The Baby Story

Greetings and Happy New Year to all you pats of butter!

And may I present to you the newest member of our posse, Miss Clara Jane Michaelis!

Quick stats: Clara was born at 10:02 pm on Thursday, December 27th. She weighed 6 pounds, 5 ounces and was 19.5 inches long.

Now for the story…

But first, a little background. I had terrible heartburn throughout my entire pregnancy. In early December, it got so bad that I went to the E.R. They gave me some medicine to try and numb it and when that did not work, they gave me some Benadryl which also did not work. I ended up going home in severe, toe-curling pain and finally fell asleep sitting completely upright and hunched over a pillow.

I had bouts of heartburn a few more times but it was manageable with Pepcid AC. Then a couple weeks later, I had another very severe flair-up and found no relief…yet again.

Fast forward a couple more weeks to my 36-week doctor’s appointment which involved doing a swab for strep (down there) and also an exam. The swab stung a little and when my midwife performed the exam she told me I was doing great, 1 cm dilated and 80% effaced. As I got dressed after the exam, I began to bleed immediately. I let my midwife know and she said it was totally normal due to the exam.

That night and into the next day, I experienced a stinging sensation when I went pee. It felt different from a UTI, but the symptoms were similar. I called my midwife and after discussing all the possibilities and the fact that my labs wouldn’t be back until after Christmas to confirm or deny whether I did indeed have a UTI, I decided I would start a powerful antibiotic to treat the UTI. David went to pickup the prescription at Walgreens and also got a UTI test-kit from AZO. I took the test and it came back negative so David urged me to go to Zoom Care for a UTI test, as they can get instant results. We went to Zoom Care around 8:30 pm and I took the test. No UTI. The resident doctor that night came into the room and we explained my symptoms and she asked if she could do an exam on me. I said yes and she found two small abrasions, explaining the stinging sensation. My blood pressure was also high. We ended up telling the doctor about the heartburn and the fact that we were exploring the idea it could be my gallbladder but that we did not know for sure because we did not have a chance to do an ultrasound. She offered an ultrasound on the spot and we took it. The ultrasound revealed that my gallbladder was fine, and the pain I was experiencing was just severe heartburn. To be safe, the doctor then asked if she could draw some blood (which I hate) for some quick labs on me. Of course I said yes and when she returned with the results, she started with “I am going to call your doctor’s office tonight and speak with the midwife on call.” My platelets were at 52. I had no idea what this meant and she did not go in to any great detail explaining it either. I went home, expecting that we would talk to my midwife the next day once she looked at my labs.

We ended up not seeing her until five days later when I had my 37-week appointment. I did the usual routine of peeing in a cup and getting weighed. I was dehydrated and my blood pressure was high again, but not off the charts. Then we had a discussion about all the bloodwork and information we had found out while at ZoomCare. After looking it over, my midwife decided to do another blood draw. She was concerned about the platelets and some of the other levels in my blood as well. Additionally, the quick results from my urine contained elements that concerned her..and they pointed to pre-eclampsia.  She sent us home with all the materials I would need to do a 24-hour urinalysis the next morning. She said she would call us the minute my labs came back with further instruction but to start the test no matter what.

That night we went bowling with friends. I went bowling. I felt fine.

The next morning, David called my doctor’s office around 10 am to see if the results were in. They were not, but we knew they had been placed on a rush. 30 minutes later, we got a call from the doctor. This time, it was our midwife herself (not her assistant, per usual). She said, “Natalie, you are very sick. You and David need to go to the hospital right now. You have something called H.E.L.L.P syndrome. You are having this baby as soon as possible.”

I. Was. Of course.  SHOCKED.

I told her we could be there in an hour and she said that was too long. I needed to get there ASAP. Holy balls. This was happening. David chatted excitedly and began to throw items into duffel bags while I tried to process what was happening. I began to stuff random items into a bag and before I knew it, David was whisking us away to Good Sam while I scratched my head and tried to navigate the 1,000 degrees of anxiety hitting me all at once.

