Thursday, May 10, 2012

Farm Plans

Just an FYI... Any post written since Bryce was born and likely any post for the next 18 months was/will be typed with one hand so please excuse any typos. The only time of the day I get to sit and work on the computer is while Bryce nursing.

Anyways, on my last post I mentioned that I will go into more details about our farm plans. Our goal over the next 5 years is to get the photography business and the farm to a place where it is supplying most of our necessary income. Our goal over the next 10 years is to become mostly self-sustaining. We would also like to get our budget down as much as possible which would include paying off our mortgage and Kevin's student loan. Realistically we would have to win a small lottery or something to make that possible in the next 10 years... at least for the mortgage. Anyone know of a game show that's casting?

The following is an outline of our farm plans. It may or may not go in this order:

Phase 1: Chickens! Kevin is still building the coop. It was put on hold for a short time when Bryce was born. He believes that it will only take him 2 more weekends, which is good considering the chickens will be here the first week in June. They will be in a brooder for a few weeks at first but it will be nice to have it done and set up a few weeks before they are ready to be moved into it. I have been photographing the progress of the coop and will do a post about it when it has been completed. I ordered 8 chicks, all different breeds, so we can figure out which we like best. These are all laying hens. We may have meat birds in the future but not this time around. I need to figure out a lot of good recipes for eggs.

Phase 2: Barn and Fencing We have been saving up for the barn. Since I will no longer be teaching we didn't want to take out a loan and add anything to our budget. I have worked very hard with our budget over the years trying to make it so we had money to put away each month. It's important to me that buying the barn doesn't deplete our safety net. The barn isn't huge. It's about the size of a large shed, so cost wise it isn't bad. It should comfortably shelter 5-7 goats and we will be starting with 2-3 and if we ever exceed 7 will hopefully have the funds to build an additional shelter. Kevin plans to do the fencing himself... hopefully that goes well.

Phase 3: Garden We will be having a raised bed garden with 4 raised beds. Kevin plans to build my beds by fall so we have time to start working on the soil. He will also be building electric fencing around the garden to keep out all the varies animals that want to eat our fruits and veggies. The kids and I will be planting a garden next spring. I have big plans but am trying to not go overboard. I'm not known for having a green thumb but I have been doing a ton of research. I am learning what fruits and veggies are the best for beginners, what plants grow well with others, how to keep away bugs and diseases. Hopefully we will have a great crop next year.... we will see.

Phase 4: Goats As long as the barn and fencing is up we will get our goats next spring. We want to get 2-3 kids. I would like to raise them from babies. We will get Nubians. Their milk has a high butter fat and they are the breed of goat that I have always wanted. They are known as the "divas" of the goat world because they talk a lot and have strong personalities. We have talked about getting a guard dog at the same time. We need to figure out if this is nessesary first.

Phase 5: Kidding Our current plan is it breed all of our females in the fall of the first year. We may choose to wait a full year but I would like to get the milk going as soon as possible. We need to figure out if our goats are old enough to breed before we make that decision.

Phase 6: Bees I want bees for a few reasons. I want them to pollinate our trees, flowers and garden and I would love to be able to have their honey. We have a decent population of bees already but I would like it to be more controlled and I want to give them a nice place to live... and like I said this way I get their honey. We have a few types of bees on our property. We are battling carpenter bees right now. They are the only breed we are trying to get rid of. They are putting holes in our house and lean-to. We will purchase our population of bees for our hive... as I assume that is what you do. This is a subject that I need to do more research on. I have time though. This is a project for next spring or possibly the spring after that. The goats may be grabbing all of the attention next spring.

Phase 7: Milk, Soap, and Cheeses Our main goal for the goats is to make soap products to sell. The milk and cheese products will be just for our family, at least for now. We would like to get all of our dairy products from our own farm. It's a long process to be able to sell food products. If we ever sell our cheeses it will likely be project for much further down the road

Phase 8: Workshop Making soap takes up space and can be messy (lol). Not to mention that some of the chemicals can be dangerous. So we would like to make our shed into a workshop for soap making... with running water, counters, and shelving for aging the soap. It would be nice to have these things away from the house and for us to have a less distracting place to work.

Phase 9: Small Green House There are many plants that we would like to grow that wouldn't do well in our Virginia winters and plants that we would like to try to grow year round. We can hopefully make these possible by having a small green house. I have found a ton of plans for greenhouses that I love on pinterest but they require us to somehow have a supply of old wooden windows. In an effort to make this project affordable we will likely be looking for a cheaper material, like PVC pipe.

Phase 10: Solar Power It's start up costs are quite expensive but sometime in the next ten years we hope to have solar power.

There are plenty of things that we would like to add to the property that isn't on this list because they aren't huge projects, are things that I am not sure how we are ever going to be able to afford, or are things that are not a huge proprity. Things like a fire pit in the backyard (we will likely hold off until the kids are much older), fencing off the remainder of the yard so the chickens can free range all the time and we don't have to worry about dogs or other animals attacking them, paving at least part of our driveway so the kids have a place to bike and play with chalk and so we can get out of the driveway more easily after bad weather, and taking down about an acre of trees off the rest of the property to make more pasture land and possibly a pasture and housing for a male goat.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Resignations and Big Plans

After a lot of thought Kevin and I have decided that it is best for me leave my teaching job and to stay home with the kids. It makes the most sense, financially. It's quite bitter sweet. The school system where I work has been very good to me over the last 4 years and the staff has become like family but I am extremely excited and feel incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to stay at home with the kids. Kevin and I have so many plans for the kids, the photography business and the farm and me being home is going to free me up to work on making those plans a reality. We hope within the next 5 years that the photography business and farm provide the majority of our income. Whether that is realistic or not I guess we will have to wait and see.

As many of you know, we plan to homeschool the kids. This is a huge commitment in many ways but time-wise it will keep me from working a job that requires me to be out the house most of the week. The photography business will allow me to schedule work on the weekends, so Kevin can be home with the kids. I will occasionally have to work during the week but it will not be enough to interfere with the kid's school schedule. I have had so much fun building the elementary curriculum and building a community of  homeschoolers who are homeschool for the same reasons that I am.

