False labor Friday

I am growing the most stubborn baby of all time in my belly you guys. This past week has been a whirlwind. Every day I feel like I am going into labor. What I mean by that is I am literally having consistent contractions every day. Even though this is my 4th labor, this feels so new to me. With my 3 boys, except for a few Braxton hicks, I didn’t’ start contracting until actual labor. Now I am keeping track of contractions all day long, thinking that this might be the real thing.

Friday my contractions kept getting closer and closer together until they were just 7 minutes apart. I decided to call my midwife and she told me that we better get the boys settled and head in. So we got everything ready to go, the boys packed, house cleaned, car seat installed, and then dropped off the boys by Nana & Papa.

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We got to the hospital, checked in and the nurse immediately hooked me up to the fetal monitors. She confirmed that I was in fact having real contractions and the baby was doing great. Next the midwife came in to check my cervix. I was only dilated to 2. After contracting from 12pm-7pm this was so discouraging to me that I hadn’t made any progress, especially because I have been dilated 1-1 ½ for the past two weeks already. My midwife told me to take a tub to try and relax, and that if this was real labor the contractions would keep getting worse and I would continue to dilate. I took an hour bath, we went for a long walk around the hospital, and then she came back to check me again. Contractions never ceased, but this time I was only dilated to barely 1 cm. I actually “undilated”. Even though I was super bummed, I accepted the fact that I wasn’t in real labor and for whatever reason I just wasn’t going to meet my sweet baby that night.

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I left the hospital feeling so down on myself (but first I took a selfie ^). This was my 4th baby, I should have known this wasn’t the real thing. Although the nurses and midwife reassured me that I did the right thing by coming in,  I still felt like such a wussy. Plus it was so much work getting everything ready at home and the exhaustion of all the emotions we felt thinking we were going to meet our baby tonight; only to be sent home to wait to do it all over again. All I can think is that I have one stubborn, sassy, little baby in my belly and my excitement is growing by the minute to meet this little bugger! In God’s time little one. Off to rest and hydrate and the next hospital adventure we go on, I will be ready!

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38 weeks and counting…

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Now that I am in the final days of pregnancy, dilated, having contractions, and baby could come any day now, my thoughts are consumed with visions of what the baby is going to look like and if it’s going to be a boy or a girl. Also my midwife says baby is already about 8 or 9 lbs so hopefully he/she comes soon! I spent pretty much my whole pregnancy thinking it was a boy; for no particular reason really, just that boys are all I know and have, so I assumed this would be another sweet little boy.

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Then there was about a week a month or so back that I thought it MAYBE, might, possibly, be a girl. I even bought a couple girl outfits; of course I didn’t take the tags off or anything crazy like that, but I couldn’t’ help myself. And now I am back to being 99% sure that this little babe is a boy again. I haven’t had any dreams or anything but I do have a strong sense that our boys will be gaining another brother. Since I am not sleeping much, I am now lying awake second guessing our baby boy name choice that we have had picked out this entire pregnancy.flower crown maternity flower crown maternity (9) flower crown maternity (8)

Bump position: Extremely high the entire pregnancy until I dropped last week. My poor ribs have to get popped back into place by my chiropractor every week. So that’s really fun and not painful at all.

Heart rate: 160’s up until the last couple weeks…it’s mid 140’s now.

Skin changes: DRASTIC. My skin was so horrendous this pregnancy….just hoping the scars go away afterwards and it goes back to normal.

Nausea: For the first 6 months it was terrible and even now every so often the mornings still get me.

Cravings: A lot of sweets. A lot of salads. Kind of all over the place.

Sleep: Nope.

Stretch marks: Oh yeah. Not any new ones with this pregnancy so far though.

Belly button in or out: All the way out now.

Wedding rings on or off: I couldn’t wear my ring for quite a while and then one day I put it back on, big mistake. Currently my ring is swollen onto my finger. I am hoping I can pry it off before labor because it’s painful. I just hate to be without my wedding ring.

Total weight gain: 30 lbs so far…and enjoyed every single one of those calories consumed thank you very much!

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Thanks to my friend Shelley for snapping these last minute maternity shots for us! The boys were a last minute addition in a couple photos, so don’t mind their mis-matched sweat pants :)

Photos by Shelley Cullen Photography

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Cold bean & rice veggie salad

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Spring is here…..well sort of. We had a few really nice days here in Wisconsin and now it seems to be hanging in the 40’s to low 50’s with sunshine. I think that it’s still way too chilly to be spring but I’ll take it. We have been outside as much as possible and beyond that it’s been a bit busy over here, so I apologize for the lack of posts. We are getting ready to move and have a baby (any day now!) so there is quite a bit to do if you can imagine .

