Two months!

On Wednesday, Claire turned two months old! Her pediatrician appointment was on Friday afternoon, and she had to get her 2-month shots. :( She screamed for a couple of seconds, but calmed down once she got her pacifier.

Two months!DSC_0350

  • Weight: 11 lbs 14 oz — up from 9.6 at her one-month check-up when she was 5 days old! She’s gained almost 5 pounds since she was born!
  • Length: 22.25 inches — up from 20.25 inches when she was one-month old. She’s grown 2.75 inches since birth!
  • Head: 15.5 inches — up from 15 inches at her previous check-up

The nurse said that Claire is growing very well. She’s gone up in the percentiles for length especially, and her head is growing at a good rate (not to fast and not too slow).


Development The doctor’s office gave me a handout on two-month milestones for me to look over before the doctor came in so I could raise any red issues. Thankfully, Claire passed all of them! She can:

      • Smile!
      • Suck on her hands to calm herself
      • Looks at us — a lot! She’s been doing this for a while though.
      • Make lots of sounds. She loves to talk!
      • Turn her head towards sounds.
      • Pay attention to faces
      • Track objects with her eyes – especially people.
      • Get bored. :/
      • Hold up her head and push up.
      • Make smoother movements with her limbs.

One thing she can do that wasn’t on the doctor’s milestone list: She grabs things! She’s figured out how to grab her dress and pull it up! Yikes. She also grabs her blanket and can bring it to her mouth — as seen here when we were stuck waiting for the car’s oil change to be finished.



It can be difficult to tell a “social” smile from a “gassy” smile, but the first time Claire smiled at me, I knew exactly what it was. IMG_2532

It was one of those days… she was fussy, she would cry for a bottle but not eat all of it, and then when it was time for bed, I knew I wasn’t going to get much sleep. She was sleeping in her crib at this point, and when I heard her through the monitor, I couldn’t help but sigh as I got up. I was exhausted. It had only been a couple of hours since she went to bed, and the light at the end of the tunnel seemed far, far away. But as soon as I picked her up and sat down in the rocking chair, I looked at her sweet face and saw the biggest smile. It was as though she was saying, “hi mom! I’m so happy to see you.” Vocalizing She laughs, she has “conversations” with us, and she has been experimenting with different sounds — coos, high-pitched sounds, purrs and many others!

Physical development

She has always had relatively strong neck muscles, and tummy time is amusing because she gets frustrated — it’s like she wants to crawl so badly! She pushes up, and has gotten her head up 90 degrees many times. She also likes the reaction we give her — she seems to act like she’s proud of herself when we are watching her lift her head and tell her how strong she is. When she was 7 weeks old, we put her on her tummy on her giraffe mat, and she started lifting her head. Then, she rolled onto her side. And then she rolled onto her back! She had rolled from front to back before — but it was when she was on my lap, which was at an angle, and once when I placed her almost on her side on our bed. This time, though, she did it all by herself!

Other activities

During her second month of life, Claire:

Met her paternal great-grandma fore the first time.

Enjoyed her first three-day weekend: Labor Day! We took her shopping, of course. This wore her out! IMG_2565


Celebrated grandparents’ day with her maternal great-grandma and paternal grandparents. IMG_2585


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One Month!

Yesterday, Claire turned one month old! We went to the pediatrician first thing this morning for her one-month appointment.

  • Weight: 9.6 lbs — up from 7.2 at her first check-up when she was 5 days old! She was 7 lbs even when we left the hospital after being born at 7 lbs 3.3 oz.
  • Length: 20.25 inches — she’s grown 3/4 of an inch!
  • Head: 15 inches — up from 13.5 at her first check-up!

The doctor said everything looks great — she’s growing well, she’s alert, and she seems to know the difference between night and day.

Outings + adventures

Most of Claire’s first month was spent snuggling with family — especially her grandma and great grandma! But she’s already been out and about to a lot of places. Flower child The first place we took her was to the pediatrician when she was 5 days old. I’ve also taken her to my grandma’s house a few times. Other places:

  • First restaurant: Pita Pit. David and I have also taken her to Pepito’s and Panera Bread, and my grandma and I have taken her to Captain D’s and Logan’s. I took her to Smash Burger and Yogurt Mountain myself to meet my friend Melody. And David’s family and I took her to Tucker Duke’s for my birthday dinner!
  • First store: Target. She’s also been to Publix.
  • We took her to the 9a.m. church service when she was 2 weeks old. We didn’t go into the sanctuary until after the worship, but she got a little fussy during the message and David had to take her out. We haven’t been back yet.

