Dean Fredrick's Birth Story

Guess it has been four days already since this little guy arrived.  FOUR DAYS. It really is incredible.  How did I get so lucky to have this sweet baby in my life?

It's so crazy because I've babysat and nannied before, so I've been around infants, I've watched them grow. But this one is mine~ I don't have to give him back at the end of the day.  Aaron and I get to keep him for ever!

I've spent the last couple days debating if I wanted to write a birth story, but as I was sitting here with my baby sleeping in my lap I know I do want to share with you how he came into our lives.  I'n writing this on my ipod so sorry in advance for any spelling/grammar/format errors.  (So if you aren't interested in reading the details of birth, it won't hurt my feelings if you stop).

To recap the pregnancy real quick, we were trying to get pregnant for a few months when we got a positive test back.  My grandma had just passed away so it was an especially bright momen for us. We decided to tell our families a few day later at the funeral and everyone was overjoyed.  During the drive from the service to the wake we hanmered out names, but decided to keep them a secret until we found out the baby's gender.

After talking with some mama friends and doing some research Aaron and I decided to get with a midwife an do a home birth instead of an OBGYN and a hospital birth.

A lot of thought went into this decision and our reasonings came down to two key factors:

1) The drugs I would be getting at the hispital would prevent some of my body's hormones getting to my baby during birth and I couldn't allow that to happen.  I want my baby to have everything my body can give him and drugs would have stopped that.  The conviction in my heart is so strong on this point it surprised me. Not getting an epidural was something I was willing to give up without a secod thought.

Besides, giving birth is what my body was made for.  Woman have been giving birth for how many tens of thousands of years without drugs. If all those woman could do it, so could I. No question about it. No doubt in my mind.

I just figured giving birth hurts so since it's all painful I wouldn't complain about anything during the pregnancy and birth until the shoulders came out.  I'm 100%?serious about this. It was my motto during the pregnancy and helped me keep things in perspective.

2) The cost of going through the midwife was $1500. That includes every appt (the last two being at my home) and each appt was as long as I wanted/needed it to be, all exams and tests, 24/7 access to her by phone or text, almost 24 care from time she arrives for the birth, 1 day old check up on me and baby, one week old check up... There's acutally more but I realize this list is long. Basically, I felt this is the absolutely best care my baby and I could get for our money.

The pregnancy went fast and pretty much carefree.  On Monday 3/24 I was 38 weeks and a few days along when I started getting these cramps at work that were starting to bother me so I went home so I could not be a brat to my customers at work.  I figured I could take an epsom salt bath, or two, drink lots of water and push off labor until the next day.

It worked a bit but by 10:30pm that night my cramps had turned into contractons that were 5-7 minutes apart and about 15-20 seconds apart.  We stayed in bed watching wrestling in an attempt to distract me but at 3:00 am my contractions were 30-40 seconds long and about 1:30-1:45 apart, so Aaron texted our midwife to see what she thought an she texted back immediately saying she was calling her assistant and they were on their way.  Aaron and I starte filling the tub with water and got ready for the show to start.

The assistant who was a doula arrived first and she was incredible.  Our midwife arrived a few minites later and we just hung out in the front room while I labored standing against the couch.  After some amount of time we moved to the tub to give my legs a break.  The tub was so nice to labor in.  It helped my body do what it needed to do, and the hot water helped keep me relaxed.

Keeping relaxed is so hard for me to do on a normal basis so this was a challenge.  We all started talking about different relaxation techniques we've read from Ina May's Guide to Childbirth and one thing we joked about was "horse lips" - pursing your lips together and making horse noises. Immediately i had a bad contraction and without thinking did "horse lips" and I instantly relaxed, everyone saw it and I felt it.  We were all completely surprised that something so seemingly silly worked so well!

Aaron stayed with me the entire time either in front of me while I was in the tub holding me, or right next to me helping me through each contraction. His presence, support, strength, and love were the key to this birth for me.  Without Aaron this story would not have happened.  I love him soooooo much!!!

