Saturday, June 02, 2012

Elliot Marie Alexander

We are so excited to announce the birth of our little honeybear: Elliot Marie Alexander.
Words can't describe the feelings and excitement and complete joy we felt when Elliot was born, but I'll still try.

At our last appointment, on May 22nd, we had a sonogram to check the amniotic fluid levels and development. The ultrasound tech couldn't get a consistent 30-second interval of the baby breathing/practicing breathing, so we had to do a non-stress test. Our first and only, but still, 20 minutes of a bit of nervousness.

After all was confirmed everything was A-OK, we scheduled an induction for Monday, May 28th, Memorial Day - 8am. Okay! Go time!

Saturday we went on a date, enjoyed the last few meals as a family of two, and just hung out.

{ I should note that I'm a total procrastinator, but I'm chalking it up to just me being laid-back: I didn't pack a hospital bag ahead of time. }

That night {May 26th} the hospital called me and said they don't really do this, but they'd like to move my induction date up. Um...what? They could get me in tomorrow and not 36 hours from now. After my brain registered what was being said, I asked what time they'd like me to be there. 6:30 in the morning. As in, 8 hours from now. As in, I'm going to have a baby tomorrow!

As soon as I hung up I told Ryan  {he'd been in the other room doing something else} and we kicked it into high gear; I loaded the dishwasher, tossed clothes in the washing machine/dryer, packed a bag, vacuumed, etc.

I got into bed around 1am and couldn't get to sleep. It was like I was 9 years old and it was the day before my birthday! SO MUCH EXCITEMENT that my brain couldn't calm down. {I wasn't going to tell anyone that night, but I texted my oldest sister and let her in on our secret! Told her 'mum's the word'}

We got up, showered, ate, and left the house at 6:23am. We parked, unloaded our crud, took this last picture of our family of 2, and walked into Labor & Delivery at 6:29am. It's very convenient to live a mere 2 miles from the hospital.

The nurse got my IV line in, they checked me again {still dilated to a 3 and 70% effaced} and got pitocin started around 7am. My awesome doctor came in {another reason to be induced - she was leaving the practice on May 31st and this was her last weekend on call. She'd been on this journey with us for over 3 years and I wanted her to be the one to deliver our little miracle.}

Everything was hunky-dory for a couple of hours. Ryan and I watched a few tv episodes, I tried getting a little sleep, and so forth. Around 10am I sent Ryan home to check on the dog, see if the fencing guys needed anything {oh, yeah, they were finishing our fence today!} and grab food. Of course, this is when the contractions started getting to the point where I wanted pain meds. The nurse just gave me a short-lasting drug..can't remember the name at the moment..and said it might make me a little sleepy and woozy. Uh, yeah, it made me sleepier but also very weepy. I sat in bed and cried for 30 minutes. If I thought about anything baby-related, tears of gratitude and joy would spring from my eyes. It was uncontrollable. I also texted my family and Ryan texted his {his parents were in Scotland at the time} and they told us to keep them up to date on the progress.

Ryan got back around 10:45am and we watched a few more episodes of a TV show we'd brought with us and then I started having a TON of painful contractions. I was huffing and puffing through them, trying to breathe through the pain. I tried pressure points, relaxing and so forth. At noon I was getting to the point where the contractions were making things really uncomfortable but I trudged on. By 1pm, I was asking for an epidural.

The epidural wasn't administered until 2pm. Had I known it would take an hour and I'd be writhing in pain for that hour, I would have asked for it earlier. I think if I wasn't on pitocin, I would have been fine. The contractions were tolerable except for the fact that they were non-stop and I didn't have a break between the pain. They took over my whole body and I didn't want to move. If I moved, I inevitably made it worse, which would elicit a swear word. There were a few doozies. The nurse wanted to check me before my epidural but I told her if she touched me I wouldn't be able to be nice to her. She obliged.

