Thursday, November 29, 2012

30 Days of Thankfulness: Days 15-21

Day 15: I'm thankful for the sweet moments, though few and far between, with just Lizzy and me.

Day 16: I'm SO thankful for a coffee date with my best friend from high school. Even though it has literally been YEARS since we've seen each other and months since we've really talked, it was like not even a day had passed. Friendship like that is a gift.

Day 17: I'm thankful for getting to sit next to Justin at a family dinner while both our kids were at the other end of the table. It was almost like a date! Almost.

Day 18: I'm thankful for my sister, who also claims November as her birthday month.

Day 19: I'm so thankful for the slowed pace of our weekends lately, which have allowed for plenty of snuggle time, and the option to stay in pajamas until noon.

Day 20: I'm thankful that Becca is gaining weight well! At the pediatrician on Monday, she weighed 8lbs 14oz--she's gained over a pound already! Woo! Also? So thankful for snuggles with a sleeping baby.

Day 21: I'm thankful for the unassuming brown envelope that arrived in the mail this week. No note, nothing else. Just this. It was a tremendous blessing, I'm so thankful, and I cannot wait to be able to pay it forward some day.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Goings On

Becca has a pediatrician appointment this morning. I'm nervous, because I'm always nervous, but also because I remember having to constantly take Lizzy in for weight checks...and I just hope she's gaining weight more quickly than Lizzy did! Also, last night during bath time, Justin found what looks almost like a little blood blister in Becca's armpit. I have no idea whether it really is some kind of a blood blister (or how she would have gotten it), or something like a strawberry hemagioma...but either way, it stresses me out. After my skin cancer thing, anything purpleish on skin freaks me the freak out. 

Justin stayed home sick from work today to sleep. I'm totally jealous that he gets to sleep. Because Lord knows that if I get whatever bug it is that he has, I will not get to sleep! Really though, I know how crazy it is to be jealous of a sick person, and I do NOT want to get sick... I'm just a little jealous because I've been averaging like 1 or 2 hours of sleep a night and I feel like a total zombie!

I need some good book recommendations! Please don't say Fifty Shades of Grey.

After looking at Instagram, I feel behind on the whole decorating for Christmas thing. Our tree isn't up yet, and I haven't even started to think about it, honestly! I would like to start decorating, but I have a feeling that if I just get our 25 Christmas books wrapped before December 1st to start opening one a night, I'll be in good shape, ha!

Lizzy is currently throwing the temper tantrum of all temper tantrums because she dumped her breakfast in the garbage and now she's hungry. She keeps yelling, "I'm frustrated with you mama! I do not like your choice!" Pray for naps y'all. Pray for naps.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


It is a super cold, rainy morning. I'm *so* thankful for wool knee socks, lots of knit blankets, and plenty of movies. It's one of those days where you just feel like burrowing in for the winter, and I'm thankful that we don't have any place to go! Also, I feel bad just thinking about Justin working outdoors, probably digging, in this mess. I've gotta try to remember to have a warm pot of coffee going when he gets home!

 On Sunday, I set up to do newborn photos of Rebecca at our house. You know, because I love newborn photos, and since I didn't start doing them until after Lizzy was born, I was excited about having some "real" newborn photos of one of my own kids for once! I figured it would be no problem because Rebecca really didn't sleep at all the night before, so surely she'd be out most of the day, right? Wrong. She slept for 5 minutes...which means I got all of 10 photos. Oh well...she's cute, so she gets a pass.


I know this won't apply to 99% of people who read this blog, but it may apply to one or two people and save them some $, so I'll post about it anyway. So, we have DirecTV and an old-as-the-hills Tivo DVR. A couple of weeks ago, I noticed that the DVR receiver would power off and re-set itself a couple of times a day. I thought our DVR was just old and figured we should start thinking about buying a new one. I happened to do a Google search about our model to see if there were any fixes I should try first, and discovered that this is something that has suddenly happened to HUNDREDS of people across all sorts of older DVR models. Now, our DVR re-sets itself 3+ times an hour, and has totally made watching or recording any sort of TV pointless--Bones last night? Three re-sets. We'll end up watching online in a I'm not really sure what we're paying DirecTv for at this point. I just wanted to post something in case it applied to anyone else, because about half the people who call DirecTv seem to be told that their DVR has failed and that they need to buy a new one...which is clearly not the case.

I haven't even begun to think about Christmas yet. Heck, I haven't even begun to think about Thanksgiving! 

I totally forgot all the crazy little noises that newborns make while they are sleeping. Am I right? I spent a good 15 minutes freaking out about all the crazy noises and irregular breathing patterns that Becca was making the other night before I remembered that Lizzy did the same thing and that I was just as freaked out when she did it. 

