Mar 30, 2015

getting settled

about a week ago, we made the big move into our new place. 

we are so thrilled! 

this move was a long time coming and the anticipation of it was looming over our heads for too long. it's a huge thing to finally be checked off the to-do list! our new place still has lots of unpacking. i wish i could just act like the boxes in the garage didn't exist... sometimes i do! and of course there are 1 million things to do to feel settled into a new house but, surprisingly, none of it really bothers me because we are here! and we are just so happy to be in the place where we will bring this baby girl home.

last night, we ate sunday dinner outside. one of the big perks of this new house is that it has a back yard (!!!!!) 

{you should have seen carter when we took him looking for houses. the first time he saw a backyard he yelled "mom, dad, look! i'm inside... now i'm outside! i'm inside.. now im outside!" over and over while hopping back and forth. can we all just agree that backyards are game changers????}

after dinner, carter and daron sat in the lawn chairs while watching the sunset. our new house is about 5 minutes from the beach which is totally nuts. i've never lived so close to the coast before. the weather is incredible. i've lived in southern california most of my life but have never experienced weather this good. sometimes i think it's a joke or something. 

anyway, back to watching the sunset outside. i couldn't help but capture this moment. 

there is a lot about these pictures that cracks me up. 

like the lawn chairs... daron came home the first day in our house so happy about these. they happen to be in a neighbors yard with a sign saying, "free." daron called me way too excited them. however, i will admit they have already come in very handy.

carter is in his favorite pajamas which are his christmas pajamas... 

and yes... that is his jack-o-lantern from halloween with halloween candy inside on his lap. i had forgotten all about the thing but the little squirt found it during the move and now requests it every. single. day. 

we make him wait until after dinner and then let him pick one candy. daron keeps telling me to just throw it away but i can't! it makes him so happy! and i haven't minded having a little halloween around the house. 

^^ "dad! what's this?" alllll day long.
once he gets his jack-o-lantern, he goes through each piece of candy asking what it is.
i try and tell myself that at least he will be really knowledgeable about candy. 
knowing what almond joys, lemon heads, whoppers, starbursts all are is important, right?!  

later, i went inside to do the dishes and while daron and carter finished watching the sunset, i watched them. 
i couldn't get enough of this scene. 

a few other notable things since we moved in...

daron was making his merry way to the bathroom when he noticed a little visitor...

we may leave the back door open too much because this little guy was in our bathroom.
daron and i couldn't wait to show the little critter to carter so we excitedly woke him up from his nap to show him. 

carter was elated.

also, finding lots of spiders on our new, free lawn chairs.
"look dad! there he is!"

and helping dad to do a serious cleaning on them.

oh, we also took a trip to ikea on saturday to find a dresser and a zillion other things that we didn't buy because i can't make small decisions. they are the death of me. but we did get a dresser. and when daron bought the dresser, thanks to the price, he remembered why he loved ikea so much.

then, after he spent almost 4 hours putting it together, he remembered why he doesn't like ikea so much... 

yay for all things moving ;)

Mar 16, 2015

packin' up + boo monday mornings

we spent most of our weekend packing up our house to move this weekend. daron and i have been looking for a place for months now and finally found one! we aren't moving far... just to a different city in the san diego area called cardiff. 

technically, it's called "cardiff by the sea." how charming is that?

anyway, most of our weekend looked like this.

but saturday night we snuck out for a few hours to take carter to the park and to buy groceries. 

wayyyy exciting stuff.

^^a bruise on the forehead from falling out of the crib. 
hate when that happens...

going to the park with daron actually is really exciting. i get to make friends with the other moms without the normal fun interruptions like, "sorry hold on, i need to find my kid" or "oh wait, i think that was a bad one..." or "carter, please do not throw sand!" haha

on a totally different note, i have decided that monday morning is possibly my least favorite part of the week. carter and i get used to having daron home with us and it's just so good. daron always makes fun of my goodbyes to him on mondays. i hold on to him for dear life and beg him not to go. how annoying is that? 

i just can't help myself.  

Mar 11, 2015

his poop smells like chocolate

today, i read an email daron wrote to someone that briefly described our little family. 

i came across the words, "we have a 2 year old son and a daughter due may 1st. my wife is a homemaker and will be at home to take care of the home and the children." 

i got chills reading the word, "daughter." what is it going to be like having a girl!? 

then my emotional/hormonal self got teary when i read the word homemaker.

if i'm completely honest, sometimes when strangers ask me, "so, what do you do?" (as in for work) i have a few second panic attack about telling them i stay at home. it's not because i question whether i should be at home or if i am doing the right thing for me and our family right now, because i am confident i am. but i sort of wonder if they will immediately peg me as weird or strange. seeing daron write that i'm a homemaker with no hesitation made me realize i need to be more confident in telling strangers my decision.

i mean, someone's gotta explain to carter that his poop does not smell like chocolate. 