The farm has been our dream for a long time. We would like to be self-sustaining in the next 10 years and we have so many plans for our small plot of land... so many in fact that I will do another post about our farm plans.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Bryce Nicole’s Birth Story

Bryce was born April, 17th 2012.
It was decided very early in the pregnancy that I would be induced early in order to avoid the complications that I had during my labor with Breckin. When I expressed that I would like to go into labor on my own this pregnancy and was told that as long as this baby was smaller than Breckin they would consider it but if the baby was the same size or larger I would have to be induced early and they proceeded to explain the complications that can occur from having a large baby. Apparently we dodged quite a few bullets with Breckin. I was lucky that I was the only one who suffered complications because apparently quite a few things could have gone wrong with Breckin. We were blissfully unaware of what could go wrong while pregnant with Breckin. This time having that knowledge was a lot to carry around.
At almost 37 weeks I was given a growth scan ultrasound. Her labor was going to be planned based on what the ultrasound told us. She had already been measuring quite large and I was warned the week before that she was likely going to be bigger than Breckin. She was measuring 8 pounds even and two weeks ahead at the ultrasound. I sat in the room waiting for the doctor crying, expecting her to say that I had hit the size limit already and was going to have to have a c-section. The earliest insurance will allow you to be induced based on size is 38.5 weeks. I was two weeks away from that milestone and was afraid that she would reach a larger size than the Dr was willing to let me deliver. When she came in she assured me that she was going to do whatever she could to give me the delivery I wanted and scheduled the induction for the earliest date she was allowed. Even though Bryce was measuring large she thought that we would still come in a whole pound less than Breckin.
On the day before the induction I went in to pre-register with the hospital and have blood work done. We later picked Kevin up from work so he could leave his work van there and we went out to have our last dinner out as a family of 3… and likely our last dinner out for a long time. We went to the Olive Garden (like we did the night before Breckin’s induction) and then picked up cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory. I wasn’t allowed to eat after midnight so the plan was for me to eat the cheesecake as a treat right before bed. We came home, gave Breckin his bath and put him to bed. I shed a few tears knowing that I would be away from him the next couple of nights. We went to bed at 11pm and luckily I fell right to sleep.
I woke up about 4am. I dressed and paced nervously around the house. Kevin called the hospital to make sure they had enough beds. Kim came over around 4:30am to be with Breckin. We went over last minute instructions with her, gave her the monitor and she went back to sleep for the few hours before Breckin needed to be at day care. I went up and gave Breckin a kiss. He woke up long enough to kiss me and give me a hug and we were off to the hospital.
We arrived at the hospital at 6am. It is so surreal walking into the hospital knowing that when you leave you will have a baby with you. We got into the room and they set me up on all the monitors. The Dr. hadn’t sent in any orders for me so we had to sit and wait for her to come in at 7:30. When she came in she checked me and I was a good 3cm and 75% effaced. They put in me on antibiotics for my Group B Strep and started me on pitocin. Every half hour they upped my pitocin. The contractions were strong but not strong enough. After about an hour on the pitocin I was up to 4cm but I then sat there for 2 hours. The dr. decided to break my water because she believed it would really kick up my labor… which it did. Within minutes of my water being broken I was in terrible pain. I could stand the contractions at that point and didn’t want to get an epidural too early but I was afraid I was going to dilate to a point where it would be too late for me to get one. I told the nurse how incredibly painful my last labor was even with my epidural that I was afraid I would pass out without one. She explained to me based on how I described my labor with Breckin that it sounded as if my epidural didn’t take and I actually gave birth without it. I told her that after I received my epidural they raised my legs in order to take the pressure off my cervix and the nurse said that that likely caused my epidural to settle in my chest and not in my lower region like it should have. This convinced her that I would be able to do this labor with an epidural… it didn’t convince me. Like a switch I was all the sudden in incredible pain and asked for my epidural. The dr. administering it took quite a long time to get to me and I had to work through extremely strong contractions without it. The nurse was an amazing couch. I was just about ready to push by the time the dr. came in. The nurse set up for me to push but I screamed for my epidural. I wasn’t going to do it without one! I was already feeling pressure, so once I got my epidural they let me “birth down,” meaning they let my body pull Bryce down on it’s own so I didn’t have to push as long. After about 30 minutes the Dr. came in and got me ready to push. They set up the mirror so I could watch Bryce come out. With Breckin I pushed for 3 hours. This time the doctor said our goal was minutes not hours. When I started to push she was coming out face up. Breckin was face up and it makes the pushing much harder. I continued to push and she did a big twist and we saw her turn over into the correct position. It was an amazing thing to see in the mirror. After pushing for about 10 minutes I reached down and pulled her out and onto my chest. I held her tightly as she cried. I cried. I was present at this birth. It was amazing. With Breckin I was so tired and in so much pain that I was in a completely different place when he was born. I got to pull him out onto my chest but I wasn’t really aware what was going on, and then all hell broke loose and I started to bleed. Everything was very calm this time around. It was beautiful. After a few minutes they took Bryce to do her APGAR test. The Dr. delivered my placenta and actually showed it to me and opened up the water sack that Bryce was in to show me that as well. It was amazing. It truly was a beautiful experience
Bryce weighed in at 9 pounds 8 oz. 2 oz less than Breckin and induced a week early.

Saturday, April 28, 2012


Sorry for going so long without an update. Even though I have spent most of my time sitting on the couch holding Bryce and nursing, it's hard to type out long blog posts with one hand.

We have been home for over a week now. It has been an adjustment... for everyone, but we have really started to settle in. Bryce is a wonderful baby and we are all totally in love with her. She is the perfect addition to our family. She is calm and loves to be held and to snuggle. Which when translated means she refuses to be put down. I'm used to this behavior since Breckin was the same way. She is so beautiful. She has a full head of black hair and deep dimples in both cheeks and one in her chin. Her face looks exactly like Breckin's and she has the same amazing dark brown eyes.

