Parker’s birth story

Well I hoped and prayed for a different labor and delivery from Hudson’s (aka quicker and easier) and boy did I get it!  Parker’s birth was night and day from Hudson’s!

(Warning: this is a birth story.  I didn’t share anything ultra-graphic but I am sharing details of birth so be aware.)

About a week and a half before Parker was actually born I started having occasional contractions.  They weren’t regular or painful but nearly every night around supper time I’d either have some contractions or I’d have a period cramp-type feeling (which is how my labor with Hudson started).  There was even a day or two in that time span where I had quite a few contractions over the course of the day.  And yet every morning I’d wake up and the feeling from the night before had gone away.  But I hoped (and I think I was right) that the days of contractions meant my body was getting ready and I’d have a shorter labor.

The night before Hudson was born I had fewer contractions than I’d had on many of the other nights.  We went to church, put Hudson to bed, worked on our taxes, ate ice cream, and went to sleep – all without the contractions or cramping that I’d been having for previous days.

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Now, on to the story of the actual day of labor: Thursday, February 4 (40 weeks and 3 days pregnant)

5:00am – I woke up feeling like I peed myself a little bit.  I went to the bathroom and my underwear was wet but not soaked.  I thought vaguely that my water might have broken but since it was so different from last time I thought I must have been mistaken.

(quick recap for those who haven’t read Hudson’s birth story – I went to work, noted that I felt a tiny bit crampy that morning, then less than 2 hours later my water broke with a gush…I’d had no previous contractions or anything other than that cramping feeling leading up to my water breaking very dramatically.)

I changed into dry underwear and got back into bed, however I couldn’t go back to sleep because I kept thinking that if my water had indeed started breaking that it might soon break some more and gush everywhere and get the bed wet so I laid there kind of anticipating a big event.

As I laid there I noticed I was having contractions (something that was unusual this early in the morning per my pattern for the week and a half leading up to this point).  They weren’t hard but they were pretty close together.

I stayed in bed until 7:00.  I got up at least one other time and had to change my underwear again – no big gush but just a small leak.  Somehow I *still* hadn’t figured out that my water had broken.  I also dozed in and out for a bit during this time.

7:00am – Michael gets up to go to work and Hudson wakes up too so we all get out of bed.  Before Michael left for work I let him know that I was having contractions and I thought this might be the day but for him to go on in to work and I’d let him know if he needed to come home.

7:00-9:00am – Hudson and I did our normal morning stuff.  We ate breakfast, unloaded the dishwasher, I washed some more dishes, ran a load of laundry, cleaned up the kitchen, read books, etc.  All during this time I was having pretty frequent contractions but they were not painful or hard.  I did not time them but just tried to keep myself busy and not get too worked up about them in case it wasn’t the real deal.

2016-02-04_08.55.33 copy2016-02-04_08.51.38 copyDuring this time I had to pee constantly and each time I’d go to the bathroom there was quite a bit of slimy mucous stuff, some that was tinged pink.  I assumed this was my bloody show/mucous plug, except it happened each time I went to the bathroom and wasn’t just a one time thing.  At some point I finally put on some Depends so I could quit changing my mama cloth pads every time I went to the bathroom.

I also sat down and made a grocery list.  I usually do my grocery shopping on Fridays but since I felt like I might not make it to Friday I thought I’d go ahead and get some things on Thursday so our fridge would be nice and stocked.  What I really wanted to do was put Hudson in the stroller and go walk around the neighborhood because I’ve always heard that it’s good to walk while in labor to speed things along but it was pretty cold outside and that was a no go so I thought walking around Kroger while I shopped might be a good idea instead.

9:15am – I texted Michael that Hudson and I were going to go to Kroger.

I got myself dressed and all the while Hudson is getting into everything.  That’s not unusual but that on top of the contractions was just more than I could handle.  By that point I still wasn’t really hurting but I did need to pause while contracting.  I decided that going to Kroger was not a good idea.

9:30am – I text Michael and ask him to come on home so he can take care of Hudson while I concentrate on laboring.

He comes home and we begin packing the last minute things we need for the hospital, doing some other laundry and things around the house, etc.  Around 10:00 I called my mom (who was going to stay with Hudson while we were in the hospital) and asked her to go ahead and make her way our direction.

We kept working on getting our things packed and such.  We also all ate some lunch.  I wasn’t super hungry but went ahead and ate some lasagna anyway since I didn’t know if I was in for a long labor like last time and might not get to eat again for a while.

By this point I now needed to breathe through the contractions.  They were much easier when I was sitting down rather than standing up and were about 3 minutes apart when I was up moving.  Michael asked if we needed to go on to the hospital since they were so close together but since they weren’t very painful I thought it was too early.  While he finished up feeding Hudson I sat in our recliner and flipped through our Bradley class workbook from the birthing classes we took before Hudson was born.  I read part of it aloud to Michael trying to determine what stage of labor we thought I was in based on the signs listed in the book…but every time I would start to read Hudson would start “reading” (aka babbling some gibberish) along with me.  It was hysterical and also very distracting, especially to Michael who was trying to listen to me and tune out Hudson!

My mom arrived and Hudson finished up his lunch.  I had a feeling this would be my last chance to rock him to sleep for nap (our usual routine) as a mommy of just one child so we sat down in the recliner and rocked.  I had about four contractions during that time and they were strong enough that I needed to breathe and concentrate, but I was able to do that while holding and rocking him so it was manageable.

12:00pm – Hudson was good and asleep so I picked him up and carried him to our bedroom to lay him down on our bed.  As I was trying to lay him down a painful contraction hit and Michael had to grab him from me and lay him down because I couldn’t.  I went to the bathroom and immediately had two more very strong, rather painful contractions.

Mom went into our room to sit with Hudson while he napped and I was finally ready to get down to business really concentrating on laboring since my main distraction (Hudson) was asleep.

12:00-1:00 pm – I found that sitting in the recliner made the contractions much easier to manage and much less painful then when I was up and moving.  I was able to relax (somewhat) and breathe through them.  I thought that I was supposed to keep moving but it just hurt so much more that I preferred to sit.  As I sat I flipped through my Bradley workbook some more and we continued our discussion from lunch about what stage of labor we thought I was in.  Based on the “signposts” in the book I thought we were still in the 1st stage of labor and had a ways to go.  However, every time I’d stand up and walk around the contractions would start coming super close together and very painful.  Michael tried putting counterpressure on my back while I leaned against the counter during contractions but they were still awful.  They were about 5 minutes apart while I was sitting and 2 minutes apart while standing, but they weren’t very long – only 30 seconds to a minute.

By just a few minutes after 1:00 it was apparent that we needed to go.  I was in quite a bit of pain and was thinking to myself that I couldn’t do this much longer.  I even considered (briefly) asking for pain meds once we got to the hospital because if my labor was going to last for hours (like it did with Hudson) at this level of intensity there was no way I could continue on.