In the elevator at the hospital

They checked us in as soon as we arrived and I was immediately clad in a hospital gown and they started IVs in both of my arms. I was given liquids and magnesium. The magnesium, they warned, might make me feel woozy or sick. It was administered in order to relax my body and warn off seizures which can happen with pre-eclampsia. We immediately began to go over my options. In several cases, a c-section may have been preferred to get the baby out as soon as possible but my case was unique in that my blood counts were so bad. My midwife and the doctor recommended a typical delivery and said in many cases, sometimes all it takes is an invitation. Also, my labs had revealed that my platelets had come up to 84 from 52, meaning that I could have an epidural. Most anesthesiologists will not do them below 80.

We started pitocin and my midwife broke my water. Immediately I felt 1,000 pounds lighter. It was crazy. Then I started feeling the contractions and yeah, they hurt. Mine were somewhat random but instead of having one every so often, I would get two or three in a row and then a rest. The midwife surmised that the baby would come out by 7 am the next day. Then I had my epidural. Oh, the ever-famous epidural. I had been anticipating this moment for the past 9 months. We practiced the correct “position” to take and as she prepped my back and did her thing, the nausea, sweating and very intense dizziness began. I was having an all-out, raging panic attack and I went in and out of consciousness as David sat directly in front and held me. As soon as I was able to lay back down, the nausea and dizziness slowly subsided and within 20 minutes I felt the warm numbing sensation begin….down the right side of my body. I was still feeling the contractions on my left so they had me lay on my left to let gravity take over and hopefully nudge the meds down that side of my body. After a few more rounds of contractions, we realized it wasn’t working so the anesthesiologist came back and recommended they manipulate the position of the epidural slightly. This required me to sit up and assume the “position” again, which sent me into the same episode as before. Ugh. I laid back down on my left once again to no avail. My midwife then recommended we try moving me onto my back.

The SECOND I shifted onto my back my midwife said something under her breath to the nurses, looked up and said “Okay, you’re having this baby right now”. I went from 4 cm to 10 cm JUST LIKE THAT (which I would later find out is very typical with pre-eclampsia as your body is basically ejecting the baby). They gave me a mask I could breathe into with a 50/50 nitrous/oxygen blend. and I began to push around 9 pm. And really, it was no big deal. The epidural was definitely working on that part of me and the nitrous was AWESOME. I took deep, soothing breaths into the mask and was immediately calmed and actually able to be present in the experience. I know these kinds of things can be controversial but I felt as though these interventions were MADE for people like me. I welcomed the help and truly do not know what I would have done without it.

So I pushed for about an hour, but I had these giant gaps between contractions. Sometimes up to 12 minutes. It was pretty fun to just be chillin’ like that, just on display for what seemed like ever (haha) but the fact that the Blazers were playing made it  fun. You see, the Blazers were playing the Warriors that night and the game was super close. I did a couple big ol’ pushes as the Blazers headed into overtime and then experienced a 12 minute gap as the Blazers clawed their way to victory. When the last contraction came on,  I knew I was darn close so I pushed hard and wouldn’t you know it? CJ McCollum, (David’s favorite player) hit a jumper to  put the Blazers ahead in overtime. Clara Jane was born at that exact moment. It was kismet. We had loved the name Clara and Claire throughout my whole pregnancy and this just sealed the deal. We chose “Jane” for her middle name and there you have it, our little CJ.

DON’T CRY NATALIE. GOSSHH.

They wiped her off a tiny bit (at our behest) and set her directly on my chest. I couldn’t believe it. She was on me. Me. I HAD A BABY. The girl who still loves Hello Kitty and matching her eyeshadow to her outfit sometimes. The girl who dances awkwardly similar to Eliane Benes. The girl who still gets lost in her neighborhood, after almost 2 years. ME. I am her mom. Holy t*ts. I did not feel one singular emotion, instead all of them mixed together in this overwhelming, wonderful concoction. I did not cry (still dehydrated) but was definitely deliriously happy. She was here!

Meanwhile, my midwife went to work on me…and she worked her ass off. Turns out I had 5 pretty minimal tears but tears nonetheless. And they would not. stop. bleeding. After about 30 minutes, they handed baby to David next to me and told my mom and sister to leave the room. At this point, about 15 people rushed into the room. I was told it was people from departments all over the hospital. They worked on me for an hour and a half and (again, we found this all out later) were stitching and stitching and every stitch she made “dissolved into nothing”. I was losing an absolute sh*t load of blood. They kept talking to me, encouraging David to keep me talking, but I was fading.