Kevin returns to work on Tuesday and I am sure there will be a whole new set of adjustments that need to be made. The first few days home Breckin had a hard time staying calm around Bryce and was often too rough with her. It has been our focus this week to teach him the appropriate way of playing with his sister, so once I am home alone with him I wont have too many issues. I'm not going to lie he still has his moments, but for the most part he is adjusting well. It will be interesting to see what happens when Kevin is not around though. We have gathered a bunch of stuff to keep him entertained and so far they have been working. We understood from the beginning that he would be the one most affected by the change. Luckily, some of the issues that I was expecting haven't been an issue at all. I was fully expecting him revert with his potty training but he is a pro now and he hasn't had any accidents. Also, jealousy hasn't really become an issue, at least not yet. He really loves his sister and really wants her around... all the time. He wants to help and gets a lot of pleasure out of taking part in the care of his sister.

We have only run into a couple of health issues with Bryce so far (with Breckin it felt like we dealt with so much in the beginning, luckily he has turned out to be an extremely healthy child). She was tongue tied like Breckin and we have been dealing with a little jaundice. Her levels were not too high, so she didn't need light treatment but she does have a yellow cast and I have been instructed to nurse often... Bryce isn't protesting. It's taking a while for the jaundice to go away but I think I am see improvements. It's hard to say. We have another appointment for a weight check in on Monday. I am sure she will evaluate her levels again then.

When we left the hospital Bryce was weighing in at 9 pounds (she was 9 pounds 8 oz at birth). At her first doctor's appointment the next day she was down to 8 pounds 10 oz. They scheduled another appointment for this past Monday and she was already back up to 9 pounds. I can't imagine what she will be at her next appointment. She eats like crazy and my milk is abundant this time around. With Breckin it took my milk a week and half to come in.

Cloth diapering with the gDiapers has been a completely different than diapering with the Bumgenius'. The disposable inserts work great but our small cloth inserts apparently weren't conditioned well enough and the diapers leaked with every pee or poop. I did an oxyclean soak, then boiled them, then did three full washes. After that we had no more leaks! I was really frustrated at first but I really like them now. It's nice to only have to change the insert each time, rather than the whole diaper. Right now she is going through all of her cloth inserts (12) reach day, so I am having to do a diaper wash everyday. Once she is over 10 pounds she will be able to start wearing the bumgenius' and since Breckin is only wearing one diaper a day (to bed at night.. just in case) most of the sash will be available to her. Hopefully that will allow me go a day or more between washes. I am glad we made the decision to cloth diaper and I am very happy with my choices of brands.

I am loving being a mommy of two!! I was terribly afraid that I was going to suffer from PPD considering the depression that I dealt with this pregnancy but I feel great! I'm tired but my spirits are high. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Bryce Nicole Neilson-Hall

Baby girl Born 4/17/2012 at 4:07pm. 9lbs 8oz (and a week earlier than her brother who was 9 pounds 10 oz).

Will post pictures later.

Here we go

9cm. Resting for a bit, then it's time to push.


Crystal is now resting after having received an epidural. Still moving forward but now she's much more relaxed. It got a little rocky there for a minute.

It's funny, from my perspective this is going almost exactly like Breckin's birth. But then again what do I know, I'm basically just a spectator.

Water Broke

Still at 4cm and 90%.

The doctor just broke her water. Painful contractions. Things are moving.

Birth Ball

We're now on the Birthing Ball. Crystal's bouncing away.

Contractions are still manageable. Still fairly far apart.

We're ready to get things going here !!!

Getting Going

Contractions 2-4 minutes apart.

90% effaced and 4cm dilated.

No drugs yet. Shes managing the contractions very well.

I'll try to post as more is happening but this may start happening to quickly.

Birth Ball

Crystal's on the Birth Ball bouncing around.

Kicked up a little bit on the pitocin and ready to go.


Real contractions have started.

They've got Crystal on Pitocin and Antibiotics and now we're just waiting again. She'll start using the birthing ball here in a little while and we'll try to kick this thing into high gear!

We're trying to do everything possible to not have hours of pushing this time.

Getting Started

All checked in, wired up and ready to go.

The nursing staff has been very nice so far. We're just watching the news and waiting. I think it's finally starting to hit both of us what's about to happen.

The doctor hasn't given any orders so far so we're not starting anything at all yet and have to wait until she gets here. It's nice to be able to hear the baby's heartbeat on the monitor though.

---Kevin (Daddy)

First post of the day...

It's almost 4am.... I'm up. I actually got come sleep though. With Breckin I tossed and turned the entire night. I got maybe 2 hours of sleep the night before his induction. This time around I was able to fall asleep and while I only slept in short spurts at least I got SOME sleep.

I am pretty anxious at this point. When I was at pre-registration yesterday I walked by the nursery and looked at the tiny newborn babies. It really hit me that I was going to be having one of those really soon. It's so surreal. It's surprising how surreal it is considering I have been through this before.

Ok.. We leave in about an hour to head to the hospital. The lovely Ms. Kimmie will be at the house soon to stay with Breckin... and I have to say we are lucky to have such wonderful people in our lives. The kind of wonderful people who get up at 4am to come and watch your son and bend over backward to make sure that your child is taken care of JUST the way you want him to be so you don't have to stress while you are at the hospital having a baby. Kim and Pam, You guys mean so much to us. Thank you for making this a little easier on me.

More updates to come but they will be from Kevin. Wish me luck!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Tomorrow is the BIG day!!

I go in tomorrow morning to start the induction of our little girl!! It is so surreal that the day is almost here. I am sure I wont sleep tonight... not that I sleep now anyways. I am a little concerned that the hospital will end up on diversion or something and my induction will be postponed, not that there is any indication that that will be the case. I was worried about it with Breckin's induction as well. I can't stand the thought of waiting any longer. When you have your mind on an end date it's hard to think of it changing.

I have been having more contractions over the last 2 days. I have been really taking it easy but after Breckin goes down for bed tonight all bets are off. I will start walking and anything else I can think to try to encourage labor... Anything to take my mind of the clock. Pitocin isn't fun. I would love to go to the hospital already in labor.

Anyways, Kevin will be updating the blog all day tomorrow. We did the same with Breckin and it is so nice to have the record of the day. If you want baby updates tomorrow please check the blog. We wont be calling people or updating facebook.

