Baby Rapunzel Costume

Yeah… she is pretty stinkin cute in her baby rapunzel costume, huh?!

The week of Halloween I decided to make a Rapunzel costume. Because, making a freaking costume last minute makes a ton of sense with an infant in tow.

Anyway, I usually make our costumes or at least part of them but, the kids had their costumes handled this year. Since the baby was born time seems to be flying by so I was going to stick with something simple for her.

My seven year old son wanted to sing the music from Tangled to the baby the weekend before Halloween…

Then it hit me… I said in my very excited yelling voice, “Oh my gosh wouldn’t she look so cute as a baby rapunzel?!?!?!”

And so it began.

I made the hat first by creating a beanie with a thick yellow yarn. Then I made up the rest adding chunks of yellow yarn and attaching it. As it came together I was shocked at how adorable it was.

Baby Rapunzel Costume

Sometimes I have crap ideas. Sometimes my ideas are alright. This one was freaking amazeballs. I had NO idea what I was doing. I took some pics and then continued on with this crazy little project.

Baby Rapunzel Costume

After the hat wig thingy was complete I put together the onesie and tutu for the baby rapunzel costume. Honestly, if I had more time then I would have made the actual outfit different. I just put it together with clothes and supplies I already had. I didn’t even sew it! I just hot glued it suffering only minor injuries, as usual.

Baby Rapunzel Costume

I’ve been asked a lot if I would sell baby rapunzel costume hats. Anything is possible and I’ve considered opening up my Etsy shop again. If you are interested then send me an email and we can discuss it. I like making stuff when I am binge watching something!

{ 1 comment }

This is the first holiday season that I have stressed what to get our kids. With a 7 year old son, two 12 year old girls, 15 year old son and our almost 5 month old daughter our gift buying is all over the place. I’m big on family time so gifts have always had a lot to do with bringing us all together. That is getting harder to do as each year ticks away, but we can always enjoy family funsies at an amusement park. It’s become part of our family holiday traditions to hit up Knotts Berry Farm when it is transformed into “Knotts Merry Farm” to see the decorations, enjoy the holiday cheer and enjoy the cooler weather.

Well, it should be cooler but Southern California still hasn’t realized it’s not summer anymore.

Anyway… we love Knotts and especially when it’s Knotts Merry Farm.

Santa and Snoopy

Knotts Berry Farm is a family favorite because it has a wide range of rides for the whole family. My thrillseeker kids love the giant roller coasters while my more mellow 15 year old stepson likes the middle of the road rides. We can also ride the train, run amok in Camp Snoopy, play games and grab some delicious grub as a family. My kids also look forward to when their baby sister is old enough to start riding rides so they can show her their favorites. We always catch the ice skating shows which I highly recommend.

Knotts Berry Farm passes are a great investment and I bring that up here, to friends and family every chance I get. When you have younger kids it’s wonderful to hop on over to Knotts, ride some rides and grab some food for a few hours or the whole day. I love that most of the time the park isn’t insanely chaotic and we can easily enjoy a few hours of fun. The lack of chaos and ease of the park makes it more enjoyable with an infant!

With our teens, it’s a big hit with them and their friends. I saw more pictures of their friends enjoying the summer at Knotts Berry Farm or Soak City on Instagram than I saw feet in the sand beach pictures. My teens are at the age where I can trust them to go off on their own, or with friends and meet up with them later while I take the younger kiddos around. Thankfully, they don’t usually want to ditch me… yet. I’m still ranking high in the “cool Mom” category! I remember being dropped off at opening and picked up at closing when I was a teenager and those being the best times of my life. I used to say that I could live at Knotts when I was their age and I still feel that way.

Peanuts Characters

Each year we have one “big item” gift for x-mas for the kids and this year it will be Gold Passes to Knotts Berry Farm.

If my older kids happen to be reading this DO NOT TELL YOUR LITTLE BROTHER or no Merry Farm funsies for you!

I type that in the most loving crazy Mommy way possible ;)

Knotts Berry Farm passes introduced a new add-on for meals! The dining pass includes a lunch and dinner each time you are at Knotts. This. Is. Brilliant. All I could think of was how much that saves parents when their kids are going to Knotts at least once a week over the summer or on weekends. It’s also great to not have to worry about them losing their food money like I did when I was a teenager.

Okay, I didn’t actually lose my money I just spent it all on funnel cake.

And if you haven’t had funnel cake then I insist that you clear your plans this weekend and go to Knotts!

Disclaimer: I was invited to enjoy a day at Knotts with my family as a thank you for writing this post. I’m not buying passes because of my relationship with Knotts but because I sincerely feel it’s the best gift ever. All opinions and thoughts are my own especially about the funnel cake. Seriously. Funnel cake is amazing and so is Knotts. 

{ 0 comments }

halloween

I just love this Halloween pic from a few years back – Can you guess the theme!?

