AP's Room Reveal!

AP's room has been in the works for a really long time now.  Normally, it's something you start putting together before the baby arrives, but since we were in a rent home during the entire pregnancy, we did absolutely nothing.  Not to mention, I couldn't find anything that went with the color scheme I initially wanted for his room.  So I procrastinated on trying to pull his room together, even after we moved into our home. (Trust me, this will be an underlying theme in every home post I make going forward.  I have a problem!!)

However, I finally settled on bedding.  Then we found a weekend to go furniture shopping and I was fully prepared to not find anything I liked. But to my surprise, we actually found a dresser that I liked that was very reminiscent of a RH Baby piece I had my eye on, and it was about $1,000 cheaper.  Sold!

So, everything started coming together after that.  Jason and I did a legit DIY project for his wall.  I mean, it was nothing crazy, but for this chick who is a perfectionist, it was a big risk step.  But it turned out beautifully and adds a lot to the room.  Then, on top of it, AP's Uncle Ty bought him an awesome teepee that fills the room and really makes it seem like a little boy's room!  We stained the tops of the teepee poles to match the arrows and I just love how everything turned out.

I still want to add some pieces to the walls and upgrade the chair, but I think we've made a great room that Austin will be able to grow up in! 

DIY Wooden Arrow Tutorial
Dresser: Mathis Brothers Furniture
Nursery Bedding & Mobile: Restoration Hardware Baby & Child
Teepee: Amazon
Club Chair: Target
Sheepskin Rugs: IKEA
Wood Clock: Amazon.com
Crib: StorkLand and Kids Too!

This House We Built is now a Home!!

Nearly 5 months have gone by since we finally were able to move into our home.  And it's been amazing so far!  We are so proud of the home that we built.  And so much has transpired since we closed.  I've clearly been AWOL for a while now.

Our little man is now 7 months old, J took part 2 of the CFA exam, we found out we will be welcoming another niece into the world this year, we hired a nanny for AP, left him with grandparents overnight for the first time, started planning our annual Cam Family trip, lost my grandfather unexpectedly (R.I.P. Opa), and welcomed extended family to Norman. 

In spite of all the changes, we've finally settled into a routine over here.  AP is a bouncy, smiley, happy baby!  We're seriously obsessed with him and half convinced we should stop having kids while we're ahead.  I don't think we could have asked for a perfect child.  He's trying to crawl but is terrible at it.  I mean, why use your hands when you can use your head and legs?  He has the most precious smile and the best laugh ever and can handle just about anything like a champ.  It has been such a wonderful blessing having the honor to parent this little bundle of joy and we are so thankful for him.  You should hear J and I when we're at the dinner table with him.  You'd think we were smitten, the way we gush over him...oh wait, we are!! Ok, I'll stop oohing and ahhing over him, because I could go all day!

We are loving our home.  I'm slowly, ever so slowly, trying to decorate it.  I'm a commitment-phobe right now.  I feel like every piece of decor or furniture I buy will be around for 10 years, so I've been taking my sweet time so I can make sure I really like how the house is evolving.  Not to mention, I'm struggling with nailing down the style of what I'm wanting.  Do I want transitional? Contemporary? Casual elegance?  I haven't the foggiest idea. 

But, we are incredibly proud of the thought we put into building the house.  There are two or three things that we overlooked and wished we would have thought to consider when building the house, but nothing drastic by any means.  One of the things we wished we had put more thought into was making the kitchen trash can drawer bigger.  So, I think we covered our bases if that's the kind of thing we feel like we overlooked.  Thank goodness!

So, I'm hoping to slowly introduce our home to you all.  Maybe one day I'll be a legit blogger. ;-)  Until next time!

Five on Friday: Phone Apps

1. Paprika Recipe Manager - This is one of my absolute favorite apps. It's a recipe management system with tons of features. First of all, there are no pre-loaded recipes, which I love.  I only want my stuff in there, not a bunch of recipes I'm never going to use.  Then there are features like saving recipes straight from a website with a push of the button, meal planning calendars, shopping lists built from recipes you're planning to cook with, a place to create reusable menus and more. 

I love that everything can be categorized and organized however you deem best. It also seamlessly syncs across all devices. So regardless of whether I'm on my phone or iPad, I know I'm looking at the same thing. And when J needs to check out a recipe, his phone syncs with the app as well!  And when you have a recipe pulled up, the app keeps your device awake, so no trying to wake up and unlock your screen with dirty hands. 

I talked my mother and mother-in-love into getting the app and now we share recipes back and forth so easily! And when I'm out grocery shopping and decide I want to make a certain meal, I just open Paprika and check what ingredients I need!  It's such a lifesaver. 

2. PocketMoney - When I was 15, Quicken was my money management software. Yes, I was that awesome that I was reconciling my checking account at that age. But, when smartphones came around, Quicken didn't have an app so I found PocketMoney.  I'm able to keep track of all our accounts and keep them reconciled. I do wish there was a way to sync easily among devices, as Jason never has an up to date version of our data.  Overall, it's a good financial management app.

