Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Guest Post | Fall Sensory Bin

Hi all! I'm Nicole from The Kavanaugh Report. Thanks to Chelsey for letting me guest post while she's at home snuggling a newborn {I'm only 1000 percent jealous}.

Over at The Kavanaugh Report, I blog about all sorts of toddler fun and life with my adorable grumpy little guy, Henry.

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Well, we live in Minnesota and fall is in full swing. As the weather gets colder, I'm always looking for ways to keep Henry happy and entertained without going outside. It's definitely not easy. One of our favorite ways is through tot school. Tot school is a Montessori inspired home school program for toddlers.

One of our favorite things to do in tot school is to play with a sensory bin. Sensory bins are great ways for toddlers to learn and play. So, I thought I would share our fall themed sensory bin! Its a cheap, easy, and fun way to occupy those little chubby hands that are clawing at you for something to do.

In my sensory bin, you'll find:

Fall Garland: I striped the wire of the little glossy leaves. Then, I only added the little leaves. They had some visual interest and a cool texture.

Assorted Beans: These are the main component in the bin. They add color, shape, and size. Seriously, you'll be surprised how much toddlers love some dried beans. Just watch that they don't eat them!

Painted Wooden Figures: These I just picked up at a craft store and painted. These allow for pretend play for older toddlers, and give younger ones something to safely put in their mouth. 

Foam Shapes: Add color and larger pieces. I made these rectangles, because that was the shape we were working on. They really could be anything!

Fabric Leaves: I picked these up at a craft store. They fit the theme perfectly and cant be destroyed. They have a nice silky feel that Henry really liked. 

Plastic Tabletop Leaves: There are those little decorations meant to be used like confetti on a table. I loved them because they made a great sound. I like to try to incorporate as many senses as possible in each sensory bin.

Fall Tissues: These were just regular tissues that I found at the dollar section of Target. I took a couple, cut them into little bits, and added them to the bin. They added a nice softness and some great color. 

And that's it! Add these things to a bin and watch the magic happen! Poof -- entertained toddler. Give them some scoops, a tablespoon, a plastic spice jar and a funnel and things can get even more exciting. 

Does your toddler like sensory bins? What do you do to keep your toddler entertained indoors?

Thanks Chelsey for letting me come and share!

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I am seriously in love with this idea! I told Nicole she had to do a Winter themed one, so I can put one together for Curtis! Thanks Nicole for sharing!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Evelyn Dawn | Hospital Stay

Evelyn was born Sunday morning, and we were discharged from the hospital Monday at 2pm. We opted to only stay the 24hrs+, the beds were uncomfortable, the postpartum side was busy, so ended up being fairly noisy throughout the night. I just wanted to be home in my own bed. We saw all the doctors on Monday morning, and got the clear to go home. Here are some pictures from our Hospital stay...

Our view from the postpartum floor. Beautiful Rockies.

Curtis opened his Big Brother present, his very own Caillou doll!

Grandma and Papa

Evelyns Birthday Carrot Cake

Saturday, October 27, 2012

October Sponsor Love

I've had some amazing sponsor swaps this month! I love reading new blogs, and thought you might too. Check out these lovely ladies and their blogs below, be sure to stop in and say HI! 

If you'd like to become a Sponsor on THH, or swap with us Check out our Advertising Page   
Hurry fast if you want to swap, spots are filling up for November already!

Sarah from It's a Vol! Has a great series going on right now Lessons from a Toddler Mom
I'm sure any Mom could relate to these!

Andrea from My Attempt @ Motherhood just found out she's expecting their 2nd Girl!
I'm thrilled for her and the new big sister Quinn!

Heather from Terrell Family Fun captures her daughters silly and cuteness on her blog each week. 
Just check her daughters past Halloween costumes 

Nurse Loves Farmer
Sarah from Nurse Loves Farmer just had her Team Green baby, It's a Boy!  
I'm drooling over the newborn squishiness, and slightly jealous she had him 2 weeks early :)

Nicole from The Kavanaugh Reports has exciting news on her blog this week! 
Be sure to check back at the end of this month for a Guest Post from Nicole right here on THH!

Lindsay from Babies, Books, and Signs writes awesome entries about the latest books out there. Check out her 2012 Book Challenges, have you  read any of the same books?

Erin from The View from 510 has a hilarious Parenting Test  on her blog right now. 
Do you think you pass the test? 

Jayne from The Naptown Organizer has a great Flat Iron Curl Hair Tutorial  
Which is the only way I will curl my hair now. So much easier then with a curling iron!

Leslie at Violet Imperfection has a great Big Hair Bow Tutorial on her blog. If you have a little girl, or looking for a gift idea, this would make a great gift!

