Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Baby, it's cold outside!

I can't even think of enough words to adequately express how much I enjoyed my Northern baby shower this past weekend. A big thank you to my mom and dad, and to everyone else who helped! Camden and I so enjoyed being surrounded by family and close friends, and Tyler and I could not have felt more blessed by all who were in attendance or sent their love from far away. A few highlights from the day in words:

  • the "boy" blue Christmas tree that coincidentally was decorated and placed in the room where my shower was
  • getting to sit in the rocking chair used by my grandmother to open my gifts
  • every small, beautiful, and yummy detail of the shower
  • the slideshow my dad put together
  • spending time with all of our guests (especially a certain little one who was a charmer, even while sick!)
  • loved ones getting to feel Camden kick for the first time
  • my cousin Derrick surprising us
  • many, many more!
Now for a few highlights from the day in pictures:

Thank you again to everyone! We love you all.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

24-25 Week Updates

How far along? Combined 24 and 25 week updates (Camden is measuring almost 26 weeks in length/bones but is in the 64th percentile for weight. Lanky boy!)

Total weight gain/loss: About  16-18 gained. Sigh.

Maternity clothes?  Yup! Have been loving my maternity tights the last few weeks.
Stretch marks? Not yet.

Symptoms: Just some fatigue, easily tired. Cramps and Braxton Hicks some days.


Sleep:  I wake up pretty much every time I roll over, in addition to my nightly potty trip(s). But I have no trouble falling asleep, that's for sure. Same as last updates.

Best moment this week:  Lots of really exciting things happening lately! To name a few: meeting our pediatrician, seeing baby boy with a perfectly healthy heart and anatomy, Camden's first Thanksgiving meal at Tori and Cody's house, and receiving our first big baby gift from Malerie and Gina. :)  

Have you told family and friends: Yes

Miss Anything? The ease of being able to take my Fall boots on and off!

Movement: Yes! The alien-in-the-belly kind that moves my whole stomach.

Food cravings/aversions:  I have been craving coffee and caffeine in general but am being a good girl (for the most part).

Have you started to show yet:  Yes!

Gender prediction: It's a B-O-Y! Camden James

Belly Button in or out? In but getting shallower by the day.

Wedding rings on or off? Off.

Happy or Moody most of the time: I was a little moodier this week than usual.

Looking forward to: My baby shower in Pennsylvania in 10 days!!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

22-23 week updates

This isn't an official "week ___" post so I don't have Tori's awesome photo skills, but I feel like several things have changed since my last one so it was time for an unofficial update!

How far along? 22-23 weeks (still measuring ahead)

Total weight gain/loss: 14-16 pounds. Yeah, I admit it. But my doctor says it's it is...right?!

Maternity clothes?  Aside from a few baggier dresses and sweaters, maternity clothes are all I wear these days. My mom sent me a package of new maternity clothes this week and I am in h-e-a-v-e-n! Thank you again, Mom!
Stretch marks? Not yet! The skin on my belly gets pretty itchy if I don't oil or lotion it up twice a day though so that's even more incentive to remember.

Symptoms: Nothing terrible to complain about this week. Some pelvic/pubic bone pain, but we're working on that.


Sleep:  I wake up pretty much every time I roll over, in addition to my nightly potty trip(s). But I have no trouble falling asleep, that's for sure.

Best moment this week:  Movement, movement, and more movement! Camden is a kicking machine these days, and letting his daddy feel him now. :)

Have you told family and friends: Yes!

Miss Anything? Sleeping on my stomach.

Movement: Yes! Lots and lots.

Food cravings/aversions:  Not really anything specific this week. I still do not like eggs very much, but I did manage to eat two scrambled eggs at First Watch this weekend.

Have you started to show yet:  Yes!

Gender prediction: It's a B-O-Y! Camden James!

Belly Button in or out? In but getting shallower by the day.