Do you all do Black Friday shopping? Where are y'all going and what are you planning to buy? I usually go because I find that it does save us money when buying for Christmas and the crazy number of December birthdays in our family, but this month it's just out of the question between having a newborn and sort of being on a total spending freeze trying to make the house refinance happen in December. And honestly? It's kind of a blessing to just have it be completely out of the question. And also? It'll prevent me from buying all sorts of clothes in this crazy-in-between postpartum size, which is probably a good thing, heh!

Friday, November 16, 2012

30 Days of Thankfulness: Days 8-14

Day Eight: I'm thankful for the safe birth of sweet Rebecca, and making us a family of four!

Day Nine: I'm thankful for how much they love each other already.

Day Ten: For my sister-in-law Renee, who organized two weeks of meals to be dropped off for us! Also so thankful for all our friends and family who have fed us so well! 

Day Eleven: For when both girls nap at once, even if it's only five minutes of overlap.

Day Twelve: For discovering awesome new (to me) TV shows on Netflix to watch during marathon feeding sessions.

Day Thirteen: For great friends.

Day Fourteen: I'm *so* thankful that breastfeeding has gone well this time around,
 and isn't an hourly battle!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

One Week Postpartum

*Note: This post is about all the gory postpartum details via survey stolen and (slightly modified) from Kristal. Fair warning. Just saying. 

How far along were you when you had your baby? 39 weeks

How long was labor? About an hour and a half from the "pop" that I thought was my water breaking until delivery. And of that, probably 15-20 minutes was the nurses telling me not to push. So...yeah. I am totally terrified about what this means for any future kiddos.

Total weight gain: About 27 pounds

Total weight loss so far: About 12 pounds. I'm about 15 pounds away from pre-pregnancy weight. Even though the weight loss isn't as much as I would like, I have been surprised at how quickly my belly is shrinking back down this time. Here's a photo from this morning: 

Which I think is similar to where I was about one month postpartum with Lizzy (at which point I was about 18 pounds above pre-pregnancy weight)

I didn't start talking about weight loss and such until I was about a month postpartum with Lizzy, so I don't know whether I lost all the weight initially and then just didn't lose any more until I started working out, or whether it was a steady loss up until that month will be interesting to see how things go this time around

How is physical recovery going? Pretty well. I'm starting to get a little itchy and sore around the areas where I have stitches, which is uncomfortable, but not terrible. On Monday night, I was REALLY achy and sore all over, and then started to get the chills, and eventually a low-grade fever of about 100 degrees. I was pretty sure I was dying of sepsis, and was ready to call my OB at like 1am. Justin convinced me to take some ibuprofen and wait a couple hours to see what happened. The fever broke about 3am, and I'm still alive (obviously). Since then, I've learned from Dr. Google that a low-grade fever is normal for some women when their milk comes in...which it did on Monday. So, I'm guessing that was that. 

What do you miss about being pregnant? Not a darn thing. I tolerate pregnancy in order to get the baby out of it, but I don't really enjoy it at all. 


How is nursing going?  It's going well.  Rebecca latched on almost immediately after being born, and nursing has been easier with her than it ever was with Lizzy, who sucked her tongue in utero. Rebecca pretty much nurses all the time, which is also a lot different than Lizzy. With Lizzy, I'd be lucky to get her to nurse for 15 minutes every three hours. With Rebecca, on Monday we watched 3 or 4 episodes of a TV show on Netflix, and I nursed her at least once per 42 minute episode. So overall, it's going well...that's not to say that it isn't toe-curlingly painful when she first latches on, but it is much, much better than it was with Lizzy. 
Have you taken her out yet?  Yes. We all went to the pediatrician on Monday. Justin went back to work on Tuesday, and on Wednesday I took both girls to the drive-thru at the bank and the Dollar Store. And then I felt like I needed a five hour nap. I wish I had a Moby wrap right about now, 'cause I think that would make taking her out to places like church easier.

How/where does she sleep?  I'm beginning to think that Rebecca is a vampire. Seriously, she does not sleep at night, AT ALL, unless she is being held. I'm not talking sleeping through the night...I'm talking sleeping at ALL during the night. This is bad news, because I am not comfortable co-sleeping at all because of how heavily Justin sleeps. So the last few nights, I've sat down to nurse her, and then woken up in a terror-stricken panic about 15 minutes later. It is not a good situation. 

