next day what had happened. On one my last pushes, I put my right foot on the floor of the tub and leaned into it for more leverage. Turns out I pulled that muscle a little bit. It is better now but it did bother me for the first 3 days.


The next 3 hours were spent cleaning me and Mary up, me eating a light meal, getting Mary to eat her first meal, and just enjoying looking at her.

***
2:00 am - Time to go home. After finishing the discharge paper, I secured Mary in her car seat, Bruce carried her out, and we left for our own beds. My mom had watched Charlotte for us, and was there when we got back.

And I think that is just about it. I have more to share, but it will probably take me a few more days. and I know - MORE PICTURES. I'm working on it, really.

Grandparents Have a Voice Too!

Hahaha... I crack myself up. Because I only mean that title in theory, or quite literally, depending on how you want to take it. You see, in my family, the grandparents don't really get much of a say about anything. I even send them a list of approved birthday presents.

But I did find something online that will help them feel more connected with their granddaughters. It is called "Your Voice" from Grandparents.com. It came at a good time too because my dad decided that Charlotte, at 2 years old, was now old enough to receive phone calls, without Mommy to translate or assist. And that hasn't quite worked out... Charlotte is still too interested in the buttons on the phone. Oh, and good timing because Grandparent's Day is coming up on September 13.

But, I told my dad about Your Voice and in less than 2 hours, he had already logged into Grandparents.com and created a spoken message for his first granddaughter. Then of course, he had to text me to make sure I knew it was there so his precious granddaughter wouldn't have to wait too long to hear her Grumpy's voice!

When we listened to it after her nap (can't let the grandparents dictate everything!), Charlotte was delighted to hear Grumpy on the computer. And I was super-duper impressed with the sound quality. It was extremely clear and we had no trouble understanding him, even though he was calling from a cell phone inside a big truck.

After listening to it, I wanted to know more about the process, so Charlotte and I recorded our own message for Grumpy. The instructions appeared on the screen at the end of our listening and all we had to do was dial a number (it was long-distance), enter a pin, and then start recording. Grumpy received an email within 30 minutes alerting him to his new message.

This would be a great way for grandparents (or anyone) to read stories to their grandchildren who live far away. Especially since the recordings can be downloaded as an .mp3 and saved forever. You can take these with you on your iPod or other music player.

Let me know if you give this a try... I'd love to hear stories about how Your Voice helps you stay connected with your family.

I wrote this review while participating in a blog campaign by Mom Central on behalf of Grandparents.com. Mom Central sent me a gift card to thank me for taking the time to participate.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

My Mom's Scrapbook - Part 10

And now we get to my first semester of college. Glorious times. (If we all agree to ignore my adolescent complexion that is!) This first page to commemorate my time in college features a letter I wrote to the editor of our school paper. In it, I responded to an article by some guy named Snell who basically had a skewed, worldly view of what love is, and tried to say love was a physical thing (if I remember correctly).

In my letter, I shared what the Bible said about love in 1 Cor 13 and that true love could be found in a relationship with Jesus. I thought it was pretty cool that they published my letter, being a lowly freshman and all. Then, I eventually realized, the editors pretty much published any letter the got (which was not very many).


College is like being between a 'rock and a hard place.' Or so the cartoon strip at the top of this scrapbook page says. On our way down to Miami (yes, I am a UM graduate), we stopped at Cracker Barrel for a big breakfast. Cracker Barrel was a road trip tradition (though at 4 hours, that doesn't seem like much of a road trip these days).

For the curious, I majored in Religious Studies and Broadcasting. I thought I wanted to be a TV news director. Actually, I still think that would be a cool job. It is a high-energy, high-stress kind of thing, but the job didn't have to follow you home. When you finished the broadcast you were done until the next one. I did this on campus a lot until one week while getting ready for a show, I realized that there was a lot of back-stabbing going on amongst my peers so they could get better assignments. It was all at the expense of other people and I could not see myself building a career that way. So I just focused on graduating at that point, knowing that I would not end up in TV.


Overall, college was a good experience. The worst part is that I am still paying for it! Anyone got a spare $28k to send me to finish off my student loans (already down from $45k)???

Next week I'll share about my first extended, short-term (2 month) mission trip and its connection to my current church!

Monday, September 07, 2009

Introducing Mary Mitchell

Here are a few pictures of our newly expanded family.

Yes, she was born in a tub... I'll finish writing up that story soon.



Charlotte is experiencing pure joy at the site and sound of her little sister. She can't go to the park or to take a nap without making sure she gives Mary a hug and a kiss. And Charlotte was adamant yesterday that Mary keep her hat on. I hope this sisterly love stays so nice.