We’ve also given Claire a few baths! She didn’t really care for the two sponge baths we gave her before her umbilical cord stump fell, but after that she’s seemed to enjoy the warm water! Splish splash


Over the past couple of weeks, Claire has loved studying people’s faces. Her eyes lock on to whoever is holding her (if she’s awake). She also loves watching the ceiling fan and looking up at lights.

When's lunch?She’s also quite fond of studying her surroundings. A few weeks ago when I started taking Claire out myself (she was about 2 weeks old), I attached some “dangly” toys on her car seat carrier. She didn’t really notice them until one evening maybe a week later when David and I went to Chick-fil-a for dinner. Her eyes latched on to those two colorful toys! I then added a couple of toys to her bassinet – a dog chime and a ballerina doll. She loves to look up at the ballerina doll! Is that my bottle?

She makes so many different facial expressions, and her big eyes are so expressive. She has long, full eyelashes and perfect little eyebrows.

IMG_2427Tongue out. Don't care.

Claire loves being put on her stomach on her soft unicorn mat or giraffe mat. She hasn’t been quite ready for the activity gym yet. But when we do put on her tummy she lifts her head up and can turn it to the other side. She was trying to lift her head the night she was born! And when she’s laying on your chest she loves to lift her head and look up at you and around her. Pink overload

Sleeping + Eating

Right now, little miss spends her days eating, sleeping, and staring at faces! She sleeps well during the night — about 4-5 hours at a stretch. We usually feed her between 9-9:30, and she sleeps until 1:30 or 2:30. She goes right back to bed and wakes up around 4:30-5. Occasionally this doesn’t happen. :) But on my birthday night, she slept from around 9 until 4:30! I’m debating between the Babywise and Moms on Call schedule for when I go back to work, but for now we’re good. Did I mention she has an epic yawn that is exactly like her daddy’s?! Big yawn.

Being this cute is exhaustingShe’s also a champion eater. She loves gulping down her bottle and eats between 3-4 oz at a time, usually every 2-3 hours during the day. And don’t make her wait for a bottle! She gets “hangry” :) She is definitely at her most fussy when she’s ready for her next meal. She comes by that honestly, though, as David and I both love our food.wahh!
New parent education

I read a lot of articles during pregnancy and since Claire was born, and the one piece of advice that is undisputed is to enjoy this newborn phase! Yes, it’s a radical change bringing a newborn home, and yes, you have no real idea of what it will be like until you do it, but it’s such a sweet time. I love when Claire snuggles up to me. One of my favorite moments in the hospital was when she was fussy because of the antibiotics she was put on, but as soon as the nurse put her on my chest she went immediately to sleep — and she even wrapped her little arms around me like she was trying to give me a hug! Babies really do change so much, and you only get this time once so enjoy it!

I also read a lot about dogs and new babies, and I was a little worried about how Charlie, our first child ;), would react. But he loves his human sister and is very protective! He was so excited the first time he laid eyes on her. And for the first week or so, he would jump up anytime she started to cry (he’s gotten over that). He does love to sniff her and wants to give her kisses, but he’s learned to keep a little distance.

Charlie watching Claire

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My 28th birthday was filled with good food, flowers, cake — and baby challenges!

Claire decided my birthday was a good day to show me that it’s not about me anymore.

New mom adventures

That morning after Claire finished eating, we were sitting in the rocking chair listening to music. I put her up on my shoulder, and since it was the one time I didn’t put a burp cloth there, she spit up on my shirt. Fast forward a couple of hours and I’m trying to get her ready to go to my grandma’s house. I put her in a 0-3 month size outfit but decided it was too big. So I change her into a newborn size outfit. Meanwhile she’s fussy because she isn’t used to this whole “getting dressed” thing and I’m still getting the hang of the tiny snaps and buttons on baby clothes. As soon as I pick her up, she spits up on her dress (thankfully she missed me this time). So, we suffer through another outfit change before we are finally ready to head out to my grandma’s house.

Thankfully the car calmed her down and she slept for the 30-minute ride. Grandma gave her a bottle, I changed her wet diaper, and then we headed out for my birthday lunch at Logan’s.

Usually Claire falls asleep in the car and sleeps in the restaurant (she stayed asleep for the 40-minute ride and hour-long stay at my uncle’s restaurant the day before). This time, she stayed awake. I knew that was going to be a problem. We sat down and ordered, and then my grandma asked, “what would you do if she started crying?” Claire must have heard us because a few minutes later she started fussing. Not too loud, but enough to make me get her out of her car seat carrier in record time. Did I mention that our food had just arrived?! I calmed her down, gave her a pacifier and put her back in her seat. She stayed awake the rest of the time, but at least she stayed quiet.