During the day? She has no problem sleeping. But a lot of good that does me, because it's significantly harder to sleep when the baby sleeps when you also have a toddler. For example, the other morning, I put Rebecca in the swing right next to the couch, put on a movie for Lizzy, and gave Lizzy strict instructions not to get off the couch unless it was to go to the bathroom (in which case, she was to come right back to the couch). I laid down, and cat napped on the couch...and was woken up by Lizzy yelling delightedly, "Mom! I gave baby sister an underdog!!!" 

So yeah. The sleep situation sucks. Lizzy is going to my sister-in-law's house for a couple of hours today, during which time I plan to sleep, sleep, and sleep some more. Hopefully without simultaneously holding a newborn. 

How's the big sister doing? We are in a definite period of adjustment with Lizzy. Most of the time, she is so incredibly sweet with her sister, and it is a joy and a blessing to watch. Lizzy wants to hold her and kiss her all the time, and just loves her to pieces. But on the other hand, I can tell that she's also pushing limits and boundaries big time--like, nearly every time I'm nursing Rebecca, she will get into something that she knows she's not supposed to do, and straight-up ignores me if I tell her to stop, all with this big grin on her face because she knows I'm indisposed. And now if she's mad? Lizzy will let out this absolutely blood curdling scream--something that she never did before, and I have no doubt that she's totally doing it on purpose in order to try and wake up her sister. And that totally makes my blood boil.

I'm trying to be intentional about spending time doing something one-on-one with Lizzy at least once per day while Rebecca is sleeping--painting our nails, coloring, reading books, etc. I try to let Lizzy direct the activity. I know that this is just an adjustment period, so I'm trying not to stress about it too much, even though it has been a little difficult. We've also noticed that Lizzy has really started becoming a lot more attached to Justin--when she's hurt, she wants him. When she wants to snuggle, she wants him. From the minute he walks in the door at night, she is climbing all over him wanting to play and wrestle. Which I don't honestly mind. Sometimes they can totally antagonize each other, so it's nice to watch them bond a little! Justin is doing a great job giving Lizzy extra attention when he is home.

What are you looking forward to? I'm hoping to do some newborn pictures this weekend! It's just been so rainy and dreary lately that I haven't bothered. But we may go to my parents' house for a bit this weekend, and they have a ton of windows, which might actually make it possible.  

Monday, November 12, 2012

Rebecca Allison--A Birth Story

So, as most of you already know, I had been in "pre-labor" for a few weeks, and was dilated to a 5-6 and about 80% effaced at my OB appointment last Wednesday (the 7th). Thursday morning (the 8th),  I woke up feeling pretty blah. A little off, but not really having contractions like I was before either. Lizzy and I went for a walk, and then Bekah reminded me about the "labor cookies" recipe floating around online...I had most of the ingredients on hand, and so I made them with just a few modifications, figuring why NOT? 

That night, Justin's work class got out early, so we were hanging on the couch watching Big Bang Theory, when I heard and felt a little pop and wondered if it was my water breaking...but there wasn't a big gush of fluid like with Lizzy. That said, I immediately noticed a contraction that was a bit more intense...but I still wasn't sure that my water had actually broken and that things wouldn't just slow down again like before. 

I waited for 2 or 3 more contractions,  and then decided we needed to go in, and Justin called Renee to come stay with Lizzy. I think we were on our way within 10 minutes of the "pop." In the car, contractions were about 4 mins apart. I went back and forth between saying "I'm not sure this is it" (in between contractions) and "We need to make it to the hospital! Are we going to make it?!" (during contractions). We got to the hospital at maybe 9:10pm, a nurse checked me, and I was dilated to 7cm but said my water hadn't broken yet but looked like it would soon. The nurse asked about pain management and I asked for the epidural. The nurse said she'd be back in about 5 mins.

I went to the bathroom and walked through maybe three contractions. The contractions were painful, but at that point, I know I was managing them (with Justin's help) much better than I ever did with Lizzy. About 7 minutes after that, the nurse came back in right as the "game changer" contraction happened. Justin said that I went super pale and almost crumbled to the ground. The instant difference in the level of pain was indescribable and I think that I screamed, "I AM FEELING SO MUCH PRESSURE!" at the nurse, who was still across the room. The nurse responded that she needed me to get on the bed right then and I think I screamed "I can't move anywhere right now!!" That contraction didn't end for several minutes, but eventually the pain lessened a bit, and I managed to get onto the bed and was swinging my leg up when my water definitely broke, and full on projectile shot across the room and totally soaked my nurse, who was several feet away. It was nuts.

My nurse was a total bad ass, and without missing a beat or saying anything about it, she just said "I need to check you again RIGHT NOW." She did, and informed me that I was complete and that there wasn't time for an epidural, and ran to get some other nurses. I was absolutely terrified and in an incredible amount of pain...I think I just started crying and saying, "No no no! I don't want to do this!" Justin got right in close and started giving me a pep talk that I could do it and he'd talk me through them and that I just needed to breathe.