When my now twelve year old daughter was one month old she had her first severe allergic reaction after breastfeeding. The first year was all about figuring out all of her allergies and modifying my life to keep her safe. The hardest part wasn’t all the food changes but figuring out what triggers her reactions. When my seven year old was born and was diagnosed with a few allergies it was easier to manage because we were pros at that point. Our home is our allergy friendly place and managing food allergies is our responsibility.

I quickly realized that the world outside of our home would be harder to take on because most of the world out there revolves around food in some way. Thankfully, I like a good challenge.

I do not expect the world to bend to accommodate my daughter’s life threatening multiple food allergies, but I do hope that she finds more compassion. We opt out of a lot of birthday parties, family gatherings and play dates or we bring our own allergy safe foods and figure out how to politely excuse ourselves. I host most sleepovers, play dates and gatherings because it’s just easier to do it all rather than put the pressure on anyone to make it work. My kids don’t complain because it’s not the end of the world if we can’t participate in everything.

That’s how we roll. That is how it’s been. Halloween is no exception.

Halloween is our favorite holiday even if it’s all about the candy that, at one point, my daughter could have none of and my son had little options. Dressing up in costumes is a fun time. We like to act silly. We love an excuse to hang out with friends. If my kids didn’t have food allergies the candy still wouldn’t be the main focus.

We trick or treat even if 90% of the candy we get is not allergy friendly. We can trick or treat for HOURS! A friend asked me once why we even bother and I said, “Uh… because it’s a really fun time to run around dressed up??”

We introduced the “Halloween Fairy” into our homes many years ago. I found out last year that some call this the “Switch Witch”. We trade out candy the kids can’t have or the surplus of what the kids shouldn’t eat and the Halloween Fairy brings better goodies instead.

Last year the kids left out a little bit to the Halloween Fairy and donated the rest to a local women’s shelter. They initiated that suggestion and I was proud.

We are always super safe when we trick or treat. My daughter carriers her “emergency bag” filled with all medications she needs including her epi-pen and I have extras on hand. I sort out the candy first making sure nothing is open that contains her contact allergies. It’s a process but it’s so routine that no one feels weird about it.

I’ve been asked before if my kids ever get upset that they can’t eat all the candy they collect and it’s honestly never been an issue. It simply is what it is and I try to not focus on the CAN’T and focus on the FUN.

When they were younger I would see the enthusiasm on their faces when they went to a house that had a non-candy treat or a piece of candy they could have. My son still does a little dance and yells “Yes!” when this happens. Yes, it would be nice if this could happen more often but we would never expect or want a fully “allergy friendly” Halloween.

Why wouldn’t I want a fully “allergy friendly” Halloween? Because A) it would never happen B) It doesn’t mean our fun times would be better because we do just fine as is and C) The Halloween Fairy does like the chocolate bonus hehehe – But, in all reality you can’t have perfection so why would I expect that for my kids? Nah, perfection is boring. I’d rather learn from the small bumps in the road and imperfections and have fun anyway.

Every year I’ve seen a little more non candy treats when the kids unload their Halloween loot. The kids, allergies or not, love these. The increase of non-candy goodies may have to do with food allergies, or other dietary restrictions or maybe being over the amount of junk food the kids get. No matter what the reason we really do dig it.

But, just because Halloween won’t be completely allergy friendly doesn’t mean we all can’t try a little. For those of you who want to try check out the Teal Pumpkin Project by F.A.R.E. – Teal is the color for allergy awareness AND it’s my daughter’s favorite color.

The-Teal-Pumpkin-Project-2

The concept is simple… Paint a pumpkin teal, print a flyer to raise awareness and have food allergy friendly treats available for Halloween. Kids who have food allergies will be able to see what houses have allergy friendly treats with no tricks for them. When you are out shopping for Halloween goodies why not look at those stickers, glow sticks, plastic rings, pencils or non-food items too? Don’t want to replace all your candy? That’s cool… why not have candy and a bowl for kids who can’t have candy?

The Teal Pumpkin Project is something that gives people the idea of offering non food treats only or having a separate bowl for those with food allergies. It isn’t about replacing all candy but creating more awareness and inclusion. No, food allergy parents across the world are not expecting EVERYONE to do this and eliminate candy and the new Halloween color to be teal instead of orange. But, it may make a handful of kids feel special and included. Where is the harm in that?

The-Teal-Pumpkin-Project-5

We are going to paint some mini pumpkins teal, give them to neighbors, teachers, family and friends with information on the Teal Pumpkin Project. If people choose to offer up some stickers, glow sticks or bookmarks in addition to (or instead of) their candy, then RAD!

If not… then we are still gonna have fun.

If you decide to participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project as a result of this please let me know! If you post a picture on Instagram I would love to see it and so would my kids. We are hoping to encourage a lot of people to jump in on this and see more teal pumpkins around.

 

{ 0 comments }

Four Months Already With This Baby Ninja

by Leila on October 16, 2014

Baby Ninja Faces

Four months seemed to fly by in a blink with this little ninja of mine. I feel like a jerk any time someone asks me how things are going now because I always say, “Awesome… she’s such an easy baby!”

I could have been in such a sleep deprived state that it seems like pure bliss… so, there is that.

