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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!

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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!!

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7 years ago today…

What were you doing on this exact date 7 years ago? I was zipping up my backpack to load up before my mom dropped me off at the Sacramento airport for the first day of an unpredictable journey around the world. I can recall having no fear or at least no hesitation in the adventure I was about to embark on. Just excitement and a new found enthusiasm for life!

As each year unfolded and my passport filled to the rim (with about 80 stamps!) I encountered new friends, adopted cultural traditions and continued to allow my mind to expand. Sometimes it’s surreal when I look back on the photos as it usually feels like I’m talking about someone else from a book I read or movie I saw. If you want to see a clear layout with links of my first exciting year on the road, take a look at the 2012 archives!

I was going to make this post about some of my favorites from around the world, cuisine, music, architecture, etc. but as I began to write I felt more drawn to explore what kind of lessons I gathered from a variety of places. Could be that I’m 9 months pregnant and my sensitive hormones are on high, or simply because I’ve never really stopped to ask myself such a question.

So Erika, where did you learn some significant lessons and how did you walk away from it a better person?

PERU – Although I visited several different cities throughout the country, a little village has always stood out to me. I rarely go back to a place I’ve been, but the magnetic pull was too strong for me to ignore in Huambutio. I was invited to volunteer there in a variety of things from teaching English to painting walls, cooking and even to coach gymnastics.

The lesson here was simple, appreciation for the simple things.

Sounds obvious or cliche, but there were a few events that triggered this conscious thought. First was the toothpaste. We taught the kids how to make their own toothpaste (that they got to take home) and the importance of dental health. The enthusiasm and gratitude they showed was outstanding! Something we may all take for granted or even see as a thoughtless item we look for on sale at Target, but these children guarded their portion like it was gold. Makes me wonder if they had ever used any… ever. Next was meal time. The children’s breakfast everyday was 1/2 of a hard boiled egg with a scoop of plain oatmeal (not your Starbucks brown sugar, toasted nut and cranberry shenanigans, but warm oats and water). We would divide an apple into 1/8 slices in order for everyone to get a bite as a snack and occasionally got to accompany it with a few pieces of toasted corn. Lunch and dinner was whatever we picked that day from the garden. A clear memory I have was the evening they said we were goin to make corn bread. Now, I was aware enough to not aimlessly look for a box of ready make Betty Crocker, but I was on the scout for cornmeal and the rest of the ingredients. I can’t remember how long they let me look before informing me that we actually have to go pick the corn to start the process. After I was done blushing, off to the garden we went! An experience that made every bite of that bread savored as if we had spent hours preparing it… because we did!

I suppose all of this hit me harder than I was expecting when I flew out of Peru into the states to visit family. My first stop was Dallas, Texas… home of everything huge! I had my apple bits, a few nuts and some cash to get me buy as I plopped down in the food court during my layover at the airport. A family sat next to me who didn’t go out of their way to be discreet. The children were clearly mad at the toy they got in the happy meal, a meal that they didn’t want to finish for whatever reason. After fits and French fries on the floor, the meals went into the garbage. I’m not claiming that we need to starve to appreciate fullness, or go without toothpaste to love a good sale at Target. I will admit however, that I may have judged this situation in the moment, but looking back now it was an opportunity that invited me to reflect on my own behavior. Had I carelessly disposed of food that could of been leftovers or compost? How many times did I complain, especially as a child, about the items in front of me with no gratitude that I even had options!?

Moving from food to activity, we ventured to the outdoor area and I was pleasantly surprised at the creative use of items that would typically land in the trash. Used plastic containers, snack wrappers, laundry bottles, juice boxes, warm out shoes and more. I loved it!

This experience as a whole opened a new part of my character to this day (even ask those close to me), it’s left me very aware of waste, unnecessary abundance and a love for keeping things simple. I am that weirdo that has 1/4 of an apple in my fridge with full intentions of eating it. I order a to-go box with my meal whenever we enjoy the luxury of eating out. I choose not to go to Costco and buy a village sized pack of paper plates on sale because I “might” need them someday. By no means am I claiming some sort of award winning lifestyle, just sharing the lesson that 7 years later still sticks in my everyday existence. And now with a little girl due any day, I hope to carry this in our family and raise a grateful human that appreciates her surroundings and has gratitude for our simple luxuries.