Here are the blog post from when Breckin was born if you are interested:

Friday, April 13, 2012

38 Weeks Pregnant!

4 Days Until Induction!!

What's going on with Baby B: It's looking like I am going to make it to my induction date. I have managed to really take the last week easy, thanks to my sweet, accommodating two year old. I've been having contractions but nothing like the week before. I had a doctor's appointment Wednesday and I am still where I was last week, almost 3cm and 60% effaced, which would normally be discouraging, but is fine with me since my doctor is out of town. After my appointment the nurses talked to me about the doctors who would deliver the baby if I were to go into labor before my doctor gets back. It was quite obvious that I was nerves about that and they all understood, since they were all patients of my doctor and she delivered most of their children as well. She also is Breckin's pediatrician's OBGYN and delivered all of her children as well. She's a really special woman. As I was leaving I remembered that I was supposed to get an instruction sheet for the induction. The nurse was looking for my specific sheet from the hospital and she couldn't find it. Come to find out that I was on my doctor's schedule to be induced but not the hospital and that my pre-registration and blood work hadn't even been scheduled. With the doctor and her main nurse out of town there was no one to ask about it. Luckily, the nurse helping me used to be my doctor's main nurse and she was able to call the hospital to get everything set up. They had a spot for me thank goodness. If they didn't I would have just gone in on Tuesday and insist that they induce me! Everything is scheduled now but I am worried that this is a sign that things are not going to go so smoothly next week. I guess we will see. I just want her to be here, safe and healthy

Symptoms: More of the same

Cravings: Nothing specific... I'm just always hungry.

Baby Preparations: We are pretty much done with everything. We are just spending time with as a family this weekend, and working on the chicken coup. On Monday I have to go to the hospital to have my pre-registration and some blood work done. We also have to pick Kevin up from work on that day so he can leave his truck at the shop. We plan to go out for a nice dinner after... our last a family of 3. It's hard to believe that today is the last "normal" weekday that just Breckin and I will spend together. This weekend Kevin will be home of course and Monday we are running around like crazy. It's a little sad. I love my time just focused on Breckin. Our lives are about to change so much. I know the change for the better but I think it is also normal to be a little scared of that change. Breckin and I are doing a lot of cuddling today.. just as soon as I get this blog post and some cleaning done.

Friday, April 6, 2012

37 Weeks Pregnant!! FULL TERM!!

11 Days Until Induction!!!!!

What's going on with Baby B: My big goal was to make it to today... for two reasons. 1. Breckin's post-op visit was today and I really wanted to be there for him. 2. Baby B is now full term! I have been dilating and contracting more and more each week and we feared that I was going to go into labor before now. My new goal is to make it to my induction date or at least the night before. Which may sound weird if you have been reading my blog over the last 10 months. I was informed on Wednesday that my doctor, along with all but one of the doctors in her practice, would be on vacation for spring break. I'm not sure which doctor it will be, but all this means to me is that even if I am in labor during business hours I will not have my doctor and it is likely that with only one doctor available I will have one of the hospital staff doctors, a doctor I don't know, deliver my baby. Given my history I am a little worried. I am also not comfortable with a male doctor. While I am not the most modest person in the world, I am still not comfortable with a male OBGYN. It is a private area and I am just not comfortable..... And before anyone starts lecturing me that I need to be prepared for things to go a different way than I want... I understand that there is nothing I can do about the way things turned out but given how my last labor went, with all of the complications, I think it is valid for me to want/need a little control. Not everyone knows how serious my situation was and honestly I don't really want to go into it right now but because of that situation I want someone who knows my history to at least be in town. Also, I haven't checked but I worry that if my doctor is out of town that there is a chance the kids' pediatrician is out of town as well. Which is not a huge deal but we love her so so so so much. I would like her to be there when Baby B is in the hospital. Talk about someone who has done a lot of us over the years...

On Wednesday I had a growth ultrasound. It was amazing!! The tech did part of the scan in 3d, which I have never experienced before. I got to see her sweet little face and she looks exactly like baby Breckin. I got to watch the entire exam and could see the numbers as she did the measurements... 38 weeks 5 day, 39 weeks 1 day, 38 weeks 5 days... I was only 36 weeks 5 days!!! The tech also estimated that she weighs 8 pounds already. Ultrasound weight estimates are not always accurate but it at least tells us that she is going to be quite big. Dr. Hirata decided based on this information and because of my history, that I needed to be induced at 38.5 weeks, a little less than a week earlier than Breckin was induced. We are hoping that Baby B is a pound less than Breckin was at birth. I also found out that I am about 3cm dilated, 60% effaced and very soft. It's quite likely that I will go into labor on my own in the next week but the hope is that I last until April 17th.

I have been so anxious to get to this point but now that I have an induction date I feel more comfortable and willing to go that last week and a half. If I make it to the induction date we will be able to explain the situation to Breckin a little easier and we can take care of all the last minute stuff and have a nice family evening on the Monday before the induction. The plan right now for Monday is to get the house clean, make sure everything is packed, take the dogs to a kennel, pick up Kevin at work (since he needs to leave his van), then go to dinner at Olive Garden (like we did the night before Breckin's induction) and pick up cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory to have for dessert later. I want to make sure I am nice and full since I can't have any food from mid-night until after the baby is born.

Symptoms: Lots of contractions and pressure. The pressure is so extreme at sometimes that it hurts to sit up. The pressure is centered really hard on my bladder as well... that just adds to the discomfort. I have been waking up hourly at night to use the bathroom... I guess this is my body getting me ready for having a baby again.

Cravings: I am 11 days from Sushi!! Woot Woot!!

Birthday Prediction: Here's hoping for April 17th.

Baby Preparations: I still have one more dinner and one more breakfast to make and freeze. Kevin has a few more cleaning things to do that I am unable to do... like clean the high areas in the house that have been collecting dust all winter, like the top of the fridge. He also continues to work on the chicken coup! I am so excited. Breckin loves his daddy time. He takes his building jobs very seriously. It's a great learning experience for him and I am sure he will be proud to tell people that he helped build the coup for years to come.

Friday, March 30, 2012

36 Weeks Pregnant

1-3 Weeks Until We Meet Our Little Girl!!!!