The anesthesiologist got the line in {it didn't hurt AT ALL!} and my left side started relaxing but I could still feel contractions on my right side. He gave me two options (his name was Dr. Friesen and was very nice): he could redo the line or he could just up the meds, possibly making my left side more numb for longer than my right side. Up the drugs, por favor! It was weird feeling the pain in half of my uterus but not the other. I'd have rather felt none, but, you know...there was a baby in there wanting to get out!
The baby's heartrate dropped significantly after they gave me the epidural, which, I didn't realize until afterward. In a matter of a minute, the nurse had Ryan push the call button/emergency button behind my bed and 3 other nurses came into the room. They put an oxygen mask on me, put an internal fetal monitor on the baby, and made sure the baby's heartbeat became stable in a short time. Ryan later told me he was a bit freaked out on the inside when that happened. I, on the other hand, was cracking jokes and oblivious to the situation.
The nurse checked me as soon as the epidural took effect on both sides. I was at a 6/7! Huzzah! Dr. Minderman came in and checked me, too, confirmed I was at a 6/7 and said they'd do another check in twenty minutes (standard procedure). The fetal monitor beeped so they adjusted that, and while the nurse was in my bid-nass, checked me again and said I was closer to a 7/8 not a 6/7. Sweet! It was probably about 3pm at this point and only 5 minutes after Dr. Minderman left. She'd be back in about 15 minutes, mind you.
Those 15 minutes flew by. I called my mom and dad, let them know where I was at, texted my sister (the majority of my family was at my mom and dad's house for Memorial Day weekend) and before I knew it, I was being checked again. NINE! WHAT?! A 6 to a 9 in about 20 minutes. My nurse made a few calls, told me a few people would be coming in to get things ready and ask me a few questions and gave me a run-down of what to expect in the next 30-45 minutes. Oh, and it was almost time to push.
After the nursery nurse prepped the warmer and incubator, checked the scale, turned everything on where it needed to be, another nurse came in and prepped Dr. Minderman's tools and prepped me the rest of the way. Giving birth is so undignified, by the way. Be prepared to leave all modesty by the wayside. You'll pick it up again in the hallway from the delivery room to post-partum/recovery room.
My nurse came back in, had me push a bit to get things going (I think it's to stretch you more?) and then actually told me to stop so she could run and get Dr. Minderman because it was go-time!

After 3 sets of pushes and about 45 minutes, we had a sweet little baby! We could hear the crying and I could see a sweet little face before I knew if I had a son or a daughter. After what seemed like an eternity (in reality it was probably 20 seconds) I asked if it was a boy or a girl and Dr. Minderman turned the little pinkish-blue bundle around, moved the umbilical cord, and I looked at Ryan and exclaimed, 'We have a girl!"
{okay, now that I'm thinking about it, I could have said, we have a daughter. I was drugged. Things are a bit hazy now} and we both had tears in our eyes. Mine were streaming from my eyes down the rest of my face.
7 lbs, 20.5 inches, born at 4:33pm on May 27th

I held her and kissed her and kissed her again and called her Gemma. It didn't feel right. I quickly said, no, she's Elliot Marie. Since Ryan and I had been disagreeing on names/spellings during the last few hours, I looked to him for approval and he said I could name her whatever I wanted and that Elliot was perfect.
They weighed her, measured her, and cleaned her off and bundled her up. I asked to have her so I could have her on my chest and see if she'd nurse right away. Of course, perfect as she is, she did.
I felt a twinge of guilt that I was hogging her so I gave her to Ryan for a few minutes so I could call my family and let them know they had a new granddaughter/niece. Finding out this way was awesome. I highly recommend waiting! The anticipation makes your meeting that much sweeter!
Here's her first picture with her daddy. Isn't he the handsomest new dad! One VERY proud papa!

They took her to the nursery to run the standard newborn tests, daddy went with, and I got some rest and was cleaned up and put back together. Because I progressed so quickly from a 6 to a 9, there were quite a few stitches needed. Yikes. That's the awful part of childbirth that no one tells you about. I feel like someone should have warned me!
But look at this sweet face. This was Monday in the hospital.

