Baby Talk

California, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Florida!

Wow folks, it’s been over a month since I posted! Sorry not sorry. Let me tell you why!

Last you heard (besides Shanties first race) was our poor Skoolie blowing the transmission and leaving us sideways in the middle of a highway. Once we handed over my left arm and Matts wallet to fix the motor, we parked it in Oklahoma. Matt was a champ and took on a part time job in contracting with my family while I found odd end jobs.

Before we left Florida back in July, I had already committed to doing hair for a wedding for mid October. To keep my word, I packed up Shanti and headed east to fulfill my promise.

Quick pic of the bridal party and their beautiful hair! Such a fun group of lovely women!

This was the beginning of 2 full weeks in the panhandle spending quality time with Gam Gam and MiMi! I know Shanti enjoyed it as much as her grandmas did!

FYI: Gam Gam is my mom in the collage below.

…and Mi Mi is Matts mom in the photos below!

After I wrapped up the time in Florida, we loaded up again and flew all day to land in Sacramento, California. This is where Shanti and I spent another week visiting friends and doing hair. This trip to Folsom was the first since I was only 6 months pregnant. Our little travel love bug! This girl (daughter of Nomads) has been on 12 flights in her 9 months of life!Hair clients, childhood friends and what I call “chosen family” welcomed us with so much love and arms wide open. The story goes… I booked this California trip with Matt coming as well to assist with Shanti, “father-daughter days” as I did hair. With him working and building on the bus in Oklahoma, we decided it’d be more productive if he stayed back and I went alone.

wait, Matt working without a camera? Yep! My amazingly talented husband dove into the dusty world of cabinetry, both professionally and in our bus!

Meanwhile back in Cali, look at these happy & helpful people loving on Shanti!

I had a day off that allowed me to take Shanti to her first gymnastics class! It was Halloween week so the kids got to wear costumes! Fun fact – Her coach Kira is also a long time friend that actually visited us in Barbados! You’d recognize her from the post Visitors… a dozen of them! Another fun fact- This is the same gym that I taught at for 7 years and Matt worked at last year! Click here for the post about Tricks Gymnastics!

Shanti had no fear of going upside down and clearly likes to shake it…. I mean bounce it….rrrr… jump?!

Andrea and Josh, the way you opened your home and handed over the car keys meant so much to me. I felt extremely comfortable and our trip wouldn’t have been the same without your hospitality!

On our flights back to daddy in Oklahoma, we got to meet 2 unforgettable women and a bundle of others. #iplankforpizza (I’m embarrassed to admit I forgot her first name) is a fitness instructor that Shanti immediately connected with. It’s hard not to make a new friend when a small human is literally attempting to sit in your lap.

These flight attendants kidnapped her right away and asked for my phone… they brought her back with a photo of the captain letting her explore!

Dionna from our late night flight was by far the most helpful during our journey. Shanti was showing signs of being tired and I was ready for my pillow and slippers. Not only did Dionna hold Shanti, she had a seat with us and let my little monkey climb all over her while we had some girl chat. She’s one of those women that you can talk too easily and feel like you’ve known for years! It was too dark for a photo but I most definitely see us reconnecting in the future… bus and all!

Speaking of the bus, once Shanti and I got back to Oklahoma with Matt, we packed up and headed to Arkansas to get the floors done!

A huge thank you beyond words and a blog post mention to our cousin Dakota. Not only did he allow us to park our bus on his property, he gave us his room and took on the role of the best Uncle Koda ever! We thank you so much!A little more family time is always wonderful with these lovely people!While we were there, we also took a family day and went to the Gorge near Hot Springs for a walk and mini hike. What a backyard to play in!…back to the bus.

Our cousins (and owners of the recently awarded #1 company O’Bryan Family Flooring) provided us with these beautiful floors!

After 4 months of living between Oklahoma and Arkansas, we headed back to Florida to complete the bus and spend the holidays on the beach!

Next up, our new chapter in Miramar Beach Florida! Photo by my hubby:)

Categories: Accommodations, Baby Talk, Bus life, Travel talk, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Short hold on the bus, it’s time for a wedding!

July 20, 2019 is the wedding day of my little brother Ben. The little brother that some of you may recognize from all of the years on this blog. Here is one of the first pictures I ever posted of him, adorable!…and year after year…

Then my little bro grew up into a young man out of nowhere!