Actually, I sleep more than I did before she was born. You can hate me now. Though, that isn’t saying much because I was used to rocking four hours of sleep like nothing. Now I become exhausted and thankful that this baby sleeps six hours a night and doesn’t want to be disturbed until after noon.

Yes, you can hate me more now. It’s cool. I totally would too.

It’s been said to me that her being so easy has to be some kind of reward for going through a very complicated and stressful pregnancy. It’s also been said that she is throwing me off guard and will be an evil stormageddeon before I know it. She is already a feisty hair puller!

Hair Puller

It hasn’t been completely stress free. She for sure has allergies to milk and peanuts so I’ve cut those out of my diet. I will write more about that later. Now that I figured those allergies out she is no longer a pretty puke projectiler. Vomit everywhere… all day and every day. That was the first couple of months.

My almost meltdown moment was after two days of not showering, feeling gross, sore breasts, nipples that felt like they were going to fall off, an angry recovering uterus and being in that whirwind of postpartum wtfuckery trying to keep my sanity intact and after I finally showered I held my baby girl and BLAMMMMOOOOO SPLAT… puke. All. Over. ME! See? I told you it hasn’t been perfect. I can laugh at that now but in the moment it felt like “fuck this shit o’clock”!

She would go from puking, to giggling, to puking some more, having a lil fit while puking even more and then passing out unexpectedly. It’s like every fucking bad partying night with that one person who couldn’t hold their booze and became THAT drunk. Except this boob drunk baby is adorable.

boob drunk baby

Anyway, I spent the summer really enjoying my time with the kids after months of being the Mommy Monster from a non threatening reclined position. As soon as I got the all clear to resume most normal activity we went kind of nuts!

At one day this baby girl was smiling and full on belly laughing in her sleep. At one month she started showing us those first grins and giggles. She hasn’t been much of a crier at all which is different because my twelve year old daughter was a screaming terror! This little ninja just likes to growl at us like a little savage. It’s adoooorable. When she gets really upset she cries and snorts. I think her snorts piss her off because she will stop crying, look pissed off and growl. It’s hard to take her seriously when she cry snorts. A lot of people have said she gets her expressions and personality from me.

Mini Me

When she isn’t cry snorting or savage growling she is staring everyone down and judging the shit out of them.

Serious stare downs and a resting bitch face that rivals my own.

babystaredown

She even flips people off in her sleep. Isn’t she adorable?

mommys bird flipper

Almost every day I’ve thought, “Damn… I need to write about this!” but I neglected to. I started a lot and I shared a ton on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. After months of bed rest and feeling like I missed out on so much with my kids writing felt selfish in a way. I didn’t want to miss out on funsies and stick my nose in my screen.

Obviously, I’m over that and totally okay with going back to ignoring them all and writing again! Haha… Okay, who am I kidding? Everyone in the house is snoring, including the baby, and I can’t sleep. And as weird as this may sound I missed listening to the clickity clack of my keyboard without someone staring at me waiting to ask me something or feeling a baby ninja kick my insides.

{ 0 comments }

WTF Did You Say?! Tweens and Cursing

by Leila on October 15, 2014

Sometimes tweens curse... and it's funny when it's on accident Sometimes tweens curse… and it’s funny when it’s on accident

I used to say that I wanted run away or go into a medically induced coma when my kids were tweens and teens… I’m a realistic and wonderful Mom like that. The dawn of hormones was something I feared especially knowing what kind of lunatic I was at that age.

Thankfully, my twelve year old daughter has pretty much been awesome with what I like to refer to as the occasional “damaging of calm meltdowns of doom for no damn reason”. I really enjoy this age. She isn’t a typical girly girl. She wants little to no drama. She is funny, weird and outgoing. But, she still has a little bit of innocence that I adore.

So, we have these funny moments in dialog that I find hysterical. I’m thankful for the communication that my daughter and I have because she tells me everything – even the stuff that kids talk about at her school that most parents would never want to know. She tells me how some kinds curse all the time and every other word is an F-bomb but the worst she says is “crap”. Tweens are a bunch of fricken peacocks trying to show off and figure themselves out. It’s cute. It’s normal. It could be worse.

I’ve always told her that there is a time and a place for cursing and just understand appropriateness with it – though, some would argue that curse words should never escape your mouths, I am NOT one of those fucking people. In really angry losing-my-mind moments I’ve had to explain to her what some curse words mean and that what flew out of my mouth doesn’t even make sense.

Her – Did you know Richard is the abbreviation for… Dick?

Me – Uh, you mean dick is short for Richard…

Her – Well, yeah. So, anyway… all the boys named Richard at my school are mean, yanno, like dicks…

Me – Whoa whoa whoa!!! You used that in the context of the curse word!

Her – (appearing very nervous)- Uh… no I didn’t!

Me – Yes you did!!! Like they are being mean like DICKS!! Wait… did you know that’s a curse word??

Her – Oh gosh!! NO!!!

Me – Yeah, it really is. How did you not know that?!?! I hope you aren’t like “dick, dick, dickdickdickdick…” at school!!!