My midwife and the doctor were eventually able to get things under control and the team left. It was about 1 am at this point. They encouraged David to put the baby down and get some sleep. They continued to monitor me. I was doing okay and my midwife and doctor left.

I remember coming to around 2:30 am and the nurses kept checking my pain level, asking “Rate your pain on a scale of 1 to 10”. I felt fine so I told them I was around a 1 or 2. Within 10 minutes of saying that, I noticed a pretty significant increase in my pain down there. I told the nurse it was at about a 5. Another 10 minutes passed by and my pain had just skyrocketed. I was at an 11 out of 10, I told them. Mind boggling, horrendous pain had completely taken over and I sobbed and sobbed as they ran to get the anesthesiologist. THANK THE LORD the nurses had not taken out my epidural yet, because the anesthesiologist was able to at least get me some lidocaine on the spot, which took the edge off the pain. She then administered something more powerful and I felt nothing once again. However, in between all the action, the nurses kept looking at me and I heard the word hematoma. More and more of the L&D nurses came in to take a look and they all agreed that it was probably a hematoma. My midwife and doctor were called back and as soon as they checked me, they confirmed it was a hematoma.

Around 3:30 am, the nurses asked me to call someone who could come down and help David with the baby. I called my mom, calmly explained what was happening (I had no idea how serious my state was at this time) and could she hop in an Uber to help hold the baby while they took me in another room for “a procedure”.  Of course, she said yes.

The nurses frantically began disconnecting me from the 17 (yes, 17) things I was hooked into and asked me “Should we wake David?” as they wheeled me down the hall to the OR. I had no idea of the severity of my situation. I thought they’d drain the thing and that would be that. I told them to let David sleep. I’d be right back…Hahahahaaa.

This is where things took a turn for the worse.

Without getting too graphic, I’ll do my best to explain what happened. They removed all the stitches and went to work to remove and repair the tennis-ball sized hematoma I had down there.  They also placed two “balloons” in there to put pressure in order to stop the bleeding. It seemed pretty straight forward and at first, I was stable. After about an hour, the repairs they had made were no longer holding and the bleeding was not stopping. They could not locate the source of the bleeding inside of me, and things got pretty serious.

The doctors had some serious questions for David at this point and also needed his permission to do an angiogram on me. An angiogram is where they place a stint inside your major artery and pump liquid dye inside to track where the blood is going and hopefully, stop it. David consented and I was taken to the IR to have this done.  They ended up finding the source, two spots inside of me where they placed teeny coils to stop the bleeding.  This is what really saved my life because had the bleeding continued, it could have gone into my lungs or other places they did not want it to go. I had lost all of the blood in my body, and had received 4 units of blood and 2 units of cold  plasma.

At this point, I was taken to the ICU where I spent a couple of days being very closely monitored. I had wires, tubes and monitors attached to basically every appendage including my feet.  When I finally came to, a nurse from L&D introduced me to the ICU nurse who was taking care of me. They sort of explained what had happened and that the most important thing for me to do was rest, which was why I was in the ICU. David came in with the baby at one point and the L&D nurses kept coming down to check on me as well, but I was very lonely. I wanted to see my daughter and husband. The next day I finally got to leave the ICU and head back up to the 5th floor to the maternity ward to be with David and Clara. Seeing their faces again was total bliss.

Over the next few days, I was bedridden. They put these air boots on me that inflated and deflated to promote blood circulation. David made sure I was eating and drinking as much as possible, but I really had no appetite. My biggest motivation at this point was to take a shower, but I was not able to even put my feet on the ground without getting completely out of breath.

After two days of being back in our room, one of the other doctors (Dr. Davis) came in to talk to us about the state of my blood. He did an amazing job of explaining exactly what had happened to me, what they did to help me and why. Then he spelled out all the reasons why I felt so weak and would have a long road to recovery.  It all boiled down to my blood counts (red blood cells, platelets, liver enzymes, creatinine, etc) being low. He recommended another blood transfusion to try and boost these numbers and David and I agreed.