Wedding rings on or off? Off :( This was a sad moment for me since this is my Grandmother's ring. I tried and tried to get it to fit but by the end of the day last week, it was getting very hard to remove. I put it in a safe place and ordered a silicone Qalo ring in its place.

Happy or Moody most of the time: Happy - but I do get more tearful/easily overwhelmed these days from work-related stress.

Looking forward to: Reaching my first (self-established) milestone of 24 weeks!

Sunday, November 2, 2014


How far along? 20 weeks - officially halfway there! 

Total weight gain/loss: About 9-10 pounds up right now, but it fluctuates from week to week.

Maternity clothes?  Heavenly.
Stretch marks? Not yet! Still using the oils/lotion after showers and as often as I remember.

Symptoms: Nothing major to complain about (aside from the kidney stones). I have had a few more joint-related aches this week but overall I feel good.


Sleep:  I've been sleeping well this week, with two nightly bathroom trips.

Best moment this week: I would just say making it to the halfway mark, and feeling his reassuring kicks more frequently. Also, having Tori take our maternity holiday photos! It was so much fun and she did an amazing job.

Have you told family and friends: Yes!

Miss Anything? Being able to drink a full Spark Advocare drink, and/or a larger coffee.

Movement: Yes :) Sadly, due to the anterior placenta, Camden doesn't typically move hard enough to feel from the outside so his daddy hasn't felt him yet. However, in Pennsylvania, he made his movements large enough for several family members to feel. I feel him moving away several times a day at this point.

Food cravings:  Carrot sticks! Finally - craving something healthy!

Anything making you queasy or sick: Not really. Although, I tried eggs again this week and I still can't really get excited about them.

Have you started to show yet:  Yes!


Gender prediction: It's a B-O-Y! Camden James!

Belly Button in or out? In.

Wedding rings on or off? On

Happy or Moody most of the time: Happy

Looking forward to: Whenever he decides to let Tyler feel him kick!

Monday, October 27, 2014


This weekend did not go as planned. Do they ever really? I had been looking forward to traveling home to Pennsylvania and Maryland for months. I even packed almost a full week in advance, in preparation! I was feeling really good, no complaints, enjoying the energetic part of the second trimester.

Early, early Friday morning, I woke up and headed for the airport. My flight was smooth, quick, and I was greeted by a very excited, soon-to-be Grandma and Grandpa on the other end. I spent a wonderful day with my mom, we chose a few very cute outfits for Camden, and I finally found a few work-appropriate maternity outfits. Friday night, I was feeling some tightness in my uterus area, but just thought that Camden was sitting in a strange position. We had a great dinner with my Aunt Donna and Uncle Rick in Gettysburg, and then went home for a good night's sleep.

Saturday morning, my parents and I headed to visit Malerie and Jason and to meet baby Bennett for the first time! It was such a wonderful visit, and Bennett (no surprise here) is an angel baby. It was also so good to see Malerie's parents, and my parents very much enjoyed visiting with them while M & J gave me some pointers about parenting. ;)

When leaving Malerie's house, I got what I thought was a cramp in my left kidney. I thought, I must just really have to pee and the baby is sitting funny! However, after my dad pulled over and I was able to go, the cramping did not subside. I had so been looking forward to seeing my Aunt Beth, Uncle Paul, and two sweet cousins, so I tried my best to ignore the pain, thinking it would subside. We had a delicious lunch and afterwards, my cousin Lilly took us on a tour of her beautiful school! By the time we left there, I knew something was wrong, but thought maybe it was a bad UTI.

Unfortunately, by the time we arrived at my Poppy's house for a visit, my pain had jumped from a tolerable 2-3 on a pain scale, to a searing 9. I knew I needed to call my OB and ask what to do. I wasn't sure at this point if it truly was my kidney, or possibly contractions. I had also texted my Aunt Donna, a labor and delivery nurse, who happened to be working that afternoon. She called me back before I could get ahold of my out-of-state doctor and assured me that it did sound kidney related, but that it also very much sounded like it required medical attention.