Categories: Accommodations, Edibles!, Travel talk, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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).

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Homemade Kahlúa!

It’s one of my favorite unique gifts to provide during the holiday season. Great for family, friends, neighbors, work partners and my personal favorite, the wrapped gift for a white elephant game!

If you want to get fancy with a long list of ingredients and a lengthy process, I suggest going online and searching recipes. However here, you’ll find a simple list of 4 items and easy approach that’ll make a quality liqueur you’ll be proud to share!

Ingredients:

1 1/2 Cups – Your favorite vodka! (only 1 cup if you want it less strong)

1 1/2cup – Richly roasted dark coffee (I use locally roasted beans)

1 1/2 Cups – Organic cane sugar (use up to 2 cups if you like sweeter)

2 Tablespoons – Organic Vanilla extract (I use Madagascar Vanilla for a rich flavor)

Step 1. Brew your strong coffee.

Step 2. Add the sugar while your coffee is still hot. Stir until sugar is dissolved then add the vanilla.

Step 3. Let cool to to room temperature before adding the vodka.

Step 4. Funnel into a large container (I love using mason jars) so it can marinate as long a you need it to before distributing into adorable bottles that seal. While your masterpiece is developing into beautiful flavors, feel free to create artistic labels. If you’re gifting it, selling it or keeping it, labels just make it seem to take it up a notch. I like to use non adhesive tags so my recipients can re-use the bottle for something different once it’s empty.

So there you have it, a simple and delicious way to spread some love to those around you! I like to let mine sit for at least 48 hours before distributing, however if you’re in “need now” crisis, feel free to enjoy immediately!

Just in case you’ve never experienced the splendor of a coffee liqueur, here are some tasty ways to enjoy your new bottle in the cabinet!

-mix with milk over ice (and a splash more vodka if you want an extra kick!)

-freeze to make cubes and drop in, well, any beverage! Whiskey, chocolate milk, etc.

-top over ice cream

-use with coffee and creamer

-layer in a shot glass starting with Kahlúa, then Baileys and topped with triple sec

-splash with hot cocoa and top with whipped cream

-throw it in a blender with cream, ice, whipped flavored vodka

-add to recipes! Tiramisu, brownies, cheesecake, coffee cake, truffles, cupcakes, cookies, pie, fudge, frozen yogurt… you get it!

Disclaimer: I didn’t make any of the recipes below nor did I take any of the photos. I just want to show you a few of the several variations this delightful drink can provide.

Although most of the ingredients can be purchased at your local grocery store, here are two links to the non-edible items from above.

Glass Flip-top Bottles

Labels with twine

Enjoy! Eat, drink and be Merry!

Categories: Art, Edibles!, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The most selfies I’ve ever taken…ever.

So I never thought I’d be the first time mom-to-be taking weekly photos of my growing belly. In fact, I refused until I was in my second trimester and finally caved in to the family members who kept requesting updates. Apparently “I feel great!” wasn’t cutting it.

So here we go, the amazing transition the human body is capable of doing without any conscious effort on our part. Call it what you want, but I think it’s incredible!

*the first photo is 21 weeks & the last is current at 36 weeks!

I’ve been fortunate to get friendly comments from strangers and family (so far) verses what others have experienced. I recently read a post of a woman who’s 8 months pregnant and is constantly getting comments referring to how huge she is, how uncomfortable she must be and the ultimate, “you look really tired!”.

I don’t think these types of thoughtless phrases are meant to hurt feelings, but it seems some people forget that, not only are pregnant women still human, they’re also full of hormones! These super-women possibly have been throwing up all day and finally made it to the store. Maybe they’re suffering with excruciating ligament pain, hemorrhoids, sore back or are simply sick of being kicked in the crotch by their sweet bundle of joy. Please take these things into consideration before dropping “are you sure it’s not twins!?” or “you look exhausted”.

Back to the pregnant woman’s post… the best part… dozens of ladies showed their support with how they’ve responded after being fed up with the inconsiderate comments. Some of these are hilarious!

-“I know, right… it was a lot smaller going in!”

-“Yeah, pretty soon we can share clothes”.