Her – (blushes)

{ 0 comments }

Disney Family Pic

Over the summer we took a little family vacation to Disneyland and stayed the night at Paradise Pier Hotel. After a long day of awesomeness at the park we were all exhausted. My seven year old son was really restless, sore and upset. He’s always had a hard time falling asleep when he needs to and when he is over exhausted.

Now… before I continue I just want to say that I’m not a perfect Mom and don’t pretend to be. I often say the wrong thing at the wrong time and if you have been in the same room with me that neither of those things would surprise you. I have learned to laugh at it after a lot of apologizing. Okay, some apologizing… sometimes. I don’t like to say sorry. Another flaw.

 

Thankfully my kids laugh along with me and accept my quirks.

 

As we settled in that night I could hear my son sighing, “What’s wrong, sweetie?”

“I’m just really reeeeeeally tired, Mommy… My legs hurt a lot. I’m so sore from all the walking…”

And I replied after yawning, “Well sweetie, why don’t you… just… shut your… mouth…

 

The room went silent. Wait, what did I just freaking say?

 

(I swear I did NOT mean to say shut your mouth! I meant shut your eyes but the wrong thing popped out)

My husband bursted out laughing and almost woke the baby. He made fun of me. He still makes fun of me. I tried to state my case that I meant shut your EYES but he was relentless. Our son started laughing. The kids giggled in their beds. Everyone kept saying things like “I love you, sweetie. Now shut your mouth!”

We laughed a lot.

The kids now tell me they love me and I’m the best Mommy ever while following it up with “So shut your mouth!”

Kids are awesome. I’m never going to live this one down.

 

Thanks for stopping by, everyone.

I love you all. Now, shut your mouths.

{ 0 comments }

I purposely took a break from my blog until now, but I intended to be back after a few weeks not six! I wanted to give myself some time to focus on my kids and enjoy my time while Chad took three weeks off. I feel like my now six week old daughter has been around forever but at the same time it feels like she was born yesterday. I wrote often during my “downtime” and I missed this space.

Plus, writing about that time a new human came out of my lower region needed a lot of editing. I found myself being even more graphic than usual depending on the day. See, I can censor myself! The graphic stuff will be shared at a later time.

10341511_632880560134589_8384365086720418589_n

His hair is fabio fabulous hehehe

I don’t think there are many people who think “That was fun” when it comes to their labor experience. But, it really was. I keep saying I feel like I cheated somehow because it was super easy. There was pain but it wasn’t terrible and it was pretty fast… she didn’t just fall right out of me like I had hoped.

After months of bed rest, lots of complications, weeks of non progressing contractions before the big day and I was ready to finally hold my baby ninja princess. I was scheduled to induce at 39 weeks on June 5th. June 5th was supposed to be the day so I procrastinated on getting things together.

To recap – my sweetie and I have four kids in our blended family and our newborn princess makes kiddo five. Yes, we are crazy.

The day before my scheduled baby evacuation day my OB called me while I stared into my fridge wondering what I was going to make for lunch…

“Want to have that baby today instead of tomorrow?”

To which I responded with, “Hell fucking yes!!” I was ready to evacuate her.

I sent my hubby a text asking “Want to meet our daughter today instead of tomorrow?” and he thought I was joking. The week before I sent him a text making him think my water broke (because I’m hilarious) so I can understand why he doesn’t always take me serious.

After multiple trips to the hospital for monitoring, injections and more monitoring we knew a lot of the nurses and had a bit of a reputation for being the “funny/entertaining couple”. My OB said that nurses had told her they really hoped to be our labor nurses because we were so much fun. Our personalities are very sarcastic, we like to keep things light and after some tough times in our relationship we are at such a good place of just loving life together… with a lot of smack talking.

Okay, I do most of the smack talking and he lovingly takes it because he rocks like that. I’m also much better at smack talking than he is. I was shocked we hadn’t offended anyone at the hospital with our word-fu and affectionate verbal smackdowns.

A nurse told me that one of her favorite lines came from me, “Please, sweetie… run your face into my fist.”

My previous two labors were basically the same process – I never went into labor on my own. I was induced with pitocin. I welcomed my epidurals and still felt horrible contractions of doom after. It’s been said by many that pitocin contractions are the worst pain you can ever feel and I would have to agree, though I had nothing to compare it to. Some people recall their labors as being these beautiful struggles of human birthing poetry.

I am not one of those people. Labor hurts. A lot. I’m not a fan of labor pain. There was a time before my oldest was born that I thought I would love to experience a pain medication free process of bringing my child into the world. I’m so over that. Give me the quickest, healthiest and most painless way possible. I don’t subscribe to the Mommy wars of who is better/tougher than who. I just want my baby out and in my arms by whatever method is best for her (and me)… and bring on the drugs.

By 2pm I was ready to get labor going and instead of starting me on pitocin I was given cytotec which helps thin the cervix and get things started.

After an hour my labor nurse came in and asked, “Are you feeling those?? You are having great contractions.”

Uh. What? I felt crampy but that was it. Weird.