After a few hours I was pretty much fully dialated but wasn't making pregress so we migrated to the bedroom.  We prepared for laboring there but I honestly thought I would deliver in the tub. Something was preventing that so I had to move.  Turned out my baby was stuck on a lip of my cervex, so after about an hour of pushing and him not getting past the lip, my midwife broke my water to help speed things along.  I had to keep up with the "horse lips" because the contractions hurt so bad and I didn't want to squeeze the baby and make things take longer.

After some anount of time, lots of horse lips, and a bit of screaming the baby finally crowned.  After the pain I had just gone through I was certain his head was out, so I was a bit upset when it wasn't.  After even more pushing, "horse lips", and a bit more screaming, his head finally came out and I wanted so desperately for him to be all out I pushed and pushed and at 11:19am I pushed the rest of him out. (At this point I don't actually remember everything clearly at all, this is just what I recall).

As soon as he was out, my midwife put my baby on my chest while she did everything she needed to do.  Aaron and I were able too look at and touch our baby boy.  He had a full head of hair and was perfect.

After a half hour, I think, my midwife cut the cord handed him to Aaron so I could finish up. Turns out he came out face down and with his right elbow up against his head.  No wonder he was stuck!!  We joked about him being a wrestler and then he comes out doing my favorite wrestling move, the "flying elbow"! XD

Luckily I didn't rip at all.  I had a few scratches that needed stitches and the spot where his elbow came down was eccentially a rug burn so there's nothing to be done with that.  After I showered off, I got back into bed with the baby and we napped until everything was cleaned up and good to go. 

So I was in labor for about 14 hours, delivered my baby drug free on my bed with my husband at my side.  It was an incredible experience and one that I chose and that can't be taken away from me. It is not something I can say I want to do again, but I am so glad I did it.

Dean Fredrick was born March 25, at 11:19 am, was 8lbs 3oz and 21 inches long.

So yeah, thank you for sticking around for all that. It was pretty long, I know, but I appreciate you hanging in there. If you have any questions about Dean's birth or my experience with our midwife please ask.  I am so happy with our midwife and homebirth and have so much more I could say about it.

I hope everyone is having a super great day! <3

Nesting & Nostalgia

My nesting instincts went into high gear last night. Lots of pictures are missing in my blog posts and it really bothered me and it needed to get fixed NOW. I spent my entire evening going through hundreds upon hundreds upon hundreds of pictures to figure out which ones fit inside the blog posts. Posts that I couldn't find pictures for were just deleted. That's kinda sad but I'd rather them be gone than picture-less.

A few posts in particular I wanted fixed were the ones related to our trip to Tokyo. That was such a big deal for us and we had such an amazing time I wanted to keep it documented. Luckily I got them all fixed and I wanted to re-share them with you guys.

Tokyo Recap #1 ~ all about the Kaminarimon temple we were a block from.
Tokyo Recap #2 ~ food, Akihabara, & friends.
Tokyo Recap #3 ~ Valentine's Day

It was so much fun pouring over all these pictures. It's crazy to think that just over two years ago Aaron and I were wandering the streets of Tokyo. It gave me butterflies seeing all the sites again (and I'm getting them again just thinking about it).

There is no doubt in our minds that we will go to Japan again. This time with Dean (and any other little ones we might have). This means we'll have to wait a few years, but we will take Dean to Japan. Teach him all about different cultures. Show him just how awesome and big this world of ours is.

I cannot encourage everyone enough to travel to a foreign country. Seriously. If you want to do it, do it! I know that the cost of traveling can be a scary big amount, but I recommend saving up and going through a website like Expedia months in advance so once the flight and hotel are paid for you have all that time to save up spending money. Our trips all varied in length (7-9-ish days), so flight & hotel for both of us was between $2900-$3400. Which seems like a lot, but in comparison, our three day trip to San Fransisco was a little over $1300 for flight & hotel for both of us.

Experiencing and being immersed in a different culture is worth every penny it takes to get you there. I guess that's a bit obvious since we've been to Japan four times. Definitely travel if you can. It may seem scary and impossible but it's not. Really it's not. If you can take a week off work to go on a local vacation, you can totally go abroad.