We texted our friends and then made a public announcement: Today seemed like a good day to have a baby, so I did. Happy Birthday, little girl.
My good, sweet friend, Alicia, was almost just as happy as we were and asked if she could come to the hospital that night and offered to take some pictures. OF COURSE! This girl is amazing, by the way. She's like my right arm when I need something done. She came to the hospital around 10pm and took a few pictures of our sweetest little bundle.
And then, because she's fabulous (I warned you, right?) she came back the next day armed with a glue gun and supplies to make my little sweetheart some headbands. We can't have a little girl without a few headbands, now can we? No, we cannot.

Exhausted and happy, we all slept a little sweeter and perhaps a little less that night. Family and friends came to the hospital the next night and met our little Elliot. 
After finally experiencing childbirth and the hospital stay, I know I should visit my friends who have babies during the day. We were a little bored, even with the tv shows and movies we brought to watch.
My parents drove from Arizona and arrived late Monday night and met their newest grandbaby and doted on her accordingly.

We loved our stay at the hospital and milked it for all it was worth. The most expensive and most pampered 'hotel' I'll ever stay at. We were sad to leave, actually. What no one tells you is that the euphoria wears off enough as the need for sleep overcomes your body JUST as they send you home with a new little baby who needs you and your body is still in shock and recovering from a major trauma! But, I wouldn't have it any other way.

Life is perfect.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Bumpdate - Weeks 40 and 41!

Well, I made it to my due date. I've been furiously working on the nursery in my spare time and decided to call-in-pregnant to work on Friday the 18th. {Thank you, PRA, for 4 weeks of annual leave.} My maternity leave officially started on my due date, May 21st, which came and went without a baby in sight. 

At my OB appointment on Tuesday, I was dilated to a 3 {hooray!} but still only 50% effaced. Which, if you aren't in the motherly way or haven't been, when you're at 100% effaced you're ready to deliver. So, I had my membranes stripped and was sent on my way with an induction date scheduled for Monday, May 28th - Memorial Day. I'm hoping this baby gets here before then!
Here's a picture of me in the nursery {still in progress} at 40 weeks!

 In the meantime, we've been getting a fence put up in our backyard. These two guys have been awesome! This is after the first day. They came back again to put cement in the holes and now it's just drying. By next week we'll have a brand new {expensive} fence! I'm so excited! I'll have to get pictures when it's finished.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Bumpdate - Almost 37 Weeks!

I can hardly believe this baby is almost here! And just in time...I'm just now getting uncomfortably pregnant. The complaints of other moms of swollen feet and sleepless nights eluded me until about 35 1/2 weeks when I started not sleeping well. Not only can I not get to sleep easily, but I can't stay asleep. It's a total energy drain!

{at 36 weeks}
BUT - I really shouldn't complain. I've had such an easy pregnancy, in my opinion. I've loved having this kidlet cozy and snug inside and kicking me throughout the day. It just makes me wonder: are you going to be this feisty once you're here? Are you like your mama and love sleep or are you going to be a night owl like your pops? If you're like your daddy, he'll be having the night shift. Unquestionably.

I've spent most of my evenings after work busily working on projects that need to be finished in the next couple of weeks. Namely, places to put clothes for this baby!

I am 95% finished with the dresser. I decided to go with a distressed finish after the nice, smooth and seamless paint process didn't turn out as expected. I learned much too late that I should have been using a high density foam brush the whole time instead of a paintbrush, even though I've used both this paint and paintbrush on the trim in the house and it's turned out exactly as I'd hoped, the wood on the dresser...well, it just didn't. 

I'll take better pictures, but here's one in awful lighting that I've tried to compensate for with editing. The 5% left is the need to use a straight edge to scrape the paint off the mirror and get a wipe-on polycrylic/sealant to make sure it doesn't get TOO distressed. 

Oh! this is the BEFORE of the dresser next to the after. 

And placement. The queen-sized-most-comfortable-ever-guest-bed is causing me grief. I want it to be turned sideways à la day bed, but it doesn't work with the headboard/bedframe. I think we've figured out how to inexpensively remedy that, but it has yet to be done.  {Just hang in there for 2 more weeks, kiddo!} 

So, once that's done, I'll move the dresser around the room to figure out where it can go. Too close to the closet and the modern style of the crib and the farm-house-y style of the dresser just clash way too much. I need to figure out some happy medium!