Around 4pm my water was broken. My labor nurses and OB commented on my great contractions that felt like minor annoyances.

It didn’t feel like I was in labor. We watched TV, talked and joked around just like we do every night after the kids went to bed. Except I was hooked up to monitors, I was leaking fluids and the hospital bed wasn’t as comfy as my bedrest recliner.

Our kids were with my Dad and that is always an adventure in itself. My Dad likes to make jokes like “Oh, am I supposed to feed them?” or “I think one of the kids went missing”. We kept him updated with my progress as he kept us updated with his jokes about the kids. He is wonderful.

I began texting, tweeting, instagramming and Facebooking – Yeah, I did. A friend of mine commented how she couldn’t believe I was updating Facebook.

We started watching the Stanley Cup at 5pm. Yes, we watched Hockey. I was born and raised a Kings fan while my husband is a New York Rangers fan… this was serious business.

Contractions started to pick up and the amount of curse words I used increased as well.

At some point during the first period my labor nurse called in to get my epidural and we would start pitocin shortly after. I was uncomfortable, but it wasn’t even close to horrible yet. At that point I was around 4-5cm.

I updated Facebook between contractions. Because… again, what else are you going to do?

I got amazing back rubs from my sweetie while we talked smack about the game.

Every time a nurse came in to ask how I was HE would reply with something like, “I’m okay. I’m feeling a little uncomfortable and ignored. This is rough…” – I love him. I really do.

The anesthesiologist arrived and he was a Kings fan. Our labor nurse at that time was from Jersey. There was a lot of West Coast vs East Coast smack talking going on. Now that I think about it you probably don’t want to be laughing so much when you are about to get a giant needle in your back. When you get an epidural the anesthesiologist will insert the needle during a contraction. Because we were all so into the game he missed a few contractions – I didn’t mind in the slightest – it was hilarious.

After my epidural I let the world know how much I fucking love labor drugs. It wasn’t a strong amount since I could still move my legs but it was glorious.

They gave me oxygen and it made me feel strange. I do not remember taking this pic…

20140718-150649.jpg

My contractions picked up and we kept watching the game. The only discomfort I felt was on the left side of my body but after some repositioning I was good to go.

My Dad joined in on the smack talking and we were all texting about the game. I said whoever wins determines who my daughter would be a fan of…

Kings won. Chad cursed a lot. My labor continued and it felt like I wasn’t progressing. I started to worry that if they didn’t start the pitocin soon I would meet my daughter at 4am.

I sat up to stretch, I grabbed my phone to see what was going on and… I felt pressure. I felt that pressure that only a woman who has had a vaginal delivery understands… or the feeling you have after a lot of food and you really gotta poop.

I thought I was going crazy and mistaken. I thought I had hours to go and hadn’t even had pitocin. It had been 7 years since my son was born so maybe I just forgot what it felt like. My nurse checked me just in case.

“Oh yeah… you are ready. Her head is right there. We are going to do some practice pushes and then call your doctor.”

I was stunned. It was honestly too easy.

It went smoothly from there. Another nurse walked in and said, “You either have a very high pain tolerance or the best epidural that’s ever been given because you do not seem like you are ready to push!”

Yeah, I didn’t feel like I was ready to push either.

After a short time of pushing at 9:35pm on June 4th we met our daughter.

Labor Story

I cannot exactly put into words the feeling of love, relief and happiness I felt when I heard her first cry and saw her.

I was so overwhelmed I was shivering uncontrollably… Actually, I was shivering from the drugs but I didn’t realize that at first.

She was 8lbs 8oz – We all expected a 6lb baby – We were wrong!

20140718-154112.jpg

What was said after she was born:

“Wow! She’s chunky!”

“She is covered in goo!”

“Why does she look like an angry tomato?”

“She has really asian eyes…”

“HA! This one looks like me!”

“I’m kind of sad you didn’t pass out. I wanted to have more ammo to make fun of you.”

“She is so beautiful”

“Why does her umbilical cord look like a penis”

“That was easy… Wanna have another?”

We fell in love with her immediately. By the time all the post birth stuff and baby bonding time was done it was pretty late. We told my Dad to bring the kids by to see her in the morning. We assumed they were sleeping by that time.

He texted “I think I did something wrong. They are all still awake”

Oh he’s so funny. They stayed up until 1am and were cranky kids he had to deal with the next day.

Instagram, Facebook, e-mail and texts blew up after she was born. I haven’t been able to fully thank everyone for the rad support and congrats we received when we all met her. I’m grateful for the awesomeness. It was a difficult road and one I am relieved to be off of.

As I lay next to her finishing this up and listening to her giggle in her sleep I still can’t wrap my head around how wonderful things ended up being. Our kids love her and the adjustment has been easier than expected. I’m proud of our family and how everyone has transitioned to having a newborn around.

Several friends had wished for me to have a smooth labor after the emotionally draining and physically painful pregnancy I had. I’m stoked it ended up being so easy. But, even if it was the worst labor ever I wouldn’t care. At the end of that difficult journey it’s all just done and over. The pain, the difficult days and the hard times are simply behind us.