Right before we walked out the door I went to the bathroom one more time.  While I was on the toilet a contraction hit and it was horribly painful…I think I was crying something like “This hurts, I can’t do this!” while Michael tried to help support me.  At the same time I realized that I thought it might feel better to push.

Oh no.

We hustled to the car and headed to the hospital.  That was a pretty rough car ride.  The whole time I was thinking that it would feel good to push but I was terrified to even give it a little test to see so I was tense the whole way there, which made it much worse.  Holding back when you want to push is not a good feeling.  Michael flew down the interstate to get us there.

1:30ish – We arrived at the hospital.  During the hours of 8am-4pm they offer valet parking so we pulled in and the valet comes out.  He and Michael are trying to sort out the details and all I can think is that I need to get into the hospital asap.  I braced myself on the door of the car for one contraction while they talked, then as we walked in I had to stop to have one in the stairs going up, and then a third walking down the hall of L&D.  They were just about a minute apart.

A nurse met us at the end of the L&D hall and said she’d seen me out the window having the contraction at the car and figured they had one “coming in hot” so she escorted me to a room right away.  They start asking me all kinds of questions that I tried to answer, had me put on a hospital gown, tried to get me to pee in a cup (I think I just laughed at that), put in my hep-loc, put the belly monitors on, etc.  All the while I’m having very strong, frequent contractions.  As soon as they got me settled a nurse checked me and announced that I was at 9 cm.  She asked when my water broke and I told her I wasn’t sure that it had – she said she was pretty sure it had because she didn’t feel my bag of waters.

At that point things kicked into super high gear.  I was pretty focused on laboring so I didn’t notice but Michael said more and more nurses started filling my room and bringing in equipment.  At one point they told me my doctor was on his way and not to push.  I think I agreed outwardly but inwardly I was thinking…I am going to push this baby out whether or not he is here!

Thankfully my doctor got there insanely fast.  Again, I didn’t notice much at all but Michael said he came in literally hopping into his delivery room clothes to try to get them on in time.  They put up the stirrups for my legs and he said that as soon as I had another contraction to go ahead and push.

That baffled me.  Even though I felt like I needed to push I thought there was no way I was actually far enough along to push.  Last time it had just been such a long ordeal that I was in disbelief that it was already time.

As soon as I had my next contraction I started pushing.  Not super hard at first but as soon as I started pushing my doctor said he could see the head right there and to keep going.

I pushed HARD.  Michael said my face was turning purple (and later I noticed I busted a bunch of blood vessels in my face…also all kinds of weird parts like the sides of my neck were sore from straining) and I was able to push through several breaths each contraction.

It hurt to push, like pushing out the biggest bowel movement ever, but it definitely felt better than NOT pushing through a contraction.  I didn’t scream like I did during Hudson’s birth but I do think I yelled out several times about how hard it was, how much it hurt, “I can’t do it”, etc.

It seemed like an eternity but in reality I pushed through four contractions and out popped Parker.  As soon as his head came through the rest of his body slid right out.  It happened so fast that it took me a few seconds to realize he was born and to open my eyes to look.

1:58pm – Parker Henry was born –  8 pounds, 11 ounces; 21 inches long, 14 inch head.

Twenty-three minutes from the time we arrived at the hospital until he was born.

It.Was.Insane.  I literally don’t know how they were able to get me processed, get my doctor in the room, and me push a baby out in just over 20 minutes.  That was the craziest, fastest thing I’ve ever been through.

They laid Parker on my chest and it was absolutely the best feeling ever.  Once the umbilical cord stopped pulsing Michael cut the cord.  I delivered the placenta (last time I felt like my doctor just gave a gentle tug and it slid out, this time I had a mild contraction and I actually had to push a little bit for it to come out.  It didn’t hurt, it was just different) and they took Parker for a few minutes across the room to weigh and measure him while my doctor stitched me up (I tore some and needed just a few stitches).  Everyone kept commenting on how big Parker was!

They brought him back to me for skin to skin and he latched immediately and nursed for nearly an hour.  If you’re a long time reader you know that my breastfeeding experience with Hudson pretty horrible at the beginning so this was very different and a pleasant surprise as well.

2016-02-04_17.18.58 copy2016-02-04_17.19.44 copyAnd there you go.  5am to 2pm was the extent of my labor, and the only really hard part was from 12-2.  Such a different (and welcome) experience than with Hudson!  Sure it was painful but compared to the pain I dealt with while in labor with Hudson this was nothing.  In fact, it was such “nothing” that I thought I wasn’t even in hard labor yet and didn’t want to go to the hospital too soon!  Good thing we went when we did or we would have had an unplanned homebirth!

The difference between “regular” contractions and Pitocin contractions was huge.  Another recap for those who haven’t read Hudson’s birth story – after being in labor for over a day and pushing for several hours with no progress we finally decided to use Pitocin to try to get Hudson out.  I did not have an epidural or other pain meds so I felt the full extent of the Pitocin contractions.  They were incredibly hard and fast and when it came time to push I had almost no control because my body was pushing whether I wanted it to or not.  I think because we used Pitocin my body didn’t fully get to prepare for his exit so it hurt a lot more.  This time I was able to manage the contractions better and the pain was so much less that I didn’t think I was that far along.  When it came to push I made the decision to push (rather than my body making it for me) and it was much easier and more controlled.  Also it seemed like my birth canal and all that stuff had had time to stretch/widen/whatever in the world happens down there so other than pushing a little bit of cervix out of the way my doctor didn’t have to reach in and stretch me or anything like that (he did with Hudson and it was by far the worst part of my whole labor…I asked him not to do that this time and he didn’t, I don’t think it was necessary anyway, and that made a world of difference).

Of course once the immediate frenzy was over Michael called and texted some of our family members.   My mom thought we were just calling to let her know that we’d arrived at the hospital, check on her and Hudson, etc.  She was not expecting to hear that Parker had already been born!  No one else, aside from Michael’s parents and one or two other people, knew I was even in labor, much less that we were that close to delivery.  It all just happened so fast!

So for those of you who prayed that I’d have a quicker and easier labor and delivery…thank you!  That’s what I prayed for too and those prayers were certainly answered.  It was a much better and less traumatic experience this time around.  I definitely got to have my ideal labor and birth – very quick, only a short amount of pain, labor most of the time at home, no interventions, all natural, and of course ending with a perfect, healthy baby.

Parker’s hospital pictures

For those of you who are not friends with me “in real life” and haven’t seen on Facebook…guess what?  Parker is here!  He arrived Thursday and we are both doing really well!  I’ll share more details and our birth story later but for now here are some of the sweet pictures from the hospital photographer.  At this point I don’t think he looks all that much like Hudson, especially comparing his hospital pictures to Parker’s.

