Sunday, May 27, 2012

Nicholas is One Month Old

Here I am, writing Nicholas' one month post! It seems like it was only a few days ago that I was holding him in my arms for the very first time. It's been challenging around here settling into a routine with a newborn and a toddler but things are certainly coming together and showing signs of improvement!! Hopefully I will get around to sharing with you my experience of going through the transition of 1 baby to 2, as well as going from a Working Mom to a Stay At Home Mom. Lots of changes around here, that is for sure!

Our first few days home from the hospital were a little challenging! Nicholas only wanted to sleep on me or Jeff and completely rejected the pack n play and bassinet. I was one tired Momma and worried that I was never going to sleep again. After several recommendations from family and friends, we decided to give the Fisher Price Rock N Play a whirl. What a miracle this product has been for us!! The first night Nicholas fell asleep without any problems after every feeding.

My little man snoozing away in the Rock N Play.

Nicholas is an easy baby who loves to cuddle. I just love to snuggle with him and try to every chance I can. He may becoming a little spoiled but he is just too sweet to put down. If he was an only baby, I'd snuggle on him all day. Nicholas likes his bouncer and swing but tires of both after a few minutes. My cuddly little guy would just rather be held. I have had to use the Baby Bjourne or Moby Wrap just to get a few things done around the house or to take care of Jillian. Thank goodness for baby wearing products!

Sweet little brother.

What else Nicholas is up to:
*At his first month appointment, my little chunky monkey weighed 10lbs 9 oz.
*Nicholas is already in Size 1 diapers. He was only in newborn diapers a few weeks before he started pooping and peeing right out of them. Nicholas is also 22 inches long which is in the 50th percentile for both height and weight.
*Nicholas is not a big fan of the paci but will tolerate it for a few minutes if we need him too. We are trying not to use it too much since we don't want him to become attached to it.
*Nicholas smiled for the first time at me on April 1st. His sweet smile just melted my heart!!
*Right now Nicholas is sleeping like a typical newborn, waking up every three hours at night.
*We have been unbelievably lucky so far.  Right now Nicholas doesn't have much of fussy time.  It's hit or miss.  If he does have one, it's between 9pm - 11pm.
* Nicholas has done so well with nursing. He is a little gassy so we have been giving him Mylicon drops a few times a day.  He also has what our pediatrician calls an immature esophagus flap. He will spit everything up if he gets too full. When this happens, it's so forceful it ends up coming right out through his nose.  One day his nostrils were so inflammed that I took him to the doctor in fear of his nostrils closing up!  We now give him saline when he gets stuffy and that seems to do the trick.  He hasn't had a bottle yet but probably will in the next few days.
*Nicholas loves his bath! He gets such a sweet contented look on his face. He becomes so relaxed and falls asleep shortly after.

My sweet babies at one month, it's amazing how much they look alike!

I can't believe our little man is already one month old.  It feels like we were so anxious to meet him for so long! Now he has been with us for over a month and the days continue to fly by. I can't wait to see him grow up! He is truly the cutest little baby boy I have ever seen and just gets cuter by the day.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Introducing Treat Greeting Cards from Shutterfly

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend a Cleveland blogger #treatmom event to learn more about Treat Cards, Shutterfly's new line of personalized greeting cards. Treat Cards creates refreshingly personal cards made especially by you. I love sharing pictures of my family so I was really looking forward to learning more about creating personalized greeting cards using my family photos.

The blogging event was held at The DC Pasta Company located in Strongsville, a new restaurant specializing in specialty pastas. I had heard so many positive things about DC Pasta and was thrilled that it was chosen for our meeting location. This was also my first night out since I had Nicholas so it was really an extra special Treat for me!

The Pasta meal I had at The DC Pasta Company was an absolute treat.  Just looking at this photo makes me want to have dinner again there tonight!

What an inspiring group of women invited to try out Treat Cards! A few of the ladies I had already met at previous Cleveland area Blogger events, however, there were a few new friendly faces too. Bloggers from all blogging niche's in the Cleveland area were invited to learn more about Treat Cards.

It was a fun night sampling all of the different pastas that DC Pasta had to offer while we learned more about Treat Cards. As we waited for our meals to arrive, we were introduced to Treat Cards, Shutterfly's newest line of personalized greeting cards.  We all couldn't wait to Tweet about this fabulous new line of greeting cards!

Treat Cards is so easy to use and offers you year round greeting card scheduling. You can either use the calendar and reminder system available on the site or you can link your Treat account through Facebook and import all of your friends birthdays. The best thing about the card scheduler is that I will never forget some one's birthday again, even when life gets a little crazy!!

Treat Cards also offers the "exactly what I wanted" gift card to send along with your greeting card. You choose the dollar amount, they choose the gift card retailer, such as Amazon or Target. They can also choose to receive cash or donate the amount to charity instead.  How easy is that when sending out a Birthday gift?

