Thursday, May 28, 2009

Baby Sounds

Lydia was singing to Collin and I ran (hobbled) to grab my camera to catch a quick video. Unfortunately, she was distracted by Collin's little hiccups....and some other noises.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Two days after Collin was born, my milk came in. Apparently my body got the message that instead of having just the one baby, I needed to feed an entire set of octuplets. To say that I was engorged would be a gross understatement. While at the hospital, I decided to take a shower in the stiz tub and caught a glimpse of my naked self in the mirror. There are two things you don't want to do after having a c-section. Cough and laugh. But no matter how much it hurt, I couldn't stop laughing when I saw myself. It looked like someone had literally glued cantaloupes to my chest.

My lactation specialist has never seen anyone produce so much milk so fast. She helped me with a pump, but reminded me that the more I pump, the more I will produce - so use sparingly. Well, here I am. 3AM. My baby is sleeping soundly, but I cannot even think of sleep until I get a little relief from these super mama jugs. Collin eats for 5 minutes before he is full. That doesn't help. And to think, some women pay thousands of dollars for this look.

Oh well. At least my baby is getting some yummy grub. While I am up, here are a few more photos from the hospital. Not any photos of the above mentioned subject. This is a nice family blog. :)

Collin - a few hours old.

Lydia - a few hours old. See any resemblance?

Monday, May 25, 2009

Welcome Collin

I would like to introduce our son, Collin Grey.

Born Friday May 22 at 11:27 am. 7 pounds, 3 ounces, 21 inches tall.

Just born.

Proud big sister.

Daddy time.

Proud Grandma.


I am writing this post from my hospital bed. Got to love Wi-Fi.

Collin is perfect. He seems to be healthy in every way. He is so soft, so tiny, so lovely. He reminds me of Lydia when she was born. It is still surreal to me. I have a son. He just stares at me, and I at him. I think he must know who I am.

Shane has stayed at the hospital with me, which has been a huge help. I forgot how painful the c-section incision and after-birth pains can be. I just wish my bed was big enough for him to cuddle up with me. If anyone ever needed to be held, it is a women who just gave birth.

So here we are, suddenly in the whirlwind of having a newborn. It is a small miracle that at the same moment that you are exhausted, scared and in pain, you can be hopelessly and deliriously happy.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Last week

By the time this posts, I will most likely be in the hospital having a baby. They say that having a baby changes everything, and that may just be the understatement of all time. I am guessing that having a second baby won't be quite the shock, but it will change my life and routine in ways I can't imagine. As such, I thought I would spend the last week doing something small each day to take advantage of this last relative freedom. I wrote a journal type entry every night. Next time I post, I will be home with my baby.

Sunday - I spent all day Saturday in bed due to excruciating pain in my stomach. It feels like I am pulling stitches and that my skin can't stretch anymore. Walking is completely out the question for longer than a few minutes at a time. It was just as bad as soon as I woke up, so I opted out of church to go back to bed. As soon as I hit the sheets I knew sleeping wasn't in the cards. I hurt too much. Instead I took a long bath. Like 2 hours. I sipped on herbal ice tea and listened to the quiet of the house. I didn't read, I didn't sleep, I just basked in the solitude, let the water sooth my heavy stomach and watched my baby try to get comfortable in his tight conditions. I wonder who he will look like.

Monday - Lydia and I meet Shane for a family lunch. We do this about twice a month. When I was first married I had a friend with two small children. I asked her what the hardest thing was for her in going from one child to two. She said that as much as she loved her new son, she mourned the loss of the "threesome". I couldn't understand that then, but I think I can now. For over 3 years it has been just the three of us. So strange to think it never will be again.