-“Holy sh*t, I’m pregnant?!”

-“I AM big, it’s like I’m growing a freakin human in there or something!”

-“Pregnant, who’s pregnant? Congratulations!”

-Suddenly act like you’ve been caught shoplifting… be hysterical… then promise to put it back if they don’t tell on you. Lol!

-“Oh that, it’s just a pillow”.

-“I’m pregnant, what’s your excuse?”

-“Me, no I’m not pregnant”.

-“Funny you mention appearance, has anyone told you that your boobs have started to sag?”

-“Twinsie’s!” Then rub and pat their belly.

-“Look how big you’re getting stops being a compliment at age 6″

-“Hmm, seems I must feel better than I look. Thank you”.

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

You know you’re pregnant when…

I’m hoping this little post will bring a smile to mothers-to-be, fathers-to-be and to all that have already been there and done that… even to anyone that’s been around a woman expecting a child, I’m sure you can relate!

Photo credit to my amazing husband Matt who snapped the shot on our morning beach walk.

You know you’re pregnant when…

-you sit down to fold the laundry and wake up two hours later laying on your pile of clean clothes.

-you eat a 5 course meal at 6p and go to bed at 9p starving like you haven’t eaten in days!

-you can no longer trust a sneeze.

-full sentences come out of your mouth backwards and only make sense in your head.

-you can sleep anywhere at anytime… except at night… in bed.

-you have no hesitation in itching your belly like a bear out of hibernation.

-crying and laughing are common actions, often done at the same time.

-getting up at 3am to devour fruit is your new norm.

-common vocabulary has completely escaped your brain.

-your boobs are so sore when you wake up, you have to carry them to the shower.

-you suddenly want rare little pets; finger monkey, baby goat, mini pig, etc.

-you have every local public restroom (and their cleanliness) located and memorized.

-you can sniff out a scent that would put a hound dog to shame.

-you find yourself crying for 20 minutes watching facebook baby delivery videos.

-your floors are cleaner than normal because your belly catches it all.

-taking a nap in your car before you go into the store is a true consideration.

-you drive 45 min to get your favorite meal from that special place then give it to your husband because it doesn’t sound good anymore.

-the ankle portion where the foot attaches to the leg is no longer existent.

-being naked is more fun than trying to find something that fits.

-you can relate to a turtle stuck on its back.

-you go from stuffed to starving in seconds.

-you’d forget your own head if it wasn’t attached.

-strangers are extra polite to you.

-you never leave the house without a drink and snack… just in case.

-running 5 miles used to be easy and now going up a flight of stairs leaves you out of breath.

-you literally have to roll out of bed to pee for the 3rd time at night.

-you refuse to wear any shoes that require snapping, zipping, buckling or laces.

-it’s 40 degrees outside, the heater is off, the windows are open and you’re still hot!

-you’re walking on the treadmill at 3mph and the gym security guard asks if you’re ok.

-you use your mid-section as an eating surface.

-walking becomes more of a side to side motion than a forward movement.

-whenever you drop something, you just walk away.

You know your girl is pregnant when…

-you order extra french fries because you know she’ll eat some even though she “doesn’t want any”.

-you quickly learn that waking her up for any reason at all besides the house being on fire will result in laser beams shooting from her eyes and/or instant tears.

-for the first time, her gas over power yours.

– you thought she left for the store an hour ago but find her sleeping upstairs with the keys in her hand.

-you spend $18 at the gas station… on snacks.

-it becomes second nature to give her a boost when she attempts to get off the couch.

-she can smell what the neighbors are cooking for dinner, what soap you washed your hands with and sniffed the fact you had tacos for lunch.

-your back starts to ache from always picking up everything from the floor that she can no longer reach.

-your plate is no longer yours, but a stand-by back up for her.

you are now crying at mushy movies and blame the pregnancy.

-coming home without the frozen yogurt you suggested is a death wish.

-you finally don’t get smacked for playing with her belly.

-snuggles become mandatory after 8pm.

… and Matt added

-your respect for her grows farther than you thought it could.

-she looks more beautiful than she ever has.

-looking into her eyes, you can see she has grown deeper as a person.