When we got back to grandma’s house and I took her out of the car seat, I knew why she had been fussy — she had a dirty diaper. I changed her and gave her back to grandma. A little while later it was time for another bottle. After grandma fed her, I ventured out to Starbucks for coffee to go with my birthday cake.

bday cake 1

When I got back, Grandma had put Claire in her swing and she seemed content. We cut the birthday cake and almost as soon as we sat down and started eating, Claire started getting fussy again. I had a feeling it was gas-related so when she started really wailing, I picked her up. Immediately I could tell she dirtied her diaper again. But this time when I went to change her, there was a much bigger “present” — so much that it leaked out of her diaper and onto her outfit! Cue outfit change #4 for the day.

We stayed at Grandma’s house for a little bit longer until we had to leave to go home and get ready for my birthday dinner. Claire slept again on the ride home. I quickly changed her into a cute dress, and then it was time for David, Claire and I to meet David’s parents and brother at Tucker Duke’s for dinner.

We sat down at our reserved table, and Claire was still sleeping. We order, talk, our food comes and … Claire wakes up ready to eat! We had a bottle ready for her, so she didn’t get to the point of crying. And I did have enough time to get my fill of food before I had to feed her.

After dinner, we went back to our house for more cake. bday cake 2

Claire slept until David’s parents got ready to leave. The rest of the night she was fussy again!

fussy fussyI was able to open my birthday presents — a big floating recliner lounge from my grandma, a Banana Republic gift card from the in-laws, and flowers and a ruby necklace from David! (Ruby is Claire’s birth stone) Around 9:30 we gave her a bottle, and put her to bed.

bday flowers

Through all of that, Claire did give me a birthday present (other than the present in her diaper). She slept until 4:30 am that night! She hasn’t done that since, but it was nice to get some rest after that long day.

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Claire’s Birth Story

Our daughter Claire was born on July 16, 2015, at 9:05 PM Central time, weighing 7 lbs 3.3 oz and measuring 19.5 inches long. Here’s the story of how she entered the world.

It's a girl!The weeks leading up to “D-Day” During the last month of pregnancy, you’re typically supposed to go to the OB/GYN every week. My doctor was on vacation, and then had backed-up appointments, so I went about 3 weeks in June without an appointment. Thankfully, my pregnancy was normal with no complications, so there were no issues that we needed to monitor.

I went in for an appointment on Tuesday, June 30. The nurse took my blood pressure, listened to the baby’s heart beat, and checked my urine. All good. Then Dr. Whitlock came in and did an cervical exam for the first time. I was not a fan. She said I was 1 centimeter dilated. At this point, I was about 2 weeks away from my due date (July 15), so we were getting close anyway, but being dilated made it real that a baby was going to come out soon!

That afternoon, I taught my last dance classes for the summer, and I was moderately freaked out by the dilation news. I told one of the studio owners and a fellow teacher that I was dilated, and they had to tell me to “stop rubbing your hands together!” because I was getting nervous!

The next week, I went to lunch with my friend Melody before my afternoon appointment. It was nice to talk over Cracker Barrel and get my mind off of work and baby preparations. That day’s appointment was similar to the last — nurse checked my blood pressure, listened to the baby’s heart beat, and checked my urine. The doctor did a cervical check and said I was now 2 centimeters dilated, but that the cervix was “still pretty thick.” This time I was about a week and a half away from “D-Day,” so I asked her what would happen if I came in for my appointment the following week and things weren’t progressing. She said she doesn’t like to let her patients go a week past their due date, but that two weeks past was the absolute max I could go. That meant the “drop-dead date” was July 29. So we potentially would discuss induction, if I didn’t go into labor before then. She ended the appointment by saying, “see you next week, if not sooner!” That added to my building “freak out.”

I always called David after my appointments to let him know how they went. At this point, since he wasn’t in the room with me, he was still pretty calm and hadn’t gotten to the realization of “this baby is actually going to be here soon — like in a couple of weeks, if that” that I was now at. That is, until…

Scheduled D-Day My last prenatal appointment was on Tuesday, July 14 – one day before my due date. It was the same as before – nurse checked my BP, listened to baby’s heart beat, and checked my urine. This time, the cervical check showed I was still at 2 centimeters. So I asked Dr. Whitlock, “what now?”

