Thursday, July 12, 2012

Hunter's Second Birthday Party! Disney Princess-palooza

With Michael in school right now, we don't have money for many "extras," but when it comes to birthdays and holidays, I have a hard time reigning myself in.  Luckily, I found several amazing deals on food and decorations, and I utilized what we already had around the house to make Hunter's birthday party special.

We already had the Disney princess barbies and books.  They made for great table centerpieces!

Huge balloon I found on eBay for a great deal

Castle centerpiece and hanging decorations were another eBay steal

Thank you to my parents for having Mr. Pockets the balloon guy come.  He was such a huge hit!

Amazing cake made by my friend from church

Gift explosion

Another huge hit and the most surprising gift.  Thanks again to my parents.  :-)  

27 members of our family were able to make it

She was tired for much of the party but warmed up just in time for cake, gifts, and puppies.  :-)

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Hunter's first birthday

**I started this draft a year ago and am now going to finish it and post it:

I cannot believe it has already been a year since our precious Hunter graced our lives.  I was so nervous on the way to the hospital, not knowing what to expect.  My breeze of a pregnancy should have let me know what was in the future: a fast and easy labor followed by the most perfect little girl.

Michael and I watched her playing the other day and tried to imagine what our lives would revolve around if we didn't have her.  She seems to bring more meaning and joy to anything we do.  This first year with her has been a whirlwind.  She has surprised us with her reddish hair and spunky personality.  She has impressed us with her strength (holding up her head from day 1...climbing the stairs at 7 months) and amused us with her sneakiness (getting the TV remote no matter where we hide it...watching all day for the bathroom door to be open for her perfect opportunity to get to the toilet...quietly opening cabinets so she can get to the pans before we realize it.)

**I had just become a stay-at-home-mom when I started planning Hunter's first birthday party.  I was so excited to make it the most special party ever!  We had friends at church who were in the hospital at the same time as us having their precious son.  He was born the day after Hunter, and at the time of their first birthdays, he had been battling brain cancer for several months and had been given just a few weeks left to live.  Out of respect for him and his parents, we decided to make Hunter's party a small family party.  I have not posted any of the pictures from her first birthday yet.  Our friends' son passed away on July 31, just a few weeks after they turned one, and it never seemed appropriate to me to put pictures where they might come across them.  However, with Hunter's second birthday tomorrow, I wanted to look back and remember her at this fun milestone.

"Cake pops" (oreos and cream cheese) that I made to go along with the orange and pink theme

 Tutu that I made from a Pinterest tutorial :-)

Sweet birthday girl in her dollar tree crown.  She picked it out herself.  :-)

 Party favors:  Bubble wands, rock candy, and pixie stix

 Pink and orange juices with paper umbrellas

 Precious shirt by my friend Ashley of Pumpkin Butter Kids

Homemade birthday banner courtesy of Pinterest

The spread.  These cakes from Cutie Cakes cost waaay less than if I had made them (and they look much better too). :-)

Hahaha I love her face here!  I know that sick, low-blood-sugar feeling oh too well.

There will not be a birthday of Hunter's that goes by without us thinking about sweet Scout and wishing he were running around right alongside Hunter.  We cherish every day and every milestone with our precious girl.  It is hard to believe that another year has passed so quickly, and that she is out of that baby stage.  I miss those days, but it is such a blessing to see her growing into the person that she will become.  We love you sweet girl!  

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

July 6th, 2010: Hunter's Debut

I sat in the doctor's office with about a week and a half left in my pregnancy.  We had just returned from a trip to Orlando, during which I had obsessively looked for hospital signs along the 16 hour drive in case I went into labor.  I had also just had my maternity pictures taken in the July heat, which was one of the last items on my "to do before baby" checklist.  I felt like a swollen, itchy, blimpy whale and couldn't find relief from the heat anywhere I went.