Monday's Baby update- I called the doctor to explain the pain I have been in and he said to come in right away. Seems I have something similar to umbilical cord hernia. Hum, that sounds pleasant. Nothing to do about it at this point, but the pain will intensify. He warned me it could be pretty brutal. Thanks doc, I am already aware. That's why I called. As I am driving home from the doctors I see that I am being pulled over. Apparently I have expired tags. This is really weird since I am totally anal about making sure my tags are current. When I glance at the ticket, I notice that the cop has written my address incorrectly. When I check my (new) licence, I see that the address is totally wrong. Some non existent address on my block. That would explain why my renewal tags didn't come. At this point I am crying (lame, I know, but remember...lots of pain) the cop says, "Now don't you worry about this ticket. You just focus on that baby of yours." Seriously? I think I would be a lot less worrisome if he had just given me a warning. I am proud of myself that I just smiled back. I know he was just doing his job. I was just already having a bad day. You know, because my stomach muscles had split in two.

Tuesday- My good friend offered to play with Lydia at the park while I sat and relaxed. I planned on reading, but I couldn't help but watch as Lydia danced around and talked to the other girls around her. Then my eyes shifted to a group of boys playing. They had made guns out of sticks and were screaming and tackling each other. For the hundredth time I realized that having a boy is going to be an interesting ride.

Wednesday- Hallelujah! My mom is here! Not a moment too soon. The pain is getting so bad that standing is almost impossible. (A quick shower left me weeping.)It brought me pure joy to watch my mom chase Lydia and swing her on the swings. I just haven't been able to play with her for a while. Lydia is in heaven.

Shane and I took advantage of the babysitting opportunity and had our "last date". Shane drove me right up to the restaurant so I didn't have to walk more than a few steps. We dined alfresco on the deck of our favorite restaurant in the local art district. Overlooking the Tennessee river we ate fresh pasta, salad and bread. There are very few things I like better than dining outside on a warm evening. Even though we realized this was our last chance for a real date for a while, I hurt too bad to go to the movies. We came home early expecting to find Lydia in bed. Instead, she and my mom were watching the American Idol finale! :) Lydia cried when we said it was time for bed. "NO!!! I want to watch America Island!"

Thursday- Day Out! Shane took the day off so that I could treat my mom to a little afternoon away for her 60th b-day. I thought it would go along with my birthing day tradition to get manicures. No matter how trashed I look after having the baby, at least my nails will look good. We lunched at my favorite tea house. It was so decadent. Think the hospital food will be that good? :)

We stopped at a little boutique for a bit. I sat in the comfy chairs as my mom shopped. She wanted to get me a treat. The only thing that would fit was a yellow summer scarf :) I love it!

Shane and Lydia were able to keep themselves occupied while we were out.....

It should be interesting, watching Lydia "share" her daddy....

Friday - Well. I'm signing off. I've got to go pack, shower and try to stay relatively calm. I am having a baby today!!!!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Big Sister Surprise

It isn't everyday you become a big sister for the first time. I thought it might be fun to let Lydia open a "Big Sister" gift the day Collin is born. Something just for her, before she comes to the hospital to meet her baby brother.

Want a peek inside?....

I think it may be best not to bring that lollipop around the baby just yet.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Hot chocolate party anyone?

Anyone have a Madeleine pan I can borrow? These need to be made. I seem to crave hot chocolate on mornings when I am exhausted. Starbucks Hot chocolate if I can get it. I find it a cruel joke that there is no way to get a good night sleep when you are really pregnant. It would seem that mothers to-be should be allowed to sleep like the dead in preparation for the blurry existence that is caring for a newborn. Oh well. At least it gives me a reason for some comfort eating. :)
10:00 AM Morning update...Just a couple hours after posting this, my friend Kristi brought me Starbucks and chocolate. I am feeling so much better already. Thank you!!!!

The randomly chosen winners for the Blurb Giveaway are.... CBear, Kim, Canadiachik. Allison, and Life with boys...

The winner of the Advice for the Newlyweds is.....Angela. Molly and Wayne both liked your advice the best. If you didn't get a chance to read some of the great marriage advice people left, check it out.
All of you, get in touch with me and I will get you your prizes. Congrats!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Biggest Fear

My thought...."hey this looks like Lydia!"
Shane's thought...."this is the freakiest think I have every seen."