I received another 2 units of blood that day, but my IV’s were starting to really hurt. I did not think this would be a big deal, and that I was probably done using them but I was wrong. After the transfusion, my blood pressure was still really high (up around 190/114) so they kept treating me for that as well. The first medication they tried on me (levatol) was brutal. It was a very high volume and I had to receive it pretty frequently. The IV sites hurt really bad when I received the medicine and I just wished there was ANY other way I could take them. After the first medication proved not to work, they tried the next one down the line. Thankfully, they took out one of the IV’s that really hurt and used my other arm for the next one. This medication worked like a charm and my blood pressure went back down. They also put me on a slow-release blood pressure medication which I am still taking today. I ended up also developing a pretty severe rash on the entire back side of my body. It spread down to the backs of my knees all the way up to the back of my neck. The assumption was that it was a reaction to the medical tape I had ALL OVER my body and they gave me Benadryl and Hydrocortizone cream for it.

My whole immediate family had been in town during the ordeal and were staying at our house, visiting us everyday. I do not know what I would have done without them. My Mom came back to the hospital in the middle of the night when I had my hematoma. My Dad sat with me for hours in the ICU and read me the entire menu in his best radio voice. Megan cut Clara’s umbilical cord! (And she was actually admitted to the hospital as well for a night due to some light bleeding. She left the next day totally fine, but it makes for a crazy story!) And Amy ran back and fourth from our house to the hospital, running errands, taking care of me and everyone else.

I left the hospital a week after having the baby. I knew every single L&D nurse and had become good friends with a few of them. I was totally overwhelmed the day we were leaving. I was of course in a good amount of pain, hormonal, traumatized from what had just happened to me and then of course anxious about every facet of brand spanking new motherhood. We made it home and my mom had the house spic and span, my favorite candle burning (Marshmallow Fireside from BBW) and all our laundry was done.Did I mention I love my mom?

So that’s the story. I knew I needed to write it all out and I feel better now that I have. If you read this entire thing, thank you.

And speaking of thanks, there is one person who I need to thank and skip ahead if you’re not into cringey, sappy proclamations of love. To my David. There is absolutely no way I would have gotten through this without you. Seeing your face after getting out of the ICU was just…everything. I will  never forget that moment as long as I live. Thank you for taking care of me, of Clara. We will love you until the end of time.

So where are we now? DOIN AIGHT. Baby sleeps fairly well, eats great and is overall a tiny, happy camper. As for me, I am very emosh. Happy. Scared. And in love.

So in love.

 

 

 

 

Influenster Reviewers Choice Beauty Box

Hellooo gingersnaps!

A couple of weeks ago, I received an email about a collective beauty box from Influenster available for $50.  *BTW if you are NOT a member of Influenster and have a decent presence on social media, you should sign up because YOU WILL get sent free things. Seriously. 100% free. The promotion was accompanied by an offer from Ebates, which unless you have been living under a rock, you have probably heard of by now. I begrudgingly signed up for Ebates as well, due to the $10 cash back they promised, making the beauty box only $40.

I also ended up doing a bit of Christmas shopping on Ebates and low and behold, already got my first reimbursement check for 16 big ones! So basically, I will be using Ebates from now on because why the hell wouldn’t I? If you are not signed up for Ebates btw, you probably should because it is free money.

But enough about all the money I saved. ON TO THE BOX!

Feast yer eyes on all the items I got for $40.

For starters, Influenster values this box at $300 and they ain’t lyin.  I mean, check out the following items:

A Laura Mercier Translucent Setting Powder ($23)

AND you get the pouf:

A FULL SIZED Everlasting Lipstick by Kat Von D in the shade Lolita ($20)

A mini Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Vanilla Quartz ($19)

Those three items alone total $60. WHAT A DEAL folks! What. A. Deal.

Here are some other faves that came in the box:

Colorpop Supershock Eyeshadow in Lightening Bug ($5)

SO freakin’ pretty!

Full sized Tresemme Tres Two hairspray and my beloved Batiste Dry Shampoo in Neon.

A FULL SIZED Origins Ginzing Eye Cream ($32) plus samples from Sunday Riley and Purity Face Wash!

FULL SIZED products here too! Body lotion from Love Beauty and Planet, Ponds Dry Skin Cream, Coola Sport Face SPF 50 White Tea Sunscreen ($32).

All full sized products here too – from NYX, Real Techniques, Younique, Wet’n’Wild and Covergirl!

I just love ordering boxes like this around this time of year. They make great gifts in and of themselves but you can also put together smaller gift bags using some of the products depending on the person and keep a few things for yourself. SUCH a good idea!

This box is still for sale here! Go get you one!