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We are totally in love and so thankful!

new bed and shelves

I have to tell you, Michael is a rock star.  If he decides he wants to learn something or do something then by golly he will.  When he mentioned a few months ago that he wanted to build us a new bed I was like…okayyyyyy.  I mean, he’s done some minor woodworking before, but a bed?  That’s a pretty big project.  I knew he could if he wanted to but I wasn’t sure that he was serious.

He was.

We had decided that we wanted to get a king sized mattress and of course would need a new bed since our old one was a queen.  Instead of buying a bed frame, Michael made ours.  He researched and looked up plans and we picked out a design.  It took him several nights working hard out in the garage and then voila…we had a bed!  And it’s GORGEOUS!  I love it!

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We didn’t center it on the rug and instead pushed it over to one side because Parker’s crib is now attached to my side (I don’t have a current picture, but we turned his crib into a cosleeper so it’s attached to the side of the bed next to me so I can access him easily but he has his own space too).

For comparison, here is our old bed right before we made the switch.  Isn’t the new one a million times prettier?  Plus it is SO NICE to have a king now and much more room.  I still need to get a new comforter or duvet – right now we’re using our old queen one and it’s obviously not big enough but that’ll be a project for another time.

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The other big home update we’ve done recently is that we added some built in-type shelves in our living room.  We had this nook by the bathroom and my mom had a bookshelf that fit there perfectly.  It was actually a shelf from the one room schoolhouse that my Mema (my mom’s mom) attended so it’s got a cool history and it’s very rustic and old, which I like.  However, as Hudson has gotten older I started to get nervous that he would pull it over on himself and as we acquired more and more books (par for the course when you’re a former librarian…) we were running out of space on the shelf.

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I started thinking that building some shelves right into the wall in that nook area would be perfect.  Michael had done some similar ones in our bathroom a few years ago so I figured it wouldn’t be too hard for him to do some more.  And of course, he did a fantastic job!

…with a little help from his carpenter assistant, of course!

2016-01-20_08.38.15 copy2016-01-20_08.38.30 copy Completed shelves!

2016-01-21_07.49.07 copyWe gained so much space by filling in that whole area with shelves.  I was able to bring down all the other books we had upstairs in Hudson’s room and fit them on there too.  The shelves are really deep – I’m thinking 15″ or maybe 18″?  Something like that.

Hudson is able to reach the bottom shelf easily so we put all his books that he’s allowed to get out and read unsupervised there (aka board books that aren’t easily torn up).  He can only reach the very edge of the middle shelf but not the books that are pushed to the back so we put his books that have paper pages there (he is not very gentle with them so books like that have to be read/looked at with an adult).  I think Michael has plans for the top to put some of our internet router equipment stuff up there but for now I just decorated it with some of the knick knacks I had on the old shelf.
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I found two bin/basket things at Target that fit great under the shelf.  One holds some overflow books and I anticipate that in the future when Parker is mobile/pulling up but not yet able to reach the bottom shelf we will put books in there that he can get out on his own.  The other one holds stuffed animals.  I loved that they were large, didn’t scream “toys!” like so many of the plastic bins I found, and were on sale.IMG_1327

Here’s a before and after to compare – I’m blown away by the difference!  The shelves just look perfect there…as if it was meant to be!

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I’m going to take a wild guess that our home improvement projects are going to take a bit of a hiatus with a new baby arriving soon but I’m so pleased with what all we’ve done recently around the house – new bed and shelves, plus our gallery wall, toy storage, and entry way shelf.

Parker’s baby quilt

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I thought there was no way I’d get Parker’s baby quilt done before he was born and yet here I am, still pregnant at 40 weeks 2 days and his quilt is totally, 100% done!  Yay!  I absolutely love how it turned out too!

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This was by far the quickest and easiest quilt I’ve done.  I’m sure part of that is because I’m getting better at it as I do more quilts but I also think this was a pretty easy quilt pattern in general to piece together and would be a good one for someone who is somewhat of a beginner like me.  I used this pattern and tutorial to make the top and then quilted it by hand.

I went Wednesday morning to my favorite fabric place (seriously, if you are in south central Kentucky you need to check out Whittle’s…way better selection and prices than Hobby Lobby or Hancock’s!).  Wednesday afternoon I got all the squares cut out.  I am not a fast cutter…at least not when I’m trying to be accurate, like I was with this quilt, but even at that it didn’t take me long to get all the squares cut out.  Wednesday night after Hudson was in bed I pieced the top together and I think that took me about 3 hours (which is not bad in my experience for putting the top together!).  Thursday I made the back, basted it together, and began quilting Thursday night.  I’ve been working on it since then, mostly after Hudson was asleep at night and sometimes during nap.  I finished up the quilting and did the binding yesterday (Tuesday).  So all in all the quilt took me not quite a week to finish, working on it mostly after Hudson was in bed.  Fairly quick compared to others I’ve done!

I love a stack of freshly cut fabric ready to be turned into something beautiful! 2016-01-27_10.49.46 copy

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quilt top done!2016-01-28_08.53.24 copyquilting2016-01-31_13.49.39 copycompleted quilt last night before going into the washing machine2016-02-02_23.33.00 copyPicking simple quilting helped a lot too – usually I trace around each piece of fabric and follow the sewing lines so I cover a lot of area and I’m usually quilting through lots of layers of fabric since it’s close to a seam.  This time I just did X’s through the middle of each block so that went way faster.  I’m still learning but I think that was sufficient to hold it all together and I really like the effect it made, especially on the back!

(Sorry for the pictures…our porch was way too bright for good pictures but I’m impatient so maybe I’ll go back and retake later.)IMG_1333IMG_1334

I have no idea how to actually embroider so I make it up as I go and it’s not the prettiest but the quilt is signed and tagged and made with love so that’s what is important.  In case you can’t read it, it says “to Parker, love Mommy, February 2016”.  IMG_1336I love the color combination and how it turned out!  It’s exactly what I wanted – different from Hudson’s quilt but still compliments the green, blue, and navy colors in their room (if they ever end up actually using their room…) and isn’t too babyish so it could be used later on too.
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And now that I’ve knocked the final thing off my baby to-do list I am more than ready for Parker to make his appearance!  Until then I have a quilt I’ve been slowly working on for…ummm…3ish years now?  So while I’m in quilting mode I guess I’ll keep chugging along on that to keep me occupied while I wait.

pregnancy #2 update – Hello 40 weeks!

How far along – 40 weeks!  Today is my due date!  I know due dates are just estimates and it could still be a while but it’s still exciting.  I guess we can say now that we will definitely be having a February baby!