----A while ago, Shane was staying with friends overnight and they were explaining where he would be sleeping. He said "As long as it isn't a room displaying a huge doll collection, I'm good with whatever." They just stared at him and opened the door to show....the guest room/doll room. Hundreds of dolls staring down at him. What are the odds? For the record, our friends don't collect dolls. It was their in-laws house. Somehow Shane made it through the night without being murdered by a deranged barbie. ----
Personally, I am afraid of walking on a floor/bridge when I can see the ground beneath me. Terrifying.
Got any strange fears? Lydia is petrified of fruit flies.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Collin's Nursery

I had basically resigned myself to the fact that Collin was going to have a "bare nursery" for a while. Just a crib and a changing table. Maybe a blanket on the wall. That was what we did for Lydia at first. I didn't have the energy for much more, and since I went a little over budget on Lydia's room, no big. Then, the day after my shower, the Nesting Instinct took over. I had the most overwhelming need to personalise his room. First I grabbed the decorations from my shower. Then I went throughout the house, collecting anything that could remotely be considered baby boy oriented. I threw it all on the nursery floor and stared at it, waiting for inspiration.
Nothing came until I saw these cute little wall hangings at Hobby Lobby. 50% off. That would work. I decided to do a loose "animal theme". Shane and I had it finished in one night. It isn't my dream nursery by any means, and I made still change it up, but it was a fun challenge to create a room on a dime. I think I spent a totally of $50. I should really start watching some home decorating shows. I think I would like them.

This wall is a little cluttered for my taste, but when I tried to get the decal off the wall, as seen here, the paint started to come with it. I thought covering it up with photos would be easier. The collage is one of Shane as a baby with his parents.

All ready for the first diaper change.

Lucky for me, my friend Kristi was just taking down her son's nursery, so she gave me this great animal print, along with a couple baby blankets that match my crib bedding perfectly. She also made me the adorable fabric blocks that you can see on the bookcase below.

Someday I would like to get a bookcase to match the nursery set, but I never could find one that fits in between the windows like I needed. I love having see-through bins in a nursery. They make life much easier.

This monkey is the only toy I have bought for Collin. I just couldn't help it. Look at that face! Lydia named him "Roddy"

Finished product. Now I just need the baby.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Blurb Giveaway-

This Giveaway has closed.

There was a general outcry of despair when Blurb decided they would not be compatible with Blogger for a while. My cry was the loudest. However, if you haven't heard, Blurb is back to "Slurping" blogs with a vengeance. What is "slurping" you ask? Well, it is just about the coolest development for multitasking bloggers ever. You can actually upload your entire blog into Blurb to create a blog book. It is incredibly easy and the finished product is fantastic.

There are a lot of self-publishing companies out there, and I've tried almost all of them. Seriously though, you haven't really seen anything until you have tried Blurb. Blurb is a creative book-publishing platform that lets anyone produce their own bookstore-quality book. Blurb’s BookSmart software is totally free to download and includes a huge (HUGE!) variety of professionally designed layouts. The photo quality is the best I have found and the prices are very competitive. (Like half what I have paid for similar books.)

There is no way that I could justify spending as much time blogging as I do without knowing that I can make my blog into a book. It takes care of most of my journaling and all of my scrapbooking. If you would like to see a preview of how my most recent Blurb book came out, check it out at the top right of my sidebar. I apologize that it is mostly text. The first bit of my book is from my old blog "Natalie's Essays" and the preview is just the first 15 pages.

You can do any type of book that you would like on Blurb; wedding album, cookbook, name it. My latest and greatest idea is to "slurp" my son's baby album. I am planning to start an entirely new blog just for family photos. When he hits a year, I slurp the blog and have his "Baby's First Year" book done in an hour. Scrapbook done and grandparents get loads of grandchildren photos on my blog. The best of both worlds. I will let you know when I start that new blog. Hopefully by the end of the month.

Blurb has graciously given 5 book credits of $29.95 to be awarded to you! That is 5 winners for this giveaway alone.

Contest Rules:
1. Go to Blurb and check out their products. Check out the books in Blurb’s Bookstore at Leave a comment on this post between now and Monday, May 18th, explaining what you would create if you win a free book from Blurb.
2. For a extra entry, let me know in a separate comment that you are a subscriber or follower of Natalie's Sentiments.
3. For a third entry, let me know in a separate comment that you have blogged or tweeted about this giveaway.