The Home Stretch

Hello little hummus cups.

And thanks for being here. I realized the other day that I do not say that enough. I absolutely love my teeny tiny corner of the internet and the fact that you or anyone reads this makes it pretty darn special. At least to me. sothanks.

Welp. I am due in just about a month. Let’s talk about some sh*t.

Physical Health –

Overall I’m aight.  I have lower back and persistent tailbone pain and bad heartburn, but other than that things are not too shabby.

Mental Health –

My mental health game is surprisingly fairly strong! My therapist and I have tackled lots of issues together, such as:

  • Dealing with the mental side of putting on weight
  • Anticipation of losing my identity
  • Worry over the changes that will take place in my marriage and relationships
  • Anticipation of sleep deprivation
  • Medical procedures (such as getting an IV)
  • The pain of childbirth
  • The physical ramifications of childbirth
  • My body after childbirth
  • Childbirth

If it is not clear from the list above, I have a fair amount of anxiety surrounding childbirth. Man alive, how many times can I type the word CHILDBIRTH? Cripes. I think my anxieties are normal but the anticipation can be pretty crippling. Ya feel me?

Although I am (selfishly) quite nervous about the parts that involve MY body and psyche, I actually feel pretty okay about the baby-care part. Mostly due to the fact that I have a seasoned pro by my side (David) and a very enthusiastic junior mommy (E). She has already requested that the baby sleep in her room and volunteered to do much of the feeding. Sure thing, kid ;). Homegirl is excited and we cannot wait to see their little relationship unfold.

Here’s what else is going on:

We went on a maternity tour and took a Newborn Essentials class at the hospital.

The maternity tour gave me  a few minor panic attacks, mostly at the mention of blood clots and the hospital’s baby friendly policies. One part of this involves doing skin-to-skin RIGHT after the baby is born. As in, they pull the sucker out, do minimal cleaning, and set it directly ON YOU. You do this for one hour and then they take the baby away for measurements and whatnot. Mostly all of these things freak me out and I would rather have someone else do it. I called my Dad after the class and jokingly asked him if he would be willing. He replied, “Nat I’ve got my shirt off right now.” Baaaaaaaaahahaha.

*I also realize that my feelings about these kinds of things may totally change once I meet her, but this is how I feel right now.

The Newborns class was also pretty darn insightful. It was basically a 3-hr crash course on babies. Here were my favorite take-aways:

  • If someone comes to “visit” during those first couple of months, keep a list of chores on the fridge. When the friend/family member asks if there is anything they can do to help, you can say, “Sure, there is a list on the fridge. -OR-
  • Make visitors do a chore or bring food over if they want to hold the baby. *Not sure I would actually do this but it gives me a chuckle.
  • The phrase “sleeping through the night” for an infant is considered 5 hours.
  • Taking the baby for a walk between the hours of 10 am and 1 pm helps them start understanding that there is a difference between daytime and nighttime.
  • Tummy time is like, really important.
  • So is breastmilk, or breastfeeding.
  • Talking to the baby and explaining what you are doing early on, “I’m setting you down to change you,”, “It’s time to eat!”, etc. even as an infant is really good for them and helps them understand what you are doing sooner.

And while I have your attention…I have asked David multiple times if he would start taking hormones so that he can lactate and share the chore of breastfeeding with me…sadly he is not going for it.

I have also been trying to prepare for the busy life of primary caregiver to an infant baby by being as lazy as possible! Also being horizontal is just nice.

I like to binge watch Counting On! Gotta love those Duggar girls. I also folded my first batch of baby laundry!

Or nap in our big chair watching The Affair on HBO and staring at the Christmas tree.

Or walking around in the world’s comfiest pants c/o my homegirl Dana who got me these from Soft Surroundings.

In  my spare time, I also like to look at cute baby items that are out of my price range or completely and utterly unnecessary. Like this item:

Def do not need this but MAN do I want it. For myself 😉

Overall, I am tired and sore, excited, grateful, emotional, scared shitless and happy all at the same time.  I am so thankful for my David and my family, because without them I would be monumentally more worried than I am right now!

My 2018 Christmas List

Sound the alarm!

Gird your loins!

Pull up your boot straps!

My 2018 Christmas list is here!

BEHOLD!