Thank you to all that pitched in to make this list happen! Have something to add? Put it in the comments and I’ll add it to the post!

Now just for giggles!

Categories: Baby Talk, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

We’re all caught up!

So I’ve wrapped up over a year of this journey in a just a hand full of posts, this one being the last. From this point forward, each article will be present and more detailed while focusing on current situations, thoughts and experiences.

With that said, let’s finish up!

Halloween! I didn’t know what to dress up as since I had this beautiful bump to use as an additional prop. Usually I’m all about DIY costumes and being creative to the fullest but this year I settled for a pre-made outfit that seemed fitting. Why? Because any woman who has surrendered to the physical and emotional changes of carrying a child in her womb should be considering a super hero. So on this holiday, I embraced it!

…and this superwoman works best with a superhero partner by her side!Props to Matt for being brave enough to let me do whatever I want to his hair and super props to me for rockin it out!Thanksgiving was calm and peaceful, full of happy family laughter. Mom, Matt and I went out for brunch (shame on us, we didn’t take a picture!) but had a wonderful time that didn’t include cooking or cleaning, so nice! After that, Matt and I went to his moms house and had dinner there with her family (you can recall them from the post Visitors, a dozen of them!)

After Thanksgiving, Matts mom requested help putting up the beach themed Christmas tree. The colors were so delicate with sand tones and soft ocean blues. The little black poodle in the photo below is the family mascot, Gracie. Clearly she approved of our decor!So that’s it folks, we’re all caught up to the present day and now we can explore the humor of pregnancy, the joy of the holidays and everything in between!

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Shanti’s final baby shower!

Once I got back to Florida for the long stay, my mom threw me an intimate baby shower that had all of my favorite childhood food, a “mom-mosa bar” and a group of amazing women.

Planning it and setting up with her was just as memorable as the actual day of celebration. I’ll hold back the details of our hilarious moments considering none would be as funny as they were in the moment, but here’s the final set up before the guests arrived!

Games, gifts, hugs and love… everything was perfect and all one could wish for!

Thank you to all of the women who took time to come and celebrate this new beautiful life about to meet the world. A special thanks to my mom… all of your thought, effort and attention to detail made this event exactly what it was!

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16 flights, 4 states and a lot of love

Just as quickly as we arrived to our new place of residence, I was packing up to fly back to California for a round of hair for my loyal clients. This trip was a mother-daughter adventure and was packed full of work, food, work, a day out and more work. It was also my little ones first airplane ride!

Without exaggerating, we were in the salon 11 of the 13 days we were in California. My hands were in hair and mom was taking care of everything else for me, such a help! One day we were off early enough to check out one of our old favorite sushi restaurants, Mikunis!

With over 70 salon clients completed and a beautiful bride happy with her hair, we were on the flight back to Florida.

Upon landing back home, I didn’t put my suitcase away since just a month later I was headed back to California! This time with Matt to do a few more weddings and one last round of hair for my clients.

#PregnantGirlWithASkateboard

My dear friends Sandy and Cheryl put on a baby shower for us which was such a sweet surprise surrounding us with so much love and excitement! Tons of hair, 2 weddings and a flight back home puts us back in Florida and into October. Believe it or not, 6 days later I hopped another flight to head to Oklahoma and Arkansas for one last visit to my fathers family before our little girl meets the world.

Oklahoma was peaceful and full of family time which I value so much. If you’re new to this blog, feel free to look back on the older post, New found higher love or Hot with a 92% chance of muggy to get more of an understanding of these precious kids!

While in Oklahoma, my fathers amazing wife threw me a baby shower which was filled with so much love!

Fun and crazy fact, if you were to take the women (about a dozen) at this shower and added up the total amount of children they’ve had combined… it rounds out at 50!

After Oklahoma, my brother Ben and sister Hannah drove me to Arkansas where I got to spend about a week with my dear cousins. Road trip!

Arkansas was wonderful as always and ended with a fun photo to capture my best friend (cousin) and I with our role reversal. These pictures were taken 7 years apart!On my flight back home I realized that our little girl has been on 16 flights since being created and she’s not even born yet! Hopefully this is preparing her for the beautiful journey ahead.

Finally landed back in Florida with my babé where we’ll stay until Shanti Mae is born!

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