She again explained that she doesn’t like to let patients go 1 week past their due date, and she asked if hubby and I had discussed induction. We had briefly, and I explained that we weren’t opposed to it, and that I had actually told David that I would almost prefer a scheduled induction so I would know when baby was going to come (it’s the scheduler in me). She agreed that this was the “worst waiting game in the world,” and offered to call the hospital to see if any openings for a scheduled induction were available. She asked if I preferred this Thursday (as in 2 days from now) or sometime next week. I said “probably next week,” and she was out the door to make the call.

When she came back, she said the hospital had no openings next week, but they did have an opening on Thursday, so she put me down for that one. She explained that what often happens is people who are scheduled for inductions go into labor before then and so their spots would open up. I could either take Thursday, or wait and see. At this point, I was still really scared and anxious about giving birth, but I was tired of waiting and worrying that I would miss the labor signs or that we’d get stuck in traffic or… whatever else. So I said, “I’ll keep the Thursday appointment.” Also, that ensured that Dr. Whitlock would be the delivering OB/GYN as that was her “on call” day (the doctors take turns being “on call” at the hospital, so I potentially would have had a stranger deliver our baby if I went into labor naturally).

David was in court after my appointment, and I knew that if I called him he’d duck out and answer even if he was in the middle of something. So I texted, “call me when you can.” I sat in my car trying to process what was happening — yes we’d had months to prepare, but in two days we’d be in the hospital to have a baby. What?! And so my freak out increased.

David called a few minutes later and I explained what happened. This time, he had the same reaction I did — a freak out moment. I told him we didn’t have to keep the Thursday appointment, so he said we could talk about it later that night after work. That night, I requested Pepito’s for dinner. We both decided that we should keep the Thursday appointment, especially since I had said previously that I’d prefer a scheduled induction (be careful what you wish for!). That meant we had one more day before baby…

The Day Before On Wednesday, I was “go go go” the entire day. Charlie and I went on our morning walk. I had work projects to wrap up, and I let my boss, colleagues, and team know that I would officially be starting maternity leave the next day. I cleaned the ENTIRE house — vacuumed, mopped, clean all 3 bathrooms including the toilets, scrubbed the kitchen, dusted — you name it, I did it.

I took Charlie on a car ride to Chick-fil-a to pick up lunch. There were conference calls and laundry and a hospital bag to finish packing. I already had food in the freezer and had stocked up on things like toilet paper, coffee and the like. David worked, of course, and then he had a haircut appointment right after that. He then had to go to Miramar Beach for a church safety team meeting. I knew he wouldn’t be home until around 8:30 or 9, so after I was sufficiently satisfied with the housework and “work work” that I had finished, I hopped in the pool to relax around 4:30. I read and just enjoyed lounging by myself. After my pool time, I took a shower and headed to the nail salon for a manicure. Then I swung by Panda Express to pick up dinner. I took it back home and ate on the couch with Charlie and watched some “girly” TV.

David got home around 8:30 with a Chick-fil-a cookies & cream milkshake in hand. He also had stopped by Wal-mart to pick up tennis balls (recommended by our childbirth class). The rest of the night we finished packing our hospital bags, watched TV, and tried to “relax” before it was time to leave…

Checking in We had to be at the hospital at 12:30 AM on Thursday (so really Wednesday night). We left the house around 11:30 PM, and the drive over the Midbay Bridge and through Destin was easy and peaceful. The only hiccup was that David wanted coffee, but the McDonald’s were closed and he didn’t trust Whataburger. I tried not to get psyched up about what was about to happen, but rather just enjoy the last moments with just me and David.

Finally, we arrived at the hospital. As soon as I stepped out of the car, I started shaking with nervousness. We headed in, the guard explained to us where to go, and we got buzzed in to the Family Birth Place. We filled out some paperwork and were taken to a labor and delivery room. Some nurses came in and I got changed into the hospital gown and hooked up to an IV — which was by far the most painful part of the labor process (not the delivery, though!). They also attached fetal monitors and a blood pressure machine. I signed out a bazillion more consent forms — do we want baby to get her Hep B shot now? Do I want to get my Tdap shot? And many others. They also started a very small amount of Pitocin to bring on the contractions. Then the waiting game began.

We were told to rest that night, but of course I had to go pee 3 times — and it was such a pain to drag that IV machine with me every time. But that was just the first of many “oh well it is what it is” things. David’s parents and brother arrived around 3 AM and we all just tried to rest while we waited.