I feel like this year is alllll about luxury. Which is funny, because I am about to yield a child who will inevitably humble, embarrass and otherwise de-glamorize me beyond recognition. Maybe that is why I am craving those items in life right now that say, “Hey – I’m comfy AND classy!” Those things that will make me feel kinda chic when life is kicking the absolute sh*t outta me. When I can wink a sparkly eyelid at the mom fresh out of barre class in her Lululemon cropped tank while I awkwardly maneuver the stroller with a crying baby and my postpartum muffin top showing and think, “You’re fine! You got this.”

Bobby Brown Face Base

To kick things off right, of course I want the same moisturizing primer that all the rich gurus like Jeffree Starr and Tati are using. I picture myself dunking a brand new beauty blender into this product and having skin JUST like theirs.

Camo Tee Shirt – Size M

Why it has taken me this long to finally procure a camo tee shirt, I do not know. I used to own THEE best one in high school and my sisters and I would fight over it. It was one from the Army surplus store and had been washed like a million times. It was so thin and SO soft. Hoping this will serve me the same way.

Lush D’Fluff Shaving Soap

I want a big ol’ tub of this stuff for two reasons. One: it smells strawberries and Two: the texture is like none other. It really is fluffy! Gotta hand it to Lush for always keeping things fun.

iRobot Roomba 690 Vacuum 

I have wanted a Roomba for a few years now but the price and the fact that I have a relatively small house has held me back. This year they are going on sale for Black Friday and I have decided that it is time. It’s time to say yes to having consistently clean floors (we have all hardwoods). It’s time I start realizing that shaving off an entire chore is worth $250. It is time to step into the light and get excited about a vacuum cleaner.

Kopari Body Care Set

I have really been enjoying the Kopari Coconut Melt in these chilly months. I use it on my belly, my face and my hair. It is kindof an amazing to have one product you really feel good about slathering everywhere. Since I discovered the Coconut Melt, the brand has expanded into all kinds of new products. I REALLY want to try the Coconut Shower Oil…and this set comes with a little bottle :).

Minnetonka Cally Slippers in Blush Suede – Size 10

Can you believe I DO NOT own a pair of slippers? It is a travesty I know. I had to special order a pair for David (he wears a size 15) and I get so jealous when he has them on for puttering around the house. In keeping with the theme for this year, I definitely need a pair!

Quay “It’s My Way” Sunglasses – Black

I feel like I have asked for a different pair of these sunglasses every year for Christmas. These ones in particular are just SO practical for me. They are GIANT, better quality than all the crappy ones I have from H&M and will be much needed to cover up the bags under my eyes in the coming months (which btw, are Prada).

Asymmetrical Snap-Up Fleece –  in pink and white (or any color) Size L

It just wouldn’t be Christmas without at least one item from good ol’ Abercrombie & Fitch amiright!? I have wanted this fleece for over a year now and right now it is ON SALE. I love the style of the neck, the quilted section and I mean, it’s fleece!                                                    (performance fleece….ooh it’s fine!) <- Anybody?!

Too Faced Twinkle Twinkle Liquid Glitter Eyeshadow – in Honey Please

I feel I owe it to you all AND to myself to compare this stuff to the Stila Magificent Metals glitters. I LOVE those ones and am curious to know how this formula compares!

Koolaburra Sylvia Boots – in Chestnut, Size 9.5

I ask for boots every damn year but I LIVE IN PORTLAND OK? Boots and coats, man. That’s all we get for so long. It’s just practical. And these ones have little fur and knit components. I MEAN. So cute.

Fall Happenings

Good Day Friends!

As you all know, I am a summer person through and through. Give me sunshine, sandals and vodka s’mores! Give me easy, casual outfits and slightly dirty hair! Give me watermelon with every meal and wet towels on the deck! Fall is gorgeous but to me, it just serves as a reminder that 6 months of drizzle is headed my way. 6 months of living in a rotation of 3-4 coats. 6 months of flat hair, LAYERS and wishing I had remote start for my car.

Despite the harsh reminder, fall has been absolutely gorgeous this year. Here is what I’ve been up to:

Pumpkin Patches!

I have a love/hate relationship with pumpkin patches…especially the ones that charge you to get in. The apple cider/pumpkin donuts are a love. The waiting in line to shoot a potato gun is a hate. Getting cute fall pictures…love. Parking the car in the middle of an alfalfa field…hate.