The new chapter begins and it all ends up being worth it… especially when I have this face to stare at like a creepy baby stalker.

creepy baby stalker

{ 0 comments }

The Final Countdown - No More Bed Rest

It’s the final countdown and I still can’t believe she’s made it this far. I just had my last check up, had yet another membrane sweep and one way or another I will be holding my daughter this week. YAY!

Let’s recap this insanity…

First I announced my pregnancy via illustrator ninjas in a casual way on Facebook and Instagram. I immediately received a LOT of shit from friends and family about keeping the secret so long. I’m not the best at breaking news to people and my Dad has learned this over the years… he wasn’t shocked at all when I e-mailed him the news.

Then I found out I was having a girl – What I didn’t announce at that time was that some things had come up but I had to wait to find out the details.

Vasa previa and placenta previa issues – BOOM – Bed rest. It took me awhile to announce it, but when I started obsessively making baby hats friends started to wonder what was up. My bed rest changed depending on the week – I started out modified with the basics of no lifting, driving and taking it easy. I had weeks where I had to stay off my feet, don’t sit upright and only get up to use the restroom. It all depended on my symptoms.

With the complications I was having we were anticipating a mandatory early c-section. I made peace with a c-section. I honestly started to look forward to it and how efficient it would be. I always try to focus on the positives to find my “om”.

Life was turned upside down, but we made the most of it. It was one of the hardest times of my life. The daily stress of not knowing if my unborn daughter would make it, the stress it created at home and how much I had to let go of wasn’t how I thought this year would play out. I can look back on it all and just appreciate how much it’s brought our family together. There is a different sense of appreciation for one another despite how difficult it was some days.

Then things got better. As my uterus grew my placenta moved on up. Signs of vasa previa were gone and my blood loss issues cleared up along with it. My abdomen pain wasn’t as bad and my placenta abruption seemed to have stopped. We hit a remarkable milestone and things changed for the better.

Bed rest can make you feel crazy… You have to learn to laugh. A lot.  Especially when my preggo belly vanished one morning.

Just before I reached 36 weeks I started having regular contractions. They were far apart but kept coming. I then lost my mucus plug. I felt like I was ready to go. I felt like labor was coming. I was seeing my OB in the morning and felt excited over the possibility that I was going to hold my baby girl. I went to sleep with anticipation…

I woke up in the middle of the night and I felt odd. My abdomen hurt. I had massive heartburn. Suddenly, I felt like I was getting stabbed in my lower parts. I realized my contractions stopped. I drank a bunch of ice water and counted fetal kicks… she was fine. I went back to sleep.

At my appointment it was confirmed that she freaking flipped! She went breech at 36 weeks. “You’ve got to be fucking kidding me” were the only words to sum up the moment followed by a lot of jokes and laughter. My OB could not believe it.

I had just been taken off of super crazy bed rest talking about a vaginal birth and planning to induce as I did with my other labors to possibly having to do a c-section… again.

Of course this little ninja continued to keep us on our toes.

I went back on bed rest, we scheduled a follow up appointment and hoped for the best. A 36 week breech baby was painful. I lost 3lbs that week and felt sick in ways that made me long for the pukey days of the first trimester.

Then it went away. I woke up Tuesday morning before my appointment and felt… okay. I wasn’t holding my breath. This freaking baby likes to mess with me and I’m convinced she knows it!

“So, let’s take bets! What do you think?? Did she flip back around again or is she going to keep making us crazy?” I looked at my OB and said “I feel like I can breathe again but I have NO idea anymore!”

We confirmed it… she moved… she turned head down and assumed the labor position. Yay! For now. “This is the most difficult and unpredictable baby I’ve ever had!!” – Words from my OB… not me ;)

She’s flipped breech and then back again once since then. After the last time I was finally taken off of bed rest. My OB was sure I would deliver her right away as soon as I was able to return to most normal activities. Nope. I have had regular contractions that do not progress for weeks. I’ve had to go into the hospital twice for monitoring for different reasons and still no progress.

Tomorrow I am 39 weeks. I am full freaking term now. We’ve spent months – since February – trying to keep her cooking and now she doesn’t want to come out. There were times when no one thought it was possible to even reach my third trimester and every day was a milestone. I counted days in the beginning because every day was better for her. I didn’t expect to even reach the point where I would still be pregnant and taken off of bed rest.

The past few weeks I’ve been quiet online since being off of bed rest. I’ve enjoyed feeling (somewhat) normal again. I spent the first weekend cooking up a ton of food and enjoying time with my family. I was able to attend some school functions. I can drive a limited amount. I watched my 7 year old son take his first ice hockey lessons. I enjoyed shopping. I still have to take it easy but I’m making the most of what I can do.

I’ve had so many Braveheart moments where I just want to scream FREEEEEEEEDOOOOOOOM!

It’s been awesome.

And this little ninja actually listened to me and is still cooking. Unless she changes her mind on staying put we are inducing on Thursday. She will be born, full freaking term this week. I still can’t wrap my head around that.