Needles and fire alarms  Around 6:30 AM, the nurse and Dr. Whitlock’s resident came in to do a cervical check. David and his family left the room — his parents went to get breakfast and David went to Starbucks to get some much-needed coffee! This time I was about 3 centimeters dilated — after having contractions all night! We were in for a long day.

Then, around 7:30 AM, Dr. Whitlock came in to break my bag of waters. She said that “changes the ball game” and encouraged me to go ahead and get the epidural soon. I told the nurse I wanted to go ahead and put my name on the list since it can take a while for the nurse anesthetist to get to you. A little while later, the nurse anesthetist came in to do the epidural. She asked if I had watched the video in the doctor’s office — I had — and I had to sign a consent form. David stayed in the room with me, but his family left. I got in position — sitting Indian-style on the bed with my back curved.

Just as we were getting ready to start, the fire alarm started going off. It was a false alarm caused by the construction that the Family Birth Place was undergoing, but it didn’t help the situation! Also, the telemetry machines monitoring the fetal heart beat stopped working so the nurse had to try using a portable machine. The way I was positioned made it difficult for her to get the heart beat, so between the nurse not being able to get the baby’s heart beat and the fire alarms going off, I wasn’t exactly in a calm state during the epidural procedure. But still, it didn’t hurt! Like I said before, the IV was the worst part.

However, it took the anesthetist three – three! – tries to get the epidural catheter in place. She had to try between different vertebrae because she couldn’t get it in position. Of course, I wasn’t exactly “in the zone” with all of the distractions, but I finally took a deep breath, curved my back, and the epidural was one.

The warmth began. After that, I had to get a catheter and was bed-bound for the rest of the day. I never really felt a contraction until delivery time.

Ice chips and popsicles I spent the rest of the day being moved from one side to the other — the nurse would lay me on my left side and put my right leg in the left stirrup, and then a couple hours later we’d move to the other side. Occasionally I’d get to lay on my back. I would nap here and there, and just enjoy the comfort I was in. I couldn’t eat, but I had a seemingly endless supply of ice chips to “snack on.” The nurse also offered a popsicle which I jumped at. Meanwhile, David, his mom and brother spent the morning playing rummy while David’s dad did some work (free wifi!). They played for something like 5 hours straight!

Every couple of hours the nurse or resident would come do a cervical check. I was progressing about 1 centimeter every two hours. 10 is the magic number and I had started the morning at 3, so it seemed like slow progression — but it was still progress! The nurse also gradually increased the pitocin. Thankfully, every time they did a cervical check the family left the room — and around lunch time, they decided to go to the cafeteria. David was going to stay with me, but I told him to get out! He had been up for something like 30 hours at this point and he needed fresh air. I also wanted a moment to myself.

After they came back from lunch, it was family nap time. Everyone took a little nap. Things continued through the afternoon until around 5 PM when Dr. Whitlock came in to do a cervical check and said “you’re ready to push!”

Practice run I had gone from 5 or 6 centimeters to 10 in what seemed like 10 minutes (it was really a couple of hours).  Because it was my first time, Dr. Whitlock said she wanted to let me “labor down” a little, and she told me to let them know when I felt constant pressure. This news, of course, freaked me out again, as I realized I had no idea what it meant to “push.” They didn’t go over that in the childbirth class. I started shaking again and felt really cold, so the nurse put blankets around me to make me more comfortable. I was feeling pressure, and watched the clock. I told my mother-in-law that I was feeling the pressure so she went to tell the nurse.

It was a little after 5 PM. The next thing I knew, the family except for David was out and a NASCAR-like setup was happening — the bed was being transitioned to a delivery table, stations were being set up, all kinds of people were coming in. The nurse who had been with me all day was trying to tell me not to be afraid to defecate … it was all a blur. The nurse asked if we wanted a mirror to see the delivery (we both replied with an emphatic “no!”), and I let Dr. Whitlock know that David did not want to cut the cord. David also told the nurses that we wanted the baby cleaned before they gave her to us — we didn’t want her put on my chest immediately after delivery for “skin to skin.” It became quite apparent to the doctor and the staff that David was not interested in “seeing” anything!

Dr. Whitlock also asked me what one thing I had been craving all day that I wanted after delivery. Dr. Pepper! Crazy enough, but every time I got a new cup of ice I kept thinking how good Dr. Pepper would be with it.

Everything was ready, and a contraction come on, so I started to push. However, this turned out to be a practice run. I pushed 3 times — and I was getting the hang of it (I didn’t know you were supposed to hold your breath as you pushed) — when the doctor said she thought I still had a lot of pushing to do, so she wanted to let me continue to “labor down” for a couple more hours rather than let me push for hours on end. I was grateful. So, everything and everyone disappeared.