Fast forward even farther and now I’m doing hair for his bride on their big day! What a special event to be a part of, Shanti was pulled down the aisle in a wagon and of course they had Matt as their photographer, here’s a few photos from the day!Ben and Rachel, I wish you all of the happiness and growth a marriage can bring. We love you so much!

Matt and I left the bus back in Arkansas and took our little family on a road trip through Oklahoma on the way to Colorado (that’s where the wedding took place). We’ve really enjoyed the back drop of mountains, rivers and wildlife everywhere! Here are a few snap shots so far, we’re currently in Vail so you’ll get the rest of the journey once we get back “home” to Arkansas.Here’s a typical 6am roadside diaper change in front of a gas station that didn’t have a changing table. Nailed it!

Here we stopped at a park for some fresh air and leg stimulation. She was such a good girl just hanging out while I reorganized the car. Happy to be alive with not a care in the world.

It’s not uncommon for us to stop for Matt to jump on some sort of wheeled apparatus. This day in Vail was his new electric skateboard!

I tease him about showing off but he clearly has bragging rights! You are so talented babe!

I’ll close this post with a video from one of our leg stretching stops in a Delta Colorado!

Fun fact: I was born there:)

Categories: Baby Talk, Travel talk, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

We left… turned around… and then left again!

Bus painted? Nope. All seatbelts installed? Not yet. Couch, kitchen, bed, toilet? Not even close. We DO however have it registered, insured and ready to hit the highway legally but only able to sit one person. Because we’re going to tear out the driver seat, it would be a waste of time and money to rig a makeshift passenger seat before we do anything else. With that, we’ve decided that Matt will drive the bus and Shanti and I will follow in our car. This also ensures a reliable set of wheels just in case they’re needed on our first long journey. (I wrote that days before the event below).

The first 600 miles in our new home (currently just the shell) will be going from Miramar Beach Florida to Benton Arkansas. This is where it’ll be parked for a majority of the renovation. For those of you that have been following this blog for years now will recognize the location. You saw it in several past posts including one of my favorites, Sweet home…Arkansas?! And you recently saw the family in our last trip to Oklahoma. Shanti will be surrounded by cousins and we’ll have plenty of helping hands to turn this rig into a beautiful livable space.

These past few weeks have been full preparation, packing and watching Shanti grow so fast! She jumped from 3 month clothing to 6-9 month outfits and she’s only 5 months, geeze kid! For all of you fans, here are some pics of her recent weeks.

Ok back to bus! Day one on the road actually started at 8pm with cooler temperatures and less traffic. 2 hours into our journey and only 50 miles covered our beautiful beast (she’ll be named soon) had overheated. Since we were so close to home, we decided to turn around and have our amazing mechanic friend look at it. Last thing we wanted to do was push it and cause more damage.

The next morning was spent with test drives and engine work before we got the go to hit the road. Although Shanti does best at night since she sleeps the whole way, we were ready to get out of there so a noon departure is what we did!

Unfortunately the engine couldn’t take incline or long distances so every 30 minutes we’d have to pull over to let it cool. This is why it took us 6 hours to cover only 100 miles.

We were taking a break just shy of Mobile Alabama when we found out there was an International Bus specialist just up the road! Since it was 7p on a Sunday night they were obviously closed so we parked the bus at the cheapest hotel for a good nights sleep and early rise. Yes moms, we slept in the hotel, not next to it.

I’m currently writing the last of this post sitting in the hotel room waiting to hear the verdict from Matt who’s at the specialist shop right now. To be perfectly honest with you, although this isn’t what we imagined the first stretch to be like, we’re both keeping a positive attitude. Keeping awareness around that this is an adventure and a journey we signed up for! I think we would be doing a disservice to our spirit if we focused only on the completion of the bus, instead of being totally present while creating these memories. Oh Shanti, you have no idea of the photos and stories that will make up you’re first years of life.

I’ll leave you with her capturing my water bottle. You’re welcome.

Secret news: Coming soon is the launch of our online video channel. Oh boy!

Until then, thank you for reading and following (hint hint- click the button on this page that says “follow” in order to be alerted when there’s a new post).

Happiness to you and yours!