We arrived at York Hospital about thirty minutes later, and informed the ER that Dr. Sommerville was waiting for us in L&D. The ER staff was very nice, called upstairs and confirmed, and sent us on our way. That's when the scariest series of events began. Walking toward the elevators, I suddenly doubled over in some of the worst pain I have ever experienced. I went into a full blown contraction, and the kidney stone felt like it was ripping open my insides, all at the same time. I snuck a quick glance at my mom and dad, and saw tears in both of their eyes. That's when I realized, my husband might never get to meet Camden.

A very sweet ER doctor rushed out, hearing my cries, and gave us a wheelchair, ushering us up to L&D with a few reassuring words. When we got the NICU and L&D areas, my mom tried to distract me by telling me to look at the adorable baby pictures flooding the walls of the hallway. I couldn't. We were greeted by my Aunt Donna, my nurse, and a very sweet clerical staff at the desk who sent me immediately to the exam room, stating she would enter in all of her required data, only after I received the attention I needed. Upon entering the exam room, the nurse asked me some questions, but fairly quickly got the Doppler out to see if we could find Camden's heartbeat. I held my breath for longer than I ever thought possible. Finally, a swift kick to the Doppler from a tiny baby foot, and then a steady heartbeat. I have never been so relieved in my life. Later, I noticed that on my paperwork it stated fetal condition: reassuring fetal heartbeat. Those were the most beautiful words I have ever seen in print.

After meeting with the doctors and having a quick exam, it was decided that they would run tests on my urine, blood, and perform a kidney ultrasound. They also gave me medication for my nausea/vomiting, pain, and fluids to hydrate me. I was in a lot of pain, but thanks to the quick work of the nursing staff, I had meds in me very quickly.

After spending several hours in L&D, it was determined that Camden was at very low risk for harm now that my pain and vomiting were controlled, that I had an infection, and that I had kidney stones both actively moving out, and sitting in my kidneys, waiting to come out and play again anytime they choose. I had the option to stay overnight, or to go home if I promised to take my pain medication.

Thanks to the prayers of so many of our friends and family, I was able to fly home to Florida on Sunday night to return to my terrified husband. I don't think he's ever looked at me the way he did when he reached out to hug me at the airport.

My stones have not passed, I am trying my best to control the pain with Tylenol alone and just waiting for them to get out of me! Camden is kicking away, happy as can be. He even let a few people feel him from the outside for the first time this weekend! He only saves his biggest kicks for the people he knows his mommy loves the most. Tyler and I are so thankful for Camden's health and safety, and praying the rest of this pregnancy is less eventful. We need him to stay in there and keep growing big and strong!

I don't know why I wrote this. Writing things down has always been therapeutic for me. Maybe I needed to acknowledge "aloud" how close I felt I was to losing my first child. Maybe I needed to acknowledge how blessed we are as a family to have the support that we do. Maybe I needed to write this down so I could re-read it and realize that God has got me and Camden in His hands, and that I can rest assured in that.

Thank you again to the staff in the L&D department for their amazing care and attention to me and Camden, for answering any of mine (or my dad's) stupid questions. Thank you also to my Aunt Donna who is the most amazing nurse I have ever met, and to my parents for finding a way to balance their love and concern for their baby, and for my baby.

"Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying." Romans 12:12

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Almost 1/2 way!

How far along?  18 weeks!

Total weight gain/loss: I'll find out at my appointment Thursday and update on the next post. :)

Maternity clothes? Purchased two pairs of maternity jeans last weekend so I don't freeze to death up North this week!
Stretch marks? Not yet. Continuing the regimen of rotating Gentle Baby Young Living essential oil and coconut oil, Mama Bee Body Oil, and Palmer's Cocoa Butter.
Symptoms:  Stuffy, stuffy nose and allergies.