3. mSecure Password Manager  - I couldn't live without this app. It literally maintains all our passwords. I try to have unique passwords for every site I visit, so this allows me to keep track of all that.  It's nice that it has different standrad fields based on what kind of login information or sensitive data you're storing.
4. Grocery iQ -I bought this app, used it for a while, then thought it wasn't useful, so I went back to my method of just keeping shopping lists on the Notes iPhone app. Then I tried this app out again and now I really like it. I'm able to make different lists based on different stores. So, if we're at Target, I can pull up that list and all my aisles are organized based on Target's layout. 

If I'm out running errands and J's still at work, since the app syncs across devices, I'll just text him and tell him to add anything else he wants to the list. Or if he cooks and thinks of things he needs to restock the kitchen, he doesn't have to tell me, he just adds it to the list and I'll know next time I go out.  Additionally, you can create favorite items, along with prices, so we can budget our groceries better and it's easy to quickly add items. 

5. My Medical - This has quickly become an app I rely on. While J and I are pretty healthy, it's nice to have a place to refer to when trying to remember family history, past procedures or past visits to the doctors. It also let's us track any medications we have taken or are taking and also tracks immunizations as we get them.  I can also store documents. so test results and lab reports that we've had taken are all in one place.

Five on Friday: Baby Essentials

I love lists and I like to think my blog is an outlet for me to share my thoughts and opinions without anyone feeling obligated to actually listen.  So, here's my first Friday five list!

There are a million lists out there for what you should buy for your baby.  Me, being the minimalist that I am, researched and scoured the internet until I had whittled down my list to just the essentials.  Aside from the obvious purchases you need for a newborn, these items are the ones that J and I love the most.  J loves some of these so much, he's practically a walking commercial for them, and that's saying a lot because you don't generally hear of guys just randomly raving about baby products.

1. Fisher-Price Newborn Rock n' Play Sleeper - Best thing ever!  It cradles the baby so well!  Austin has been getting a lot of use out of this.  If he's not in someone's arms, he's probably hanging out or sleeping in this.  I love that it's super light and portable. It comes with us all over the house and to our families' houses too.  He sleeps like a champ in it and it's nice for him to be right by us when we're in bed.  We're working on getting him to transition to the bassinet, and eventually the crib, but in the meantime, this has been perfect.

2.  Blooming Bath - J loves this thing!  I wanted a baby bath tub that wasn't going to take up a lot of space.  This fit the bill!  It's flexible and comfy!  Austin gets baths in this cozy flower in our kitchen sink.  When we're done using it, we squeeze as much water out and then throw it in the dryer and then I can hide it in the cabinet, unlike the big bath tubs that just sit there taking up space!

3. Summer Infant SwaddleMe - I never thought I'd be a big swaddle advocate.  But, swaddles, especially in the first couple weeks and at night, have been a huge help for us.  If he's fidgety, swaddles generally calm him down quickly because, let's be honest, it's a straitjacket for babies; at least that's what J and I call it.  We had a number of different swaddles we tried.  We really, really liked the Miracle Blanket and the Woombie; and even tried the standard receiving blankets and the Halo Sack, but these ended up being our favorite.  They are easy and straightforward and we haven't had any issues with Austin trying to escape from them or them coming undone.

4.  Angelcare Movement Monitor - If you want peace of mind when baby isn't sleeping in your arms or in your line of sight, you need this! This helps us relax when Austin is sleeping in the bassinet, because it alarms you if your baby every stops moving or breathing.  Yes, it's that sensitive.  Just slip it under the mattress and you're set! We use it in conjunction with the Motorola MBP43-2 Video Monitor, so we're covered on all bases.  Note: There was recently a recall for the movement monitor due to the cord, but I think they have now started releasing the updated product.

5. Boppy Bare Naked Pillow - This one is already a popular product in the baby industry, but it's worth having on the list.  Sure, you can get by with pillows, but this is just so convenient!  Whether you're breastfeeding, bottle-feeding, snuggling or doing tummy time, the Boppy comes in handy.  I also recommend the PB Kids Boppy Slipcovers with the soft chamois fabric, they are really soft!

Honorable Mentions:
Zipper Onesies (with mittens and footies) - Aside from the one or two cute outfits, Austin has lived in onesies.  And zipper onesies are the best.  No dealing with the snaps, snapping up the whole outfit just to find out you misaligned everything, or the onesies where the snaps are positioned all weird because the onesie can turn into a sleep sack.  Zippers are the way to go...but with mittens and footies.  No dealing with lost socks and loose mittens that they can pull off. Carter's has lots of Zip-Up Sleep and Play onesies, and they're carried at Target, Kohl's and a lot of other stores.

Baby Carriers (Baby K'Tan & Baby Bjorn) - We're not super big baby wearers, but they can come in pretty handy when you're out and about or just at home and want to cuddle but want to also have your hands free.  I really like the K'Tan because it's not structured and seems a lot easier to put on than the Moby Wrap.  J really likes the structure of the Baby Bjorn and he thinks it's not quite as girly to wear.  Whatever.  Baby gets held and we're all happy. 