Categories: Baby Talk, Bus life, Travel talk | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Friday Fitness #13 – Breastfeeding Flapjacks

There I was, laying by the pool in a tank top and skirt soakin up the Florida sun. From my backside, I roll over to my stomach and glance down, I totally lost it. Laughing out loud by myself as I witness my boobs just hanging there, literally. The left one tucked in nicely (as proper as a floppy flapjack could be) and the right one doubling in size, full of milk and trying to crawl it’s way out. Once I finally got a grip on my giggles, I laid there sincerely analyzing which position would best suit my situation. Should I lay on my left side so they look more similar in size? Maybe my right side so I don’t leak milk down the front of myself? I could stuff a nipple pad in, but I’d have to go get one first…Then the laughter kicks in again. Two summers ago I was analyzing which way to sit in the sun to accent my curves for Matt. Ten summers ago I was in Vegas after a trip to Mexico, who knows what I was thinking while flaunting in the sun!? And now, here I lay debating which boob to support. Oh life… you’re hilarious.

When we arrived to Florida a year ago, I was in my second trimester and starting to show a little bump. Looking back now, I should of rocked out my growing belly and kicked it beach side, but my ego wouldn’t allow it. I would still get my toes in the sand but always fully covered in a sun dress or something that resembled a “moo moo” as my Grams called it. As time went on, my self consciousness and distorted body image only got worse. It peeked once the doc told me to “lay low or else you’ll be on bed rest” as this news wiped away all workouts from my routine. I felt like I was turning into a pile of squish. Of course I was in love with my tight round tummy and the little one growing inside, however I despised the cellulite dimples on my arms (didn’t know that was even possible!) and thighs that could no longer squeeze into anything I owned.

Fast forward to now, I’ve got a beautiful little girl that has grown into a healthy infant solely on my milk. I was told throughout my pregnancy that breastfeeding would help knock off the pounds and “you burn soooo many calories that you don’t even have to worry about weight loss”! Lies… all lies! At least in my case.

My habit of researching everything health and fitness led me to trying to find a reason (or a valid justification) on why I wasn’t shrinking. Although I knew these things deep down, I guess it was nice to be reminded.

Common thought: “I eat clean and never binge on calorie dense food” (Aka – not eating enough).

Facts say: “Under eating causes your body to store excess fat in order to protect and nourish your baby and milk production.”

Common thought: “If I stay awake while she sleeps I can continue to be active therefore burn more calories”.

Facts say: “Sleep deprivation causes significant changes in hormones, primarily the ones that regulate hunger, appetite and metabolism”.

Common thought: “I’m totally exhausted (mentally and physically by 7pm, I must be using up all excess energy (fat).”

Facts say: “Daily stress (being a new mom and/or life) can cause Adrenal hormones to go straight to your waistline to protect your brain”.

Common thought: “My cousins, neighbor and half the women I know just shrank while breastfeeding, why not me!?”

Facts say: “Hereditary genes play a huge roll in body shape and the challenges that come with it. Ever heard of the 3 different body styles; ectomorphs, mesomorphs and endomorphs… look it up, it’s fascinating!

I suppose the conclusion of this Friday Fitness is to simply do your very best with what you have while working for what you want.

Today I will eat to provide health and happiness to my body therefore nourishing Shanti.

Today I will activate my muscles, stretch my joints and elevate my heart rate.

Today I will be an example to my daughter and fully embrace myself with love and care.

Categories: Baby Talk, Fitness Friday’s!, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 6 Comments

Well Bless Your Heart

So there I was, Shanti with a full diaper and giving me the hunger cues. Like most airport bathrooms, the line was out the door with a stretch of women holding an impatient fake smile. I squeezed by everyone with hope in finding a spotless changing table with our names on it. Let me prep this with informing you that it would be my first changing-table experience. Doesn’t sound like a big deal, but it’s obvious when seasoned moms are on their hundredth changing-table routine, one hand here, sanitary wipe there, here a diaper, there a leg, all while balancing the edge of a broken hinge with a knee. I was up for the challenge until I rounded the corner and saw what I was working with. A dirty table with a woman already gagging her way through it with her little one. I could have stepped up and done the same but I’ll have to be honest with you, I wasn’t in the mood to battle it especially with a dozen women standing there watching. Chicken. So at this point, I have no choice but to join the herd in line and comfort Shanti to the best of my ability.

We finally got to the front and I see the size of the claustrophobic mini stalls in which I doubt we’d both fit in with her car seat in hand. I wave the others on as I patiently wait for the only large stall offered. Finally! It opens.

I got to the end and closed the door. I laid out my makeshift sanitation station on the ground and don’t have the guts to lay her there, so on my lap it is. I semi successfully get her clean and in a new diaper when she starts back in with the hunger signs, an excited whimper, not yet a cry and the side mouth reach. Trying to prevent her full on hungry holler, I get out my boob and she latches quickly as if she’d gone days without food. Typical.