What's going on Baby B: I had a doctor's appointment on Wednesday. I was 2 cm dilated, 60% effaced and she was at -1 station. At last week's appointment my uterus was measuring 37 weeks. This week it is measuring 35. I was told not to worry though that, that tends to happen at the end of pregnancy when the baby drops. Dr. Hirata believes that the baby will come on her own before we are able to induce but she said the same thing about Breckin, so who knows. She says I am in a good place and as we get closer I will likely only need a touch of the membranes to get things rolling. I had quite a bit of cramping from my last internal exam. I swear I thought I was going to go into labor last night given the pains I was having. I took a bath then laid down to get the contractions to stop. As much of a hurry as I am in to get this child out before induction or c-section talk I want her to AT LEAST be full term... so she needs to stay in there one more week. After that all bets are off and I will be ready for her to make her appearance.

I have an appointment next Wednesday. I will get an ultrasound to check the baby's size. I will also get another cervical check. I am hoping for some progress... maybe 3 cm and 75% effaced? The last few days have been so painful that I think it might be extremely discouraging to hear that it was all for nothing.

Symptoms: I swear I never felt like this with Breckin... or at least I don't remember. I don't remember feeling like I was walking around in early labor. I remember in my head thinking it could happen any minute because I started dilating so early but with this pregnancy I physically feel like I am walking around in early labor all the time. The BH contraction are getting more painful, backaches, terrible painful swelling, horrible pains and pressure, the list can go on and on. I have nothing really to compare it to except that period when I was in labor with Breckin right after I started the pitocin and I started to actual feel the contractions and labor starting. I went from that phase to the HOLY CRAP this hurts phase extremely quickly and then before I knew it I was pushing. Maybe that's why my brain keeps telling me that I am in labor.

I really feel that if I hadn't left work when I did that my girl might actually be here already. I have contractions all day long and that is with me resting a good portion of the day. I feel so lucky to have this time off with Breckin and to make sure that I can take this baby to full term.

Cravings: I found quite a few new avocado recipes that we will be trying out this weekend and next week. So exciting! I really wonder if I will like avocados the same after the pregnancy. I really could take them or leave them before.

Birthday Predictions: Here is what I want... April 12th or 14th... those seem like nice birthdays right? I can only hope.... Knowing how this pregnancy has gone though I will continue to walk around feeling like I am in early labor for 3 weeks until I am induced. Oh well I guess... whatever it takes

Baby Preparations: I am almost done with my to do list. I just need to finish making the frozen meals. Which is my goal for this week. We are doing a big shopping trip tomorrow to get all the stuff and I am trying to make sure that we have close to 2 months worth of food in the house... which is hard to imagine. It might not happen but I can at least get close to a month and a half. I guess we will see. I would like to make it so that all we need to run out to get for the next two month is milk and fresh fruits and veggies. Wish me luck!

Kevin's to do list is still quite long but I think we should be able to knock a lot off of it this weekend. He is working on the chicken coup (which isn't part of the list) so I might need to help him finish some of the things myself... what I can physically do.. they are on HIS list for a reason. We are all ready to go at a moments notice though. The last thing on the list that HAS to be done is getting Baby B's car seat in the car.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

35 Weeks and 2 Days Pregnant!!

2-4 Weeks Until We Meet Our Little Girl!!!

What's going on with Baby B: I had my first cervical check this week and I am "a good 1 cm and 50% effaced". This is the same place I was with Breckin at this point. It was a little discouraging considering all the pain and contractions I have been dealing with recently. I was hoping for 2 cm. With Breckin I sat at 1 cm and 50% effaced for weeks. I have another cervical check Wednesday and I am hoping to see some progress. I also learned that the "little" girl is now measuring bigger than Breckin was at this point. The doctor seemed a little worried. She scheduled an ultrasound for the 4th to get a more accurate reading on her size and we will make a plan from there. I am hoping that they will just induce me earlier than 39 weeks. I don't even want to talk c-section. Don't get me wrong, if it comes down that that is the safest option for the baby and me then that is what we will do but I want that to be the last option.

Symptoms: Almost constant BH contractions and a few painful ones. She is low and is causing pain because of that. I'm tired and sore. The charley horses are killer at this point. I have been chugging water and OJ but nothing helps. I've been dealing with headaches off and on but I think it had to do with the huge amount of stress that I have had this week.

Craving: Sweets

Birthday Prediction: I don't even want to do this anymore. I WANT mid-April... what I will get, who knows.

Baby Preparations: We are knocking things off our to do list. I just ordered Breckin a big brother shirt with a matching little sister shirt. This week I wrote my birth plan, which consists of maybe 5 items all having to do with the baby and not the actual labor, and my sushi order that some lucky person gets to run out and get me AS SOON AS the baby is born. I have gathered up everything I need for the hospital and I will put it in the suitcase today. Since it is raining and Kevin can't work on the chicken coup today we will spend the day getting some of the deep cleaning things done. All that is left on my list is finishing my freezer meals. We are doing a big shopping trip next weekend, so hopefully I will be able to scratch that off my list in the next 2 weeks. Kevin still has quite a bit but most wont take him long.

Friday, March 16, 2012

34 Weeks Pregnant!

I'm Officially on Maternity Leave!!!!!!!!!
3-5 Weeks until me meet our little girl!

What's going with Baby B: I had a doctor's appointment today. Elizabeth, my nurse practitioner, said based on how my bump is shaped and how much space I seem to have at the top of my abdomen that she thinks the baby has dropped. She also said that when my cervical checks start next week that she would expect that I will see some progress has been made. I am hoping to be 2cm dilated and at least 50% effaced. I really want her to come before I have to be induced at 39 weeks. It would be perfect if she would come around 38 weeks... although I know baby's have their own plan. I just feel that at 38 weeks she would be fully developed, since it is considered full term, and she would "hopefully" be smaller than Breckin was at 39 weeks. I want to avoid complications all around. Complications with me, like I had last time and complications with the baby, which we were lucky enough to avoid with Breckin. I wasn't aware when Breckin was born all of the things that can go wrong with a large baby (because we didn't know he was so large so I never looked into it) and I am glad I didn't because that knowledge would have made me a nervous wreck. Now that I know and it scares me to death. I just want my little girl to come out safely.