            Katie from Love, Lattes & Lullabies is due with her 2nd boy in January. Check out her adorable bump in her State of the Uterus Updates!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Evelyn's Birth Story

How does one begin to write about the moment their child is brought into the world? How can you put in words the emotions in that moment.  Here is my best attempt to capture all the details of our Evelyn coming into the world. 

Saturday Night, I was having some lower back pain. Nothing major, pretty typical for me during the evenings and didn't think much about it. Bradley rubbed my lower back for awhile, while I sat on the yoga ball. I didn't think anything was happening that night, which was the first night I thought that. Most nights I went to bed wondering if tonight/tomorrow was the day. We went up to bed around 10:30, I remember seeing the clock and finally falling asleep at 11:30. 

3:00am I woke up with my nightly waddle to the bathroom. On my way back to bed, I got a fairly decent contraction. Didn't think much of it, since I've had many of those during the night and ended up falling asleep during them. So I crawled back into bed, fell asleep and was woken up 25mins later (3:25am) with another contraction. I decided to pull out my labor app on my phone, and charted it. Lasted a good minute, and I needed to breathe through it. It made me wonder if this was "it". My stomach growled and I decided If this is early labor I better eat something, so I have strength to make it through the rest of the day. I went downstairs and ate a banana with peanut butter, and continued to have contractions every 5-7minutes. 

4:00am Went up stairs to the rocking chair, and told my self if I had 2 more *good* contractions I would wake up Bradley. After having more contractions, I went and woke Bradley up with "I'm pretty sure I am in early labor babe"  when he didn't respond, I shoved him a bit and repeated myself. :) His reply "How do you know? do we need to leave to the hospital? do we need to call your mom? are you okay" he had quite the round of questions.  I showed him the contraction tracker on my phone, which at this point they were closer to 3-4minutes apart. He then goes "we need to go now" well in my brain I'm thinking we have plenty of time, these aren't hurting that bad. I can still talk through most of them, let's not alert the cavalry quite yet. I told him he could start getting ready to make himself feel like he was doing something productive. He finished packing the hospital bag, and I decided to make myself some what presentable while the contractions weren't as painful. 

4:20am 2 really painful contractions hit me, close together and everything changed into "Okay maybe we should get going" I called my Mom to let her know that this was it. I went downstairs to sit on the yoga ball for awhile, and eat a little more food. Contractions were still 3 minutes apart, but I could no longer talk through them. Bradley was loading the car, my mom arrived and after seeing me go through a contraction asked if we had called my midwife yet. In my brain I was in a bit of denial I think that this was actually happening, and that yes my contractions are 3 minutes apart, and painful. Not to mention we are about 40 minutes away from our hospital. 

5:00am I call my midwife, and when I told her what I was doing she said "Yeah I think you should go in, it's time"  Part of me kept thinking they would just stop, go away, and I'd be going to the hospital at 5am for no reason. We loaded the car up and were pulling out of the drive way by 5:15am. Curtis started to cry out from his room right before we were leaving, which made me start to cry thinking of my baby boy upstairs and how much was going to change.

In the car contractions were 2minutes apart. They were painful, but nothing I couldn't manage. I just kept praying in the car ride up there that I would be at least more then 2cm dilated (like I was at my last midwife appointment) I remember saying Lord 3 cms would be amazing. 

5:45am Walked into the ER entrance to be admitted, where the register lady smiled and said "another one" apparently labor and delivery had been a very busy place that night, within us walking in 2minutes later another pregnant woman walked in to register as well. There was a meteor shower at 4am, so I am thinking that had something to do with a busy night. After filling out all the info, they put me in a wheel chair and to our room we went.  

6:00am After answering some questions, and going over our birth plan with the nurse I was hooked up to the monitors for 30minutes, I requested intermediate monitoring during my labor. They wanted to get the initial 30mins of monitoring her heart rate, making sure she was reacting right to the contractions. Which I was fine with. I already had the yoga ball in the room ready, and was prepared to walk around after the monitoring to help progress. 

6:20am I ask the nurse if I could be checked to see what my status was, before I got out of the bed and started to labor in different positions. She checked me and to Bradley and I's surprise she told me I was 5cm 90% effaced I was shocked, and relieved that I was already at 5cm, with Curtis I was stuck at 3cm for so long I was afraid that was going to happen with this one as well. Bradley got on the phone right away to my Mom, who was still with Curtis at our house and told her she better head up! My sister stayed with Curtis, and my Mom came to the hospital. The nurse took off the monitors and started my iv block. I wasn't hooked up to anything, just the iv block in case of an emergency. 