Five winners will be selected by random generator and announced on Tuesday, May 19th . Good luck!

P.S. This is one of the few giveaways that will be open to International readers. FYI

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Friday, May 8, 2009

What I Want

I while back I watched the movie "The Women". I would give it a D+. Terrible acting. However, one part I liked. Meg Ryan is contemplating the fact that she has spent most of her life attending to other people and has forgotten about herself. She makes a "What I Want" board, and fills it with things representing what she wants for herself and her life.

I thought about that board for a while. In the movie, Meg Ryan's character felt like she had given up on herself and was trying to reclaim a bit of her identity. Wouldn't you agree that most moms feel like that from time to time. (Or all the time.)

I wouldn't say that I am a subscriber to the concept that you can "have it all". I personally couldn't have a career and be the mom I want to be. For me, it just isn't possible. Sometimes sacrifices have to be made, especially when you have small children. That doesn't mean that all dreams have to be forgotten. They just have to be placed somewhere else in your life. Or sometimes they do have to be forgotten. Sometimes choosing one lifestyle rules out another.

I have been working on my own "What I Want" board. I have it in my master closet where I can see it often. I currently am the soul resident of the master closet. That in itself is one dream come true. :) My board is a combination of larger long term goals and much smaller desires. Some are 20 years in the future, some 6 months. For me, they are things that I want. Things that I don't want to forget about during this chaotic time in my life. For some reason, just having them up makes me feel like they are more in my grasp. I won't forget about things that are important to me. Some of my basic goals for success are listed in the bottom left corner as well.

The second photo has numbers so if you are interested, you can see what each photo represents.
1. Dream house. Shane and I have been designing a home together for a while now. Shane was studying to be an architect in college...until he found out the average salary for an architect:) He switched fields, but still likes designing on the side.
2. Big bedroom with huge windows and a very fresh, clean feel. No toys on the floor. An incredible mattress. Fresh flowers on the side table.
3. Live in Europe for a year. Ideally when children are still at home.
4. Always have fantastic birthdays. (This was the cake Shane got me for my 30th.)
5. Have friendships that last my whole life.
6. Romance always.
7. Become a great cook.
8. Fantastic family vacations.
9. Get some chanel eau fraiche perfume and body lotion. My favorite scent, but currently not in the budget.
10. Dye my hair red. This was the photo I took to my stylist a few years back and I came out with this exact style. I LOVED it. So did Shane. I would like to do it again soon.
11. Christmas in Spokane as often as possible.
12. Romantic vacation to France with Shane. Within the next 5 years hopefully.
13. While I do like the purse pictured, this represents making my own money. Deciding to stay home with Lydia was the right decision for me, but that doesn't mean it wasn't a sacrifice. I liked working. I liked having my own income. I'm not sure what I want my career to be, but I know I haven't given up on one.
14. Always have great style that is my own. Sexy, classic yet comfortable.
15. Have a yard filled with hydrangeas.
16. A NEW CAMERA. This is the most pressing of everything on this list. I NEED a new camera. I think about it every day. I need a new computer along with PhotoShop as well, but for right now the camera is number one priortiy.
17. The "Natalie" was taken from a joint birthday card from my friends. It represents always having a good group of girlfriends and frequent girls night out. (Had one last night actually...)
18. I would like to feel comfortable in a bikini again. The last time I wore one was on a (very) private beach with Shane. It was our 4th anniversary. I got pregnant with Lydia that week. That may explain why I haven't felt quite so comfortable since. Not that I would actually wear a bikini, but I would like to know that I could.
19. Cruise with Shane, September 2010. That is the goal. I will be done nursing and we will be able to leave the kids with Grandma. Think I can get a bikini body by then?
20. Girls vacation! Maybe one with my sisters. Maybe one with my friends. I just know, I would love one.
21. Relaxing summer afternoons this summer with family. I have lots of family visiting this summer and I want to enjoy it. (Photo is of my favorite herbal ice tea.)
22. Always the most important element of my life. My family.
23. One of my favorite quotes: "When I was growing up, I always knew I'd be a mother. It was a big defining dream to be able to raise and adore a child. One of the challenges of my grown-up life is to keep feeding the part of myself that thinks big thoughts, to keep feeling wonder about who I can be, beyond a diaper-changing, runny-nose-wiping love machine. Amazing things happen when you commit with your heart and soul."
Stacy Morrison - Editor-in-chief of Redbook

So that is my current "Want" board. What would be on yours?