Tomorrow my mom, Sara and Lauren are throwing me a small pot luck for the baby. I didn't want a shower since this is our second and we really don't need anything... My friends and family are so generous with us on a daily bases and we didn't want to seem greedy or like we where asking for stuff. So when mom approached me about the shower I asked for this instead. We thought it would be nice to just have a small gathering of family and very close friends to celebrate the life that is about to come into the world. Every baby deserves a celebration... it just don't need to include presents.

Symptoms: Lots of pain in my lower region... further proof that she is low. I look and feel huge and this is not my imagination.... I have had people gasping at the sight of me for weeks. It is very difficult to walk and get around. I am glad that I am finally done at work because I was having a very hard time getting around the room. Also, stress right now really effects me physically. Any amount of stress causes hard Braxton Hick Contractions and in some cases real contractions. I have started to experience painful contractions. A few that have stopped me in my tracks but nothing that was time-able or consistent. My allergies are kicking my butt this week.. but who's aren't. My shin splits are still bothering me but I am hoping that being home now will help get rid of those.

Craving: Chocolate and Avocados.. not necessarily together but I did find what looks like an amazing pudding recipe on pinterest that is Chocolate Banana Avocado Pudding. I might have to try it.

Birthday Prediction: April 23rd... at the latest. I really really really hope it is earlier.

Baby Preparations: I haven't done a whole lot this week. I was mostly preparing to leave work... which I guess could count. Last weekend (can't remember if I talked about this in the last pregnancy update.. pregnancy brain) we cleaned the infant car seat, the swing, and excersauser. Breckin has been pushing his baby in the swing and reading to her. He is going to be such a good big brother. The lumber for the construction projects around the farm was delivered this week and Kevin is starting on the compost bin this weekend. I have a box of clothes that need to be washed and organized but I will wait until this week to tackle that. The nesting is kicking in... hopefully that will continue so I can get stuff done.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

What will become of the blog when Baby B is born?

After Breckin was born we kept up with his blog for about 3 months, with maybe an entry a month, then stopped posted all together. This time around we are in a very different place in our lives... We have finally started working towards our dream of building a farm on our property.

When Kevin and I were dating we talked about one day, most likely once the kids had gone off to college, buying a farm where we would one day retire. We felt we needed to sow our "big city oats" first. After I graduated college we moved to Philadelphia, bought a serious fixer-upper, and renovated it. Most of you have heard the many horror stories that came out of that experience. It was terrible but brought Kevin and I even closer than before. After only about 8 months we decided that we weren't cut out for the big city and maybe wanted to try moving up our farm plans and live in the country. We sold our house in Philadelphia, and moved back to Virginia. We started by renting a house in Powhatan for a while to see if we actually liked living out in the country, since at one point we actually thought we would like living in the big city. We loved it and decided after about 6 months to start looking for a farm. It took a few months but we ended up finding a sweet little property (3 acres) out in Western Goochland. The house was amazing. It had everything on our list. The property was smaller than we wanted but after walking through the wooded area we felt that 3 acres was more than we thought it was. Some of people we have run across who are doing the same thing that we want to do are doing it on the same amount of land. We also had hopes that we could expand our land at some point. The property was also not set up as a farm yet. Which we were fine with, since it allowed us to make it fit our needs. Our goal with the farm was to have dairy goats, and to become as self-sustaining as possible. With the goats we would fulfill our family's dairy needs, and make soap to sell.

So now, almost 4 years later we have gotten a lot done around the house and property but nothing really for the actual farm. We finally feel like we are in a place to really start focusing on the farm. We have a long list of ideas and jobs that we hope to implement within the next 5 years. This summer we are building a compost bin, chicken coop and start working on putting together our garden area (although we don't plan on planting until next year). The lumber for all of these projects was delivered this week. I don't think I have ever been so excited to see a pile of wood. We ordered 8 chicks of 8 different breeds that will be here the first week in June. We are so excited to finally see some progress happening! We hope for the barn to go up in the next year. We have put it off so many times and finally decided to wait until we could write a check for the barn rather than trying to worry about payments. So, what will become of the blog when Baby B is born? I want to document the growth of our children, and our path to our goat farm and our self-sustaining lifestyle. I hope you will still enjoy reading...

Saturday, March 10, 2012

33 Weeks and 1 Day Pregnant

1 week until the start of my maternity leave!!
7 weeks (but most likely less) until we meet our little girl!

What's going on with Baby B: I think she has been staying quite low the last few days. I have also had a few painful contractions. I think it has more to do with stress than the start of anything. This week was my last week without a doctors appointment. I have an appointment next friday and then I have an appointment every week after that. Cervical checks start at my 35 week appointment. I am excited about getting to that point of my pregnancy, when the labor is near and there is anticipation each week to see if you made any progress.

Symptoms: I've been battling allergies and headaches this week. I swear my eyes are going to pop right out of my head. I did the neti pot a few days ago and more water came out of my eyes than my nose... not comfortable. My body aches all the time at this point and I have several Braxton Hick Contractions an hour. Sleeping hasn't been easy but part of that is the allergies. I can't breath on top of being uncomfortable.

Cravings: Avocados

Birthday Predictions: April 23rd

Baby Preparations: I built the bouncy seat this week. I also made a huge batch of tomato sauce that will be used for spaghetti and lasagna over the next few months. I also made several loaves of banana bread, a batch of banana muffins, and a batch of sour cream muffins this week. Either today or tomorrow I plan to make a huge batch of pizza sauce. The freezer is starting to get a work out!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

32 Weeks and 2 days Pregnant!

2 weeks until the start of my maternity leave!
8 (at the absolute most, but very likely less) weeks until we meet our girl!

What's going with Baby B: Well... She is now measuring ahead and will likely be big like her brother. Now comes the serious talks of induction. The dr. said we will do an ultrasound between 36-38 weeks to check her size. The dr. wants to wait as long as possible to get the most accurate reading of how big she will be come delivery day. My next appointment is at 34 weeks and then I am on weekly appointments! I am hoping that she will just decide to come on her own around 38 weeks.

Symptoms: All the same. I have some energy and have been getting things done!