7:00am All of the sudden I a felt a shift in contractions, and they went to a whole new level of pain. I wanted nothing to do with the yoga ball, or walking/squatting. I wanted to stay in my bed and grip on the railing. I closed my eyes, went into my own little world for awhile and breathed. I remember hearing my mom come in, and her placing her cold hands on my legs. I knew Bradley was sitting right next to me holding my hand and rubbing my legs. It was then that I lost control, I started to vocalize, and asking for an epidural. Then changed my mind saying "No the tub, I want the tub"  the nurse started filling up the tub, and then again I started to ask for the epidural. Bradley was an awesome coach and told me I was doing great, I could do this, lets try the bath first. My Mom told me "I bet you only have an hour left, you can do it" I'm not sure if I actually said this aloud, but in my brain I was thinking "No way, I've only been here for so little of time, I have a long way to go" Little did I know I was in transition. 

7:30am I started to become very vocal through contractions. Bradley telling me to breathe through them and all I wanted to do was scream through each one.. I finally told him to shut up and it felt better to vocalize...I believe I even pushed his face away from mine, sorry babe. At this point I was still laying on my side gripping the side rail and lets be honest..screaming. It wasn't an out of control scream, it was this feels so good to let it out scream. I never thought I'd be so vocal during childbirth, it was all so different from Curtis's birth experience. All of the sudden I wanted to PUSH, I felt my body curl around my stomach and it felt so good to push. According to Bradley the nurse rushed over and took a look, quickly exclaimed I was 9cm and quickly left the room. Diana my midwife was on her way, no one expected me to go quite this fast. The nurse came back with the warmer, started to break down the bed for delivery. I kept yelling I wanted to push, but in my brain I was holding myself back, I didn't want to push to hard before it was time, I was trying to pace my self for fear of tearing. I remember at one point asking "WHY CAN'T I PUSH" and everyone told me "Diana's not here yet!" I snuck in some push's anyway, I didn't care who delivered this baby I was in pain and wanted her out. Diana arrived shortly after around 7:40

7:45-51am For the first time in awhile I open my eyes, and take comfort in seeing my midwife. I tell her I want to push, and she says "okay lets push, whenever you want too" I start pushing and yelling out with each push. My husband by my side cheering me on. I told anyone who was listening I wanted a mirror, it helped me push so much better with Curtis and knew it would do the same. At this point I was a little out of control, I wasn't focused, and could feel myself not effectively pushing. My Mom ran out and got the mirror, and once I saw how close she was I got down to business. I got quiet and pushed my hardest through the ring of fire. It felt so good to push, and hurt so bad all at the same time. I kept saying in my head the better I push the sooner this is all over. It felt like forever of pushing, but in reality it was less than 5 minutes. 

Once her head had come out sunny side up I looked down and saw my beautiful girls face, Bradley told me "Grab her chelsey, reach down"  I reached down, held on to her slippery body and brought her up to my chest. 

4 hours 51 Minutes of Labor, 5 Minutes of pushing, Posterior (sunny-side-up) Position 
Our Evelyn Dawn Halbert Arrived

She was beautiful, healthy, and came out yelling. She scored 9/9 apgar and was so perfectly pink. Everyone commented on how pink she was. 
After the umbilical cord stopped pulsing, daddy cut the cord.

I laid her farther up on my chest and let her nurse for awhile. She stayed skin to skin for quite sometime. That's what I love about our hospital, they don't push the mom and baby. They let us do everything on our own schedule. Curtis came in shortly after to meet his baby sister. He proclaimed he loved her, and gave her a kiss on the forehead. 

After an hour and half, she got measured, weighed, and looked over. 
She is such a little peanut weighing in at 
5lbs 13oz
17 3/4th Inches long 

We are so completely in love with our beautiful girl. I am thrilled I was able to full fill my desire for a natural birth, it was the hardest thing I've ever done, and one of the most rewarding. Recovery has been amazing this time around, one of the first questions I asked my midwife after delivery was "did I tear?" and I nearly jumped for joy when she said I hadn't! Everything is just overall easier the 2nd time around, breastfeeding is going wonderfully, I knew what to expect going into this time and love the bonding time Evie and I get. I'm still on the baby high, I'm sure once my support system leaves and I get back into our normal routine reality will hit. For now I'm going to enjoy the baby bliss.

Thank you everyone for the well wishes and kind words over the past week. We have read each and every one. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

WW| Autmn Over The Years

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Saturday, October 20, 2012

When Will Evelyn Arrive?