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

POM Wonderful is wonderful

When Pom Wonderful asked me if I would like to review their product it look me all of 5 seconds to write back in the (ecstatic) affirmative. I love Pomegranates. When I went to school in Jerusalem, there was a pomegranate tree on my bedroom balcony. I ruined half of my tops eating fresh pomegranates off the tree. I LOVE POM Wonderful juice.
Since I had such a huge quantity to work with, I started experimenting. My personal favorite was the Pom Shirley Temple. I make a lot of moctails, so I thought that Pomegranate juice might brighten up a regular Shirley Temple. I was very right. Just club soda, grenadine, POM juice and a maraschino cherry. Yum. The color was so elegant, it would be lovely for a party or shower.

Lydia's favorite was the "Princess Drink. (See photo). I like to make homemade lemonade, and adding POM juice made it all the better. I made the drink for myself, but when Lydia saw it, she looked at it with hands extended "Is that Princess drink for me?" Well, how can I deny her that?

Shane's favorite is the simplest recipe, but I must say, it is genius. He adds POM juice to his diet coke. I can't believe I never thought of it before. It is so delicious! He never drinks a soda now unless it has a POM kick. I don't mind. Soda is terrible for you, so if he is going to splurge, why not add something healthy. (Did you know that POM juice has more antioxidants than red wine? Who knew?)

Thanks POM for the fantastic supply! I am totally hooked.
To read up on more POM health facts, check here.

(Is it just me, or does my three year old look a little spoiled here. I personally don't remember getting my juice served with an umbrella.)

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

9 Months

Nursery...check. Diapers...check. Car seat...check. Two dozen newborn white onsies washed and in the dresser....check. (I'm not sure how I accumulated so many, but at least I won't have to worry about laundry.) I am just about ready (technically) for this bouncing baby boy. Good thing since my C-section is scheduled for three weeks from now.

I think that he has "dropped" because I can breathe again and it doesn't feel like my stomach is going to burst open at any moment. I have to run to the bathroom even more often, but I'll take that over the pain any day. I was even able to chase Lydia around the house for a few minutes today without feeling like I was going to die. She loved it.

I have eaten a half a box of Cocoa Puffs in less than 24 hours. I have almost completely stopped cooking. Standing that long kills my back. I have stopped looking in full length mirrors. I have a romantic anniversary date with Shane this weekend and I have nothing to wear. If I can't find Cinnamon Bears tomorrow I may just go a little crazy. (Been craving them for a week. Where do they sell them?!?!) Just three more weeks. I can do this.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Lydia's Room

Shane and I finally finished Lydia's room this weekend. We thought remolding her bedroom into a special "big girl" room would be nice, especially when there will be so much attention surrounding the new baby. A little place of respite, just for her. I wanted it to have a "handmade feel." I love how it turned out.

Before (photo taken 10/2007)


The wooden "Lydia" was handmade by a women from my hometown. The cute purse hanging on the mirror is from Lazy Bee. The sock monkey is from Mostly Monkeys. I still need to get new curtains for the windows. I want them to be double paneled. I can't decide on a color. Thoughts?

The quilt was made by my sister Abby as a shower gift. She used fabric leftover from my Dad's sisters dresses when they were little girls. In the basket are some of the baby things that I didn't have the heart to take down yet. Days before Lydia was born, Shane bought the baby doll. He said it resembled what he imagined his little girl would look like. Sweet.

I made the mobile by mod-podging craft birds and glittering them up.

Shane's Dad made Lydia the mirror. He collects heart shaped rocks that he finds on walks or when he is fishing. He decorated the frame with some of his favorites. The rocking chair was Shane's as a little boy. It was made by his grandfather. The blanket was knit (crocheted? I don't know the difference) by a dear friend for Lydia. And the Hello Kitty is the newest addition to Lydia's toy box. She got it for finally pooping in the potty!!!! Big week for her. She is all of the sudden rocking the potty training thing. I could cry for joy.