Why we honor the name of Mary Mitchell

How we chose the name for our daughter:

Mary Mitchell Slessor was born in 1848, the second of seven children in a poor Scottish family. Because of her poverty, she began working in a mill at the age of 11; when her father died, she became the primary financial support for her family—a family that continued becoming smaller because of tuberculosis.

When Mary heard of the missionary David Livingstone’s death in 1873, she immediately volunteered to serve in Nigeria. She began her ministry in the port city of Duke Town, learning the local language and customs, and teaching in a school. Mary lived frugally, sending half her salary home to care for her ill family members. But all the while, she longed to move inland where there were no missionaries.

When the last of Mary’s family died, she wrote, “Heaven is now nearer to me than Britain, and no one will be anxious about me if I go up-country.” For the rest of her life, Mary moved further inland into areas thought impenetrable by British authorities. She lived and worked among people she described as, “brave, almost fierce, war-loving, and as reckless of their own lives as they are of others.”

Mary Mitchell was an unconventional and controversial missionary. Despite the missionary customs of the day, Mary insisted on living in an African hut, eating the local food, and wearing clothes practical for the environment. Without family to support, she used her money to start free schools. In addition, she advocated the rights of women and fought to end local practices of slavery and human sacrifice.

Mary became renowned for her bravery and leadership. When the British government decided to expand its influence inland, they quickly realized local tribes had no interest in accepting a British governor. But they also realized Mary was trusted by everyone. As the British High Commissioner wrote, “Miss Slessor can go where no white man can go. She can sway the people when we cannot sway them.” As a result, in 1905, Mary was named the first female magistrate in the history of the British Empire. She accepted the commission—believing that God is honored through good systems of justice—but never accepted a government salary; she considered herself a servant of God, not of Britain.

Mary found it difficult to quantify her work to those who like to count the successes of missionaries. At one point, she simply wrote:
We do not attempt to give in numbers those who are nominally Christian. Women, lads, girls, and a few men profess to have placed themselves in God's hands. All the children within reach are sent to the school without stipulation. One lady of free birth and good position has borne persecution for Christ's sake. We speak with diffidence; for as no ordained minister has ever been resident or available for more than a short visit, no observance of the ordinances of Baptism or Lord's Supper have been held and we have not had the usual definite offers of persons as candidates for Church membership. We have just kept on sowing the seed of the Word, believing that when God's time comes to gather them into the visible church there will be some among us ready to participate in the privilege and honour.
Mary Mitchell Slessor lived dedicated to the glory of God, and she invested her life to shine the light of God into the Dark Continent. That is why we have chosen the name of Mary Mitchell for our new daughter. It is our hope that Mary Mitchell Sabin will be as committed to God, courageous in His name, and concerned for his people, as Mary Mitchell Slessor. May the name our daughter bears always point her toward the name Slessor proclaimed. And may we, as her parents, teach her that there is no greater mission in life than to know God and enjoy Him forever.

Bruce & Jennifer Sabin

Giveaway: Yoplait Delights Parfait

Did you know?
  • Nearly nine out of 10 women experience a mid-day craving and have the urge to snack
  • Eighty-three percent of women admit they sometimes feel guilty when cravings take over and they reach for sweets
My cravings usually come between 3-4 pm when I feel sluggish and tired. I often find myself grazing in the fridge and/or pantry trying to find just the right thing. Some days I even take a bit of everything only to find nothing really hits the spot.


So, I am really looking forward to trying the new Yoplait Delights, a yogurt treat that is supposed to be "delicious, sweet, and a feel good choice." Available in four tempting flavor combinations Chocolate Raspberry, Triple Berry Creme, Lemon Torte and Creme Caramel - creamy Yoplait Delight sound like the perfect everyday treat. Right now you can also download a $1.25 off coupon for Yoplait Delights Parfait.

I received a "Delight Your Day" gift pack that includes, a spa mask, wrap robe and slippers, and I get to give one away to one of my readers too! How can anyone complain about a little bit of pampering? I know I need it right now! Plus, don't forget to get your Yoplait Delights coupon.


How to Enter: There are four ways to enter and you can do any of them you like, for up to four entries:

  1. Leave a comment telling me what your biggest snacking struggle is,
  2. Subscribe to my RSS feed, and leave a 2nd comment telling me you did so, or already are subscribed,
  3. Link to my giveaway on your own blog, leaving another comment with the permalink to you post, or
  4. Share this giveaway on Facebook and leave a 4th comment letting me know you did (honor system).
That's it. 4 ways to win and 1 lucky winner. This giveaway will end at midnight on Sunday, September 13. Read all contest rules here.