Anyways, enough of my rambling. I might be preaching to the choir here. Have you traveled to a foreign country before? Where have you gone? What cool things did you do while you were there? I know a couple of my blogging friends have been to Italy and Malaysia, which seem like awesome places to visit. If you haven't traveled, where would you go? ♥

37 Weeks ~ Maternity Pictures

We've made it full term. We are 18 days away from meeting our little man. Oh my gosh you guys. The nerves! The excitement! Our hearts are about to explode with love for this little baby of ours.

It's hard to imagine my life right now not being pregnant, not getting my world ready for the changes ahead, not preparing to share my life and my heart with another man. Aaron has my entire heart and soul and the thought of having room for more love for another person, a person that Aaron and I created together, it sometimes so hard to wrap my head (and heart) around. But I am looking forward to all this discovery so much!

People keep asking me if I'm excited, or how excited I am, for the baby. And while I am excited, I'm not jumping up and down excited or freaking out excited. When I look inside myself there's this stillness that is just ready.

Ready to love, cuddle, and get to know Dean, and for him to get to know us. I am ready for my world to drastically change and never go back.

Aaron and I are ready to start this new journey together. ♥

Time Money and Food - aka Bento Making

We're half way through March and it seems that April is coming up fast. In about a month tax season will be in full effect and people will be celebrating or dreading it to the extreme. While I'm not dreading taxes yet, I'm getting there.

I may or may not have mentioned this before, but the local "professionals" that have handled our store's taxes the last two years actually did them wrong. Not just wrong, but WAY WRONG. Luckily we've been able to keep a handle on things and fix what needed to be fixed. This year the numbers are looking so drastically different with this new company we're working with, we're starting to wonder if our corrections on the old taxes are correct. Talk about stressful!!

So Aaron and I have decided we need to hunker down with our money and make some lifestyle changes. We've had to do this before, so it's nothing too crazy, it just means we need to live a bit more frugally. This means Starbucks and lunches & dinners out are no longer the norm, but a treat. This also means we have to actively take more time out of our days to make food.

Food takes time to make, though! It's just so much easier to go someplace and have it made for us. From the sounds of this, you'd think we'd only been living on our own for a few months, not a decade+ like we have. *sigh* We BOTH have agreed to make food at home a priority. It doesn't have to be big or fancy. It also doesn't have to be something super plain. We just need to make it!

In comes bento making. It's cheap, healthy, quick, and cute. Just like with anything, it takes practice. So to help me get back on the bike, so to speak, I'm going to be posting lots about the bentos I make, with pictures and tutorials included.

Why don't we get this show on the road right now. We aren't super huge eaters when stressed, so I made Aaron this "snack" bento:

Sliced banana, diagonally chopped carrots, raspberries, and spinach tamagoyaki (sweet egg omelet w/spinach)

Tamagoyaki (tah-mah-go-ya-key) is a staple in Japanese bento lunches, and is very easy to make. Typically it's make with just egg, but adding veggies like spinach or green onions isn't uncommon. This version is one of Aaron's all time favorite things for me to cook.

What you need:
■ 2 eggs
■ pinch of sugar
■ small handful of spinach, torn into little pieces
■ extra virgin olive oil (or whatever cooking oil you prefer)
■ chia seeds and ground flax seeds (optional but recommended by me)

Whisk eggs and sugar together well.

Coat a round pan* with olive oil over medium heat. You'll know it's ready when you drop a baby bit of egg mixture into the pan and it sizzles. Pour in just enough of the egg to cover the bottom of the pan.

When the part of the egg touching the pan looks cooked and the top is still a bit liquid-y, use a spatula to roll up the omelette. I promise it'll be cooked through in the end. Move the omelette to one end of the pan, add a bit more oil, then more of the egg to coat the bottom of the pan.

I add the chia and flax seeds here so they are hidden.

Now add spinach. I advice tearing it up into smaller pieces than I did~ it makes rolling the egg up way easier. When the bottom seems cooked and the top is still liquid-y roll it up. If there's anymore egg mixture left, move the omelette to one side and add oil and the rest of the egg. Roll it up and let it cook so the insides firm up. Before the egg starts turning golden brown, remove from pan and place on a plate to cool. Once it's cool, cut it into 4 pieces and put into a paper cupcake mold.