Doctor updates – I went Friday but there isn’t really any news.  I’ve been opting out of all my cervical checks other than the one I had about a month ago so I have no idea how much (it at all) I’m dilated/effaced.  My doctor is awesome, very laid back and supportive of natural methods (which is why I picked him) so he’s totally cool with the fact that I’m planning to just let nature run it’s course and continue on being pregnant until my body says it’s time.  He said that if I’m still pregnant by this Friday’s appointment he would like for me to get an ultrasound to check on Parker and my amniotic fluid levels but other than that he’s good for me to keep on keeping on.  He was actually telling us that when he did his medical training they never induced someone before 42 weeks unless there was a severe medical reason – that has definitely changed a lot in the past few years!  I certainly hope I don’t have to go all the way to 42 weeks though!

Labor symptoms – Contractions for the last week but not regular or strong, really barely even enough to make me take note.  They’re mainly in the evenings and stop when I rest.  Other than that, nothing!  I’ve still been able to sleep great other than having to get up to go to the bathroom two or so times.  I’m feeling really good as long as I don’t overdo things.  On days where I’ve been cleaning or on my feet a lot I’m so sore and achy by the end of the day but as long as I’m resting a lot then I feel fine.

Labor thoughts – Last weekend I thought I’d be going into labor any second.  Now that a whole week has past and nothing has happened I’m going about my business not really thinking about it.  I am nervous about labor itself since I had such a horrible experience last time, but I’ve been trying to tell myself that it’s going to be totally different this time around.  I’m praying for a much quicker and easier labor and delivery!

Prepared feelings – Last week I was DONE physically.  I didn’t feel good and just wanted Parker to come out.  That feeling has passed and I feel pretty good.  I’m definitely sore and uncomfortable and awkward but it’s not horrible.

My mom came again this week and we spent a few hours cleaning our bedroom and bathroom so now our whole downstairs has been spring cleaned (other than pulling everything from each drawer) and our upstairs has been lightly cleaned.  Since our house is nice and clean now I’m mostly just trying to keep it picked up and tidy and the laundry caught up.  I had all kinds of projects on my wishful to-do list that I’ve been able to knock out since I keep staying pregnant!  This past week I got Hudson’s baby book caught up, filled out what I could in advance for Parker’s baby book, sewed some cloth napkins, and I’m currently working on a quilt for Parker.

I went Wednesday morning to my favorite fabric store and bought all the fabric, cut the squares out that afternoon, and that evening pieced the top together (it was the easiest and fastest quilt I’ve done so far!).  Since then I’ve been working on quilting it during Hudson’s naps and after he goes to bed at night.  I’m over halfway done so depending on how much longer Parker decides to stay in I just might get it done!  I never thought that would happen!2016-01-28_08.53.24IMG_2115

The double stroller we bought arrived this week too.  I had picked out a Bumbleride Indie Twin as my double stroller of choice and it’s a rather expensive stroller (of course…I always tend to have such expensive taste and definitely not on purpose!).  I watched Craigslist and some other bargain places for weeks with no luck before it finally dawned to me to try ebay.  We found several for really good prices so we ordered one!  Contrary to this picture Hudson really liked it and has wanted to go “ride” a lot.  If the weather stays warmish then we’ll probably take it out for some walks this week.  2016-01-29_17.26.35

Mentally I’m not sure I’ll ever be *totally* ready but now that I’ve gotten so many things done that I wanted to get accomplished I’m feeling more settled.  Last week if I had contractions I would hope that it wasn’t the real deal because I wasn’t ready.  Now I think I’ll be ready and accepting whenever it decides to happen.  I’m still not in a rush or anything though!

Other thoughts – Just hanging out waiting!  I’d love to get Parker’s quilt done because then I will have truly finished everything on my to-do list and I’m obviously fine if that doesn’t happen but that’s my project to work on as I wait.  We are supposed to have some bad weather this week (possible tornados on Tuesday and snow this weekend) so I hope to avoid that!

pregnancy #2 update – 39 weeks

How far along – 39 weeks today!  I went into labor with Hudson at 38+6 and had him at 39 weeks exactly so last time I didn’t really get to make it past 39 weeks.

Doctor updates – Nothing much to speak of.  He checked me at 35 weeks and I wasn’t dilated any.  I declined cervical checks at my other two appointments since then so I don’t have a clue how dilated or effaced I am (if any).  At my 35 week appointment he did the Group B Strep test and at the 37 week appointment I got my results…positive for GBS but only “lightly positive” and would not colonize.  He said he’d never seen that before so they retested me.  The retest came back negative so no need to worry about that!  Yay!

Labor symptoms – This is what you really want to know, isn’t it?  Well since Saturday I’ve had occasional contractions, occasional nausea, and occasional cramping.  Nothing consistent yet.  Saturday I thought I might have lost a teeny piece of my mucous plug (and I’m not even certain) but I haven’t noticed anything else since then.  Saturday night I had a few contractions while I was sitting down and resting (so far they have only happened when I’ve been very active) so we kicked it into gear getting stuff finished up just in case.  Saturday night I had the worst insomnia!  I don’t think I fell asleep until around 5:30am.  Part of that was because Hudson cried a lot during the night and kept me awake, I think part was maybe anticipation, and then other than that who knows?  Sunday I felt pretty yucky off and on but no real labor.  I slept great Sunday night (last night) and only woke up once to go to the bathroom, which is big for me!  And so far today (Monday) I’ve been feeling fine.

I think Parker has dropped.  I don’t see that visually (although a few people at church said they could tell) but I am having to go to the bathroom constantly and if I hold it too long it hurts pretty bad, so I think he’s dropped down and is squishing my bladder.

Labor thoughts – I am SO glad I made it through this weekend without going into labor.  We had an insane snowstorm with 1/4 inch of ice and 12 inches of snow on Friday.  Definitely the most snow I’ve ever seen and very unusual for Kentucky.  Everything was pretty much shut down and I was afraid I would go into labor and we wouldn’t be able to get to the hospital.  Thankfully that didn’t happen!  The roads in our neighborhood are still a sheet of ice but the main roads are fine and we can easily get out if we need to.

Saturday was also Hudson’s 2nd birthday and even though it would have been totally fine if Parker had been born before or on his birthday I was really hoping to make it past Hudson’s birthday.  We got to spend Saturday (and actually most of Friday too because Michael’s office closed) having lots of family time, just the three of us, which was nice.

As far as labor itself goes I am…nervous? anticipatory?  I’m not sure how to describe it.  With Hudson I didn’t get to have a “normal” labor where I started feeling contractions that gradually got closer together or more intense and have that “Is this it?” feeling…instead I was a little crampy that morning, noted that and remembered that some people said labor started for them feeling like period cramps, but then an hour later my water broke before feeling any contractions and there was no doubt I was in labor.  And if you have a traditional hospital birth, like I did, once your water breaks they have you on a timeline to deliver the baby before they start to get concerned about infections and things so I was having to do whatever I could to get labor to progress, go in for monitoring every few hours, and didn’t get to let things just happen.