We've tried taking advantage of the spaces in the closet that were previously unusable and I'm quite proud of our ingenuity. Each of those closet poles is about 10" long and will have a shelf associated with it so we can put shoes, etc. by it. Not bad for a $10 project, right?
And with that quick update, I'm going to take a nap. I have to work tomorrow. {imagine a really really frowny face inserted here.}

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Rounding Out and Projects a'Plenty

Saturday at work = no makeup and bedhead.

Have I mentioned that my mom was here for 3 weeks? She was. She left yesterday morning. After a tearful good-bye, she drove off in one direction and I drove off in the other (heading to work) and then I remembered she'll be back in 6-7 weeks. Hooray!
33 weeks

She was a busy little worker-bee while she was here.

I have a LONG to-do list still, but here are a few things she got done:

Rocking chair - primed, painted, seat bottom made (I have to upholster the seat for it still. It's on the docket for next week)

Nursery painted - ceiling, baseboards, walls, closet. It was a beast of a project.
Crib Sheets - one down, 2 to go.

Cradle sanded and stained - this was my little pet project. I was dragging my feet on sanding the last piece and she totally got it done while I was at work one day!
Crib Bumpers - custom made and sewn
Cradle Bumpers - custom made and sewn

Cradle Mattress - custom-fit and covered with vinyl (we waterproofed it by using a vinyl shower curtain liner. My mom sewed it the last night she was here, working into the night long after I'd crashed)
Gigantic 30"x40" frame - this was a totally from scratch project. We came up with the design we wanted, printed it, took our 8x10 picture to FedEx/Kinko's and had it enlarged to a 30"x40" proportion and then she taped all the edges (basically laminating the pattern) and then cut it out, traced 3, cut 3, routered 3, and sanded 3. It took several hours! But the cost per frame was roughly $15, so not too bad considering if we purchased it they would have each been more than $100.
Terrariums - this was a fun project she wanted to do so we gathered all the supplies she'd purchased and put our own together on Sunday night. So much fun! I'll need to get a picture soon.
Curtains - hung

And I have to mention that my dad and Ryan also did some awesome 'chores' around the house: Switched out all the almond-colored electrical outlets/switches/faceplates to crisp white ones, hung a ceiling fan in the nursery, & cleaned out/up the garage. OH! and they replaced the microwave above the stove! It's awesome!

Want to know what I have left? Sure you do. Otherwise, you would have already closed the page.

And as you can see, I'm getting rounder by the day. (...AND apparently think it's acceptable not to wear makeup in public while continuing to take pictures in public restrooms.Ugh.)

I think that might be it for now. But that's not including the house chores I need to keep up with (I have about 8 loads of laundry I could do tomorrow) and the reorganization that needs to happen. We have stuff EVERYWHERE!

Thanks for sticking with me! You deserve a medal. But you'll have to make it yourself. It's not on my list.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Alive and Kickin'

Kind of quiet here lately, huh?

My mom is in town {my dad's flying in tonight} and we've she's been working away all week on painting the nursery/guestroom, hanging curtains {I threw a 5-yr-old sized tantrum - it wasn't pretty. Long story short, it was really frustrating and should not have been that difficult}, priming the rocking chair, dresser/changing table, and next we're going to make some wall art and start sewing the cradle bedding and the crib bedding. Oh, and I've stained the cradle. It's gorgeous. I can't wait to show it off and put my sweet lil babe in it.

So, since that's all going on, here's a picture I took yesterday of my bulging and ever-expanding bump.

They're still there!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Bumpdate - 28 Weeks

{another awesomely flattering picture in my office's bathroom}

I'm feeling great. I've been exhausted lately, though, which I read is probably a result of the anemia I was just diagnosed with, so it looks like it's iron supplements from here on out. I hate taking pills but it's a whole lot less expensive than steak dinners every night! I'm just glad my glucose levels came back all normal. Can you image me giving up sweets for the next 3 months?!