Less than a minute into it, I hear a conversation outside the stall. A young woman says, “M’am are you waiting for this one?”, the answer comes from a fragile petite voice directly outside my stall that says, “No, I’m waiting for the large one. I can’t use the toilet without a handrail”. I hopelessly gaze at the handrail I was resting my knee on as Shanti gulps away.

“Are you waiting for my stall M’am?” I ask, selfishly hoping there was another one I wasn’t aware of. “Yes, yes I am”.

So with Shanti still devouring her lunch, I packed up my mess on the floor with one hand and proceeded to shove it under the door with one foot while attempting to cover her head with my free hand (just in case there’d be someone offended by my half breast). I open the door and hip bump it open and smile at the ancient woman waiting for us. She smiled back with the sincerity of someone who had been there, done that and truly appreciated my effort.

Then she said the one line that all southerners have said or heard at least one time in their life, “Well bless your heart”.

She went about her business and there I was, my back physically against the back wall with my diaper bag at my feet (half packed and spilling over), her car seat at my other side and her in my arms with no clue of the episode.

I looked up to find every single eye in the room locked in on the free entertainment I had been providing. I’d like to think I gave a confident stunning smile back at the crowd but in reality it must of been a squished eyebrow of wishing I could just disappear. I put my focus back down on Shanti and as I was wrapping up, a kind voice walks by me, leans in and says, “You’re doing a great job momma”. This small sentence gave me the encouragement I needed to gather my things, snap my shirt and waddle to the sinks with baby in arm, diaper bag over the shoulder and the car seat swaying from my lose grip.

Note to all humans: Take time to be kind, you never know how a few words can change an entire day for someone.

Fast forward to the end of the trip. 2 flights, no fits and a journey that’d I claim as a success for a solo parent and a 2 1/2 month old. I fed her on the final landing to help her ears pop and gave myself an imaginary pat on the back knowing she was never in discomfort nor did anyone on the flight know there was even a baby on board.

As I’m leaving the flight we got all kinds of kind comments on her cuteness, my bravery (as if millions of others had never done this) and “such a good baby”! As we walked through the terminal I continued to get smiles, except now they were a little awkward. I was so high on mom mode that I didn’t think into people’s expressions as my final goal was to collect our things and find daddy outside waiting for us. It wasn’t until I sat down to strap her into the car seat that I glanced below and realized what everyone had been smiling at while trying to avoid staring at. Call me genius over here, but I never zipped up the breastfeeding flap on my hoodie! Luckily I had a bra that matched, but hello… it’s still open and goods were hanging out.

To give you a visual, below is the exact sweatshirt I wore on the flight with the same zipper flap open. I’d like to think every mom has a photo like the one below! (Thanks to my mother for snapping this nap time pic).

You can imagine the exhaustion driven laughter I tried to hold back as I zipped up my shirt, tucked her in and moved along. What a day.

Here’s a quick video I shot right before we left the terminal. Our happy little (75 day old) girl after a thousand mile road trip and an entire day of flying. What a champ!

Categories: Baby Talk, Not-so-happy trails, Travel talk, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Shanti meets more family!

I’d like to start by saying how grateful I am to be surrounded by a loving family, both mine and Matt’s. A group of people that have supported us from the beginning and now eagerly welcome our new addition. In a matter of 2 weeks Shanti met 4 Aunts, 3 uncles, 2 grandmas 2 grandpas, 2 great aunts, a great uncle, a great-great aunt and good bundle amount of cousins (no less than a couple dozen).

It’d take a few posts to gather all of the details, so I chose a handful of pics to show the love this family had to offer.

Below is Matt, his mom and her mother (Maw Maw)… 4 generations!

Following Maw Maw and Paw Paw’s visit, Matt’s brother and his family came to meet our little one. How exciting for her to connect with new cousins Jayden and Harper and her Auntie Erika and Uncle Jake!Just before leaving out of state, Shanti got one more outing with my mom. Can you see Gam Gam walking ahead of us?

If you’ve been following this blog long enough, you’ve seen this family throughout the years. My twin cousin Lana and her husband with 2 kids drove all the way out to Florida to meet Shanti!

After a few days on the beach, they were heading back to the middle of America… so I hitched a ride… again! This time I sat hip side to my little girl on her first road trip!Check out this comparison…

Once we finally made it to Arkansas, Shanti got swarmed with more cousins, hugs and tons of love!