The random contractions, cramping, nausea, possible mucous plug loss, Parker dropping…all this is totally new to me!  None of this happened last time.  And if all goes well and I have a “normal” labor (aka my water doesn’t break prematurely) that will be a totally different experience than last time too so it’s almost like being a newbie to labor all over again.  Which is kind of nerve wracking but it also gives me hope that my labor won’t be nearly as bad this time around.  I know people always say “you forget how painful labor is” but I’m pretty sure I haven’t.  Especially that last part…I remember that pain quite well and I don’t look forward to that!  I desperately hope it’ll be easier and less painful than last time but I also realize it’s going to hurt and I’m not exactly excited about that!

Prepared feelings – Physically I am ready to not be pregnant.  I have been very uncomfortable, not sleeping well, and just tired of being pregnant.  I never got to this point with Hudson but this time I am definitely over being pregnant.  However that comes and goes – yesterday I was miserable but today I’m feeling good.

“To Do list”-wise I’m pretty ready.  We’ve been working hard the last couple of weeks to get some things done and Michael having work cancelled Friday gave us some time to get our last few things knocked out.  The hospital bags are packed other than some last minute things I can’t put in until right before we leave.  Michael got his last project done (building some shelves for the living room).  We set up Parker’s crib (we are going to try using his crib like a cosleeper attached to our bed – that may not end up working for us but it’s what we’re going to start out with) and installed the carseat.  We ordered a double stroller, which really wasn’t something I was concerned about having immediately after birth but it was still nice to get that done.

Our house is mostly cleaned.  Last Sunday afternoon Michael and I cleaned out the attic – we threw a ton of stuff away and reorganized.  It had been a total mess and all the Christmas decorations were still sitting out but now everything fits, it’s much more organized, and we were even able to fit in some boxes of Hudson’s old clothes.  My mom came two days last week and we deep cleaned the playroom, living room, kitchen (other than pulling everything out of every cabinet), downstairs bathroom, and foyer.  The kids’ room, the guest room, and upstairs bathroom have been tidied and a basic cleaning done.  All that’s left would be to do our bedroom and bathroom and I’ll work on that this weekend if I have time.

I got some other little things done like replacing the elastic in some of Hudson’s diapers, rearranging the dresser in the nursery to fit Parker’s clothes in there too, sewing new rings into my ring sling, etc.  If Parker takes his sweet time arriving then I have a few other things to work on but nothing that’s a huge deal (things like getting Hudson’s baby book up to date, filling out some of Parker’s baby book that can be done in advance, working on Parker’s quilt, etc.).

This afternoon I’m planning to do one last “really want to” thing that I had on my list…go get a pedicure!  It’s a silly little thing but with Hudson I planned to get one and went into labor before I could.  My toe nails looked horrible and even though no one else cared but me it bugged me that they looked so bad.  Plus I would just really enjoy a little pampering!  So as long as Parker doesn’t make a surprising and very quick arrival I’ll be off to enjoy getting my feet rubbed for a bit.

Mentally…well, that’s where I’m least prepared.  I am so excited to meet Parker but I’m also nervous about the transition from one child to two.  Last time my attention was 100% on taking care of Hudson, this time I will now have a toddler and a newborn needing me so that will be an adjustment.  I also remember how exhausting those first few weeks are and I’m not looking forward to that.

Other thoughts – That’s about it!  We’re just kind of in waiting mode now.  All the big stuff is done so I’m pretty much just trying to keep the house mostly tidy, dishes done, laundry caught up, etc. so that we don’t have a bunch of mess everywhere.  I’ve got plenty to keep me busy but nothing pressing so just trying to relax and enjoy hanging out with my family.

Enjoy this rather hasty 39 week picture in the bathroom – ha!

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Hudson’s 24 month update…my sweet boy is TWO!

And just like that my baby turned two!  What a crazy, amazing, FAST two years it has been.IMG_1214

growth

We had Hudson’s 2 year check up earlier this month (got it done a few weeks early since his birthday was so close to my due date).  He weighed just shy of 29 pounds and was 35 inches tall.  He hated every second of his appointment and screamed through the weighing, the measuring, the stethoscope, etc. (at least she had no problem looking down his throat…)

He’s wearing 24 month and 2T clothes currently, although some 24 month pants are already too short.

2016-01-10_17.21.48 copycommunication

There is no way for me to keep up, especially because he will now repeat just about any word you say.  Some new ones that I did get written down this month were football, thank you, bed, soccer ball, Nonny and Gil (the names of his favorite Bubble Guppies characters), cupcake, goldfish, and (my favorite for sure) “I love you”.

He’s been adding more phrases (like “thank you” and “I love you”) and starting to talk in little sentences such as “see snow outside” “working car” (Daddy was working on the car), “eat goldfish”, and “Bed, Daddy, Yay Daddy!” (he says this multiple times at night when we’re going to bed talking about our new bed that Michael built).

food

I should probably drop this category because there really isn’t anything new at this point.  One thing that was new this month (which I know will seem so crazy to most people) is that Hudson had his first chocolate chip cookie on his 2nd birthday.  I’ve mentioned it before that we are pretty strict about not letting him eat junk (there is seriously no reason in my mind for a one year old to eat much, if any, junk food…I’m not being judgmental if you chose to feed your child that but we personally don’t see any reason for him to eat stuff like that, he’ll get plenty of sweets later in life I’m sure!) and so he’s had very few sweet treats in his life, but I made chocolate chip cookies on his birthday and let him have some.

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sleep

I was looking back at Hudson’s one year update the other day and I had talked about how hard it was to go to sleep.  Well here we are a year later and it’s still not very easy! His newest “thing” is that he kind of moan-sings himself to sleep.  Just this monotone moaning sound that he does over and over…it gets annoying quickly!  We had been having such issues getting him to fall asleep at night (it was taking 1-3 hours every night) that we decided to try changing up his wake and nap times to see if that helped so for the last week or so I’ve been getting him up around 7-7:30 (instead of letting him sleep to 8:30 or later) and we’ve been napping earlier and I make sure he doesn’t sleep past 2-2:30.  I think this has helped.  We’re still not having a super quick and easy bedtime but most nights he has been asleep in under an hour so that’s progress!  Fingers crossed this keeps up.

We took the crib down from his room and moved it into ours for Parker.  In it’s place we put a twin mattress on the floor.  We haven’t actually used it yet but it’s there for when we’re ready to try Hudson in his own bed.  Michael built us a king sized bed (we were in a queen) this month and that has been very nice.  Hudson still takes up the majority of the bed (how DOES he do that?) but it’s not nearly as cramped as it was.

new stuff

Hudson mimics us a lot – this month I noticed him trying to do thumbs up or thumbs down when we do that.  He’s also started wiggling his eyebrows and it’s hilarious!

He got a ton of new toys for Christmas and it has been fun to watch him play.  I’m not sure how to describe it but he’s moved from just playing with his toys however to using them in the way they were supposed to be used, especially playing pretend.  For example, he got a play kitchen for Christmas and he acts like he’s cooking, eating, washing his hands in the sink, etc. rather than just scattering the fake food around (although he does do that quite a bit too) like he would have in the past.