Doesn't it look yummy? I really like the way the spinach and egg spiral in their own way. This typically takes me about 5 minutes to make, depending on how fast I cook it. I recommend cooking it a bit slow just so the liquid-y egg parts can glue the insides together once you roll it, and so the outside doesn't turn golden brown. If it does, no big deal, I just like the look of the yellow egg better.

The bento box I picked up at Target a few months ago for something like $8, and the cute little animals I was sent from a friend in Japan, but you can snag them at a Daiso store if you're near one, or anywhere online for pretty cheap.

You can make tamagoyaki anytime, not just in bentos, so if you're ever feeling frisky when making eggs you should give it a try. It's such a simple dish and hard to mess up. Not to mention, it's delicious!

If you have any questions about my tutorial, or bentos in general, please ask! I am pretty passionate about them and would LOVE to see more people in America making them.

Have a great weekend friends! ♥

*I say round pan and I'm using a fancy rectangle pan. Ignore my pan, it was cheap and hard to cook in. A nice pancake pan with slanted sides works WAAAAY better!

Refuse To Abuse 5K

Here's a little bit of trivia for you~ my best mile in high school was about 16 minutes. Seriously. I was consistently one of the last five people in my P.E. class to finish the mile every time. Maybe I was a dwarf in a past life because I can sprint just fine, but anything longer than that kills me.


Last March my sister had a baby and was determined to get fit so she decided to run a 5k in Seattle a few months later. That sounded so scary to me, as I couldn't fathom running that far (especially so relatively soon after having a baby), but she's not me and she's built a bit better in the running department than I am. When the time came around, her and my youngest sister ran the Refuse To Abuse 5K at Safeco Field and had a BLAST. They got to walk or run through every level of Safeco Field~ from the parking garage to the main concourse to the baseball field itself!

This year, Aaron and I have decided we want to participate in this 5K. It's July 19th, so it'll be about three months after Dean is born and that'll be enough recovery time and what not for me. Neither of us have ever done one before so we're a bit nervous, but when I think back to all the walking we did while we were in Japan (and the running we did that one drunken night in Nishinomiya) this will be cake mix. And by cake mix, I mean, I can totally speed walk this.

Our store created a "team" for this event which is pretty cool. My parents, Aaron's parents, his nephew, and my sisters will all be joining in. It'll be fun to have so many people I know and love doing this event together. We encourage anyone and everyone in the Pacific Northwest to join us! The date is Saturday July 19th at 7pm, and is $40 per person. No strollers are allowed, which is the only bummer since Dean can't be there. Regardless, this is going to be one awesome night!

Do you like running? Have you ever participated in a 5k before? ♥

Dean's Quiet Book

A few weekends ago was Dean's beautiful, beautiful baby shower. We are so lucky to have such warm, loving, and supportive family and friends. They all spoiled us like crazy. We didn't expect such generosity! ♥♥♥

One item in particular I want to show off is "Dean's Quiet Book" my sister handmade. This thing is mind blowing. Everything we got that day was incredible but everyone at the shower thought hands down this was the best present.

Sorry the pic quality is so terrible~ I couldn't find my camera and used my ipod. >.<;

It's a soft book made of only felt and embroidery floss.

The first page is our store mascot, Seilah, and the store's front door.

The doors flip open to show me and Aaron. ♥

A Star Trek Next Generation page. It's hard to see, but Warf's head is incredibly detailed.

The Hobbit page.

Star Wars page. This photo is super washed out so sadly you can't see it, but the warp drive on the Millennium Falcon is bright blue. Love it!

Pacific Rim page. I'm a huge huge HUGE fan of this movie. Best movie of last year and probably decade. Bold words, I know.

The Dragon Quest Slime page. They are some of Aaron's all time favorite characters ever. Aren't they just so happy and fun?

The detail my sister put into this book is absolutely incredible. The amount of time it took to cut out every little piece and then stitch it on, oh my goodness, I can't even imagine! It's such an precious gift and I cannot wait for Dean to be able to have it. It's something we're going to treasure forever!