At this point, I really just wanted to rest so David told his family and my family who had showed up just as everyone was leaving that I was asleep and they needed to wait in the waiting room. I also was starting to feel a lot of back pain — the epidural was wearing off! Thankfully we had a magic button to give me more. The reason I felt the back labor was because the baby was “sunny side up” — her face was facing up instead of down so her back was pressure on my back. The nurse and doctor had realized this during a cervical check when they felt what seemed like a forehead bone. This is one of the reasons I had a lot more “pushing” to do.

Thankfully, the day nurse was still there for another our so she reassured me that I was a “good pusher” but that it would be more difficult to deliver the baby in that position, and that if the baby stayed in that position it might have a cone forehead — like a unicorn! ;) Since David and I were the only ones in the room, the nurse helped me get into “hands and knees” position to try to get the baby to turn. It also made my back feel better! I stayed in that position for a few minutes, and then she put me back on my back to rest and labor for a little while longer. She gave me another popsicle (red this time!). But then she had to introduce me to the night nurse who would be there during the delivery. We LOVED our day nurse (Jessica) — she was very sweet and even came by to see us on Saturday! The night nurse was great, too, but we really loved Jessica.

Go time Around 7:30 or so, the night nurse came in to say that Dr. Whitlock had called and she wanted them to get me ready to deliver. She was leaving her house and on her way to the hospital. This time, the process was much calmer since there was some time before the doctor got there. The night nurse transitioned the bed into a delivery table, got all of the tools ready, and again asked if we wanted a mirror (still no).

Dr. Whitlock arrived and things got started again. This time, I was much calmer — I knew what was going on and things were just more relaxed as everyone got into position. David was on my left with a wet wash cloth on my forehead, the nurse was on my right with my right foot, another nurse had my left foot, and Dr. Whitlock was … right in front of me.

I started pushing a little after 8 PM. We had increased the epidural one more time, so I wasn’t really feeling pain, but I could feel the contractions coming on — especially because I would feel increased pressure “down there.” Between pushes, Dr. Whitlock would make conversation. She told us she saw lots of hair and asked which one of us had dark hair as a baby. We talked about FSU football. I would push when a new contraction came on. As I was pushing, the doctor said the baby was trying to turn so it would be in the right position (face down). Everything was fine…

Then, after a while (maybe 40 minutes or so?), I went in to my own world. I was aware enough to know when to push, but it was like I was in tunnel. Some people say you “enter the womb” when you deliver. I don’t really think it was that, but I was definitely in another place at the end. I was exhausted. It was getting harder to only take one big breath between pushes. And pushing with all of my force was becoming incredibly difficult. I kept praying that “this one” would be the last — that the baby would finally be out. After about an hour of pushing, the head crowned — and it was the worst. pain. in. my. entire. life. I remember trying to cry in between pushes because of the pain and exhaustion (how do women push for hours upon hours? And do it without pain meds?!). Finally, the doctor said, “the head is out – you have to push!” So I gave one final push with everything left in me — and the baby was out! I collapsed back, closed my eyes and took deep breaths.

I opened my eyes but everything was a blur. I’m pretty sure I was delirious. I looked over at David, and I’ll never forget the look on his face — tears welling in his eyes and a “this just happened, I can’t believe you did that” smile on his face. I looked at Dr. Whitlock as she was pulling the cord out and massaging the placenta out. And then I looked over to my right where the baby was. I couldn’t really see because of all of the people — and I wasn’t wearing my glasses — but I could tell that there was a lot happening. The first thing David and I said to each other was “one and done!” I remember saying, “I’ve heard people say that giving birth is like doing the splits on top of firecrackers — and they are right.” We heard Claire cry for the first time, and I said to David “she has a sweet cry — for now!”

Apparently, I only suffered minor tearing (bilaterally?). And Claire’s second APGAR score was a 9. I heard the “Brahm’s Lullaby” music they played every time a baby was born. They had played it so many times that day, and finally they played it for our Claire. I had spiked a fever of 101 during delivery, which meant that Claire and I both had to be put on IV antibiotics. So the nurses were going to have to take her to the “baby lounge.” They asked if we wanted to let our family come meet her before that, and since they had been waiting for a couple hours, and it was after 9PM, we said yes. Fresh and clean

First, though, they gave me clean, precious Claire to lay on my chest for “skin to skin” time (much better without all of the icky birth stuff). It was an amazing moment to have my baby on my chest — both of us resting from the traumatic experience we both just had! She even tried to lift her head to turn it!