To get from Arkansas to Oklahoma I rented a car and strapped her in. Mother-daughter road trip here we go!

Upon arrival we were greeted with no less than an abundance of more happy attention. Aunties, Uncles, Great Aunts, Great-great Aunts, Pa Pa, Ma Maw and more!

With our cups overflowing with family love, Shanti and I boarded her first flight (other than the 14 flights she took while in my belly) back to Florida!

Success! I took this video once we landed after the final flight… our little traveler!

Back home with daddy and we couldn’t be happier!

Categories: Baby Talk, Travel talk, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

First “Friday Fitness” post!

JOIN ME! I’ll be posting every Friday on our journey to a healthier state of mind, body and reaching personal best! There’ll be realistic weekly goals to challenge ourselves with and tools to help accomplish them! I’ll be sharing my voyage with recipes, workout ideas, struggles, successes and (the dreaded) transitional before/after photos.

It’s time. I’ve previously shared about my journey through the health and fitness world primarily through posts about healthy food choices and workouts while traveling. Some of my favorite memories bring me back to a race in Barbados , yoga in Panama, Paddle boarding and a hike in Tobago, and amazing treks of Machu Picchu. These were all incredible times during my peak in fitness and now I’ve come full circle back into a wonderful world of new challenges. Let me quickly explain from the beginning.

I was born a lovable 8 lb ball of happiness and sprouted into a round head balanced on top of a set of thighs.

Fast forward through the adolescent years and I developed into the “healthy” or “big boned” cousin (a term used to describe chunky kids who aren’t built to be naturally thin). Although some thoughts would cross my mind after comments made, I never really concerned myself with the issue. I liked food, especially ice cream, as well as playing outside, giggling with my friends and making a mess with art and crafts. I was a kid.

Teenage years brought boys, school challenges and a variety of other things to distract me from self-image issues. Even though I’d still compare my body to other girls (who didn’t?!) it was nothing of extreme or enough to break my focus of surviving the teen years of school. It’s hard enough just being human with new hormones stuck in a few buildings with a thousand other irrational, emotionally driven pre-adult creatures.

Between 18-21 I truly didn’t feel the shift (captured in the first 3 photos from the collage below). It was like I had the opposite body image than most girls. I was gorgeous! I was also gaining a solid 15 pounds a year without even realizing it. 45 pounds heavier than healthy, I began to take a closer a look at this human suit I had to carry around. It wasn’t so much of how I looked in a swimsuit or what guys would like, as much as it was me needing to change my habits. I had watched a majority of my family members yo-yo diet my entire life and I wasn’t about to follow in their footsteps.

I started to slowly lose weight due to small diet changes and a walk every morning, it felt amazing! This was all done slowly and properly in regards to mainstream options. No diet pills, no eating disorders, no obsessive physical training, just a transition in lifestyle.

Once I achieved a consistent routine, my body settled into its comfort zone, “it’s” comfort zone, not mine. This is when I went to the local gym and spent a portion of my savings to get a trainer. “Teach me everything!”… and so they did. I dove in head first to the length of dedication that Zack, best coach ever, finally suggested I branch out on my own as I’ve exceeded the need for his assistance. And so I did.

Here’s a glimpse at the 40lb transition. Going from 30% fat to 18%

My new life was amazing! I felt unstoppable and ready to take on the world. Ironically, in my own little way, that’s what I did. This is when herhappytrails.com began and my big blue backpack took flight for the first time.

During the 6 year journey around the world my body naturally transformed according to my current behavior. I ranged from super strong while trekking parts of South America I shriveled down to nothing while recovering from a parasite in Malaysia , fluffed back up in Europe during the pints-o-beer at Oktoberfest then lost it all once landing in Japan. Needless to say, I returned to the states and the weight just seemed to fall into place. Some “places” I didn’t enjoy, but it was all necessary.

During my tiny days, my female cycle had completely vanished and I was told by several doctors (both western and homeopathic) that the chances of me ever carrying a child full term, let alone getting pregnant, was slim to none. For 8 years I held this belief with me. To be honest, it didn’t really bother me. I was single, traveling the world, loving life and had no time for things such as marriage and babies.

Enter Matt Stone.

I met my husband on a trip back to the states while visiting my mom. If you’ve been following the blog, you’ve seen that journey unfold. The reason I bring it up is because during this time, I started to involuntarily put on (necessary) fat that produced more estrogen. It started my cycle back up! It was like my body knew what was ahead.