Cravings: The same

Birthday Prediction: April 23rd

Baby Preparations: We have been working on getting stuff around the farm ready for spring. Last weekend we trimmed the tress. Kevin is actually finishing off the last few trees now. We have three construction jobs taking places over the next few months. We are starting with building an actual compost bin rather than just having a compost pile. Next, Kevin is building a chicken coup. I ordered 8 chicks who will be here the first week in June. Lastly, Kevin will be building a fenced in garden with raised beds. We don't plan on planting a garden until next year though. These are all steps to move us towards a self-sustaining life style. We also figure it will be easier to get these jobs done before we have a baby in the house. On days that are cold we have been working on organizing and de-cluttering the house. I am also cooking like a mad woman and freezing the food for after the baby is born. This way my family gets healthy made from scratch meals even though I am going to be busy with a newborn. I would like to make enough food to get us through at least the baby's first two months. I can't imagine shopping with a toddler and a newborn. I want to avoid that chore as long as possible. I have meals that last anywhere between 3-6 months in the freezer. I started with the longer lasting recipes this weekend and will work my way forward. This weekend I cut up steaks for nice steak dinners, cut meat for burritos and stir fry, put together a pot roast dinner, Italian beef sammies, chicken mozzarella roll-ups, two mac and cheese dinners, chicken crescent rolls, and three apple and cheddar side dishes. This week through next weekend I plan on making a huge batches of tomato sauce, and pizza sauce, several banana breads, snickerdoodle muffins, and sour cream muffins. I am so excited to fill the freezer!

Friday, February 24, 2012

31 Weeks Pregnant

3 weeks until my maternity leave starts!
9 (likely less) weeks until we meet our little girl!

What's going on with Baby B: She's kicking me in the ribs and bumping me in the cervix at the same time. She is going to be a long baby. She hasn't been moving as much as she had been. She still exceeds the kick count recommendation though. I think she just might be running out of room.

Symptoms: I woke up to a TERRIBLE charley horse last night. It still hurt this evening. I guess I need to be watching my water intake better. I haven't been measuring how much water I drink. I do carry a bottle of water around though. I'm still experiencing all of the same issues as last week. I am working hard on managing everything. I am just glad it is the weekend so I can sleep in, thanks to my hubby. My body feels so stretched. It's so hard to imagine that I am going to get bigger. I was much bigger at the end with Breckin, so I know it's possible.

Cravings: Salty sweet.

Birthday Prediction: April 23rd

Friday, February 17, 2012

30 Weeks Pregnant

It's so nice to get out of the "20 week" part of the pregnancy. I feel like I am finally nearing the end of this pregnancy. I am likely in the single digits of weeks before we meet our little girl. I have decided to go out of work earlier than originally planned. I will be starting my maternity leave in 4 weeks. My first day of leave will be March 19th. That is the earliest that I felt comfortable going out and although most days it is a struggle I think that I can comfortability push myself to this date. The issues that I have been having would be much easier to manage if I wasn't working. I am completely miserable and don't want the remaining two months to be like this and the doctor has expressed that she thinks it's time for me to leave work. I can only be on my feet for short periods of time because of the shin splints, intense pressure, and now extreme pain at the top of my bump (which has to be cause of gravity. I forgot to mention it at the doctors appointment today). I have been trying to sit as much as possible (which isn't easy when you are a teacher), I have been wearing support hose for the shin splints, and belly belt for the pressure and now pain at the top of my bump. I am still managing the headaches and migraines with tea. Thank goodness something so simple took care of that so I didn't have to go on that horrible medicine. I find my days are easier if I at least get a short nap (who's isn't though). On my days off Breckin will allow me to lay down here and there while we play. He is so sweet. I think he can tell when I am getting uncomfortable and he will say "Momma, just lay down." I am so lucky to have such an amazing toddler. It's so hard to believe I am going to love something as much as I love him. I can't wait to meet her.

What's going on with Baby B: My cervix was checked at my doctors appointment today, they have checked it the last three doctors appointments, because of some of the "issues" that I have been having. I wasn't really worried but they wanted to be cautious. I was having a hard time figuring out how high or low she was, considering she is kicking me in the ribs and hitting me in the cervix at the same time, so I asked if she was high. I was told she is at -3 station which isn't low but is lower than most are at this point. I also asked if she was head down and was told that she couldn't tell for sure but based on what she could feel, and the shape of my stomach that she thinks that she is head down. Her heart rate was in the 150s. Breckin went with me to the appointment today and was so excited to hear his little sister's heartbeat.

Symptoms: I have been dealing with a lot of swelling. I am barely able to wear my wedding and engagement ring which are normally really loose on me and I have had to take the ring of my right hand. It often hurts to bend my toes. I have been drinking lots of water in order to combat it. I've been avoiding too much salt as well. I am still having a lot of BH contractions. I guess they will only get stronger and more frequent until I go into actual labor. I am extremely tired still. I am waiting for nesting to totally kick in so I can get a burst of energy. It's kicked in a little. Over the last few weeks I have been trying to figure out recipes to cook and freeze so we have lots of ready made meals after the baby comes. I am also trying to figure out what else we would need to stock up on (and where we would put it all) so I can avoid shopping with two children for a long time.

Cravings: I still crave avocados. I am really into the salty/sweet combo right now.

Birthday Prediction: April 23rd

Saturday, February 11, 2012

29 Weeks and 1 Day Pregnant!

What's going on with Baby B: She's been kicking me in my ribs. This is not something I ever experienced with Breckin. He was always so low but this little one is up high then down low. She is always moving around. I love to watch her moving in my belly... I wish I knew what I was looking at. One of the best new developments is that fact that she reacts to Breckin's voice when he talks up against the belly. It's amazing. I think she loves him already... but who wouldn't? He loves to lay with his hand on my stomach and feel her move. He is going to be such a wonderful brother.