(every time i change his diaper lately, he yells, "mommy! mommy! that's my poop. it smells like chocolate!" i'll never know where that came from but guys, this kid is convinced!)

and someone's gotta watch him try and do the splitz in the bath, tell him he's flexible and then hear him out as he explains, "i know mom. i'm like a bug. a flexible bug. like a rollie pollie!"

i mean, someone's gotta so it might as well be me. ;)

{p.s. i want to emphasize that moms all over the world are doing what is best for them and their families and what is "right" does not look all the same!}

Mar 9, 2015

baby bump #2: 32 weeks

things are starting to feel quite crammed around these parts and we have 8 weeks to go! we are so excited to be in the 30s. the next two months are bound to be uncomfortable but the "i'm feeling really squished" signs mean that meeting our baby girl is getting closer and closer! 

the day i reached 30 weeks i wanted to do a rocky dance wherever i went while giving strangers double fist pumps and belt out, "i can do this!" 

seeing the light at the end of the tunnel has been so, so good for me this pregnancy. 

i want this little girl to be as chunky as possible for her big debut. i've been eating almonds and avocados like they are going out of style. i walk to the bathroom every morning like a crippled-80-year-old woman. nothing wrong with crippled-80-year-old women... only when you feel like one at 25! i take lots of deep breaths throughout the day because it hurts to breathe. on saturday night, daron had to do up my shoes for me for our date. nothing says a "hot date" than that, right!?

all of these signs are showing up about a month before they did with carter. hello, baby #2. be nice to your mama! 

i'm a bit nervous about what day-to-day life will bring with 2 littles. i have concerns, and fears and insecurities and sometimes i think to myself, "ahhh! what am i doing!?" luckily i have a husband who doesn't worry about a thing and makes my cray cray self calm down. 

i have not been a mother for very long, but one thing that is reaffirmed to me over and over is how worth it the job is. sometimes after being discouraged or overwhelmed, i'll have an experience that makes me see the big picture and for those few seconds, i get it. it all makes sense. and i count my lucky stars i have a chance to raise carter and his soon to be, "baby seester." 

happy motherhood & happy 32 weeks! (to me)

Mar 5, 2015

carter lee young 11.12.12 {part 2}

i'm realizing now why i have never written this birth story down. for the past few days i have been trying to put into words what the contractions were like during active labor and i can't find them. they are so hard to describe. i always tell daron i wish there was a machine that could simulate what these contractions were like. girls, wouldn't that be sort of awesome? even though i can't find the words to describe the contractions, i know i will still appreciate a record of the events so here it goes!

i woke up after taking the pill and saw the time. it was 2 in the morning (again). my heart sank. i had slept for two hours. i should have just been grateful i got any sleep at all but i was so hoping for longer. the contractions were definitely stronger and closer together. i didn't want to panic so i handled them alone for as long as i could. i'm still impressed with myself that i didn't immediately wake up daron. 

at this point, a very funny and strange thing started happening. i was lying there on my side in the exact position i had been sleeping in. i would not move a muscle because i hoped if i laid there as still as possible, i would somehow fall back asleep - in my dreams

anyway, back to the funny, strange thing - during each contraction, my right arm would start dancing in the air.  it was like it had a mind of it's own! i remember thinking, "this is so odd"  but also was amazed at how much it was helping. 

suddenly, i hear a voice from the black darkness of the room, "dani? what are you doing?" 

my dancing arm had woken daron and the tone of his voice was so hilarious. he sounded so confused but also sort of impressed? at the same time.

we both just started busting up laughing! 

i moaned back, "it's helping, okay! now call aunika (the doula). it's time for her to come."

daron groggily pulled out his phone and started texting her. 

i realized i hadn't explained to him the intensity of the situation. all he saw was me calmly lying down and every few minutes, my dancing arm. but i about lost it when he sleepily started texting her.

i urgently quipped, "no, no. call her!!!!!"

aunika lived farther away so she didn't arrive for about 40 minutes. she was another angel during my birth. i truly could not have made it through carter's birth unmedicated without her. she was a saving grace. 

she sat by me, while i stayed in the bed in the same position, talking me through each contraction. she also hoped that i would be able to fall back asleep. after about an hour, my contractions were the same but my back labor was getting more intense. 

