Friday, October 11, 2013

Instagram = the new blog

I have a friend who is the most faithful and fantastic blogger. Even though she posts adorable updates of her babies on Instagram, she still manages to journal her family's goings-on through her blog. I admire it and I'm going to take a cue - the cheater's cue, but still, one is taken nonetheless.

This is from late September. Her outfit was perfect to usher in the fall coolness. And it was cute to boot. 

Bath time on Monday was filled with eucalyptus bubble bath. Someone's a little congested. Also, sick babies are the saddest. She's still sick. This was just the beginnings of a cold. Now she's drooling like a basset hound. 

Last week I was in charge of a little demonstration for Enrichment. Our evening was all about money-saving tips and resources around the house, etc. I taught the women how easy and simple it is to make their own laundry detergent. 
I made these little handouts for the sisters to tape to their fridge, laundry room, washing machine, wherever. I have my recipe pinned to a corkboard in the kitchen and use it every single time I make another batch. This one is even cuter and will replace it. I love when things turn out!

A few weeks ago (right after catering was finished, in fact), Elliot was 'running' down the cemented driveway. That little tyke is faster than you'd think she'd be. I went to grab her and she thought it was a great and fun game of chase until I got her arm just enough to nudge her and the poor thing tripped and fell SO HARD. She was screaming and bleeding. Once I calmed her down (and once I calmed down - this is scary stuff for a mom's faint heart!), gave her some cuddles and her blanket and binky, I took this picture to commemorate her first goose egg.
 It was way worse than it looked. She still has a scar on her cheek from that scrape, and the scab has been gone for at least 3 weeks. This still hurts me!

A few days later, Miss Invincible started climbing on EVERYTHING. Someone thinks it's okay to stand on furniture. It's not. 
But if you're going to do it, make sure you have on a cute outfit and sensible footwear. Priorities, people.

Since it's now Autumn in the Midwest, the annual pumpkin patch trip (minus daddy for this first trip) happened during Friday's normally scheduled Music Time. The lunches were packed and it was a slight breeze, but then quickly heated up. We got a pumpkin and a sunburn. And maybe just a bit overheated. The official annual trip really doesn't happen until all three of us go, so maybe tomorrow we'll have to venture over there. I love our pumpkin patch. We've gone several years, sans child, and it's just so much more fun with a little pumpkin of our own. 

Other days, when we're not surviving the wilderness, we're begging for things. I mean, sure, you can have another granola bar. Just please...those EYES! My will is no match for them. Yup, completely gone.

During the nights when Ryan's home, we sometimes get creative in our entertainment and instead of going to a movie theater like we would have in the past, we make our own.
On the bed.

Complete with popcorn.
and everyone gets their own bowl. (you can see her lovely scab here - tear!)

And during the days when Ryan's at work too long and someone misses their daddy, we go to our favorite place and mosey along, walking the aisles.
This is how we shop at Target. This was her first Target popcorn, and I think she was a huge fan. When it's too hot/humid outside to breathe, we go indoors. I'm not above bribery to keep her in the cart. Clearly.

We've also had lots of rain, which, you would think means the weather is nice and cool. (It's a fickle mistress, this Kansas weather. One day it can be in the 90s and the next day the high is in the 60s. I wish I were joking. It's bizarre.)
None of our windows are low enough for Elliot to see out of, so Ryan showed her how to move the storage bin around. She moved one of the storage containers around the room and settled on it under the window, watching the rain fall for a solid 5 minutes. 

 Scratch that. Ten minutes.

Other things I've done lately have involved power tools, wood, and sawdust. I'll have to post pictures when this is finished.

It's for the Tri-Ward Halloween Carnival/Haunted House/Trunk-or-Treat activity in a couple weeks.

As I mentioned, Elliot has started climbing things. Any- and everything she can scale. There's a whole new level of baby-proofing going on over here.
But with smiles and hugs and hand-holding like this, we couldn't ask for anything better. She's one of the happiest babies. 
And if we could get another 4-5 just like her, we would.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Elliot's Nursery

(This post was originally written a year ago but never finished nor published until now. ha!)

Well, we started the nursery projects in March and many props go to my mom, yet again, for finishing it up while I was learning how to be a mom with a tiny little newborn.

Let's revisit our list, shall we?
And guess what? I only have ONE left to do! Huzzzzaaahhh! The one I wish I would have finished sooner is the growth chart, but thanks to well-baby doctor visits, I can always go back and mark her height for the first year. Plus, those should probably go in a baby book of some sort, eh?

Want to see pictures? That's always what I like to see, so I'll share. It's funny looking at these, though, because you'd never know how many hours and how much work was involved but seriously, almost EVERYTHING was handmade, repainted, or altered in some way.                                                  

And of course, the prettiest thing in the nursery that took the longest amount of time.