19 Friends & Family have entered in on the official Baby Pool! So far 9 of them are out of the running. Including Bradley (19th) and Myself (20th) :pouts: 

 My sister is so far the last guessed date of Oct. 30th. She's mostly doing that out of torture for me, since I kept telling her when she was pregnant this past year, that her baby was going to be a week late. (which she was 1.5wks late..ahem) So she's punishing me with the same ;) My Brother guessed the 27th (2 days after due date) so he's on my bad side just the same. My Eldest Sister guessed my due date, so she is officially on my good side right now. I wouldn't mind an on time baby, although her timing of 3:30am doesn't sound that appealing. 

Bradley's Parents and Sister fly in on October 31st to stay with us for 6 days. I'm excited to see them, and would prefer to be holding a newborn when they get here. So they can have as much time with the new addition to the family as possible. 

Have you put in your official guess? We will be looking at who's closest in weight/length too! Who ever the official winner is might get something special in the mail! :) 

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Calm Before The Storm

39 weeks pregnant. My house is as organized as it's going to be (just don't look in the basement) The toilets and bathrooms scrubbed. Kitchen clean and stocked. Cradle and Diapers ready. Diaper Bag, Hospital Bag Packed. Swing Set Up. Car Seat Installed. 

As I sit in Evelyn's room, I should be feeling prepared to venture into this next chapter of our homestead. I have all my ducks in a row, my breathing techniques down. But all I can feel is anxiety. Today it's hitting me, the process of labor and delivery, the change that is coming to my 2yr olds life, to my husbands and I's life. What we worked so hard for over the last year, our beautiful baby that we wanted so badly  is finally going to be here within a few short days. I'm beyond excited for her arrival, to snuggle her, hold her. Yet here I sit waiting for this anxiety to die down, wondering if it's a sign of labor soon approaching (wishful thinking?) then I remember this verse...

Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. Psalm 37:7

I focus in on the first sentence, be still before the Lord. Wait patiently for Him. I finally find my rest, my ease, my anxiety can go away. I can rest and know that He has planned out the perfect timing for our little girl to make her entrance. He is prepping my body for the big storm to come. I don't need to be in the waiting game, I can wait patiently in Him. 

I found with the journey to become pregnant, I needed to let go and rest in Him about becoming pregnant. Here I am at the end of the pregnancy, needing to rest and let go again. All the planning, prepping, nesting, in the world won't matter. I can have all my ducks in a row, but still have to release control to my heavenly Father for His perfect timing. 

So Evelyn Dawn, Come when you are ready. I will wait patiently and rest in Him, although it might not be easy. I will probably try to bounce you out on my yoga ball, or take long walks with your brother. Know that your family awaits you with open arms when it is time for you to join us. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Bump Watch: 39 Weeks & Progress!

I am in awe that I am 39 weeks. As my midwife stated today while coming into the room "You're still pregnant amazing!" I totally admit I secretly thought I would already have a baby right now. However I am thrilled this little girl has cooked this long. I am so emotional this week, for various of reasons. I guess this is what the end of pregnancy is like! Emotional, Weepy, Sleepy, Pains everywhere, Lightening Crotch, Back Cramps, False Labor. Ah the joys! However all these pains are paying off, I'm currently 2cm and 70%effaced. I will take those 2cm thankyouverymuch. Only 8 more too go. ;) Midwife thinks I'll go this weekend. We shall see, my "official" guess was the 20th which is Saturday. Bradley's was the 19th. 

Speaking of guesses, have you cast your official vote?!

Pregnancy: 39 Weeks 

Weight Gain: So far I haven't gained anymore weight in the past 2 weeks. 28lbs total. Although my belly is growing, I am measuring 35wks this week. (last was 34) Me and the long torso like to hide babies. ;) 

Sleep: It's hit and miss at night. Lately its been because of the noisy wind and Curtis's last molars coming in. All to prepare me for a newborn right? I will say getting in and out of bed is a pain, I feel like once I'm in bed I sink into a big hole in the middle and can't get up. 

Names: Evelyn Dawn read about why we named her that here. Her nickname will be Evie. 

Feeling: Emotional like I said above, Ready to meet this girl. Really excited about our expanding family, and for Curtis to finally meet his baby Evie.

Movement: She's slowed down the last few days, mostly getting ready for the big show. (Her heart rate still is great so no worries) She still moves the most at night. I will miss the rolling/punching/kicks when she is out. I love feeling my babies move inside.

Labor Signs: Contractions are there, but come and go. Cramping is getting more intense at times. Lots of sharp pains, twinges, pressure. All preparing me for the big day. 

Next Appointment: Oct. 25th! Due Date...semi hoping I don't see this appointment ;)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

WW | Enjoying The Warmth

Sunday we went to the park together as a family. Enjoying the last few days of mild weather before winter really hits us. 


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