Do you have any of your baby items still? Your baby blanket or favorite doll/stuffed animal? Is there an item you're keeping for your kids? ♥

Week 18 vs Week 35

Week 18

Week 35

That little man of mine is starting to jet straight out!! And by start, I mean, oh my gosh look at how far out he goes!!!

It's kinda funny because a lot of my customers don't even know I'm pregnant until I stand up and walk around. Their eyes go big and they get this look on their face like "WOW! I didn't expect that!" I get a kick out of it anyways.

Notice that my hair is about the same length in both pictures~ I find this totally weird since I haven't had a hair cut in between these two pics! So many other mama's told me that my hair and nails would grow like crazy once I started taking prenatal vitamins, and I've taken them this entire pregnancy and I feel like my hair has grown slower than it did when I wasn't pregnant. Just weird. Any other mama's experience this?

On a slightly random note~ I've really been wanting to post some makeup tutorials on here, but my work schedule just hasn't allowed me the free time during day light, so for today (and maybe the next short while) I'm just going to post little pictures of what I've been wearing. Like this:

(The combination of lighting at my store and the shininess of my eye shadow isn't perfect, sorry!)

On my eyelids I'm wearing Cover Girl Flamed Out Shadow Pen in Crystal Flame, the eyeliner is Maybelline Master Precise in blue, on my lips is Revlon "Raspberry Ice" balm which I found a few summers ago at Fred Meyer once and haven't seen anywhere since, on my face is Revlon CC cream in Light/Medium, and lastly Physicians Formula Mineral Glow Pearl in Bronze Pearl.

White/blue and pink/brown are my favorite eye shadow combo's right now. I've been rocking them pretty much exclusively for the past two weeks-ish. Do you have a favorite look you're rocking right now? What's your favorite eye combo? Do you have an eye/lip combo you like? Let me know~ I love hearing from you! ♥

Crushed Chocolate Biscuit Strips

First off, I want to freak out a bit and say that there are only 30 days left until we meet our little guy! 30 days friends. That's just crazy! Aaron is convinced he's going to come sooner than that, I don't care really, I'm just ecstatic!

Okay, breeeathe Sarah.... *pheeeew* Okay I'm good~ on to the topic at hand:

Crushed Chocolate Biscuit Stips

After a delicious dinner of tacos last night I wanted something fluffy and sweet for dessert, and when the fridge and pantry came up with nothing I decided to come up with something on my own. We don't go grocery shopping often anymore, so the need to be creative pops up frequently. Not that I mind at all. This way I get to create lots of fun things! Like those Red Chocolate Pancakes I made not too long ago.

Surprisingly enough, there's still more left over chocolates from that time. Yeah, I'm slow when it comes to using up food. Or maybe I just buy more than I need? Either way, I need to work on it. So here I am, working on some colorful, fluffy, and perfectly sweet dessert "strips".

What you need:

■ 1 cup Bisquick (or any biscuit mix you have on hand)
■ 1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk (or whatever milk you like)
■ a small handful of red chocolate chips (if you can't find red, you can always melt down white chocolate and add food coloring)
■ a handful of milk chocolate chips
■ not pictured: a greased bread pan, a ziplock baggie, mallet, vanilla extract, and orange juice

Prehead oven to 425*. Put the chocolate chips into a ziplock baggie and use the corner of the mallet to break the pieces up. They can be any size you like. I liked mine to be about the size of a pea. Once you are happy with the size of the pieces (or are done pounding the bajeesus out of the chocolate ;D) mix them with the Bisquick, milk, and a few drops of vanilla extract. If you accidentally pour too much vanilla extract *cough* like I did *cough* add a teaspoon or two of orange juice, it will help balance out the overpowering flavor of the vanilla. It won't taste "orange-y", promise.

Plop the dough into the bread ban and cook for about 15-20 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean. Transfer to a flat surface and let cool a bit. Cut diagonally into strips and serve.

I ate all but three of these little guys last night while in bed playing on my Vita. *^_^* Somehow I found myself surprised (and a little annoyed) at the amount of crumbs I found in my pj's this morning. Haha!

If you try these out, let me know what you think!! ♥

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