Austin's Birth Story

 I had never really thought out a birth plan or imagined how labor and delivery would go whenever I dreamed about having children.  But after my sister-in-love, Lessye, had her first daughter and described her experience with having an all natural delivery, it inspired me to consider it (check her story out here).  After Jason and I researched the benefits of an all-natural delivery, we decided that, barring any medical complications, it was the route we wanted to take.
I'm not sure I'll ever forget the words coming out of my mouth that evening..."my water broke.......Jason, my water broke."  J woke up in a panic, trying to process what was going on.  It was 1:30 am on Monday, December 16th. We had gone to sleep around midnight. I had been sleeping lightly and somewhere in my dreams or my subconscious, I genuinely knew a few minutes before my water broke that something was going to happen. My contractions began immediately and were between two and four minutes apart and lasting over a minute each.

For the next hour, we prepared to leave to the hospital. I took a shower and tried to calm Jason down while he frantically ran around packing his things.  Despite the fact that we knew I could go in to labor any day, I think the fact that it was the middle of the night and the realization that our lives were about to change made him a little frazzled. 
So after trying to relax with a shower and take it all in, and cleaning up the spill that occurs when your water breaks (thank goodness for waterproof mattress covers and for it not happening in public!), we loaded up in the car and headed to The Children's Hospital at OU.  Initially, I had wanted to labor at home as long as possible before going to the hospital, but because my water had broken, Jason was too nervous to stay at home as he did not want to risk delivering a baby on the side of the road or dealing with me in serious labor while driving.  So, I obliged.  I definitely didn't need an even more stressed out hubby while laboring, and the contractions were a little more intense than what I had imagined, so I definitely wasn't opposed to going to the hospital.

Right before heading to the hospital!
While it wasn't ideal that we had not gotten much sleep, the drive to OU was nice since there was no traffic. We arrived there at 3 am and I was admitted to triage. There they checked me and I was a dilated to 5 cm and completely effaced. I was pleasantly surprised, as I had refused any cervical exams prior to going in to labor.  Apparently my weeks of frequent Braxton Hicks contractions had done some good and I wasn't starting from ground zero.  So, I told my doula and my parents to go ahead and head over to the hospital.  Baby was definitely coming today! Which was so exciting! After having thought he might come even weeks earlier, I was happy that he at least decided to come before his due date of the 19th and not after. I was ready to meet him....and, let's be honest, to be done with the discomfort that comes with having a huge belly. 

While waiting to be moved to the delivery room, I labored with Jason. He did his best to talk me through the contractions until my doula, Brandy, was able to arrive. She immediately got to work getting me to change positions and getting me more comfortable.  I labored for a while standing up and holding on to Jason while Brandy stood behind me helping relieve the pain in my hips.  Contractions became a bit more bearable.  Before heading to the room, the doctor on call checked me again and I was at a "good 6".  I was a bit discouraged. We had been in triage for 2 hours and I had only dilated a centimeter more. 

Around 5 am, after walking to my room, Suite 17, I immediately got into a tub, in a dimly lit room that Brandy had prepared for me, and labored in there with my iPod playing music in the background. Let me tell you, laboring in the tub was one of the most comfortable, if you can call it that, ways to manage the contractions. I was able to work with the contractions a lot better and relax. I barely said anything to anyone the entire time I was in labor, other than the occasional "I don't know if I can do this" and "I just want this to be over" pleas, but J, Brandy and my mom were constantly encouraging me.  Through it all though, I kept thinking, I could not be doing this without Brandy, our doula.  I never would have thought to labor in the tub or labor in some of the positions she suggested, and I'm almost certain I would have caved and gotten an epidural.  So, we were both extremely grateful to have her guiding us through the process.  Because, as much as I had read and tried to prepare, it's really easy for all your plans to go out the window when you're in the heat of the moment.

After laboring for three hours, I finally was offered by my nurse, Jacqui, to be checked again. I was nervous to know where I was at, because I didn't want to be disappointed again, but at the same time, I needed to have a goal in mind. So, they checked...and I was complete! 10 cm fully dilated and at 0 station. I could start pushing to move the baby down to a positive station.  And looking back and talking with Brandy afterwards, I think I was probably at a 10 for a while in the tub, because I admitted to her later, that I had urges to push, but I kept ignoring them because I didn't want to find out I wasn't as far along as I had thought and I figured it was all in my head since I was so ready to just be done with the whole laboring process.  While in the bed, we switched up positions several times trying to find the most comfortable position, then I finally got settled in and started pushing. 45 minutes later, I had my 8 lb, 10 oz. baby boy on my chest! 

When it's all said and done, I'm happy with my whole labor and delivery experience. I was in active labor for 7 hours.  I had been nervous the entire pregnancy that I would end up with a c-section.  My mom had c-sections with both my brother and I, and her mom had also had c-sections with both daughters, so I felt like history was against me.  I am so thankful to have the experience of naturally delivering a baby, and with no complications!  My entire support team was wonderful, from the doctor, to the doula to my wonderful husband and mom.  I really don't think there's a whole lot I would change from my experience and I thank God for allowing me to have such a smooth delivery.  I still love replaying that whole day in my head, it was special in so many ways, with Austin being the best part about it all!