(Miserable despite the smile.  One of my favorite maternity photos by Cindy Isom Photography)

With this being my first pregnancy, I was anxious about the unknown:  What do I do if my water breaks?  How long will my labor last?  I was not nervous about the pain.  I knew I had a high pain tolerance, but I also wasn't opposed to an epidural if it looked like labor was going to last awhile.

I had been dilated about 1 cm at my last two visits, so I expected to be there still.  "Well, McKenna," my doctor said, "You are at about a 3."  ("Woohoo!" I thought).  "I'm going to be out of town next week, and chances are you will have this baby while I'm gone."  (My mental celebration screeched to a halt.)  "If you'd like, we could induce you on Wednesday."(That was just a few days away! My mind reeled with all of the unfinished projects I had left to finish).  

(One of the last photos of my pregnancy.  This was at our church shower)

After talking to my husband, we decided to go for it.  This would give me an extra week with my precious baby girl before I had to go back to school (making my maternity leave 5 weeks instead of the 4 that I had thought that I would have). With his family in Orlando, we thought it would also be nice to know the exact timing so they could be there. They quickly arrived and helped put the finishing touches on the nursery on Tuesday night.  Michael and I woke up bright and early on Wednesday morning to arrive at the hospital by 6 am.  When we got there, all of the lights were off, the doors were locked, and no one was around.  A nurse walked up and scanned in for the doors to open, so we followed her in.  We made our way to the deserted New Life Center.  We had not taken any classes and were unfamiliar with the hospital (which I was starting to feel uneasy about at this point.  Oh well!)  We walked up to the nurses' desk and said, "Um, we're here to have a baby?"

(Our room.  Friends on TV and lots of visitors until the last 45 minutes of the labor and delivery)

They got me started on a few of the induction meds, but there were several patients delivering ahead of me, so they didn't break my water until about 1 that afternoon.  In the meantime, Michael and I enjoyed watching several episodes of Friends.  I was glad we had brought all 10 seasons on dvd with us.  :-)  Family popped in and out in between card games in the lobby.  I was uncomfortable because I had to lay flat (which I thought meant on my back), and because my IV was not taped down very well, but my contractions were not bothering me at all.  The nurses were standing around the nurses' station watching massive contractions come over my monitor and "drawing straws" over who had to come check on me.  One nurse hesitantly peeked her head into my room and was amazed when I told her that I didn't even know that I was having contractions.  Ha!
(A minute apart but I still couldn't feel them)

That all changed after they broke my water, though.  The contractions began to get more intense, and after a few rounds of visitors through the pain, I told my sister to tell everyone that I had said no more visitors!  I found out that through the whole day, from 6 am-2 pm, I had only dilated 3 more centimeters, putting me at a 6.  That did not bode well to me for the last 4 centimeters, so I asked for the epidural.  Only 15 minutes later, though, I was complete and ready to push (one of the younger nurses looked really concerned that I was about to deliver without the epidural), so Michael turned off Friends (haha!) and once the doctor arrived, just a few pushes later, Hunter was here!  

(Tired from the whirlwind last 20 minutes of the labor and delivery)

She had the sweetest, fattest little face and a good set of lungs!  No one could figure out who she looked like those first few days.  She was already her own person: perfectly-formed, precious, and deeply loved.  

I can not believe her first two years of life have flown by so quickly!  We love you so much, our beautiful, spunky, Elizabeth Hunter!

End of Reboot

So, the Reboot Challenge ended awhile ago.  I managed to get quite a bit done around our house above and beyond the everyday grind.  My big trifecta tend to be laundry, dishes, and trash.  I feel like if I take a breather for one minute, my house (especially the kitchen) goes from pristine:

to a disaster zone:

It was good for me to have time to reset and get focused again on keeping my house organized.  One of the projects I undertook was organizing the pantry.  This was the only project of which I took a picture, and I only took the after.  It looks so much better and is so much more functional!

And of course, while I was doing that, the babies were doing this:

Hahahaha!  Gotta love it.  :-)