So, this is where things turned sucky--my doctor was apparently out of town, and there was some miscommunication with the hospital about who was on call in his place, and they could not get a hold of the doctor that the hospital thought was on call. And then,  they couldn't get  ahold of ANY OB's at all, except for one guy who happened to be doing rounds at another hospital across town, and they asked him to come ASAP. 

Meanwhile, the nurses were simultaneously preparing for a nurse-delivery (they also called in a non-OB doctor, respiratory therapists and a bunch of other people), and also telling me not to push. For the record, trying not to push when your body WANTS TO PUSH is absolutely agonizing. I really don't think I can even describe how absolutely terrible it was. It was also really bizarre that no one besides Justin was touching me, and that the bed wasn't broken down at all, and was really uncomfortable--I remember hoping they'd put up the feet stirrups soon, because it seemed like that would be more comfortable to push. 

Justin did an absolutely amazing job coaching me through the contractions.  He was totally my rock through not being allowed to push and did a great job of reminding me to breathe through the contractions, even though that felt next to impossible at the time. It was terrible and absolutely excruciating. It felt like I was being ripped in two, and I felt like I was screaming so loud the whole hospital must've been able to hear me! It felt like hours, but it was probably only 15 or 20 minutes.
Finally, the doctor from across town ran into the room, literally running into a gown they had waiting for him. I remember one of the nurses telling him that I was at a +3 station, and feeling relieved because I knew that meant that it was almost over. I also remember them asking if I wanted to feel the baby's head and saying, "No! I want her OUT!"

They still hadn't broken down the bed or anything, and my feet still werent in stirrups or being held up by anyone, but the doctor gave me the okay to push (I think? Maybe I just started?), and I pushed two times before the doctor asked me to stop pushing to stretch me a bit and then he turned to Justin and said, "Looks like you've done most of the work so far--do you want to deliver her too?" Justin was THRILLED and said absolutely. With one more push, her head was out, and then Justin delivered her the rest of the way--she was born at 10:11pm, just about an hour after we got to the hospital! She weighed 7lbs 12 oz and was 21 inches long.

Let me just say that pushing felt SO MUCH BETTER than trying not to push! Had I been allowed to really push right away, I don't think the delivery would have felt so terrible. Anyway, they put her on my chest right away, and I just remember feeling relief that it was over and thinking that I was never ever doing that again. They delivered the placenta, and I had a 2nd degree tear as well as another tear, so the doctor stitched me up. At that point, they were having some concerns about bleeding--the doc said that about 500 ml of blood loss was at the high end of normal, and that I'd already lost 900 ml at that point. They gave me shots of pitocin and something else, and then also started an IV of pitocin (prior to that point, they hadn't had time to do an IV or hep-lock at all). Meanwhile, I heard them talking about a possible blood transfusion and/or d&c. At that point, I asked to try breastfeeding, and Rebecca latched on right away like a champ. The doctor came back in to check on me, and spent quite a bit of time massaging my uterus trying to get the bleeding to stop. He said that sometimes with such fast deliveries, it takes awhile for the body to catch up that it's all over, and said that for now, he was going to have the nurse come in every 15 mins to massage my uterus, and they would reevaluate the bleeding from there. 

Around this time, my parents and Justin's parents arrived--I'm sure they were all pretty surprised to see a text from Justin that wasn't a "she's in labor" text, but a photo of the baby! The nurses let everyone come in and visit for a little while. I don't remember a lot of that, except still being in a lot of pain, and being starving. I was totally starving the whole time I was in the hospital!

After a little while, they left, and I was able to get up out of bed. Justin and I both commented about how even with a larger tear and the blood loss, the recovery part of things was much, much better and easier this time around. As awful as the delivery felt in the moment, by the time we were leaving the hospital, it didn't stick out in my mind as being awful, and I was almost willing to say that I'd really seriously consider going without an epidural again for any future kids. The nurses kept coming in through the night to massage my stomach and evaluate the bleeding, and around 5:30am, it was determined to be okay, and they transferred us to the postpartum wing.

The only weird thing I'm dealing with is a few episodes of the "seeing stars" vision stuff I had all throughout the pregnancy, so I may end up touching base with my OB today--my blood pressure was like 110/50 the whole time in the hospital, so I'm not too worried about pre-ecclampsia or anything like that. I think it's probably just a weird thing that happens to me...or possibly related to low blood sugar, as both episodes happened yesterday, when Rebecca literally nursed all day long.