We got him a potty chair for Christmas and he likes to sit on it sometimes but he hasn’t actually sat on it to go to the bathroom.  We aren’t pushing it at this point and are just letting him get used to the idea of using the potty.  He definitely knows what it is and what you do with it, and he’s sometimes tells us after he’s pooped in his diaper, but so far he hasn’t let us know before he did anything and he still wakes up wet after naps and in the morning so I think he’s not quite ready to potty train for real yet

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He learned how to open the doors in the house so we had to get those door handle cover things that make it where he can’t twist the knob.  Just when you think you’re done childproofing they find something new to get in to!

adventures

So many great adventures this month!

We celebrated Christmas this month with lots of family, food, travel, and new toys.  Here are a few (ok, a lot) of pictures from our Christmas festivities.

Playing with plastic food

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Playing cars at his new Sesame Street table – just his size!IMG_1228

Ball goal!2015-12-25_07.59.44Christmas morningIMG_1248Checking out his laptop2015-12-25_08.44.44I found these goggles at Goodwill and he has worn them a ton – cracks me up!2015-12-25_11.34.06Our pitiful attempt at a Christmas morning family picture…this is the best we got!  Ha!2015-12-25_11.35.552015-12-25_11.46.19IMG_1258Sweet naptime snuggles on Christmas2015-12-25_12.36.102015-12-25_15.26.35family picture Christmas night2015-12-25_18.07.38

We also celebrated Hudson’s first birthday with an “Under the Sea” birthday party (you can read about that here)

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One big change this month was that we moved Hudson from the nursery class at church to the toddler class.  At our church the nursery class typically runs from birth (really whenever the parents decide to start bringing their child there for class which is usually at least 3 months old) to around two.  Then they move up to the toddler class (2 and 3 year olds).  I was nervous about it because he has literally been in the nursery class since birth – I used to go in there to breastfeed him when he was teeny tiny and then once he was about 3 months old I started setting him in the seat to “participate” in class with the other kids.  It has been so incredibly cool to watch him go from a baby who could barely sit up in the seat to an almost two year old who knows the songs and loves to sing along.

I wasn’t sure how the transition was going to go but he did great!  Granted, this was just last Sunday so we’ll see how he does going forward, but his first time at least was good.  He went in and sat right down.  He seemed more reserved than usual but they had snacks set out (goldfish and teddy grahams, which he almost never has) so I think that lured him in ;).  They said he participated in class and he didn’t cry so that’s good!

His last class in the nursery2016-01-13_19.37.41

comparison between the first time he sat in the seats in the nursery class and the last – such a change!2016-01-13_22.34.25

first time in the toddler class2016-01-17_10.34.21-1

his teacher took a picture of him doing his playdoh activity2016-01-17_21.28.12

Then our most recent adventure has been Snowmaggedon2016.  We got our first snow of the winter on Wednesday, January 20 but then Friday, January 22 we got hit with a big snowstorm.  We had about a quarter inch of ice and then another 12 inches (or more, haven’t heard final totals) of snow.  That’s by far the most I’ve ever seen in my life!

Hudson really liked looking at it out the window and talking about it, but he wasn’t a huge fan of actually playing in it.  On Wednesday we took him out and he cried and cried if we tried to set him down.  He finally just stood at the edge of the garage and would stomp his foot in the snow but wouldn’t take more than one step.  Then after our huge snow Friday we took him out twice Saturday.  He did better – he liked kicking it and throwing it and even helping to knock snow off the car but he never would actually walk in it.  He fell down twice on the ice but didn’t get upset or cry at all, which surprised me!

Watching the birds and looking at the snow2016-01-20_07.36.14 copyReady to go outside!2016-01-20_16.57.092016-01-20_16.59.40This is as close as he wanted to get! (this was Wednesday, just an inch or two)2016-01-20_17.09.25Watching Daddy clear the 12 inches on Saturday with the snowblower – Hudson really liked watching this!2016-01-23_09.55.592016-01-23_10.19.50Not quite as scared once Michael had cleared the snow off2016-01-23_10.23.242016-01-23_16.03.47 copyHelping Daddy shovel2016-01-23_16.33.37 copy

other stuff

My mom came to help clean the house to get ready for Parker.  Hudson of course had to help – Mom was wiping the walls down with her Swiffer and Hudson went and got his little mop to do the same.2016-01-13_09.31.39“Drilling” the wall like Daddy to help build shelves
2016-01-20_08.38.30Michael was leaned up against the counter typing up an email and Hudson grabbed his “phone” (a calculator) and mimicked him.
2016-01-22_17.06.06He put on the oven mitts and tried to open the door (thankfully he is not strong enough to get it open!)
2016-01-23_08.33.30Sweet sleepy naptime snuggles on his birthday.  Two years old and independent but still loves to snuggle with Mommy :).2016-01-23_11.57.34

Happy birthday my sweet, precious boy!  Mommy and Daddy love you so much!

Some throwback pictures:

Just bornIMG_3062

one year oldIMG_0061

two years oldIMG_1214

Hudson’s Under the Sea birthday party

Yesterday we celebrated Hudson’s 2nd birthday with an Under the Sea themed party.  His birthday isn’t until this coming Saturday and ideally I would have done it then but that was getting too close to my due date for comfort (and even for yesterday’s party I was keeping my fingers crossed that we’d get to have it before Parker made his appearance…so far, so good – no signs of arrival yet!) so we went ahead and did it a week in advance.

For the last several months Hudson has absolutely loved fish – books about fish, shows with fish in them, talking about fish, the aquarium.  He loves them.  His favorite tv show is Bubble Guppies and his favorite movie (well actually, the only movie he’s ever seen) is Finding Nemo.  So we decided to do an Under the Sea party and incorporate all those things.  Hudson was pretty excited about that and talked about his “fish party” for days and days leading up to it.

Being so very pregnant I wanted to keep things pretty simple and easy.  We did a small party with a few easy decorations and some snacks.  At his age he doesn’t know anyway and would much rather play with balloons than anything else so it was perfect!

Thanks to Pinterest I was able to have some super cute stuff without having to think of it myself ;).  You can see my Pinterest inspiration board here.

(Pardon the picture quality…I was trying to snap a few quickly before the party started and they weren’t as great as I’d like.)

We used green streamers for seaweed, blue balloons for bubbles, and I cut some fish out of colorful paper.  I think it turned out adorable!