Sleep:  I've been taking Benadryl for my allergies at night so I've been sleeping pretty well!

Best moment this week:  Feeling Camden move a bit more regularly and knowing we get to see him on Thursday!

Have you told family and friends: Yes!

Miss Anything? Pina Coladas.

Movement: Definitely an increase in duration and frequency this week.

Food cravings:  Sour, sour everything. Especially Sour Patch kids and lemonade.

Anything making you queasy or sick: Not really. Although pork did NOT agree with me when I tried a pulled pork sandwich this week. I just didn't like the look of it.

Have you started to show yet:  Yes.


Gender prediction: It's a B-O-Y!

Belly Button in or out? In.

Wedding rings on or off? On

Happy or Moody most of the time: Happy :)

Looking forward to: The anatomy scan the end of the week, Camden getting to hug my mom and dad for the first time on Friday, Tyler being able to feel movement from the outside.

Saturday, October 4, 2014


Today, Tyler and I had a really good experience at A Stork's View for an elective 2D ultrasound. We were told a little over two weeks ago that the ultrasound tech and doctor felt pretty confident in announcing that our little Sprout was a boy, but cautioned us not to paint the nursery yet! We chose to get an elective ultrasound to confirm before we shared the news with our family and friends, and little Camden was happy to display his very boyish parts for all to see.

Here are some overdue updates:

How far along? 15 weeks 3 days, measuring (with baby's SUPER long legs) 16 weeks 2 days.

Total weight gain/loss: Ugh. I wish it was still 3! haha. We are around 6-7 (up) at this point.

Maternity clothes? Pretty much all I can wear these days other than some stretchy dresses and long tops over leggings.
Stretch marks? Not yet. But I seriously can't believe how much my bigger my belly button is getting! I didn't realize it would stretch prior to the whole "pop, the Turkey's cooked" thing occurring.

Symptoms:  Morning sickness is gone! Aside from a few bouts of nausea this week as a side effect of a nasty cold, no more sickness. I am having a harder time sleeping than I was in the first trimester. I wake up quite a bit. Camden has also decided that sitting on my bladder is a super comfortable position for him, so there are some symptoms associated with that, as well.

Sleep:  Not as much. I am sleeping, I am going to bed early, it is just a lot more disrupted than it was before.

Best moment this week: Finding out it is a boy and announcing (and starting to call him) his name!

Have you told family and friends: Yes!

Miss Anything? Cold Italian subs.

Movement: I have felt a few "flutters", but I have been told it'll take longer to feel more consistent and noticeable movement because of the location of the placenta.

Food cravings:  Chick-fil-a.

Anything making you queasy or sick: Not really.

Have you started to show yet:  Yup. To the point that strangers are now noticing.

Gender prediction: It's a B-O-Y!

Belly Button in or out? In.

Wedding rings on or off? On

Happy or Moody most of the time: Happy - although I've had a few more tears this week than usual (sorry Ty and Mom).

Looking forward to: The anatomy scan in a few weeks, and starting to feel him more!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

12 weeks!

I have decided to do some occasional progress updates on this blog for family and friends living far away. Let's just jump right in to the 12 week updates!

How far along? 12 weeks, 4 days

Total weight gain/loss: About 3-3 1/2 pounds, depending on the day. ;)

Maternity clothes? I purchased my first maternity...undergarments (?) this week and it was heaven. I also am wearing a few maternity shirts, maxi dresses, and the belli band with pants/shorts.
Stretch marks? Not yet. Using coconut oil and Young Living's "Gentle Babies" oil, alternating with plain old Palmer's Cocoa Butter.

Symptoms:  Still some nausea, though my appetite has definitely increased this past week. I also feel like I am starting to get a little more energy.

Sleep:  Lots of it! So thankful for the body pillow I borrowed from my friend, Megan!

Best moment this week: Announcing the pregnancy publicly!