We had to stay in the hospital a bit longer this time around--I'd assume due to the blood loss--so we weren't able to come home until Saturday, but now we're home and seem to all be doing pretty well. Lizzy is completely and totally smitten with her little sis :) It's been a whirlwind few days, but a blessed few days. God is so good.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

30 Days of Thankfulness: Days 1-7

Day 1: I'm thankful that my kiddo isn't old enough yet to 
realize that I'm totally eating her Halloween candy.

Day 2: Thankful for coffee and a new kind of creamer!

Day 3: Thankful for little moments of rest and relaxation after Lizzy goes to bed.

Day 4: Thankful for snuggles with my sweet sleeping girl, and the first nap in a WEEK!

Day 5: So thankful for a little glimpse of what our backyard will look like next summer--
definitely worth the wait!

Day 6: Thankful for a great nurse who made the failed L&D trip a little more bearable--at one point, we realized that she and I went to the same high school not too far apart, and she promptly said, "Let's talk more about that once my hand isn't up your vagina!" And I thought Justin was going to DIE of laughter.

Day 7: Thankful for a husband who reads Dr. Seuss 
(with better voices than I could ever manage!) to our kiddo.

Pregnancy #2: 39 Weeks

I am not in the mood to get dressed and pretend to be happy in order to take the standard belly shot this morning, so this little snapshot from last night will just have to suffice.

And compared to 39 weeks with Lizzy: 

I'm officially 39 weeks. For anyone who missed it on Instagram, I had an OB appointment yesterday and am still 5-6cm dilated, but am now about 80% effaced (up from the 50% at the hospital Monday night). I'm still having contractions most of every day, but sometimes will go an hour or so without any at all...which is entirely frustrating.

If I haven't had the baby by Monday, we go in at 6:15am, and then around noon they'll break my water. I seriously think I may lose my shit before then. I am so uncomfortable and exhausted. And I'm also feeling really grumpy and defeated...I don't want to be induced. That's not how things are supposed to happen, darn it! 

I just keep reminding myself that we had an induction scheduled with Lizzy for a totally different reason--coincidentally, it was scheduled for Monday January 11th (opposed to Monday November 12th this time), and Lizzy was born on her own on the morning of the 10th. So maybe there's hope for that this time too. I'm trying to hold on to that hope, but right now, it just doesn't seem very hopeful!

I'm frustrated that with every day that ticks off the calendar this month, I still haven't had the baby AND it looks more and more like the house refinance isn't going to happen, since it doesn't appear that the USDA has released funds like they were supposed to do in October...which just sucks. (And in my head, this is directly related to the baby thing because Justin's work doesn't give them any paid time off, so he will just have to take unpaid time when the baby is born, and that just would have hurt a whole lot less with the refinance happening this month like it was supposed to). I just kind of want to curl up on the couch and cry because things are just NOT going how I so hoped they would this month! And I just kind of want to stomp my feet and eat chocolate (too bad we don't have any chocolate in the house)!

Ugh. I hate how grumpy and complain-y I am right now. I don't like being like that! I'm trying to do the whole '30 Days of Thankfulness' thing, just to remind myself that there are still so. many. blessings. right now, and even the fact that I'm still pregnant and cooking a healthy baby girl is a blessing in and of itself. I know that. I get that. I'm just tired right now, guys.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A trip to L&D...but no baby.

So. As those of you following along know, as of last Tuesday I was dilated to a near 4, and having lots of contractions, but they just wouldn't settle into any sort of timetable for any consistent amount of time. I'd have the "perfect" 4-1-1 contractions for an hour, and then right when I was getting ready to call, I wouldn't have another contraction for 40 minutes. It was irritating.

Last night Justin had a late playoff softball game. I'd been having contractions for a few hours before the game, but again they were like 8-10 minutes apart...then 4 minutes apart...then 8-10 minutes apart. They were uncomfortable, and I was starting to get really short with Justin and Lizzy if they'd talk to me during them, but I wasn't convinced that they wouldn't just stop all of a sudden like all the other ones. Since the softball fields are much closer to the hospital than our house is, we decided to just pack all of us up and head to Justin's game. Even though it was way past Lizzy's bedtime, I figured that maybe keeping her up late would actually make her sleep in past...oh 5am.

I timed contractions the whole game. Every once in awhile I'd have a big gap of time in between them, but they were still averaging about 4 minutes apart. They were still uncomfortable and I definitely had to breathe through them, but I didn't know what to do because I did NOT want to go to the hospital only to be sent home. Justin convinced me that we should at least call labor and delivery and see about going to get checked, and that it was no biggie if they just sent us home. So, he called and we went in.