This all brings me to the point of this entire post. First comes love, then comes marriage , then comes baby in the baby carriage! I hope at least half of you have chanted that on a playground somewhere.I was going to be the cutest, most fit and active prego I could be, I’m sure like most of us dream of being, that was until I was put on bed rest. After denial, refusal and my own little pity party, my world switched focus from selfish body image choices to health and protection of me and our unborn baby. No running, no working out, not even a walk beyond the mailbox. I’m still amazed I kept my sanity while losing strength and gaining cushion.

Now we have the little light of our lives and the current reason (excuse) I have adorable love handles with squishy arms to match. No more bedrest! Of course I wouldn’t trade my post prego body for the beautiful addition to our family and bla bla bla… but let’s be real, this fluff has has got to go (as well as this robe I’ve been living in!)

Confession: I’m using this blog and your attention to hold myself accountable while hopefully inspiring one, two or a hundred of you to do the same. If it’s the last 5 pounds you’re after, the first 50 or simply the ability to finally run without sounding like an excited pug, I truly hope you’ll find some encouragement here. I plan to be real, raw and transparent through it all. So authentic that I’m not even going to post a present pic today. So there. Na-ner Na-ner.

Lets ease into this week with your first challenge, JOIN ME! See that cute little button that says “follow” on the bottom of the screen? All you have to do is enter your email… no payments, no rights to your first born, no advertisements, just an address that can be notified when a new post has been published. Then you can comment, ask questions and help me pleasantly plow through this chapter of life. I thank you in advance!

Categories: Baby Talk, Fitness, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Why this post took a month to write…

In the last article called Welcome to the world Shanti Mae, I ended with “Next up, surviving the first week with a newborn!”

Ha. Ha. Ha. How cute I was thinking I’d have all the time in the world to describe (with pictures) the glory of having a new little human in our home. A small adorable creature that is solely dependent on us for every… single… thing except taking her every breath.

Here she is all bundled up (clearly thrilled) with Daddy ready to leave the birthing center and come home with us.

Well, a few weeks later I’m finally sitting down with one eye open, one hand typing (photo bellow is the current situation) and enough energy to throw together this post.Let’s talk about Sleep (or lack there of) – a well known sacrifice of a new parent. Inexperience had me assuming it’d be the crying that would steal our precious Z’s, however that’s been the least of the causes!

Reasons that new parents look and live in zombie status for the first month:

Breastfeeding I will start by saying I fully understand that this is a choice. I have chosen to exclusively breastfeed with no bottles to substitute in between. Yes, I pump for future needs or emergencies, but baby only gets the boob… for now. This means no matter what time of day, no matter how many hours or minutes I’ve closed my eyes, when it’s eatin time, I’m awake. For those of you that don’t know, most newborns eat about every 2-3 hours unless of course they’re cluster feeding in which they want to feed several sessions in that span of time.

Getting things done- They say “sleep when they sleep”. What!? You finally have both arms free! House chores, emails, hair clients, food prep, maybe even a shower! You haul tail to get as much done as possible before their sweet little eyes open again.

Time with your partner- I’m not even hinting about sexy time. I’m talking about Netflix, dinner at a table with utensils and plates, a game of cards… fill in the blank with what used to be so easy to do together. So when the baby finally sleeps and it’s you two alone, the last thing you want to do is sleep and miss out on an hour of connection. #Truth- we usually end up falling asleep no matter what we attempt to do.

Visitors We’ve been so fortunate to be surrounded by friends and family that adore our little one. I’m aware not every person gets to experience this kind of affection and support and for this we are truly grateful. With that said, there hasn’t been a day (literally) since we got home that we didn’t have someone come over or “swing by”. Again, I LOVE the love and would rather have this than the latter, however it still requires our attention, aka to be awake.

Watching their chest move- So your chores are done, nobody is visiting, hubbies at work, baby is fed and sleeping and you’re thinking you can finally rest… so you think. You lay down with them in perfect site and close your eyes with the intention of sleeping. Jokes on you! There’s an involuntary maternal reflex that bounces your eyes open every 8-10 minutes to make sure they’re still bundled and breathing. So although you may be horizontal and not fully awake, you’re far from sleeping.

I’ll give you one guess on who’s getting all the sleep around here…

… with animated dreams included!

I’ll leave you with a short clip of Matts go-to way of calming her down. Oh how I love this man!

Categories: Baby Talk, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Welcome to the world Shanti Mae!