I cannot wait to hold her.

My sweetie has been telling me all these months that I just need to have faith, think positively and everything would work out. It’s the first (and only) time I’ll be thankful that he can tell me “I told you so”.

Thank you all for being a part of this crazy journey – the support and awesomeness helped so much. During it all I felt like it would never end and now it all feels like a blur. After this insane journey all I can focus on is having the moment of her in my arms and knowing we finally made it.

{ 0 comments }

#LoveWhoYouAre

When my daughter was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease when she was in the second grade, it was jolting. We had been managing her life threatening food allergies since she was an infant so adding something else on top of that ignited concern over how hard this would get for her.

We managed it and the life adjustments we had to make just became part of our everyday routine. No matter how hard life gets you figure out a way to make it work. It becomes second nature and you accept it. The waves of chronic pain come and go – we appreciate the times where her body isn’t attacking itself and we do the best we can to get through the hard times. Honestly, it becomes such a part of the process that we don’t even think of it anymore. It’s not a negative, it’s our way of life.

She has had an exceptional past year of minimal flare ups. We truly appreciate those times since we know they are temporary. I was especially thankful for the lack of major flare ups since she just started middle school.

She had hives and red splotches all over her face and arms when she got home from school last Wednesday. As I asked her about them they multiplied before my eyes. Initially we thought it was an allergic reaction. The hives turned into oozing blisters that she has never had before – this was something different. This was something new. We haven’t had anything new come up for many years.

My daughter is twelve years old and has this genuinely amazing ability to shine despite how hard it gets. She is full of awesomeness and isn’t a complainer. She is truly a sweet, kind and happy kid. She isn’t naturally selfish and because of that I think she lacks a personality trait that makes her obsess over herself or her looks. She would rather act a little crazy, silly and not take things seriously than be the girl who is checking herself out in the bathroom every passing period.

I don’t know how I got so lucky – she inspires me and has honestly helped me get through bed rest with her constant optimism. Sure, she has her moments of damaging my calm, trying to push limits and epic freaking eye rolls over chores – she is still a normal tween in most ways.

But, she is my shining ball of hope in this world and I hope her health hurdles won’t change her. With such a visible disability that has the ability to cause her so much pain she doesn’t even want to get out of bed I can understand if she became angry, resentful or bitter.

She embraces the fact that everyone is different in their own way, but I wasn’t sure how she would react this time. Being different is difficult at any age, but especially in middle school. Adding in social platforms like Instagram for teens and some of the potential drama that can come from it I wasn’t sure what she would do.

We always take pictures of her flare ups so we can document them. That may sound strange, but when you have a special needs child who has chronic illness record keeping is important. After I took a photo of her arm she asked if she could share it on Instagram. She said she didn’t want to hide what she really goes through and she wanted people to understand. She wasn’t looking for pity or sympathy… she just wanted to be real. I was so proud of her.

Love Who You Are

After a major flare up we usually spend many hours with her immunologist (and often other doctors) running blood work, xrays and trying to figure out what is happening. This was not easy with my modified bed rest limitations and my husband having to juggle his work from the lobby on his laptop – but, we made it happen. It isn’t an easy process and she get’s a lot of blood drawn at one time. I’ve always tried to make our long days at the hospital fun – as fun as it can be considering the circumstances. She shared some of it with her friends on Instagram and had a very upbeat personality about it. Again, I was very proud.

#LoveWhoYouAre

The night before Mother’s Day she insisted on baking me some goodies. No matter how terrible she feels she is still this thoughtful little human being who muscles through it and thinks of others. She was emotionally in a really good place – but there was something weighing on her. She was dealing with moments of sadness with how her face and skin looked. She was frustrated at how her body reacts. We talked about all of that and it was heart wrenching.

She decided to take a selfie and share it with her friends. My daughter doesn’t want to hide what she goes through and she doesn’t want to be ashamed of how she looks. She doesn’t see anything wrong with it and she knows she cannot control how others may see her and doesn’t care to. Proud doesn’t begin to explain how I felt in that moment.

She wrote -

Life is a struggle every day but nothing can keep me down. Despite my health I can still be happy with who I am and that’s just how I think the world should work.#carefree #beyourself #lovewhoyouare

#LoveWhoYouAre

I’m sure she will have many low moments with this. I’m sure I will be there to dry her tears over the years when she can’t focus on the positive. I’m sure she will go through phases of anger, bitterness or resentment…

But, right now I can take comfort knowing that she can have this perspective at such a young age. Right now I can know that she will be okay. Right now is what matters most and we will face those battles together in the future.

Right now, I hope each and every one of you can #lovewhoyouare and if not…

Live, laugh and ninja kick those obstacles out of the way until you do.

{ 3 comments }

Vanishing Preggo Belly

The picture on the left was taken TWO WEEKS AFTER the one on the right… Weird, right?

I’m going to start this out by saying – Pregnancy is freaking weird. 