I was telling the nurses that I wasn't 100% sure this was it or that the contractions wouldn't just stop again, but that things had gone so quickly with Lizzy and I was already so dilated that I just wanted to come in and make sure that it wasn't it. The sweet nurse assigned to me had actually been to mom's group before, and was so nice and kept telling me that she was glad that I came in and that I did the right thing...which was sweet...but honestly, I just kept thinking 'Yeah...I did the right thing IF I'm in labor.' She checked me, and said that I was dilated to a 5, and could be easily stretched to a 6, and was about 50% effaced. And then the contractions slowed down.

They monitored me for a little while, and then conferred with my OB, who said that we could either just call it a night and go home, or walk for an hour and then be re-checked and see if that either got things going more or if I dilated further. So, Lizzy went home with Stump (who had been at the softball game too), and Justin and I got to walking.

The contractions started picking up in intensity and frequency, and I was eventually leaning on Justin and swaying through them. At the end of the hour, they were about 2 mins apart, and Justin commented that he could tell they were getting more intense. Those suckers HURT. So, the nurse checked me again, and said that I hadn't really dilated or effaced any more. And once I'd laid down to be checked, the contractions had decreased again, so we were on our way home because they didn't really think I was in active labor.

The nurse kept commenting how strange it was to be sending someone home who was dilated to a 5-6, and how I was a total medical outlier in this situation...which is really kind of funny, because if I had a dollar for every time I'd been told that in a medical setting, I'd be a rich girl. Anyway, they sent us off about 12:30 or 1am, with assurances that they were sure they'd be seeing me again soon, maybe even later that night/morning.

And then I cried most of the way home. Because it sucks and it's frustrating, and I'm sore from head to toe even when I get a break from contracting. The contractions are still coming, but have slowed back down a bit since coming home. I've given up timing them for awhile. I slept a little, but not a lot. I'll probably have this baby in the car, because I'm not really sure when to head back in (and will probably second-guess myself like crazy) other than if my water I'm kind of praying that my water just breaks and then there's no debate!

Now, I'm just trying to decide whether to take it easy, pop on a movie for Lizzy, and try to get some rest this morning, or whether to pack us up, head into the mall, and walk like crazy trying to get things going again. But that seems like an awful lot of work for something that I'm not convinced will make any difference, because the trick isn't necessarily GETTING things going, but KEEPING them going.

Blah. Sorry to whine, but I'm kinda over this.

Be BRAVE: A Review and Giveaway

Lately, Lizzy's absolute favorite book is Princess Smarty Pants by Babette Cole--it's a story about a princess who doesn't want to get married despite her mother's pushing, and eventually avoids the issue by kissing her prince and turning him into a frog. Lizzy loves it, so I was also pretty confident that she would love the movie Brave, and had been excited for it to come out on video so that we could rent it. So when I was contacted about doing a review and giveaway of Brave, I totally jumped at the chance. If you've been living under a rock and haven't heard of the newest Disney/Pixar movie Brave, here's the description from the studio:

An original and thrilling journey set in the ancient and magical Highlands of Scotland, “Brave” follows the heroic journey of the headstrong, young adventurer Merida. Determined to carveher own path in life, Merida confronts tradition and defies an age old custom that inadvertentlyunleashes chaos, and forces her to discover the true meaning of bravery.

Essentially, the story is about Merida, a young adventurous girl, whose parents (especially her mother) want her to get married in order to join two highland clans together. Merida's mother arranges for the sons of other clan leaders to come and compete for Merida's hand in marriage. Merida is less than thrilled, and eventually decides to compete for her own hand--and blows the boys out of the water. Unsurprisingly, this causes a huge disagreement between Merida and her mother. A little while later, Merida visits a witch and asks for a spell to change her mother so that she doesn't have to get married--and is shocked to discover that the "change" it brings is to turn her mother into a bear...whom her father then attempts to kill.

Like Tangled, Disney/Pixar's Brave  showcases a strong female lead, which is something that I love to see, having a daughter (and quite a spunky one) myself. But Brave takes things even a step further than Tangled in that there is no romantic sub-plot whatsoever. No prince swoops in to save the day. The movie doesn't conclude with Merida thinking that maybe prince so-and-so isn't so bad after all. Heck, even Merida's big Scottish father doesn't play a huge part in the's mostly a movie about Merida and her mother...and I thought that was sort of refreshing.  Call me a fuddy duddy, but I just don't think that every movie targeted at the under 10 crowd needs to revolve around falling in love.