Symptoms: My feet and hands are extremely swollen now. It hurts to bend my toes. The belly belt has been helping a little with the pressure, and belly and back pain but I can only wear it for about 4-6 hours at a time. After a while it starts to give me almost constant BH contractions and I have to take it off. I have also been wearing support hose. My shins still hurt but less than before so either the support hose are doing their job or the fact that I have been sitting more (A LOT MORE) is helping. Nothing seems to help with the stabbing pains I am having in my pelvis though. I am trying so hard to stay positive but I am so incredibly uncomfortable. I want to enjoy this pregnancy so badly but really I just want her here (not that I want her to premature). I have so many issues that I am "managing" right now... there isn't much time for anything else. I worry that my negative attitude is affecting her make-up somehow. I don't want her to be a sad, negative, moody child. I already love her so much... Why can't I just look past the aches, and pains, stress and just be happy? Not that I am never happy...

Cravings: Avocados... mmmmmmm. Sweets

Birthday Prediction: April 23rd

Sunday, February 5, 2012

28 Weeks and 2 Days Pregnant

9 weeks until the start of my maternity leave
12 weeks (but likely less) until she is here!!!

What's going on with Baby B: She has the hiccups ALL the time and she contorts my stomach into shapes that I didn't think were possible. She spends most of the evening entertaining Kevin and me with her movements and pokes. I wish I knew what position she was in so I had some sort of idea of what I was seeing. I asked the doctor if she could tell but she said it was still too early. My belly is measuring perfect which is such a relief! With Breckin at this point I was measuring between a 1 and half to two weeks ahead.

Symptoms: Stress at work, Kevin's late hours, having an extremely sweet but still tiring 2 year old, horrible shin pains, stabbing pains and pressure that I am not quite comfortable going into detail about, lots of Braxton Hicks, headaches, barely being able to keep my eyes open half the time and random parts of my body (including my face) going numb all has made this a rough two or so weeks. I really need an attitude change. I have been feeling very miserable and down. The weekends are wonderful but the weekdays are just so difficult. I spent 30 minutes crying to my doctor on Friday. I love her. She is so understanding.

Cravings: Sweets

Birthday Prediction: April 23rd

Saturday, January 28, 2012

27 Weeks and 1 Day Pregnant!

Apparently I can't write these things ON the day I turn over a new week anymore.

Welcome to the 3rd Trimester Baby B!!!
10 more weeks until the start of my maternity leave
13 more weeks (most likely less) until she makes her appearance.

What's going on with Baby B: She has been having lots of hiccup episodes. Most days I feel like she growing much faster than I am able to keep up with. I feel so stretched but I really don't think I am big as I was at this point with Breckin.

Symptoms: My legs hurt all the time. I am having these terrible stabbing shin pains if I am standing for too long. I didn't have these until much later in the pregnancy with Breckin. I am so worried what this means for the coming weeks. I have pretty much been having pain from my baby bump down. The pressure is intense at time... again if I am standing too long. I am tired of people telling me to take it easy. I am doing my best. I have to work and be there for my students, I have a two year old...


Birthday Prediction: April 23rd

Saturday, January 21, 2012

26 Weeks and 1 day Pregnant

1 week until the third trimester!
11 weeks until the start of my maternity leave!
14 weeks (but most likely less) until Baby B makes her appearance!

What's going on with Baby B: Her ears are more sensitive now. Which means she can most likely hear other voices other than just mine. She is probably around 14 inches and weighs almost 2 pounds. My stomach jumps around with her movements and hiccups.

Symptoms: I am battling a headache right now but it's not a migraine, so I guess that's good. I've been waking up in cold sweats the past week. The next 13-14 weeks will be interesting I am sure.

Cravings: I want avocados. Craving them like crazy.

Birthday Prediction: It occurred to me this week that if they induce me at 39 weeks her birthday would be 4/20. There are SO many negative connotations with that day! I will just refuse. It needs to either be the 19th or 23rd. I'm still hoping she will make sure own appearance before the inductions between 38-39 weeks.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

25 Weeks and 1 day Pregnant

Everything at work is organized! My projects (instructions written, and materials put together), tests, and rubrics for the rest of the year have been made and neatly organized. I just have to take care of the kids for the next 2.5 months before my maternity leave. I can't tell you what a relief it is. The list for stuff that needs to be done at home is still quite long though.

What's going on with Baby B: She likely weighs over a pound and a half at this point. She has days where she moves like crazy and others where she moves very little.

Symptoms: Braxton Hicks like crazy. I have multiple BH contractions a day. They are so tight and uncomfortable already. My hair and skin look horrible.

Cravings: Salty and sweet like always

Birthday Prediction: April 23rd

Saturday, January 7, 2012

24 Weeks and 1 Day Pregnant!

Today is Kevin's birthday! He turned 29 years old. Unfortunately, we spent most of the day running around doing errands. Babies R Us to get diapers for Breckin (although we are considering switching him to cloth), Once Upon a Child where we got Breckin bigger jeans, a bumboo ($15 woot!) and a brand new baby bouncy seat still in the box ($18 double woot!), and Kroger where we did our once a month grocery trip. We are back home now but not for long because we are turning right around and going to Comfort for dinner! We haven't been out to a nice dinner in a while. I'm excited!

I decided that my last day of work before my maternity leave will be April 6th. That's only 13 weeks away! Spring Break starts the week after that and I due two weeks after spring break. I am assuming that they wont let me go to 40 weeks. I will likely be induced at 39 weeks, like I was with Breckin. That would mean I was only returning to work for one week (a two day week for me) after Spring Break. I figure just letting the sub take over after the break would be the easiest transition on everyone.. me, the students, and the sub. I am hoping she shows up on her own before the induction though. Dr Hirata thinks, given that this is my second, that it's a good possibility.

What's going on with Baby B: Baby B is starting to build fat now. She is about the size of a papaya. I think she must have hit a growth spirt this week because her movements are getting much harder... in fact she has already gotten to the phase where she is hurting me when she moves sometimes. She may not be as big as Breckin but I have a feeling she is still going to be a big baby.

Symptoms: I've been having LOT of Braxton Hicks contractions. They show up if I am pushing too hard or if she is moving a lot. It's interesting, with Breckin my stomach would just get tight and I would be comfortable. With Baby B I get tight, then it moves up my chest which gets tight, then it finally moves up to my head and I get a surge of pain across my forehead. It will be interesting to see how my contractions go at labor. I hope I don't have to go through labor with a migraine.

Cravings: Salty stuff

Birthday Prediction: April 23rd.