Before now, my personal experience with labor and delivery hadn’t really extended beyond hearing “She had the baby, it was a boy!” Or “It was a tough delivery, but mom and baby girl are doing just fine”. Of course I understood that a stork didn’t just swing by and drop them a newborn child, but the comprehension of what a woman must endure to be able to make the special announcement was beyond me.

You can google birthing documentaries or watch You Tube videos and you’ll hear such a variety of experiences. I was once told by one of my hair clients, “I’d be pregnant forever if I just didn’t have to deliver them, while her sister standing next to her said, I’d deliver 10 more if I just didn’t have to be pregnant again.” Proving the extreme differences in this miracle of a journey.

If you’re more keen to watch our week long adventure Click Here for the video!

This is our birthing story.

Waddling into my last days of the pregnancy, I had full intentions of going into labor naturally and arriving to the birthing center with no expectations. I went to my doctors a few days prior to my due date to hear some news I wasn’t expecting. I was aware that when a mother is over 35 years old, they label her as “advanced maternal age”, meaning medically too old, wrinkly, elderly and brittle to have a non risk pregnancy (enter eyes rolling here). What I didn’t know is that they rarely like an older woman to go over her due date as it increases the chance of a high risk labor resulting in still birth (baby who has died in the womb). As a person who generally lives a natural lifestyle with little to no western medicine, I struggled with the idea of forcing something that would eventually happen on its own. I was nervous about it but I feel they all truly had our best intentions in mind, inducing was the safest route.

I’ll have to admit that starting at 38 weeks I had fun with old wives tales to encourage an on time delivery, if not a little early. I figured naturally trying to induce would be much better than medically induced. I ate my fair share of pineapple and dates, drank gallons of red raspberry leaf tea, enjoyed plenty of “quality time” with Matt, rubbed essential oils on certain pressure point and even went as far as taking a shot of good ol castor oil. There’s a possibility that all of these things contributed to me dilating to 2 with 80% effacement, but still not enough to send me into labor.

Here’s Matt prepping to paint my toes after the pressure point ankle massage. #besthusbandever

After a lot of thought and discussion, we decided to go past my due date with hopes she’d come first, but keep the induction date the doctor booked as a back up. Time came and gone so we found ourselves packing up for a midnight inducement at the Sacred Heart Birthing Center.

I feel like I could write an entire book on what the next 24 hours entailed, but I’ll let the video show you those details.

Midnight to 1am- paperwork, room organization and me changing into my gown.

1:00 am – They gave me Cytotec, a drug that’s used as a ripening agent to soften the cervix. At this point I was barely 2cm and feeling random dull contractions.

1-5:00 am – I laid in bed, eyes closed with my mind wide open.

5:15 am – They checked again and I was at 3cm still with minimal contractions.

6:00 am – Started the Oxytocin (Aka “Pitocin” – causes and/or strengthens labor contractions during childbirth).

Here’s a fake smile while working through a small contraction.

7:15 amAn amniotomy was performed (rupturing of the water sac) in hopes of strengthening contractions and speeding up labor. Not fun… at all.

8:00 am – With the Pitocin and amniotomy combination I had dilated to 5cm and this is when I went from slightly uncomfortable, to on my hands and knees. I was now breathing through what seemed to be an almost intolerable series of contractions. I had no time to recover between each uterus stabbing pain and only had the ability to catch just enough air to prevent me from passing out.8-1:30pm – for over 5 hours I endured these Pitocin induced contractions and watched in horror every time the nurse would come in to increase the dosage. I did my best to change positions, relax my face and breath to the deepest of my core in order to make it through.

1:30 pm – The nurses informed me that because the contractions were so close together with much intensity, that an epidural may benefit the situation. An epidural is a type of anesthesia that doctors give you to numb your spinal nerves and prevent pain signals from traveling to your brain. They said it’d invite my body to relax and allow for more dilation as well as provide me with rest before the pushing began…

…I declined.

1:32 pm – I asked for the epidural.

1:45-9:45 pm – For the following 8 hours I was bound to the bed due to the numbing in my lower half. Everyone watched a movie as I closed my eyes for small moments at a time and I was finally able to express what I was feeling without reaching for a breath. Although I like to do things naturally, I have to admit, this was wonderful. Well, all was wonderful except the one side effect I had NO idea was even a possibility. Uncontrollable shaking. Like when you get a chill and your teeth chatter, except this was throughout my entire upper body, jaw to core and down my arms. My amazing husband and mother took turns attempting to calm the shake or at least provide relief by rubbing my joints. It wasn’t so much painful, but exhausting! My muscular structure felt like I had been running a marathon for hours.