A few other notes: 
  • Lizzy has quite a few older cousins, as well as some friends with older (elementary)  brothers and sisters. We'd heard from several of them that Brave was pretty scary, and I know a few of our friends actually had to leave the theater with their kids. I can see how some of the scenes with the bear may have been even scarier on the big screen at the movie theater (and especially in 3D), and how some kiddos may still have a hard time with them even at home...but they really didn't seem to phase Lizzy at all. Neither did the scenes with the "witch", who seemed to us to be far more eccentric and far less "evil" than in past Disney/Pixar movies. So as far as I'm concerned, the moral is to know your kids, and now that the movie is coming out on video, you could always pre-watch if you're unsure about how they'd do.
  • I've also heard some comments from boys and their dads that this is more of a "chick flick", and that  they didn't like Brave because there wasn't as much action and adventure as some of the other Disney/Pixar movies. I'll tell you right up front that I don't put much credence in identifying things as "girl movies" and "boy movies" at this age--one of Lizzy's favorite movies is Cars--so I sort of tended to roll my eyes when I heard that feedback. That said, I asked Justin what he thought just to get a second perspective, and he said that he thought it was a great story and a good movie--not just a "chick flick" at all.
  • How cool is it to have a princess with crazy hair? Is that just me? I loved Merida's hair!
  • LOVED the soundtrack/score. It was absolutely beautiful!  
 Overall, we really liked Brave. We watched the Blu-Ray version, but we're excited to try out the Blu-Ray 3D version at my parents' house sometime, because I'm sure it's very well done. Brave will be released on Blu-Ray and DVD on November 13th, but can be pre-ordered from Amazon here (non-affiliate link). 

AND, I'm thrilled to have a copy of the 5 Disc Collectors Edition to giveaway to one of YOU!  The Collectors Edition includes a copy of the Blu-Ray, Blu-Ray 3D, DVD, and Digital Copy, and retails for about $35!

Here's the scoop:
(1) This giveaway is open to US Residents (or those with a US shipping address).To enter, simply leave a comment on this blog. That's it.  You don't need to be a blog follower, though I do appreciate it.
(2) You can enter once per day (three total entries per person) until 5pm PST on Thursday Nov 8th.
(3) For the love of all things holy, please make sure that you have an email attached to the account you are commenting with or that you leave your email address in your comment itself. If I don't have your email address, I WILL choose another winner. 
(4) Disney/Pixar needs the giveaway winner's address by November 12th at the latest, so please get back to me ASAP if you're the lucky winner. If I haven't heard from you by  6pm PST on Sunday November 11th, I will be forced to pick a new winner. 
 Disclosure Statement: I received a copy of the Brave 5-Disc Collectors Edition for review, but was not compensated in any other way. As always, all opinions included in the review are my own, and were not influenced by the review/giveaway sponsor.  Thanks so much to Eric and Disney/Pixar for sponsoring such a great giveaway!

Friday, November 2, 2012

In the Space Between

The last few weeks with Lizzy have been hard. I can pretty much sum up all of it with this one story from last night--it was about 8pm and Justin was still at work. Lizzy and I were reading books in the living room, and I got up to use the bathroom. While I was in the bathroom, Lizzy yelled through the door that she was going to go play with a toy that had been left on our bed earlier that day, and I said that was fine.

Only, she wasn't playing with the toy. She had taken not one, but two step stools into our bathroom, stacked them on top of each other, and gotten into the high shelf on the bathroom where I keep the fingernail polish. And then painted her entire right hand. All in literally two minutes while I was in the bathroom.

It about sent me over the edge because (a) she waited until she KNEW I was busy doing something else (b) she created a freaking COVER STORY for clearly she knew she was doing something naughty, (c) she LAUGHED when she got in trouble, and (d) I felt like a crappy parent for not even considering that she could either reach the shelf or accomplish all of this while I was in the bathroom for two minutes.  And that's how our past few weeks have been, which I'm sure are made even more difficult by the fact that I'm just very pregnant and very tired. I told Justin last night that she's either so sweet and kind, or an absolute hellion. There's no in between right now, and it's hard.


Lizzy's on her fourth outfit change this morning. First, there was the "singing outfit". Then there was the "comfy outfit". Then there was another "comfy outfit" because she spilled water on the last one. Then there was the "dancing outfit". The outfit changes drive me nuts, but it just wasn't a battle that I felt like fighting this morning. Anyway, I was editing photos while she was watching TV, and looked over at her with her messy hair, fancy party dress, and her "baby sister" (not a baby doll, mind you), and for a minute or two, I could see into the space between the defiance and the testing and the temper tantrums. And I grabbed the camera despite the messy house in the background and the poor lighting, because Lord knows that right now? I am clinging to those spaces between.