Also, pumpkins are cheaper at Fred Meyer…just sayin’.

David and I went to one in Kennewick with the Danielson crew and then took E to one here in Portland. Both were so fun.

Tate’s eyelashes in the above pic SLAAYYY me.

Our trips to Kennewick have been so much fun now that Tate is getting older and Meg is FINALLY starting to feel better (she is with child and has the Kate Middleton-style pregnancies).

Tate and David watching the Blazers.

Tate doing the “splits”.

We took E and pal Izzy to a pumpkin patch here in Portland the following weekend on theee most beautiful day EVER.

I die for how much Meira looks like a teddy bear here.

And then of course, it was Halloweenis.

No comment.

Meg finally bribed Tate to put on his costume! He was Curious George.

And then we had my baby shower. It was pretty much the cutest thing ever. I got a mountain of presents and ate two cupcakes in a row.

Of course spending the weekend with Tate was just dreadful ;).

His face in this pic, OMG:

Another random happening is my new specs from Warby! The color of them is called “rose water”. It may or may not have been the reason I chose them…

also, my real lashes:

 

Ulta Haul – The Essentials & Freebies

Bonjour babies!

I recently placed an order with Ulta and thought I would share this haul with my loyal readers, despite being filled with mostly boring essentials. Yess let’s go!

What I love most about ordering Ulta online, rather than shopping in-store is the amount of freebies! I have received their emails for years and unlike so many other emails that clutter up my inbox, the Ulta ones are actually worth a damn. Always a coupon, always a gift with purchase and always samples. If you do not currently get the emails from Ulta, do it.

Here’s what I got for $50 exactly: (apologies for the sh*t pics)

Makeup Revolution Renaissance Flick Liquid Eyeliner

I purchased this one based off a recommendation from the lovely Emily Noel. And MAN am I glad I did – this product is AMAZING.

Here is one tiny swipe, not even pressing down hard:

Black AF.

Covergirl Supersizer Mascara

This is my favorite mascara. YES it is tough to remove (just be patient!) but it literally keeps a curl, is separating AND lengthening AND voluminous. It is a freakin’ workhorse.

IT Cosmetics Celebration Illumination Powder Foundation

I decided to just bite the bullet and repurchase this absolutely stunning face powder. I also really like the Benefit Hello Flawless powder (seen here) for under my eyes, but this one just takes the cake in terms of face powder. I purchased the “light” shade if you are curious.

Ulta Cotton Rounds

Told you this was haul was going to be thrilling.

So Totally Clean Micellar Cleansing Water

I needed a new micellar water and since Bioderma is still not sold in the US anywhere, I went with this one.

And now for the freebies!

I received all of these items FREE for spending $50.

Here are a few of the highlights:

Covergirl Cheekers Blush in Iced Cappuccino

This blush is a TOTAL throwback. My girl Lacey and I used to pile this on in high school and I have to say – it is still such a good color! I am in love once again.

Winky Lux Highlighter in Charm

This bite-sized highlighter is almost too cute to use. The packaging? I MEAN. Be still my heart. The highlight itself is an iridescent pinky color, very creamy and very pigmented!

Maybelline Vivid Hot Lacquer in Charmer

I like the consistency and color payoff of this gloss but the color is horrible on me. I’ll be passing along!

It Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores Illumination 

The sample size of this product is LEGIT. I have used it a handful of times so far and it really isn’t my fave. It is nowhere as good as the Celebration powders.

Annnd last but certainly not least….

Coach Floral Eau De Parfum

This was not a freebie. Haha I wish. David picked this up for me the other weekend while we were on a date and casually handed it to me at the movies. It smells amazing (you can tell I have already used it ALOT) and the bottle? COME ON. I die.

 

Baby Registries – A Rant

Hi pigeons!

So…baby registries. Registries in general. A list of sh*t you want people to buy for you. Unlike a wedding registry, a baby registry is not really about YOU so much as the human you are growing. But like, YOU are growing the baby and you own it so it IS kinda about you. And the baby does not get a say. Wouldn’t it be great if the doctors could tell you the baby’s preferred color palette and sleeping arrangement at the ultra sound? Is the baby more of a winter or summer? Would it prefer co-sleeping, a bassinet or something that rocks? I guess what I mean is, registering for your baby is a little cart-before-the-horse if you ask me.