A few weeks ago I came down with a horrible cold that turned into bronchitis. I can’t remember the last time I was that sick. I’m not even going to try to pretend it was easy or that I was maintaining well during those weeks. I was miserable. I couldn’t keep food down. My throat was on fire. I was coughing constantly with an ear ache of doom and pressure in my sinuses that made me want to go into a coma. It was gnarly.

During that time all I could think about was keeping my prenatals down, drinking protein/vitamin shakes and staying hydrated. I couldn’t take any real medicine, so I suffered through it.

My pregnancy complications have left me with a very sensitive abdomen that hurts with slight pressure. It hurts when I cough, sneeze and blow my nose. I had to learn to do all three of those with my ribs or down below my uterus and use every muscle I could except my abdomen. Do you realize how freaking weird and difficult that is?! I started to refer to my low cough technique as my “crotch cough”. At one point I had sneezed and coughed so much that my ribs felt like they broke.

We were also having a lovely heat wave in Southern California. Superfantastic fun times!

I’ve never worried about peeing myself like many pregnant women experience. I always took comfort in that. But, I was wearing a pad dealing with pee-leakage from my crotch coughing technique. To say I was a hot mess is an understatement. Why am I sharing this TMI-ness? One, because it’s funny (now) and I also have a point…

Earlier this week, when I reached 34 weeks to the day, and my belly bump went missing one morning. I’m not even shitting you… it was gone. In my groggy morning confusion I glanced around the bed as if my daughter crawled out of me during the night. I immediately panicked, got a glass of ice water and did fetal kicks. She was moving fine but it HURT. She was in there, obviously, but all I felt was baby and not much else. I’m not a pee-leaker. I know a lot of women pee-leak during pregnancy but I don’t. I was like a pee-leaky faucet all morning… or was it pee-leak?

With both of my previous births I had a slow and high leak. I had to have my water broken after I was induced. I wondered if my water broke? Well, I had some crazy watery discharge and I was leaking.

I know… TMI… but, with pregnancy, labor and birth there is no way to filter out the grossness properly!

34 weeks on the dot – the big final stretch milestone before she is considered full-term, after months of bed rest and I may have a high leak? Crapsticks.

A friend of mine stopped by and echoed my concern over my vanishing abdomen. I think her being concerned made me go from, “Isn’t this freaking weird?!” to “Oh shit!”.

I went in to the hospital to be monitored. I hate the hospital. I don’t know how most people feel about hospitals, but I have always had an unhealthy dislike for them. There are few things I use the word hate for. I avoid it as much as possible and only go in if absolutely necessary. This was one of those times.

My growing ninja girl checked out well. I wasn’t leaking when I went in and there were no signs of amniotic fluids or infection. The thing with a high and slow leak is if they can’t find the leakage when they test it there is no way to know. I had a slow high leak with my oldest and it took three visits for them to get a positive swab. At this point it’s a concern about infection and the membranes releasing the big waterfall of labor fluids.

The nurses commented on how healthy my daughter is and that she is VERY active. I know how active she is… she is constantly having a dance party up in there! We joked around about how feisty she is and it was all reassuring. I was able to go home.

But, what the crap happened to my belly bump?

I saw my OB the next day and the first thing she said was, “Oh this amazing feisty little problem child is continuing to keep us on our toes!” – I asked her if she thought all of this was super weird and she said, “For everyone else I would say yes but EVERYTHING is weird with you!”

I love that I can joke around with my doctor while dealing with all these weird situations. She is very professional and absolutely amazing, but she has the sense of humor I need.

We did an ultrasound and my daughter is more than fine. She’s continuing to measure larger than expected – There was concern that she had stopped growing and that is why my abdomen appeared to be smaller. She really hadn’t moved much at all since the last ultrasound just two weeks prior so she didn’t “drop” significantly. All the amniotic fluids levels were fine. Everything was fine. But, I was visibly smaller.

Basically, she’s trouble.

Conclusion? Who the hell knows! The important thing is that my daughter is healthy and so am I.

Was I peeing myself? Who the hell knows! Since I have no signs of infection and I haven’t continued to leak I can wait it out.

Am I going crazy?! Probably! But, dammit look at the picture and see the difference.

Could my baby ninja be taking that nickname a little too far and started vanishing training early?! Yes! See above comment about me going crazy.

I’m starting all of the lovely prelabor bodily weirdness. Yes, I know the process of bringing a baby into the world is natural, lovely, beautiful and all of those warm fuzzy awesomeness feelings – but, let’s be real… It’s also really gross!

I went from being diagnosed with some really frightening pregnancy complications and accepting a mandatory early c-section – getting stuck on bed rest – having things resolve themselves and being able to consider a vaginal birth – her being breeched and no more vaginal birth – then everything looked fan-freaking-tastic because she flipped and my abruption stopped – to … where the crap did my abdomen go and am I going to go into early preterm labor?

Tomorrow I will be 35 weeks. All I can think about is how I want to reach that 36 mark! I’m getting greedy but dammit this has been a long road and things are looking amazing. I want her to hold on a little longer before we welcome her into the world…

And maybe… just maaaaaybe… if she holds on for one more week I will find my freaking abdomen.

{ 0 comments }