Don't miss any of my upcoming giveaways -
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Sponsored by My Blog Spark

Sunday, September 06, 2009

My Labor Story - Part 1

Written in real time on Saturday, September 5th.
***
As I write this, I am in labor. I am 40 weeks and 5 days pregnant, though we all know due dates aren't an exact science. I'm going to try and keep a log of what happens before we leave for the birthing center (hence the 'Part 1' of the title) and will hopefully be able to post 'Part 2' sometime in the next couple of days. No promises though, I hope to be staring in the beautiful eyes of a brand new baby girl. :)

Last night (Friday), Bruce and I went to a new restaurant and I hoped to try some spicy foods to encourage Babin to leave her comfy nest. I ate N'Awlins style red beans and rice with extra hot sauce. I'd say we went for a walk after dinner, but really it was just the hike up to the car in the parking garage. More activity than I'd had in 2 days since I was resting a lot to be ready and fueled with energy.

We came home and had a light snack before going to bed at 10 pm. I think I fell asleep almost instantly.

Around 1 am I woke up to the first contraction of the night. After breathing through it and trying to visualize a flower opening its buds, I think I fell back asleep. But just a light sleep. For the next hour, I tried to time my contractions on my own, in my head. This was a bad idea. I am no good at remembering important numbers at 1 am. So I woke Bruce up, told him what had been happening, and came down stairs.

***
It is now 2:12 am and the contractions continue. I am tracking them with a website called Contraction Master. Very cool. Now if only I had an iPhone to use the portable app. I am sitting on an exercise ball, with a towel over it since my bag of waters is still intact. Figured I could use this time to write some blog posts for the next few days so you all have something to read when you come looking for the 2nd half of this story and pictures of the newest addition to the Sabin Family.

***
3:22 am - My contractions have been pretty consistent for the past hour or so. They are about 1 minute long, every 4 minutes. I just spoke with Melissa the midwife on call this weekend and the plan is for me to stay home for now, keep hydrated, and call her when the sun comes up (or sooner if there is any major change). Laboring at home is more comfortable for me now than trying to go some where. No need to call anyone just yet though, let them rest so they have energy to follow Charlotte around later today!

***
5:15 am - I decided to lay down on my left side around 4 am to get some rest and it definitely slowed the contractions down. But, by 4:45 am I felt they were stronger than before. I was dozing off in between since they had become more spaced out. Since Charlotte will be up in less than 2 hours, I called my mom and asked her to head down. I want to make sure there is someone here that can help distract Charlotte until it is time for us to head to the birthing center. I haven't been drinking fluids though because I was resting, but now I am up and will try to drink a glass of red raspberry leaf tea.

***
9:20 am - I am still contracting and they are coming in ebbs and flows. Bruce and I just took a 20 minute walk and the contraction were more bearable when I was standing up as opposed to sitting. Melissa just called to check on me and she recommended some calcium magnesium and a warm bath so I can get some rest. We expect to talk again in 2-3 hours depending on how I am feeling.

***
12:54 pm - I took a long soak in warm water then laid in bed until about 12:15. I still had contractions, but they were much easier to manage in the tub. Resting felt good. I finally got up when I had a few very uncomfortable contractions that were hard to manage laying down. But things are kind of sporadic now. Ugh! I just wish this thing would stop or move forward. Bruce and I took another walk and then I ate a Healthy Choice turkey meal.

***
2:00 pm - I decided to was time to see the midwife so I called to have her check my progress. We met her at the birthing center and I was 5 cm dilated and about 90% effaced. This was good news to me. I was still exhausted, so she said to go home, take a Benadryl, and lay down so I would have energy for the hard work still to come.

***
5:00 pm - I've napped and taken another walk outside. And the contractions are about 2-3 minutes apart. It i now time to go to the birth center. I call Melissa and she says she will meet us there.

I'll share the rest of the story soon...

Reading With Grumpy

When Grumpy was down recently to take Charlotte to see Disney on Ice, he stayed late enough to ready her a bedtime story. Since I know he will like these, I thought I'd share a few pictures of them reading together.

 
  
  
  
 

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Disney On Ice

There is a billboard we pass almost every day that advertises the Disney on Ice Celebrations tour that came to Lakeland. And don't ask me how, but Charlotte can recognize the mouse on it as Mickey Mouse. She shouts it clearly enough that there is no mistaking that billboard caught her eye.