9:45-10:45 pm– The time had finally come and the room was getting ready. My doctor was on her way and the nurses started to prep the area for delivery. I was still shaking so you can imagine us trying to keep me warm with layers of blankets and rubbing techniques. Little did we know this was a mistake. I’m not quite sure if the covers were totally to blame, but at this point I had acquired a high fever. Adults can handle big temperatures but think of my little oven overheating and what it can do to the unborn baby. Although the staff didn’t seem too worried, there was definitely a shift in energy when the fever continued to climb.

10:45-11:07pm – Go time! Legs spread eagle, no shame… my husband was on my left, mom on my right and Dr. Ellen Esses directly in my forward vision. My best friend Katie and Matts mom Terri were also there in support with cameras in hand.

I had always heard of other women’s stories describing lengthily pushing episodes extending hours into weariness, babies getting stuck in the canal and other unattractive things during the delivery. I did my best to push these concerns far from my reality and focus on my journey, the present moment. I was so pleasantly surprised when only 15 minutes into pushing the doctor called the team in for our little girls arrival.

11:08 pm – Only 20 minutes after my first push, they were placing her in front of me. Overwhelmed and almost in disbelief, there I was, looking into the eyes of our daughter.

As soon as it was cleared that Shanti was healthy (although born with a fever, it dropped on its own) I asked everybody, excluding staff, to clear the room except me and Matt. This was our time to bond as a new family, to surround our little girl with the welcoming peaceful energy that we’ll carry home with us. It was priceless to lay in my husbands arms, yes he climbed into the tiny hospital bed with me, while holding Shanti Mae on my chest.

Next up, surviving the first week with a newborn!

I invite you to click the link below to watch our entertaining and personal experience!

Birth week Vlog – SHE IS COMING DOWN AND OUT!!

Categories: Baby Talk, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Reindeer headbands and Ginger bread castles

So Christmas has come and gone and I’m sitting here in my pajamas on New Years Eve just days away of delivering our little girl. If you would of told me this was my future, I would of never believed you… and I wouldn’t trade it for the world!

Lets enjoy a quick recap of the holiday spent beach side in our new place of residence in the panhandle of Florida.

You’ll definitely recognize my bright smiling mom, especially because this isn’t the first Christmas we’ve spent together right here in Florida! To reminisce of that hilarious 2013 holiday, click here! This year we attended a fabulous Christmas party… isn’t she the most beautiful date ever!

Christmas Eve was spent laughing over games and nibbling on tasty munchies… in reindeer horns and winter hats of course.

Christmas Day was spent with Matt’s family including his grandparents that were in town from Louisiana!

I’m sad to say we didn’t grab any pictures with his mom, however she got some awesome shots of our ever so amazing ginger bread houses. I’ll give you one guess on who’s is who. Hint, someone even had a picture on the box to try and duplicate… did he have success or create an epic fail?

How does one burn off a few of the holiday calories? A beach walk! For extra cardio, bring a board!

Well that wraps up our holiday and before I close the post, I want to share a small thought on one of the lessons that 2018 brought me.

To surrender.

Webster dictionary says – Surrender: to give oneself up into the power of another.

The definition I’m speaking of is more in regards of putting your energy towards something beneficial rather than battling situations out of your control… to surrender.

The lesson that was overwhelming to me this season came through my pregnancy. Body image, for example, growth in unexpected places, softening in others and a whole lot of exhaustion that I was not used too. In the beginning of this journey I was determined to fight all of these things as if I was going to win some superwoman award at the end. So my energy was spent striving for unattainable feelings, when I could of surrendered to the beautiful changes and embraced the incredible transformation. Thankfully I have a bundle of extraordinary people that surround me and so gently guided me back to my best… being humble yet confident and happy within that exudes throughout.

As this year comes to an end, I invite you to take an honest look at your battles and sincerely ask yourself if they’re worth swimming upstream for or is there a way you can rotate to float comfortably down stream and trust that all will workout the way it’s supposed to. What a relief to surrender in faith that it’s all going to be ok.

That’s all I have for now and I hope it reaches exactly who it’s supposed at this very moment. Happiness and self love to you all!

This photo was taken Christmas Day. I am one lucky woman to be serenaded by my barefoot, beach loving husband on a daily. (He’s actually playing right now as I write this post).

Categories: Baby Talk, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Blog at WordPress.com.