What a fun night with a fun group of ladies!!!  We all enjoyed learning all about Treat Cards!

What is your easiest way to treat a friend or family member with a personalized greeting card?

Disclosure: This dinner was provided by in participation with the #treatmom campaign. I was compensated for this post, however all opinions shared are 100% my own.

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Sunday, May 20, 2012

Meet New Friends! ~ Thee Networking Blog Hop

Friday, May 18, 2012

Want to Meet New Friends?

Want to go to a party and make new blog friends? Want to grow your blog and gain new blog readers? Are you looking for some exciting new Blogs to fill up your reader? Mark your calendars for Sunday, May 20th! Hosted by live.laugh.rowe and co-hosted by myself, At the Picket Fence, Chasing Sunshine, My Girlish Whims, Mr. G and Me Crafts and Put a Little Umbrella in your Drink.

It is a HUGE blog hop with 483 blogs linking up in March and 491 linking up in April. I have faith that we will reach over 500 Blogs in May!!!

Grab a button for your sidebar and be sure to visit Karen At Home Blog on Sunday, May 20th to mingle with 500 other bloggers. Can't wait to see you at the party!!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Jillian's Surgery

Hello friends, I hope you are all having a great week!!!!  I am surprised you haven't all forgotten about me by now.  Finding the time to blog is becoming even more challenging than ever before. Here I thought it was going to get better!!  Thanks for still sticking with me, I am sure I will be back to regular blogging soon.  I think I am a little over half way through baby boot camp so far.  Nicholas has even started to give me a few five hour stretches at night here and there which has been nice!!  Things are still crazy though, especially during the day, hence the reason for the lack of blog posts.  Jillian is still not napping much for me again which is making everything EXTREMELY challenging. When she does nap, I have been trying to catch a few Z's myself.  As we speak, I **think** she finally just fell asleep so I thought I would type out a quick blog post while I still have the time!

Thanks to everyone who left me sweet comments and questions in my last post.  I am in the process of writing out my answers and hopefully will post those soon!!!  A lot of great questions, most of them focusing on my decision to become a Stay At Home Mom and the transition from 1 to 2 babies.  All very good questions and I can't wait to let you know how I am feeling about both!  If you have any other questions, I would be happy to hear them.

Jillian had surgery on her head on Tuesday and I wanted to let you all know how it went and how she is doing.  If you follow me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, you saw several updates on how our day was going.  Several of you commented that you hadn't realized she needed surgery.  I know I haven't talked much about her situation on the blog.  It all stems from a birth related issue that I did mention around the time she born, however, haven't mentioned it since.  We knew Jillian would eventually need surgery one day, however, we made the decision rather suddenly once we found out her pediatric plastic surgeon was transferring out of state in a few months. 

Just to give you a little history of what happened, Jillian had two open wounds on the top of her head when she was born.  One is right on top of her head and another one just to the right of it.  The largest one measured around the size of a quarter.  From the moment Jillian was born, we were an absolute mess to what could have caused these open wounds on her head.  Jillian had a pretty tough delivery with the use of a vacuum which did not go very well.  The vacuum had popped off her head several times because she was lodged so deep in the birth canal.  To make a long story short, my OB and the other NICU doctors present in the delivery room tried to cover up the situation by not even telling us about it.  We didn't even find out about it until our Pediatrician came to examine her an hour later and took her hat off and showed up her wounds.  Because Jillian was born with a full dark head of hair and the wounds were a deep red/black color, they weren't obvious when they first placed her on my chest.  They stuck a hat on her immediately and just handed her over to me to begin breast feeding.  During our stay at the hospital, we had a revolving door of doctors and nurses coming in to give us their opinion on what caused the woulds.  We were told it was either from the vacuum or a skin condition called Cutis Aplaysia.   We were also told that whatever it was, Jillian could possibly have brain damage and/or develop a staph infection from it.  I can't even put into words how upsetting and frustrating this whole situation was to us.  For the first several weeks of Jillian's life we spent visiting numerous doctors trying to figure out what this was and if she was going to lead a normal life.  Thankfully we found out within a week of her birth that she didn't have any underlying brain damage.  That was a huge relief although at the time it was one of the longest weeks of my life.  The past two years we have spent countless hours trying to figure out what had happen to Jillian's head and how we were going to fix it.  Our biggest fear was for her to ever feel badly about how the back of her head looked and we never, ever wanted her to be picked on by other kids for looking "different". 