Then all of the family came in – the room was packed! The nurse took Claire to swaddle her so she could meet the family, but first I gave her a kiss on the cheek. Claire was passed from person to person while I finally got to eat something (Chick-fil-a nuggets!) and enjoy my Dr. Pepper — David was the last one to get to hold her! And then the nurses came in to take her to get her IV.

Nice to meet you!A few hours later, when the epidural had worn off, I was finally able to get out of bed — with lots of help of course. I was taken to the bathroom to change and the nurse explained all of the postpartum “stuff” they supplied for “down there.” BTW, witch hazel pads are amazing. I changed, got in bed, and David and I both zonked out. The nurses brought Claire into our room after her IV antibiotics were given. Baby feet

The next day, we got put into a “recovery room” for the duration of our stay. Unfortunately, because of the antibiotics, we didn’t get to go home until Sunday. David would run home to see Charlie, shower and pick up coffee and food. Thankfully, his parents had stopped by our house on Thursday night to let Charlie out and give him some attention since he’d been locked up all day!

Swaddled and sleepingWe were given a hospital “celebration” dinner on Friday night (I had chicken and David got the steak), but thankfully David and his parents provided real food for most meals (hospital food is gross), and we had an endless supply of ice and water from the hospital. David’s parents stopped by every day, and Melody and Julian came by on Friday. We also had visits from pediatricians, the on-call OB/GYN and nurses throughout the day, but mostly we watched TV and just rested in between holding Claire, feeding her and changing her diaper. Last photo taken in the hospital.

For the most part, I had a really great experience at Sacred Heart’s family birth place. My OB/GYN was awesome, the day nurse we had on Thursday was amazing, and the rooms were decently sized and relatively comfortable — especially once David figured out how the pull-out couch worked! The labor was long, and the delivery was hard (could have been worse, for sure), but it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Coming home!

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4 Years {and 1 month}

October 1, 2014, marked David’s and my four-year wedding anniversary! We’ve both been so busy with work, football games and traveling that I am just now getting around to posting this (oh well). But we did make time to celebrate at our favorite anniversary-celebrating location: Cafe Tango! The next week we hopped on a plane to Virginia Beach where David judged a law school competition at his old law school, and I got to see two of my friends perform their magic act at the Ciao Wine Festival. And we visited some of the places we used to go when David lived there. It was nice to remember the fun we had before we were married, but also to be reminded that we no longer have to live 3 hours apart!

The traditional gift for the four-year anniversary is fruit/flowers, and the modern gift is appliances. This was easy for David, but tough(er) for me.

David gave me roses and chocolate covered strawberries (my favorite!). I had to get creative since David likes neither flowers nor fruit, and we don’t need any appliances. So I gave him Fruit of the Loom boxers (ha!). I somehow managed to either not take or delete the photo of my gift! :( But here’s a throwback to our wedding day!


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On Turning 27

27 isn’t a milestone birthday. It’s not 30, or 50, or even 25. But it is a milestone for me.

27th Birthday Card
This August (my birth month) marks 10 years since I started my senior year of high school. So much has happened in those 10 years. I moved to two different (and far away cities), but ended up being planted in the same area I grew up in. I earned two degrees. I lost my mom, I gained a husband. I got a dog, and bought a house. I’ve been on three cruises. Traveled to Punta Cana on a vacation I won. Traveled literally across the world to Singapore on a business trip. Stopped dancing. Started dancing again. Started teaching dance at two different studios. Had many internships. Got a “real” job. Got promoted at my first “real” job. Started working from home when we moved back to Florida. Started working for a new company, and got promoted 3 times in two years. Supported my husband as he got his first “lawyer job,” and then got his “dream” job. Became a member of a new church. Got involved in various outreach efforts. Lead a small group at our church. Lost touch with old friends. Met new friends.

I never really had a vision of what I’d be doing this age, but I know I have had and will have lots of great opportunities that were planned out for me even before I was born.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.” — Jeremiah 29:11

There have been lots of trials, and lots of times when I let my moods and emotions (self-consciousness, jealousy, self-pity) take my focus away from the truth that I am here for a reason. I’m here to support my husband. I’m here for my grandmother. I’m here to impact certain people who come into my live (or whose lives I come into) — whether they are my direct reports or colleagues at work, my dance students, or anyone else. I’m here to take in the hope and peace that only comes from Jesus, and pass on that overflowing love to others.