My “free-time” has been spent packing and still nesting like crazy. Even in these last weeks of pregnancy, with my body aching and so sore, all I want to do is scrub something, anything! Everything that can be washed in the house has been washed. I went through a tub of Oxy Clean in the last couple weeks and an entire can of carpet cleaner (because I was scrubbing my vehicle mats so much, trying to get every little spot out) just to give you an idea. I just can’t stop! My whites are whiter than they have ever been and my rugs look brand new. Also, I just impulsively bought a wet/dry vacuum to better clean the floors with. Well it wasn’t super impulsive because it is the same one we got my sister-in-law for her birthday and she sold me on it. No more getting down on my hands and knees to clean the floor AND getting an even better clean?! Sold. The vacuum should come today and I am already giddy about cleaning my floors. I have been watching You Tube videos of all the infomercials about it, so excited! So if you need something cleaned bring it over, seriously. I am searching for things to clean around the house at this point. And before this post gets any lamer lets move on to this delicious, fresh salad.rice and bean salad

I came up with this concoction after buying a huge bag of mixed beans from Costco and not really wanting to make bean soup like I normally do with them. I threw some things together and then found the recipe for the dressing, which is the best part of the salad. It’s tangy, refreshing, and a tad bit sweet. The longer you let the salad sit in the fridge the more flavor the rice and beans will soak up. And the nice part about this salad is the versatility. You can pretty much toss in whatever veggies, grains, nuts, and cheeses that your little heart desires and it will still turn out great. I am going to make this again soon and add some red cabbage and sliced carrots for a little more crunch. Oh and I didn’t put this in the recipe but I threw mine on top of a bed of mixed greens with a squeeze of lemon over it and it was divine. This makes for a perfect, protein & nutrient- packed, lunch that will last you a good week in the fridge.

Cold bean & rice veggie salad
 

Ingredients
  • 3 cups cooked brown rice
  • 3-4 cups cooked beans ( I used a variety of pinto, kidney, black, yellow split peas, lima, and lentils) OR 2-3 cans of precooked beans, rinsed
  • 1 bag frozen yellow corn, thawed
  • 3-4 green onions, sliced
  • 1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • ⅓ cup chopped cilantro
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • feta cheese

Instructions
  1. In a large mixing bowl combine: cooked rice and beans, corn, onions, tomatoes and cilantro.
  2. In another smaller mixing bowl, whisk together oils, vinegar, sugar, garlic, salt, cumin, chili powder, and pepper.
  3. Taste and season accordingly.
  4. Pour dressing mixture over rice and beans and toss to coat.
  5. Store in the fridge for at least 2 hours before serving for best results.
  6. Add feta or any other cheese right before serving.

Happy day to you!

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Mini cherry cheesecake bites

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Last week my friend threw a Pinterest/wine tasting party. We all had to make a recipe we had been wanting to try off Pinterest and bring a rare or favorite  bottle of wine for tasting. Since I couldn’t participate in the wine part, I brought my own bottle of alcohol-free merlot, which sort of made me feel like a part of the fun! Boo! I can’t wait to have my first glass of wine after baby and breastfeeding. The food tasting however, I was all about that. I made 2 recipes: the first was a super easy, to-die-for version of salted caramel creme brûlée from Tastefully Simple, and the second were these adorable mini cherry cheesecake bites. I have had my eye on them for a while via Pinterest of course, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to whip them up!

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The great thing about this recipe is that it’s easy peasy to throw together, and the finished product looks so fancy. I mean all you really have to do is mix the cheesecake ingredients; beyond that the hardest part is separating all the mini baking liners and spooning a cherry on top of each little piece. So simple! One tip I have is to make sure you bake them long enough…I ended up baking mine a few minutes longer so the wafer became more of a crust and wouldn’t get mushy. 
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Mini cherry cheesecake bites
Author: 
 

Ingredients
  • 2 packages cream cheese (8oz)
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • Vanilla wafers
  • Mini aluminum baking cup liners
  • Cherry pie filling

Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix together cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating until well combined, stir in vanilla and lemon juice.
  3. Place a vanilla wafer in the bottom of each mini aluminum baking cup, rounded side down (they won’t lay perfectly flat).
  4. Spoon the batter evenly over the wafers.
  5. Bake for ~15 minutes or until edges appear set; remove from oven and let cool.
  6. Top with cherry pie filling and refrigerate.

One more helpful hint before you go: The vanilla wafers are slightly too large for the mini cup liners so they won’t sit just right. Don’t freak out though, once you start filling the cheesecake mixture on top of them, they will straighten out a bit, trust me. Even if the wafers are a little slanted in the bottom of the liners, you won’t even be able to tell once they are baked and covered with the cherries.

 

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Jack Timothy, 6 year old

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I have a six year old and that sounds so weird. Our oldest son, Jack, turned six last week and I can’t help but feel a little weepy about it. You really can never say “it goes by so fast” too many times, because there are no truer words about parenting ever spoken. Although it does make me weepy to watch my kids grow so fast, I enjoy every single stage of life and each birthday means another exciting year of changes and growing.

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Jack continues to amaze us every day. His love for reading and playing piano make me the proudest mama in the world. I always hoped he would get some of his dad’s patience, and watching him practice and learn piano has shown me that he certainly did. So far though my proudest parenting moments with Jack have been the moments of watching him learn to read. I can’t really explain how incredible it has been. In a matter of months he has gone from struggling to sound words out & reading beginner books, to cruising through chapter books. And the best part is that he really enjoys reading; one good quality that I am happy to say he got from me!

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We let Jack have big birthday parties the last two years in a row, so this year we kept it simple. Plus as much as I love throwing kids parties, there was no way I had the energy this year. Jack had a half-day of school on his birthday, which he thought was so cool, and then my friend Katie took him and his friend Hudson out to lunch, and back to their house for the day to play. Then there was a giant chocolate cake, presents, and most of all family time, which is all a birthday really needs in my book.

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Happy birthday Jack, mom and dad are so proud to call you our son. You bring us incredible joy. We can’t wait to see what the “6 year old” chapter of your life brings.

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