Here’s a fun tip: if you have an air compressor, use it to blow up balloons.  That’s what Michael did and I can’t believe we’ve never thought of this before!  It took no time at all to blow up a ton of balloons.  Another tip: buy your balloons at Hobby Lobby.  The ones we got last year for his first birthday party stayed blown up and stuck to our wall for over a month.  I know!  So crazy.  Super good balloons.

under the sea birthday party wall decorationsunder the sea birthday party sea weedI was planning to make a “happy birthday” banner but while we were out shopping for the party we went to Party City and passed a section of Bubble Guppies decorations.  Hudson went absolutely nuts over them so I decided to get the Bubble Guppies birthday banner and some other Bubble Guppies hanging decorations.  That was the best $10 or so that I spent…saved me a ton of time trying to make all that stuff myself and of course he loved that it had his favorite characters on it!
under the sea birthday party Bubble Guppies bannerunder the sea birthday party balloonsI printed off some Bubble Guppies fish (found those here) and taped them to our basketball goal for some “fishketball”.
under the sea birthday party fishketballWe also printed off Bubble Puppy and taped him to the bathroom door…for no other reason than because Hudson loves Bubble Puppy :).under the sea birthday party bubble puppyI wanted to do something cute on the coat rack/mantle/shelf but ran out of ideas and time so I just stuck Hudson’s big Nemo fish up there and also this battery powered aquarium we have that lights up and fish scroll across the screen.IMG_1293

We had a variety of fish/sea themed snacks.under the sea birthday party foodI skipped doing a decorated birthday cake and instead stuck to just cupcakes – chocolate cake with chocolate icing.  While I enjoy (to an extent) making cakes, it’s definitely stressful and I knew that it just wasn’t worth it right now.  Cupcakes are insanely easy to decorate compared to cake, much less time consuming, and just as yummy.  I found some free printable cupcake wrappers here and those jazzed up the plain cupcakes.  I also got to use a cupcake stand I bought years ago and had never even opened!
under the sea cupcakes

Bananas turned into dolphins and some grapes.
dolphin bananas and fish egg grapes

Cutie or Halo (can’t remember which ones we got) orange “beach balls”beach ball oranges

Goldfish crackers in a (clean and unused) fishbowl served with a (clean and unused) fish net.goldfish crackers in a fish bowl

Veggies and dip with a bell pepper octopus on topoctopus veggies and dip

Cheese cut into triangles for “shark teeth”shark teeth cheese

The circle fish that I cut out and added to the labels came from the same place as the cupcake wrappers.

I forgot to take a picture of the party favors but I just did a little bag with a bottle of bubbles, a snack pack of goldfish crackers, and these light-up squishy balls that I bought at Party City that looked kind of like sea urchins.

Hudson very rarely gets sweets so he thoroughly enjoyed eating his birthday cupcake! IMG_1312IMG_1310IMG_1316All in all it was a super fun party!  I had just about zero stress and was pleased that we were able to do a cute, themed party without a bunch of work (although I have to say that Michael, my mom, and my brother did a ton of the decorating and food prep…without them it would have been very stressful and lots of work so I’m incredibly thankful for their help).  And of course Hudson had a blast and that’s the main thing.

Happy (almost) birthday, my sweet boy!IMG_1320

pregnancy #2 update – 36 weeks

How far along – 36 weeks (37 tomorrow, actually).  Less than a month from my due date!!!

Doctor updates – I had a check up last week at 35 weeks and everything was fine.  Good blood pressure, Parker’s heart rate was good.  The last two appointments I was measuring about two weeks ahead (according to the tape measure thing they use on your belly) but last week my doctor didn’t say either way so I don’t know if that has changed or not.  He doesn’t think I’m anywhere close to delivery yet so we skipped a 36 week appointment and I’ll go back in a few days for a 37 week appointment…and then after that it’ll be weekly until The Big Day!

Symptoms – Honestly, for being this far along I feel great.  In fact, I’m having a hard time coming to terms with the fact that delivery could be in the very near future because I just don’t feel uncomfortable or have that “totally ready to be done being pregnant” feeling or anything like that.

Really my only symptom I’ve been having recently is with my feet swelling.  It happened a lot over the holidays – a combination of eating tons of junk food, not drinking enough water, and traveling (for some reason sitting in a car really seems to aggravate the swelling).  It’s better now that we’ve been home and I’m eating (somewhat) healthier and drinking more water, but it’s still there some by the end of the day.

Weight/belly – I try not to look at the scale but I think I’ve gained about 30 pounds so far.  So unless I gain a crazy amount right at the end (please, no!) then I should at least end this pregnancy with a bit less weight gain then I did with Hudson (I gained 50 pounds with him).  Of course I never lost the weight I gained with Hudson so I’ll be ending this pregnancy with the weight gain from two full pregnancies but that’s a different story for a different day and I’m determined to get working on that once I’ve recovered. 

People have started looking at me funny and asking questions about how much longer I have (in a manner or tone that makes it obvious they think it should be any day now).  Looking at this picture though I don’t really blame them – I’m getting pretty big!

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Movement – All the time.  He’s a very active little guy!  My belly rolls and jumps constantly, especially when I sit down or lay down.

Food cravings – Nothing specific.

Food aversions – None.

Sleep –I have to sleep with a couple of pillows and have to get up to go to the bathroom several times during the night but aside from those interruptions I’ve been sleeping pretty well.

Thoughts – I alternate between denial that Parker is coming (and coming SOON) and totally freaking out that there is so little time and so much to do.  This week I did a huge freezer meal cooking session to get a bunch of meals ready to have after he’s born.  Next week I’m planning to get the house really clean, more so than just my normal weekly surface cleaning.

I also need to get my hospital bags packed (and a few things purchased for that) and read back over our Bradley Birthing information from the classes we took with Hudson.  There are lots of little things I’d like to get done but those are the big ones that I really need to get going on.  Yikes!

Just for fun here’s a comparison of me at 36 weeks with Hudson vs 36 weeks with Parker

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freezer meal bonanza

freezer meal bonanza

This week I did my first huge freezer meal batch cooking session.  Whew!  What an experience!  Since this was my first time I’m definitely not an expert but I thought I’d share what all I did anyway (especially since several people have asked after hearing that I was going to do this).

Before Hudson was born I had a long list of to-do items that I wanted to get done – things like getting the nursery all perfect, clean the house from top to bottom, etc.  But it never really crossed my mind to get meals prepared ahead of time.  I believe maybe I thought of it at the very end of my pregnancy but didn’t get around to it before he was born.

I hope recovery with Parker won’t be as difficult as it was with Hudson, but with Hudson it was a long, LONG time after he was born that I was ready and able to start really caring about and/or cooking good meals.  Thankfully we had my mom those first few weeks to feed us and for a good while after she left we lived mostly on pizza and other take out.  Talk about hard on your health and your wallet!  So this time around I made getting good healthy food prepared a huge priority!  In fact, that’s what I asked my mom for for Christmas…that she would come and help me get meals ready!