Well, earlier this week, I made the mistake told her that she was going to see Mickey Mouse on Friday. That was the end of it. I heard about it during lunch, at bedtime, and other random times of the day. The only problem is, she had no concept of what it meant when I said she was going on Friday. I might as well have told her that she was going to the moon yesterday.

But, we made it through the week and she made it to see Disney on Ice, a special, "I'm a big sister treat" from her G-ma and Grumpy. Her first big girl outing with her grandparents. She even wore a new dress that G-ma just had to buy for the occasion!

I'd known for a few weeks that G-ma had bought the tickets, but wasn't sure what exactly she was going to see. Lakeland got the "Celebrations" show, which is, "one colossal party on ice, with all your favorite Disney friends!  Enjoy a winter wonderland with Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse, a Halloween haunt with the Disney Villains, a Very Merry Unbirthday Party, a Royal Ball with the Disney Princesses and more in a magical medley of holidays, celebrations and festivals from around the globe."

There are other shows too, playing in different cities around the US - Classic Princesses, Worlds of Fantasy, and 100 Years of Magic.

And since we had tickets anyway, I am happy to share with you a way to save some money on your own tickets. Mom Central is excited to extend the following special family offers; look for the box marked "MC Promotion" when purchasing tickets:

  • *Offer #1: Get 4 tickets for just $44 by entering the code "MOM" at select ticketing channels. Offer good on all weekday performances, which includes all weekday evening and Friday matinee performances; minimum purchase of 4 tickets required; additional tickets above 4 can be purchased at $11 each.
  • *Offer #2: All weekend performance tickets will be $4 off the original price
  • Offer #3: Get the best Front Row and VIP seats available – We have reserved seats in the Front Row and VIP sections just for you! No discounts available on these seats. Use the code MOM.
*Not valid on Front Row or VIP seats or combinable with other offers including opening night offers. Other fees may apply.

The above offers are good in the following cities:
  • St. Louis: September 3-6, 2009
  • Chicago: September 8-13, 2009
  • Sunrise: September 17-20, 2009
  • Dayton/Cincinnati: September 17-27, 2009
  • Miami: September 23-27, 2009
  • Auburn Hills: September 30 – October 4, 2009
  • Charlotte: October 8-11, 2009
  • Philadelphia: October 14-18, 2009
  • Atlanta: October 14-18, 2009
  • Oakland/San Jose: October 14-25, 2009
  • Fairfax: October 21-25, 2009
  • Sacramento: October 28 – November 1, 2009
  • Baltimore: October 28 – November 1, 2009
  • Uniondale: November 10-15, 2009
  • Houston: November 11-15, 2009
  • NYC: November 17-22, 2009
  • East Rutherford: November 24-29, 2009
  • Denver/Broomfield: December 3-13, 2009 *available for purchase on 9/12/09
  • St. Paul: December 9-13, 2009
  • Los Angeles: December 17-20, 2009
  • Toronto: December 18-27, 2009
  • Anaheim: December 22-27, 2009
  • Philadelphia: December 23 – January 3, 2010 *available for purchase on 10/12/09
  • Boston: December 26-29, 2009 *available for purchase on 9/3/09
  • Ontario: December 30 – January 3, 2010
  • Cleveland: January 8 -18, 2009 *available for presale on 10/2/09

I wrote this review while participating in a blog campaign by Mom Central on behalf of Feld Entertainment. Mom Central sent me a gift card to thank me for taking the time to participate.
But my mom bought the tickets before she even knew I had this blog-sharing opportunity.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

My Mom's Scrapbook - Part 9

Ahhh.... high school graduation. This is supposed to be a major milestone in every individuals life. And I guess it was in mine, though I was already looking far, far ahead to college.

My Aunt Viola came up along with Uncle Joe, with his wife Gwen and their two kids, Amanda and Kyle.


And as could be expected from my family and youth group, there was a big party for all the graduating senior. I don't remember whose house this was at (maybe her name was Dory?) but we had a lot of fun hanging out in the pool and eating yummy food.


In the bottom picture are (from L to R) Stephanie Aho-Banguilan, Jason Spencer, me, Mike Hardy(?) Michelle Messer (now Taylor), Joann Mitchum (now Hardy), and Johnny Mitchum. Believe it or not, I still keep up with at least 3 of these friends from high school.

Oh, and if I don't tell it, then I know Bruce will... funny story about the floral shirt I am wearing. Bruce says that shirt is one of the reasons he fell in love with me in 10th grade. And yes, I know that means I had that shirt for 3 years. It was one of my favorites and I wore it all the time! If only I knew where it might lead. :)

One more thing... isn't it funny how, even 14 years after graduation, I can still think of how Bruce fit into my life way back then, before we ever dated?