Have you told family and friends: Yes!

Miss Anything? Not really.

Movement: Nope, not yet.

Food cravings:  SPAGHETTIOS. And chili.

Anything making you queasy or sick: Nope. Just when my stomach feels empty.

Have you started to show yet:  I think so! I didn't really, but looking at the comparison from 8 to 12 week photos made me think differently.

Gender prediction: We have an elective ultrasound in early October. I don't know why, but I just have a feeling it's a girl. Which probably means it's a boy. No preference though!
Belly Button in or out? In.

Wedding rings on or off? On

Happy or Moody most of the time: Happy!

Looking forward to: Seeing little Sprout on Wednesday! Praying for a healthy baby and all good results from the NT scan.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Essential Oils and Pets

     It should really be no surprise to those of you who have even ever met me when you see the title of this post. I am that lady. The crazy cat lady, the rescue lady, the lady who refers to her pets as her "furbabies". I'll own it. Because I am a rescue fanatic, I also have a few sickly "furbabies". It comes with the territory. I cannot (though my husband probably could) tell you how much money we have spent over the years trying to not only solve whichever ailment became most pressing, but also and more importantly trying to identify the cause and best prevention. We have battled everything from allergies to severe anxiety, to multi-night "pet hospital" stays for bladder retention/stones.
     About a year ago, we started using coconut oil for everything in our house. My husband I both just really enjoy the taste in our baked goods and when used for browning meat, veggies, etc. and it also helps that we know we are putting something healthy in our bodies. About six months ago, I started allowing our eldest and chronically sickest cat, Sidney, to lick the remaining coconut oil off the spoon after I had spooned out the amount of coconut oil needed for cooking (**disclaimer: we DO own a dishwasher**). Coincidentally, Sidney's allergic symptoms which included runny eyes and nose, sneezing, frequent respiratory infections, and skin dermatitis, substantially improved. I started doing a little research and found that it wasn't really so coincidental, and many other people have had and shared similar experiences with their pets.
    I am currently waiting for my full Young Living Essential Oils kit to arrive, but in the meantime, my mother-in-law left me with Lavender, Lemon, Peppermint, and Valor. I noticed that Sidney has been frequently climbing to wherever I have been storing the oils and sniffing the bottles. I wondered, is it safe to let him sniff these things?! I did a little more research and talked with my mother-in-law who provided me with a suggested list of safe oils and uses for pet care. Turns out, it's ok to let Sidney and any of my other animals sniff Lavender, and I can even put it on them! Sidney's allergies have improved, his anxiety has improved, and I am now experimenting with letting some oil dry on my dog's collar before putting it back on her in the morning to assist with anxiety while we are away.
   Here is a list of some oils and their uses for pet care. This is not an all-inclusive list of what can and cannot be used for pets, so please consult other more reputable (ha-ha) sources prior to using anything else. And, as always, a small little medication disclaimer. **Please do not discontinue your pets prescribed medications without consulting with a veterinarian and, be smart about it. If you live in a flea or tick infested area, don't stop your pet's flea/tick medication cold turkey. Try adding some of these oil recommendations to the existing prevention method instead, and slowly taper off the other medications if desired.**

Happy oiling!

Homemade Flea Collar: 1 drop Cedar wood, 3 drops Purification, 2 drops Lavender, 2 drops Citronelle, 1 drop Thyme, 3 drops Orange. Mix oils and soak COTTON collar or cloth in mixture until all oil is absorbed. Allow the material to dry completely before putting on the dog. NOT safe for CATS due to the Orange.

Homemade Ear Spray: 1 TBS. carrier oil (I like coconut), 7-8 ml Thieves spray, 3 drops Lemongrass, 4 drops Copaiba, 5 drops Purification in a glass spray bottle. Spray on outer ear three times per day. Rub it down the canal, but do not fill the ear canal.