she woke up daron, who had fallen back asleep, and told him we were going to try something. i wish i could remember the name of what she did, but she had a large scarf that she laid underneath me. she and daron stood on either side of me, holding each side of the scarf up so it cradled my midsection like a hammock and rolled me back and forth on it during each contraction. then, she would have me stand up and check to see if the pressure had centered instead of being so intense in my back. after about 6 contractions, i stood up and felt completely different pressure! it shocked me. unfortunately, my back still felt the same but i had a ton of pressure where it was supposed to be! 

after aunika's genius little trick, things really started moving. she kept suggesting that we go to the hospital but i was dreading the hospital. i begged daron to not make me go but around 6:15 she told me we probably shouldn't wait any longer. 

we woke up my mom, hopped in the car and i endured another miserable car ride. (the ride to the hospital isn't more than 15 minutes, but i hated every second). i stepped out of the car and was starting to get delirious. daron and my mom ran upstairs to check me in while aunika literally dragged me to the triage room. i remember really struggling at this point. the nurses checked me but i told them not to tell me where i was at. best decision ever. i found out later i was a 5 at that point. it would have totally depressed me to hear a 5 at that point. 

the midwife on call happened to be one of my favorites. her shift was ending so she was leaving, but she came in to check on me before she left. i remember her saying in the loudest most cheerful voice, "whoooo-wheee, things are cookin' in here! you're going to have this baby by noon, sweetheart!" 

normally, i would have been annoyed at someone saying a concrete time. i would have thought, "they don't have a clue!" but something inside me told me she was right. and having a set time gave me so much hope. i now had a goal to work towards and an end in sight. 

aunika immediately filled the bath and took me over to it. i labored in there until the warm water stopped having its soothing powers. i made my way to the bed and labored there for the rest of the time.

it's from this time until carter was born that is a total blur. 

i know once i got out of the bath, my contractions slowed. i remember going into this odd trance and almost forgetting where i was or what i was doing. my midwives had me lie down so they could check me fearing my labor may be stopping. 

the nurses checked me and one accidentally said "7" out loud. the nurse beside her panicked and said, "shhhh! she doesn't want to know!" i remember this making me laugh and luckily feeling indifferent to the number. the midwives were surprised i wasn't dilated more. after a few more contractions, they asked if they could break my water. i didn't want this to be done but aunika said she was sure it would speed things up so i let them do it. 

after they broke my water, transition came. i only remember a few things from this time. 

i remember wanting to cry desperately. but no matter how hard i tried, my body would not let me. the tears would not come. it was as if my body could not handle one more thing going on.

i also remember saying lots and lots of times things like, 

"i'm done" 
"i can't do this anymore"
"i'm so sick of breathing. i don't want to breathe anymore"
"someone please chop my back off"
"please get this damn baby out of me" 

at one point, my mom just held me. it was the best hug i have ever had. having her arms around me was so comforting. i remember leaning on her and just letting all of my body weight fall onto her. it was a funny thing. the whole time she held me, my contractions did not hurt as bad. 

in the middle of transition, i did the saddest thing. 

daron had been a huge support for me the entire way. i loved everything he did and was so appreciative of his help. but half way through, i exiled him.

i couldn't look at him anymore. it was all hurting so, so bad. my back labor was more intense than ever and the contractions were so close together i felt a little bit like i was drowning. every time he reassured me that i was doing great, i couldn't help but think, "you will never know what this is like. ever." 

and like an awful scene in the movies, i told him that i loved him and that i was sorry but to please go away. i turned the other way while he made his way over to the couch in the room.  aunika tried to bring him by me again thinking that was just a one time thing, but when i saw his face again i looked straight at him and said, "why are you still here? i can't look at you!" at this point, i tried again to cry because i felt so bad but couldn't.

for the rest of transition, daron sat on the couch while i went through the hardest and most grueling part. i found out later that he cried because it was so hard to helplessly watch me and not be able to do anything. 

after a few hours of transition, my midwives checked me for the final time.

i was 9.5 cm!

soon after, my body started showing signs that it was ready to push. i started having convulsions which kind of scared me. once my midwife saw these, she immediately called out that it was time (!!!!!!!)

i couldn't believe it.

the next scene was my favorite scene of all. 

aunika laid me on my back while the rest of the room hustled and bustled to prepare for carter to come. i remember looking around the room and feeling so touched that everyone in this room was doing all they could to help my baby come safely. it's kind of strange, but i felt so loved. 

daron came back over to the bed and held my hand. 

i remember the midwives giving me instructions but everything was in one ear and out the next. the only instruction i remember was from my rockstar mom who gave me the best. advice. ever. 