 Lots of things have changed since I took these pictures (in FEBRUARY!). One of these days when I'm super organized and all the stars have aligned, Elliot's clothes will be picked up, her crib sheets will be clean and the guest bed will be made. Then, then I'll take updated pictures. Hopefully that happens before she's grown out of the crib.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

In Which I Pretended to Be a Caterer

A few years ago we moved to Kansas and left our old and decrepit tax accountant back in Utah. We sent him our documents for taxes for the first year we moved here and never heard from him again. We're pretty sure he died. With our tax documents. He's probably buried with them, who knows.

Flash forward a bit and we found some friends who introduced us to a new tax guy. He's fantastic and quick and his wife is crazy and fabulous. Tax time for the Alexander family is no longer stressful in any way because of the blessing of finding the Draper family.

Mrs. Tax Guy is actually named Susan. She is so trusting and encouraging and this lead her to HIRING me to cater her youngest's wedding open house. Meaning, money would be changing hands. For food that I make. Their nearest and dearest would be eating things I make. But wait, there's more.

For one hundred people.


After I realized she wasn't joking, I kind of said yes. Susan gave me free reign on the menu. She described that she wanted it to be simple and elegant and a variety of hors d'oeuvre. I can do simple and I can do elegant.

Check. Check. CHECK. I can do this.

It was a learning experience and forced me to be extremely organized for the weeks leading up the open house. I had a shopping list for each day the week of. I had a to-do list for each day that week. I made way too much food and learned that 100 people will not eat 1000 items. But all the websites I looked up for advice told me to plan for it. Lesson, learned. Websites, wrong.

I wanted everything to be simple and beautiful. To do this, you just need simple ingredients with complex flavors -- and to make sure it's pretty.


I'd say so. Now, who wants to hire me next?

Friday, September 20, 2013


It always seems like tomorrow has the promise of greatness.

"Tomorrow I'll paint the rest of the trim downstairs."

"Tomorrow I'll do all the dishes, mop the floor, and maybe start on the dresser that's in the garage!"

"Tomorrow I'll start eating better. This cookie needs to be gone by then. *chomp* For sure, tomorrow."

But you know what the beauty of that is? There's always going to be something that comes up that can be done tomorrow.

Today is the day I've wasted snuggling my baby. Today I consoled her and rubbed her head when she bumped it while on a great exploration adventure under the dining room table. Today I drank my weight in Diet Coke. Today I had a meltdown when the great explorer wouldn't take a freaking nap. Today I felt the weight of 6 months of stress lifted off my shoulders when my husband's first real paycheck hit the bank account. Today I wept thankful tears when my sweet girl looked up at me with stars of wonderment in her eyes and asked without words, "what is this?"

Today is better than tomorrow. It always has been for me. I am a procrastinator by nature and have always looked for ways to do things tomorrow. But today? That's where the true magic and true life is.

So what if I don't get all the dishes done or the dog hair swept up off the floor for the umpteenth time this week. I have kisses to give. I have hugs to steal. A grand adventure awaits me in the gigantic cardboard box someone's daddy saved. I'm learning to live in the moment and seize today.

Tomorrow will come eventually. For now, pass me another cookie.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Well, It's Been Awhile.

You know when it's been a long time since you've {gone to the gym/gotten a haircut/updated your blog/spoken to your grandparents} and the build up and thought of just finally biting the bullet and accomplishing said task makes you want to crawl under the covers for the third day in a row? That's where I got myself. 

Somewhere along the line I feel like I lost my voice. If you scan through the archives, there's a lot more genuine Chelsea in there. I'm not sure why or when I started feeling some sort of pressure to write a certain way or even to keep up this little old piece of the internet {which clearly it hasn't been} {Kept up, that is} but it was there in my head, making me feel like I needed to have something fantastic to say or a project to show off. 

Last year I started working for a fantastic company and I saw a lot of my time eaten up by a 33 minute commute {39 with moderate traffic} and therefore some things just had to go. Like a social life. The working-girl coupled with pregnancy exhaustion was, well, that was that. No excuse, just explanation. Now I have the best and hardest job of all. Keeping Elliot alive and happy.

I feel terrible that my efforts have been less than stellar when it comes to documenting the sweet little life of the most beautiful girl. We waited so, so long for her and I've been enjoying almost every minute with her. Almost. The middle of the night marathon feedings have gotten old. {I need to take back my night!}

So, what I'll be doing for the next little while is trying not to be flustered and probably fudging facts and details here and there so I can have a bit more to show of the last 8 months than a life devoid of pictures of the chubbiest-cheeked, happy-go-lucky girl we call Elliot.

If I end up posting more than once a month, well...that's an improvement. When you're starting from scratch again, you can only get better. 

To end this proper, here's a picture from Christmas that I DIDN'T plaster all over Facebook already.

 Did your heart just stop a bit from the cuteness of that nose-crinkling giggle? Mine did. 
And the camera adds 3lbs.

You're welks.


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.