I swear, I've had a textbook pregnancy thus far, anemia aside. My face has started rounding out, boo, but I'll take it any day for what comes after these 9 months.

I'm feeling quite a bit unprepared for this kiddo. The nesting bug has hit but unfortunately, my nesting involves the need for power tools or money, so...lots of home improvement projects on my honey-do list! My mom is coming to town in 3 weeks, which kind of scares me that she'll be here to help with the nursery and there will only be 9 weeks left before the baby comes. It's a good thing the kidlet will just need diapers and onesies to begin with!
{taken on Monday - 28 weeks}

We've been slowly stocking up on everything else. The big things are already taken care of, now it's just a matter of getting it all set up! But first, painting the nursery/guest room.
{where Gran comes in}
This silly job of mine gets in the way of that...

Also, I turned 29Again on Thursday. Yikes. This birthday was infinitely better than last year's. My sweetheart brought me home some beautiful flowers with a sweet note that made me cry {which is a daily occurrence lately}, I went to our Relief Society activity that my friend Bren and I were in charge of {cake decorating! how fitting!} and the sneaky girls on my committee decorated the kitchen for my birthday! Additionally, a few sweet friends spoiled me with flowers, notes, and other lovelies. It was such a great day and I'm so lucky to have everything I do.

Saturday I ventured out on my own for a pedicure and to see if I could get a last-minute massage (didn't happen) and a little thrift store shopping and ending the night with friends and their little darling at a BBQ joint out of town that was FAB.U.LOUS. New fave.

All in all, February has been a great month!

Bring on March.

Cravings: taco bell nachos, chips and salsa, wedding cake
Weight gained thus far: 20 lbs :(
Feeling: Good! Starting to make involuntary noises when I bend over
Sleeping: GREAT. I can still sleep in the same position I always have. Double points for baby!
Nesting: I made a little soft toy! Made from this pattern, but modernized.

Friday, February 03, 2012

Building a Nursery

Exciting Friday night here at the Alexander house.

We dined on a delicious dinner of pulled pork sammiches (a la Biemer's BBQ) and onion rings, washed down with coke/diet coke for mr. and me (respectively), and I rejected the suggested movie and alternately suggested going to the theater to buy popcorn and come home and watch something we have in our colección--which is large--but that was also rejected.

So, we came home and he got on his computer and I played Super Mario Bros. downstairs on the Wii.

We're a thrill-a-minute around here!

I was about to fall asleep at 9:30pm, but then we started tonight's episode of Nikita.

Still awake? Good. I dozed off for a minute.

So, I have been planning the nursery.

Here's the crib we bought, which has been sitting in the back of the car for the last...oh...month?
And then last night I bought this fabric for bedding:
which, doesn't look like this really, because I found a pillow made from it on etsy:
{source found by clicking on image}
I'm pretty excited.

I haven't decided exactly what look I'm going for, all I know is that the words 'farm-house' 'modern' and 'vintage' need to fit in there somewhere.

I'm actually really antsy to get going on some projects. Maybe it's the nesting bug I keep hearing about. If only I didn't have to work this weekend I could get cracking on them! Good thing that's what I have Monday for!

Not that anyone cares, but here's more inspiration I've gathered for this kidlet's abode.
Building a Nursery Board

Starting with that foxy little fox. Felt will be ordered tomorrow.

Thursday, January 26, 2012


I've been exhausted lately!

Why did no one tell me this baby-growing business was so tiring? Oh, wait...I'm pretty sure EVERYone has said it at one point or another.

I'm now almost 24 weeks (!) and I've popped!

Here's a picture of the lil peanut, taken about a week and a half ago.
And here's a picture of me at 21 weeks

And again at 23 weeks

Isn't it amazing what 2 weeks does?

Also, please pardon the gay bathroom picture. I truly do not have a full-length mirror in my house and work, although the bathroom is less-than-desirable, will have to suffice!

I've been feeling great with the occasional heartburn. I bought costco-sized containers of tums the other day - one for my desk at work, and one for the house.