IMG_5900 IMG_5903 IMG_5904 IMG_5906 IMG_5911 IMG_5925 

I laughed when I read a quote from C.S. Lewis describing having two young boys visiting his home in the following letter: 

My brother and I have just had the experience of an American lady to stay with us accompanied by her two sons, aged 9 1/2 and 8. Whew! Lovely creatures — couldn’t meet nicer children — but the pace! I realize have never respected young married people enough and never dreamed of the Sabbath calm which descends on the house when the little cyclones have gone to bed and all the grown-ups fling themselves into chairs and the silence of exhaustion.

December 26, 1953 [Letters, 3:396]

It's a season. Or a tunnel. Any of the metaphors work--but what's important is the reminder that it isn't permanent. And it's in the spaces between the madness that the most glorious moments of pure joy...or "Sabbath calm" can be found in the midst of the "little cyclones". I am so thankful!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Pregnancy #2: 38 weeks

38 weeks
Not a great photo of either Lizzy or I, but taking another seems like too much work! 
Here's 38 weeks with Lizzy:

Well, if you would have asked on Tuesday whether or not I'd still be here today, I'd have told you probably not. I'd just been to see my OB and found out I was dilated to just about a 4. The doc did a membrane sweep, and I'd been having contractions, spotting, mucous-y discharge (tmi for you yet?) and such. In general, I was experiencing all those signs that they tend to tell you to associate with early labor signs, and I was thinking this show was getting on the road, and soon.

And then, all the contractions pretty much stopped. Done. Fin. And that's pretty much where things are at now. If I'm up, walking around and such, I'm having contractions I had one seriously uncomfortable solid hour-long contraction yesterday while we were out trick-or-treating...but they never really settle into any sort of timetable, and as soon as I sit or lay down? They taper right back off.

So that's where things are at with me. And also, I am excessively irritable and grumpy. Everything ticks me off, even stuff that I don't want to tick me off or really shouldn't. being royally grumpy and ticked about everything a sign of impending labor? Please tell me that it is. Because yesterday, I almost screamed at the receptionist at my OB's office for calling to reschedule my next week's appointment. I was mad at the Fed Ex truck for parking outside our house to deliver a package elsewhere. I was mad that I ran out of heartburn medicine, because it's something that we literally never use except for when I'm pregnant, and who wants to go buy a whole new bottle now (I didn't, and I won't)?! I cried telling Justin that it feels like I am going to be pregnant forever, even though I know in my head that there's really only about two weeks left, which is nothing. I'd cry if I had contractions yesterday. I'd cry if I didn't have contractions yesterday. Seriously, if it happened, I found some way to be mad about it or cry about it. Heck, I even got irritated when my mother-in-law said she'd come over on Saturday to clean the bathrooms for us. Which is obviously an amazing thing and a huge blessing, but I was ticked. Not at her, but at the fact that I've been asking Justin to help me with that same task for months (literally), and now he probably won't because his mom is coming to do it and  he knows it. But I still want him to clean the stupid bathrooms because I asked him to and I want him to follow through on all the times in the last few months that he has said yes but hasn't actually done it, and not to mention the helping me with the bathrooms was a stipulation of all the stupid softball and baseball games all summer and I don't CARE if it is Friday and then his mom comes again and cleans them on Saturday...I STILL WANT HIM TO CLEAN THE STUPID BATHROOMS DARNIT! When really, does it matter who cleans the bathrooms as long as they are clean? Nope. It shouldn't. And that drives me nuts because I feel a little like Jekyll and Hyde--I know I'm being a little bit crazy and that this is probably the hormones talking, but I can't stop. And I'm still legitimately mad about the silly little stuff, even if I don't want to be. Even though I can still see that from the outside, this is really all a little humorous.

I'm also starting to freak out a little bit about being dilated to a 4 already. I was dilated to a 4 when we got to the hospital with Lizzy, and I had her less than 4 hours later...and you know what they say about second babies going more quickly! I keep praying that if my water breaks this time, it happens either at night when Justin is home, or while he's working at a job-site close by. Because really, I have no desire to drive myself to the hospital with Lizzy in tow...and I don't have a ton of time to wait for someone to come here either!

Other notables: 
-Weight gain has stayed the same at right about 25 pounds
-The belly has definitely dropped this week--it's now actually measuring smaller if you can believe it!
-Also? Leaking colostrum. So that's interesting. 
-I've been getting crazy leg cramps in my upper thighs, which the doctor said are a result of her being so low already.
-The exercise ball is my best friend right now...not just for getting contractions going, but it feels so good on my sore hips and back.
-Weird but true...I feel like I don't really want to leave the house!
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