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. — Proverbs 31:30.

I’ve learned a lot and grown a lot — professionally, personally and spiritually in my 27 years. I’ve come a long way, but there’s still a long way to go.

Cheers to another birthday, and another day to shine.

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{Review} Plated ~ Food Delivery Service

A couple of months ago, I saw a Facebook ad for Plated — a “meal-in-a-box” service that seeks to make dinner “fun, easy and delicious.” 

The concept is very appealing — they do all the work: chefs plan the meals, they portion out the ingredients, send you fresh ingredients, and tell you how to put it all together.

I spend so much time looking up recipes, and so much money on ingredients that yield leftovers but that I only use once. So I was delighted to find this service that plans gourmet meals for you, and goes one step further than meal-planning services like emeals by sending you the ingredients!

Unfortunately, the first box I received was mailed a couple of days late, so I couldn’t use it. I don’t know what happened, but I called Plated and they let me place another order with no extra money. So, once I finally received a usable box, I was excited to dig in. 

First impression: LOVE!

The box was so well-organized, and I loved seeing all of the fresh ingredients. I received four plates: 2 Beef Bibimbap and 2 Chicken Souvlaki. These are dishes that I never would have made on my own, so it was a plus to be able to make meals that were different from our normal made-at-home meals.

The Plated Box

The box is recyclable and degradable, and I love that you can see all of the ingredients when you open it.


First Plate

I was most excited to try the Beef Bibimbap, a Korean mixed rice dish that usually incorporates leftovers. It had flank steak, an English cucumber, spinach, bean sprouts, garlic, mushrooms (I didn’t use those), Sriricha (if David hadn’t already discovered his love for this, he would have then!), sushi rice, and all of the sauces with the exact portions. How cute are these soy sauce packets?!


Some of the recipes, like this one, call for ingredients you have at home. For this dish, I had to add two eggs, canola oil, water, and salt and pepper. Not bad.

This dish was very easy to make. Cook rice, prep the veggies, cook the steak, fry the egg, and assemble. Easy peasy. 

Beef BIbimbap

Overall impression of the Beef Bibimbap dish: Easy to make, good flavor, but we won’t cook it again. Perhaps there was too much sesame oil, or the fact that the recipe called for the meat to be medium rare (I don’t like my meat to bleed when I eat it) but it was a little too … something for us. But we enjoyed the process, and eating as usual! 

Second Plate

Ingredients for Chicken Souvlaki

Next up: Chicken Souvlaki! We love Greek food, and this was David’s favorite of the two dishes. Again, it was very easy to make with very easy-to-follow instructions. 

This dish took a little longer because we had to marinate the chicken. But the only ingredients we had to add were olive oil, salt and pepper. 

I really enjoyed the homemade tzatziki, and I saved that recipe to make again (you also get the recipe cards with all the ingredients and steps to save for later!). The chicken, the pita and the side salad were all delicious. 

Chicken Souvlaki

Overall impression: We really enjoyed both of these “plates” — both the cooking process and eating the food! But there’s still some work you have to do at home; you have to cook it (and not burn it!). But it was easy, and I really enjoyed trying out some different recipes. 


  • You get to choose the plates you want. And they have a large variety of meals that differ from week to week.
  • You get everything pre-portioned so you don’t have to pay for a full-size bottle of a special ingredient that you’ll only use once.
  • The ingredients are very fresh.
  • You don’t have to pay a monthly membership fee. But if you do become a member, you get a discount on the weekly plates. Of course you still have to pay for each plate.
    • Members save 20% off of regular menu orders ($3 per plate).


  • For a few weeks after we made these dishes, I would go on the website to order more. But I couldn’t find anything I wanted; either the dishes I wanted were sold out already, or they didn’t offer anything that week that appealed to me.
  • It’s a little expensive: $15 per meal per person without a membership. For two people that’s $30 per meal, which would cover a meal out at certain restaurants. 
  • You have to order a minimum of 4 plates (each dish comes with two plates/ services), bringing the total for one delivery to $60 per week.
  • The delivery day for my area is only on Saturday, and we are usually away from the house almost all day on Saturdays. 

Verdict: Good, but I’m not going to become a member. I’ll keep checking the website when I think about to see if there are any dishes I want to order. These special meals are great for the weekend when David and I can cook together, and want something different. But it just depends on if they offer anything that we feel is worth $60! 

Disclaimer: I ordered from and wrote this review on my own accord; I did not receive any kind of compensation from the company.

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