The inspiration for the room are these dolls that my sister Emily made for Lydia for her 3rd birthday.

My mom sent me three valances for the room, but we only have two windows. Shane thought framing the fabric from the extra valance would pull the room together. I love how it looks. The dolls are leaning again a pillow that I made out of the leftover fabric. I am very proud of it since I don't sew. I don't even have a sewing machine. I did it all by hand. Of course, I am in bed a lot lately. It was nice to have something new to do. I made the tiny pillows out of a personalized bib and burp cloth.

Lydia loves her new room. She is totally faking in this shot. She is quite the drama queen. Now off to finish Collin's nursery! At least sit in a chair and tell Shane what to do....


Angela said...
Wow I love it!! The little pillows from the bib and burp cloth were genius! And yeah for hubs thinking about framing the extra valance ~ I love it! He must watch decorating shows too! Beautiful room! I especially love that a lot of the items have actual meaning to your family!
Misty said...
I love it! When can you come to my house?
Chris said...
It is absolutely adorable. However, isn't it sad to see how much they've grown by the looks of their bedroom? Awww... She's so cute!
pink~leopard~print said...
Oh my goodness the room turned out beautiful! I love the glittered birdys!!
Hannah said...
Oh. My. Goodness. What an absolutely precious room! The mobile is awesome - I love it!
The Pyper Fam said...
That is the cutest room! Could I hire you and Shane to come to my house to make over my little guys room from nursery to big-boy room? :) I love all of the personal touches! Very very cute!
Kathleen W. said...
So beautiful! I love the handmade things, and what a talented family you come from. Thanks so much for sharing the photos. Lydia has such great parents (including a dad who has great decorating advice with those framed fabrics).
Amy said...
Love it! So sweet and fun!
Natalie said...
I love the new room ... we are in the middle of creating a "big boy" room for our son before our new baby, so I know the feeling! About the post before this ... the mood is totally different at our house ... hopefully after we have these babies everything will fall into place. Have strengh!!
Bowmans said...
Very very cute! Im sure she loves having you as a mom. And Im happy to hear all is well with you and your baby.
Madeline and Family said...
So cute! You are so talented. Have you ever thought about interior Designing? Keep up with your awesome skills.
Are You Serious! said...
♥ It's great! You guys did a fabulous job! Great idea with the left over sham... Love the pillow great job by hand... hand sewing is not my favorite thing to do! I love her bedspread too! So cute! ;)
Brittany said...
I love it! Seriously is there anything you can't do? You are totally multi-talented! Love it! Can't wait to see Collins room!:)
Heather said...
Beautiful room! A lot of meaningful pieces in it. Where did you get those super cute dresses hanging on the mirror? Isn't it great when the potty training finally starts to hit home? We hardly have any accidents any more!
Sharla said...
Wow, I want that room! Talk about every girls dream.... Maybe I'll have a girl someday so I can decorate her room.
Kandi said...
The room turned out great. It makes it so special when you have all the personal and meaningful pieces! For sure the second one brings about a whole new mood. I found that it goes by so much quicker. So make sure you capture those moments. When I look at my 9m old I think where did the time go?? It seems like just yesterday she was born. And don't be surprised if your daughter regress' a bit with her potty training after the baby arrives, it is normal.
Nama said...
I love Lydia's room! It's so precious! I think my favorite is the framed fabric. It's just so simple and fabulous. I think trying curtains in a lime green color might work. I think it'll bring out the green that's already in the room. Of course, I just love green, so I could be bias. :)
xcdenke said...
First, where do you find the time? B. It looks amazing and 4thly, Liddy is too cute for words! She fake sleeps just like you! Seriously, love the room. Miss you.
Whimsical Creations said...
Absolutely fabulous!! I want her room! =D
Jessica [Mommy to a 3 yr old drama queen] said...
Wow her room is sooo beautiful!! I wish i had the same luck of potty training as you! She is 3 and wont have it at all!
Ginny said...
This is gorgeous!
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