Frankincense: Great for small pets. Uses: wound care, tumors, infections, fungus, behavior immune support.

Panaway: Best for pain. Uses: Osteo-arthritis, post surgery, muscle aches and pains. Dilute for cats.

Valor: Great for courage and calming. Uses: Fear, training and behavior issues, skin mases, itching, allergies, infections.

Peace and Calming: Good for hyper younger pets. Uses: Fear, anxiety, behavioral issues, excitement, builds confidence.

Peppermint: Great for cooling overworked or overheated dogs and horses. Uses: Pain relief, fever reduction.

Purification: Best for flea repellent. Safe for cats at 75% dilution.

Lavender: Very gentle. Uses: Calming, repelling insects/parasites, fights infections, wound care.

Lemon: Use with carrier oil. Uses: anti-parasitic, great for skin conditions, focus when training.

Thieves: Best for infection. Uses: pain relief, anti-parasitic, antibacterial, antiviral, wound and oral care, infections.

Digize: All digestive issues: Uses: Anything gastrointestinal, even used on colic horses successfully!

RC: Uses: Respiratory and urinary support. Great for cats who need bladder fortification.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Essential Oils/Young Living - Reformed Pill Popper?

          Like many women I know in their mid twenties, I have started to pay more attention to my health and lifestyle choices in recent years. Gone are the days I can indulge in greasy foods, sweets, and adult beverages as frequently as I would like to without seeing some type of effect on my body. Sometimes I see the results in the form of unsightly bloating, skin imperfections, a sour mood, or low name a few. A few years ago, I started making healthier choices. I made the usual swaps in terms of wheat vs. white, "always choose water" - no excuses, Coconut oil instead of the alternatives, and tried to stay pretty active.
        The problem for me has always been consistency. With aging comes maturity, but what people forget to tell you is that with age also comes a slower metabolism and seemingly less time to do anything about it! The one thing I have remained consistent about over the last several years is paying attention to what vitamins and supplements I put into my body. In addition to taking a women's multi-vitamin daily, I also take a probiotic consistently and have "green smoothies" and hot tea quite frequently. However, what I also take daily, is a boatload of likely unnecessary Motrin, Benadryl, and other various over the counter meds.
        When I moved to Jacksonville, I met a girl named Megan (who also happened to end up being my best friend). She was the total opposite of my 5'9, brunette haired, pill-popping frame. Megan is a tiny ball of energy who chooses water over Diet Coke and essential oils over prescription or over the counter medications whenever possible. Megan taught me about oils and some of their uses and it has been amazing to watch her use them on her baby. I also have a friend named Audra who sweetly talked to me about them and then sent me a few specially selected oils for a particularly stressful time this year. I credit Audra for helping me find a stop to my insomnia, and for sparking my initial interest in the oils.
        Fast forward to this week when my mother-in-law made an unexpected but welcomed visit to see us, and to tell us about her journey and success with Young Living Essential Oils in recent months. I won't bore you with details of names and stories of family members and friends you won't ever meet, but I will say that when someone shares success stories with you involving people you know well, you listen. And when that same person is someone you trust both professionally (she's a nurse) and personally (I'm married to her son ;) and tells you to take a capsule of lavender, lemon, and peppermint for your bad allergies - you do it! Just in the few days my mother-in-law was here visiting, Tyler and I used oils for our allergies and for his snoring and for the first time in the twelve years we have been together, I have to poke him to make sure he's alive as he is sleeping soundly and quietly through the night.
        Do I believe that oils cure everything? Not really. Do I believe that people should stop taking all of their prescribed medications cold turkey and switch over immediately? Definitely not. Do I believe some people will think I'm crazy for "buying into" essential oils and their effectiveness? Most definitely. But, am I also a reformed pill popper? You betcha. Because learning about what I CAN put into my body and how good it is for me makes me think about what I am CURRENTLY putting into my body and why. Mindfulness is a beautiful, healthy thing.