When I asked my best friends with kids what ONE item they loved with ALL of their kids, the results were scarce. My friend Carey was like, “all my kids were so different! at first all they really need is you, diapers and a blanket”.

That sounds easy.

But then hundreds of baby websites and apps and Pinterest start popping up and make you feel like you NEED a bottle warmer. Or a freakin’ WIPE warmer.  They focus on taking all of your money! I feel I cannot rely on those resources. I decided I would approach this subject as I do with most things in life, in a practical manner.

I am 34. My husband already has a kid. It is not amateur hour over here. We have a smaller home and ideally I would prefer it not be hemorrhaging baby crap. So what does that mean?

  1. Stick to the necessities.
  2. Try to get things that are multi-purpose.
  3. If our home has to contain ugly baby stuff, lets make it the cutest ugly baby stuff we can find.

Additionally, KNOW THYSELF. I know my kid will have an abundance of clothes, books and toys. Why? Because – my mom. Because – Goodwill. And because – baby girl stuff is very hard to resist  due to rampant cuteness. THEREFORE, I will not be registering or buying items like toys, HOARDS of clothing, books or random contraptions. And speaking of contraptions…

The amount of apparatuses (not apparati, I looked it up) to hold, swing, rock, vibrate, swaddle or otherwise contain a baby is astounding. You’ve got your rock’n’plays, your pack’n’plays, your dock-a-tots, your bouncers, your walkers, your freakin’ mamaroos. It’s  a little ridiculous. Is all this sh*t really necessary? I mean, our little house is already going to be taken over by baby stuff – why add more unsightly, primary-colored gadgets with smiling lions and elephants into the mix?

And I know they are starting to make nicer looking ugly baby stuff, more sleek and modern.  Believe me, I know…

hhhhelllo lover…

nice to meet you 😉

But you know how much these items cost? $1,200 and $200 respectively.

To put it into perspective, here are examples of items within my budget:

Do you see the distinction?

Can you say, Restoration Hardware taste on a Craigslist free section budget?

And it’s all a gamble! The baby could hate being in a swing or being rocked. A white noise machine could make the crying worse. The baby may hate being strapped to my chest in a Baby Bjorn.

My point is, there is so, SO much . It seems to me that a baby registry should happen like 3 months after the thing is born. But how practical is that Natalie?!

C’est la vie.

In creating our baby registry, of course David’s expertise came in mighty handy. We talked through what kind of sleeping, feeding and diapering situations to shoot for, knowing perfectly well that all of it could go flying out the window based on the level of asshole our baby decides to be. Here is a random sampling of some items from our registries (Target and Amazon).

A Pack’n’Play

Our hope: She will sleep on top in the bassinet for awhile. Then we can move her halfway down when she starts rolling over and moving more. Then we can move her to the bottom when she gets bigger. She will get used to sleeping/existing in it and we can take it with us everywhere.

Stokke High Chair

This expensive MF-er looks nice and apparently you can have it forever. It grows with the kid.

Nose Frida

This thing completely grosses me out but David swears it works amazing.

Diapers

We have decided to do disposables because when it comes right down to it, I don’t feel like carefully dealing with baby excrement. We registered for Pampers too, but the designs on these Honest Diapers are completely to die.

Clothes

I KNOW I will have cartloads of clothes but I could not resist adding  a few things. You’ll understand why…

And yes, I threw in the white onesies too.

Random Crap

One thing I have absolute power over is the decor of our extra room she will (fingers crossed) eventually sleep in. I’m going full-bore ballerinas, swans, shabby-chic blush pink AND I AM NOT LOOKING BACK.

And of course we need Little Mermaid bath toys. This girl will be singing Les Poissons with a perfect french accent by age 2 SO HELP ME GOD.

Loungewear 

Full disclosure: I registered for some new nursing/post-maternity pajamas and lounge clothes for myself because DON’T I GET SOMETHING?! I almost added some Sunday Riley Good Genes serum but thought that might be pushin’ it.

In all seriousness though, having some cute new lounge clothes to wear home from the hospital is going to make the fact that I am wearing an 8-inch thick diaper a little easier to swallow.

And if you’re interested in all the items we registered for, check them out here:

Target

Amazon

*I did register for a bottle-warmer. Haha.