I've been worrying lately about not feeling the baby move as much. It's ridiculous. I know it's ridiculous, yet I'm unable to stop being paranoid. Last night I dragged Ryan to the store to pick up one of those baby womb-sound amplifiers. Thirty minutes later and my worrying was still there. Don't waste money on it. I promptly returned it today and last night ordered an FDA approved Fetal Doppler on eBay.'m a little anxious, what can I say. Peace of mind is worth the $48 I forked over for a little piece of equipment that will let me hear our little bebe's heartbeat. And I've decided that since I've gotten bigger, I'm just feeling the baby differently.

Of course, as I type, the kid's going crazy and I can totally feel them moving. Of course!

Here's something amusing.

Baby dreams. I have been having the funniest and weirdest dreams.

A few weeks ago I dreamt we were at the Alexanders for Christmas. But it was like National Lampoon Christmas - extended family, little kids everywhere, etc. So many kids that there were kids sleeping on stairs and so in the middle of the night on Christmas Eve/Early Christmas Morning I had to step over kids.

Apparently in the middle of the night I delivered the baby myself and handed him to my mother-in-law so I could get some sleep and whatever. So Christmas morning everyone gets up and gathers around the Christmas tree and my MIL comes in holding the baby and asks Ryan, "so what are you naming your son?"
Ryan wanted to consult with me--how considerate--and pulled me aside for a minute, wanting to get the ok for the name.

Chelsea: Okay, what do you want to name him?
Ryan: I think we should name him Britton Smoker Alexander
Chelsea: Smoker? Smoker. Hmmm...Where did THAT come from? Really, Smoker?
Ryan: (after a pensive pause) What?....I love barbecue!

Since this dream, Ryan's been referring to the baby as Smoker.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

A Quick Favor {and a Sweet Reward}

**Thanks for voting, everyone! Comment #3 is the winner!** Also, it's not too late to vote! It's open until the 11th.

Two of my old roommates have a photography business together. Their work is really impressive and I wish they were around when I got married!

BUT, I have a chance to win a free photo shoot from them through their beYOUtiful Campaign. I am one of the 15 finalists.

What is beYOUtiful?

To sum it up, all women deserve to feel beautiful no matter what shape, size, or how they look. Cristi and Jessi want to promote this attitude and have done so with a little giveaway/contest.

For more information, click here to read Cristi and Jessi's post.

While you're there, if you could vote for #14, you would help get me in the running. Currently I'm totally out of the game. :( Bummer, huh?

So, I'm using all my internet tools to shamelessly request help.

What's in it for you?

I'm doing a little giveaway.

Please go vote, then come back here and leave me a comment. I'm going to give away a full set of felt hairbow headbands. That's 10 bows and 2 headbands. $60 prize for simply clicking a button.
The colors will vary from those above. I have more browns, tans, blacks, fall, and spring colors!
I've been wanting to do a giveaway for them for awhile, so this is a perfect reason!

Giveaway ends on Sunday night, January 8th. Not sure when voting at HiyaPapaya ends, so please vote soon! Thanks, all!

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Vanilla - Out and About

Did I tell you my friend Laura designed the vanilla labels for me?

She did such an awesome job. I tweaked them a little because I fell in love with a shape that was/is exclusive to Silhouette, but the design is ALL her!

While at Spark I met April Atwater, an amazing woman, a strong leader, and a creative giant!

She's working on her own magazine, Simply the Sweet Life. This is her second year and it looks to be great!

I provided her with some product and I was supposed to provide her with a little bio, but, uh, yeah...I got really busy, really, really quickly and I dropped the ball. Still, she was SO kind to include me in her December/Winter issue of Simply the Sweet Life.

Which you can read here:

You can see my beauts on page 55.

Also, if you follow the amazingly cute party blog, One Charming Party, a recent post included a recipe and a bottle of 16oz Vanilla peaking up from the bottom of the picture:

It was pretty awesome to open my email for one of the daily posts and see a picture of something I created!

Now that December is over (the busiest month I've had in a LONG time), AND I'm well into my second trimester, I feel better and have a little more energy to get crafty and maybe even share it with everyone!