she leaned down and whispered in my hear, "push hard. push harder than you think you have to. 10 times harder." i had a huge fear of tearing. what woman doesn't with all the horror stories out there!? i know if my mom hadn't told me that, i wouldn't have pushed hard enough. i would have been imagining myself tearing and would have been so hesitant to go for it.

but after she told me that, i pushed with everything i had. i gave it all i could. and it hurt so flipping bad. i had read a lot of birth stories that talked about how pushing almost felt good because the woman felt like they were doing something with their bodies. but that whole "ring of fire" thing is real and it was somethin' else! i remember my sister-in-law ellery telling me how her sister described it like she was giving birth to a fiery watermelon. i actually remember thinking about this description while i was pushing and thinking how dead on it was!

after a few pushes, i looked up at my midwife and called out in desperation, "am i making any progress!?" i was so impatient. she looked at me, wide-eyed, and said, "uhh yeah! most women take about 45 minutes to get where you are right now." 

that gave me the motivation i needed and with a few more pushes, he was out. i could not get him out fast enough. i remember feeling so exhausted and done that i did not want pushing to go a second longer than it had to. 

i'll never forget the relief i felt once he was out. 

it was glorious.

i did it! 

he was here.

daron pulled him out, sobbing and held him up for me to see at 11:12.
(48 minutes before noon!)

i will never forget carter's face the first time i saw him. his eyes were huge. he had tons of hair (which i was not expecting) going every which way. and he had a totally shocked look on his face. he seemed to be thinking exactly the same thing i was thinking... 

"what. the. helllllllllllllllll was that!?"

daron put him on my chest and i remember feeling so many emotions. i was in disbelief that he was finally here. i remember not being able to take in all of him fast enough. i wanted to study every detail but at the same time, i didn't know where to start. i was so happy but also so overwhelmed.

one of the reasons i went natural was because i wanted to feel an instant connection with carter and feel that "high" so many women talk of after laboring without an epidural. i dreamed for months about what that instant connection would feel like...

but it didn't come.

i felt so much joy and i was so happy but i stared at this human on my chest and was totally stunned. my mom immediately asked me, "oh! don't you love him!?"to which i replied, "i think i need to get to know him..."

my parents laugh hysterically to this day about my all too honest response. 

my entire body was shaking though and i was in shock. i had no idea how hard labor was going to be (i blame you back labor!) daron took his shirt off and held him on his chest, while the midwife stitched up a few, tiny stitches on me. 

i kept looking around the room wondering if i was dreaming. daron came back over to me so i could nurse him and we could take him in together. 

we gushed over all of his features examining every little ounce of him. i couldn't believe how tiny he was and how alert he was! his eyes were so wide and he just kept lookin' around like, "sooo, what's next!?" ha!

and just like that, we became parents. 

the whole experience was an incredible journey. certain things went exactly how i thought they would while so many things went completely different. 

my mom had no idea what to expect but was in awe of the whole experience. it really touched her to see so many women working together to help her little grandson arrive safely.

my birth photographer told me later she left carter's birth and sat in her car and cried from being reminded of the incredible sacrifice women make to bring life into the world.

and as for me? 

well, let's just say - i've had time to get to know carter...

and i really really love him. ;)

Mar 4, 2015

this cute boy...

may have accidentally locked himself in the bathroom this morning. 

daron may have had to come home from work to help me get him out.

it may have taken us an hour to get the door unlocked.

& carter may have had the puffiest face i have ever seen from so much crying.
(thanks to the light being off)

luckily, we discovered later that the paper towel rolls could fit on our tiny arms and act like robot arms that destroy. 

it was if the traumatic event had never happened. 

we were supposed to go to the park,

but carter was having way more fun creating paper towel towers and knocking them over.

so we bagged the park,

& and i tried to make use of the unexpected carter-is-actually-entertaining-himself-time (!!)

these are good days...

Mar 2, 2015

dads are good.

{daron reading to carter sunday afternoon} 

over the weekend, carter and i both started feeling under the weather. 
i had a soar throat, carter was terribly congested. 

saturday night, carter kept waking up because he couldn't breathe well. 
eventually, daron went down to his room and held him on his chest.
after 30 minutes or so, carter was finally sound asleep. 
daron leaned him up against his big-stuffed-animal-dog at an angle to help him sleep.

this was all unbeknownst to me because i was passed out on the couch upstairs.

the next morning, daron woke up early with carter.
he fed him breakfast, played with him and woke me up the last second he had to.
(he knew i wouldn't want to miss church!)

because of him, i got an hour and a half of more sleep
and felt so much better the next day.

dads are so good...

{make that husbands, too!}

and this picture, because i want to remember this moment.
carter - "hey, look dad! i found your eyeball..."