We met with two pediatric plastic surgeons, one who said it was Cutis Aplaysia, the other who said it was from the vacuum delivery.  Typical for our situation, no one ever seemed to feel 100% sure either way once they assessed her head.   The plastic surgeon we ended up choosing was the one who felt it was from the vacuum. Not because he agreed with our opinion, but because he was the only one who supported his diagnosis with sound reasons to why he felt the way he did.  In his initial assessment, he said he could not see any underlying bone damage, and felt it was more likely from the vacuum delivery.  With Cutis Aplaysia, there is typically some damage to the skull as well.

Once we found out the plastic surgeon we liked was leaving, we immediately scheduled Jillian's surgery.  We knew we wanted her to have it done before she went to pre-school, however, didn't expect to have it done right after Nicholas' birth.  Talk about a lot to worry about in just a short amount of time!!! 

Jillian's surgery was scheduled for 11:15am on Tuesday.  I was so glad it wasn't at the crack of dawn like her ear tube surgery.  We at least got to have a normal morning and then headed downtown to Rainbow Babies and Children's hospital. 

Here is Jeff and Jillian passing the time in the waiting room by watching YouTube video's on Jeff's iPhone.  Is your Toddler obsessed with your iPhones?  I don't know what we ever did without them.  They certainly provide us with a major distraction in critical times such as these!!! 

Thankfully we only waited for a brief amount of time in the waiting room until they called us back to prep Jillian for surgery.  I don't know why, but I was so much more nervous for this surgery then I was for her ear tubes.  I was just an anxious mess the whole time.  I kept worrying about the anesthesia and if she would even wake up from the surgery.  Horrible thoughts were going through my head, it was awful.  I was scared to death the entire time.  Jeff was also a ball of nerves.  In situations such as this, I am so thankful to have him as a husband. He is really my rock during these tough situations.  He asks the doctors and nurses all the right questions where I just want to bury my head in the sand and act like nothing bad is about to happen. 

My sweet girl in her surgery gown, again playing with Jeff's iPhone.  Of course you can't have surgery without wearing your green Mardi Gras beads either.  She is such a girly girl! 

Jeff insisted on carrying Jillian back to the operating room instead of them wheeling her back.  Jillian put her "Snoozer" teddy bear on the gurney instead which was unbelievably cute.  There goes my sweet girl, I was such a mess when they left, I just went back to our little room and prayed that everything would turn out OK.

After Jeff returned from dropping her off we nervously paced around the waiting room a bit and then decided to grab some lunch in the cafeteria.  Thankfully, they provided us with a pager in case she came out of surgery earlier than anticipated. 

After an hour, the doctor called us in to a back room to speak to us about how her surgery went.  We still weren't able to see her but were so relieved just knowing that it had gone well and she would be waking up shortly.  The doctor explained to us that he had to remove several layers of deep scar tissue down to the bone and found there to be a slight indentation to the skull bone which caused him to question his original diagnosis. He said that it could have been very possible that she did have Cutis Aplaysia but couldn't confidently say for sure. 

Here is our sweet girl still asleep from the affects of the anesthesia, still hooked up to her IV and monitors.  Thankfully she woke up a few minutes later and all she wanted to do was cuddle with Mommy and Daddy. 

Jillian has a large incision on the back of her head where her large scar balls used to be.  Her doctor cut out the scars and pulled her skin together which will form a very thin horizontal line along the back of her head.  Her hair should eventually cover the thin scar once it grows back.  They had to shave her head a little but surprisingly not as much as I thought they would.  Thankfully Jillian seems to have my thick and wavy dark hair so good hair days are certainly still in her future! 

I honestly don't think we will ever know what happened to Jillian's head on the day of her birth. All I know is that it was a trying time for all of us and one I am looking forward to putting behind us once Jillian's incision finally heals.

Jillian is doing amazingly well now and hasn't complained once about her incision bothering her.  She is more worried about her the little black and blue mark on her hand from where her IV was.  I thought for sure I was going to have a few rough days at home with her managing her pain, however, she is acting like nothing happened.  She is just a resilient and happy little girl!  Thanks to everyone for all of your thoughts and prayers, it really meant a lot to us!

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Ask Me Anything!

Hi Friends! I hope you are all having a great week and that Spring has finally sprung where you are at! I am still trying to get back into the Blogging groove with two babies which at times seems absolutely impossible. Until then, I thought I would turn things over to you and allow you to ask me all those burning questions about me that you may have. I love reading Q and A posts on other blogs but have never actually done this myself. Now is as good of time as any since things are a tad bit crazy at the moment! I would also love to know more about what you like to read once I am back to regular blogging. You know what I love...decorating, cooking, and tips on making my life (and yours!) a lot what do you love???

Hope to hear from you all, I have always been afraid to do this just incase all I get is crickets!! So please help a girl out and send me a couple of questions, even if it's what I eat for breakfast:)
You can leave me your questions in my comment section or email me directly. I, of course, reserve the right to pick and choose the questions!