So this week was the week and here’s an overview of what I did:

Step 1 – Picking the meals

I started by making a list of all the meals I wanted to make.  I went through our list of common supper ideas and wrote down the ones that I thought would freeze well (mostly soups, casseroles, and other “one dish” meals).  I had also posted on Facebook asking my friends for advice, tips, and/or meal suggestions and got a lot of recipes that way so I went through all those and chose a few to try.  Then finally I checked out Pinterest and looked at a bunch of recipe ideas there (mostly breakfast, I really wanted to make ahead some breakfast meals and I didn’t have any good ideas).

freezer meal ideasStep 2 – Ingredients

Once I had a list of quite a few favorites as well as several new recipes to try, I wrote next to each one how many batches I wanted to make of each one (whether it was taking a large casserole and splitting it into two smaller dishes to use for two different meals or doubling/tripling a recipe).

Then I started going through each recipe and writing down what all it called for.  I kept a running total and added to it as I went through each recipe until I had finished my list.

IMG_1276Step 3 – Grocery list

After I had this HUGE long list of ingredients I wanted to get it a little less confusing before I actually headed to the store.  The first thing I did was to condense quantities.  For example, since I’d just added to each item based on what the recipe said I had several things that looked like this:

chicken: 3 cups, 1.5 cups, 1 lb, 1.5 lb, 2 breasts, 4 breasts…

Depending on what the recipe had said I’d just written down cups of something or pounds of something or number of bags or whatever.  So spent some time trying to add things up and say I need X number of whatever.

Then I did something that I’d eventually like to do for all my grocery trips – I sorted my list based on category (or actually based on what was grouped together in the store).  So I listed all the produce together, meat, canned goods, pasta, and so forth.  I hoped (and was right) that this would keep me from having to make multiple trips back and forth across the store because I’d missed something while I was in that section.

freezer meal shopping listStep 4 – Shopping

Thanks to my pre-sorted list this wasn’t too bad.  It didn’t take much longer than my normal weekly trip, although my cart was WAY full!

Step 5 – Cooking

The main event!  Like I said, my mom came and we got to work fixing all this food.  It was definitely an ordeal.  We started around mid-morning and worked all day, then when Michael got home from work he jumped in and helped out too.

I’m not sure that my way was the most efficient.  We did some things in large batches and others we did along the way.  For example, the first thing we did was cook up all the chicken at once then chop/shred it and divide it based on how much each recipe needed.  However, with things like onions and green peppers we chopped as we needed them for each recipe and I’m sure if we’d chopped all that at once it would have helped a little.

While mom was starting the chicken cooking I worked on putting together the crockpot freezer meals – those were super fast because I didn’t have to cook anything, I just dumped all the raw ingredients in a bag, sealed them up, and they were off to the freezer.  That made me feel very accomplished :).  If we end up loving those meals then I may start doing that way more often because they’re so simple to assemble!

After the chicken was cooked and the crock pot meals were done we started in on all the chicken dishes.  Once those were done we moved on to all the ground beef dishes.  We finished off with the breakfast foods.

We spent probably 10 hours cooking that day, but a lot of that time was actually spent corralling, distracting, and taking care of Hudson.  Tip for the future – if you plan to do an all day cooking marathon, find someone to come watch your child(ren) so that you can just focus on cooking.  Hudson made things go a lot slower for sure.

The menu

A lot of people have asked what we cooked so here are the recipes we made that one day:

Crock pot meals (these are all new recipes that I haven’t tried yet)

Old faves (things we’d made before)

  • baked ziti (split the recipe into two pans)
  • baked spaghetti (split the recipe into three pans)
  • lasagna (split the recipe into two pans)
  • spaghetti sauce (doubled to make two meals)
  • “regular” chili (tripled and divided into 4 gallon-sized bags)
  • white chili (doubled and divided into 2 gallon-sized bags)
  • – chicken tortilla soup
  • enchiladas (split the recipe into two pans)
  • chicken casserole (split the recipe into two pans)
  • – chicken and black bean quesadillas (we had one random chicken breast left over so I used it and some cheese, beans, and tortillas we had on hand to make several quesadillas – they will be good for quick dinners or lunches)

New meals (found via Pinterest or recommendations from friends)

I had two other meals planned – chicken and rice casserole (split into two dishes) and some breakfast sandwiches.  We did not get to these because I didn’t have enough chicken for the casserole or enough eggs for the sandwiches.  The casserole I made and froze the next day and the breakfast sandwiches will be made as soon as we get more eggs from our “egg lady” at church.

This weekend Michael is going to make a big batch of pancakes that we can freeze.  I also had two meals already frozen, things we had made recently and frozen half of the dish (pizza bites and vegetable soup).

(Note: have a deep freezer in our garage.  No way would all of this fit into our freezer attached to our fridge.)

IMG_1282(Another note: My mom brought several of her pots, knives, measuring spoons, bowls, etc.  That really helped us not have to be washing dishes constantly since we had so many.  We still had to wash quite a bit and ran the dishwasher I think three times that day, but we were able to do more or go longer before we needed to wash something.)

So from that one marathon day of cooking we ended up with 27 meals plus 20 breakfast burritos plus 7 quesadillas (for another supper or lunches).  Once it’s all said and done we should have 31 meals, 20 breakfast burritos, 12 breakfast sandwiches, and a whole bunch of pancakes.

WHEW!

The cost

Total for ingredients came out to about $350.  Yep, I nearly choked when I had to pay that but if you do the math that’s not very expensive per meal, it’s just a LOT up front.

A couple of things about that $350

  • – We buy almost all organic – beef, chicken, cheese, etc. and that jacks the price up
  • – I was low on a bunch of spices all at once so I had to stock up on those too, plus I went ahead and got extra aluminum foil and Saran wrap to have just in case, so that cost is included in the $350.
  • – I did not shop the sales or coupon.  In all of my work to get every thing pre-planned before I went to the store I totally forgot to check for coupons.  I doubt it would have made a huge difference but I’m not a big coupononer anyway; someone who is could probably get a lot of deals.  As far as shopping on sale goes, I totally intended to do that but that meant having my list ready far in advance so I could shop when particular things went on sale.  Unfortunately, especially because of Christmas, I didn’t get that done so once I had the list done I just had to buy at whatever price it was since we were down to the wire.  In the future I’d like to be more prepared so I can buy chicken when it’s on sale and beef when it’s on sale and so on.

And there we go!  I was very proud and impressed by our first freezer meal cooking experience.  I’m not sure that I’d try to do quite so much at once again, especially not at 36 weeks pregnant, because it was a long, hard day.  But I know it’s going to be SO worth it after Parker is here.

Oh and I guess I should add in a Step 6: Inventory

Once everything was nice and frozen I organized the deep freezer and took inventory of what was in there.  I hung it inside our pantry door so when we’re meal planning each week we can look at the list, pick out what we want, and then go pull them from the freezer rather than trying to remember what we have or go out there and rummage around constantly.  I even made some notes under certain meals indicating what we need to get to go along with that meal.

freezer meal inventoryIMG_1280Have you ever made freezer meals?  Any tips you want to add here?