October 19, 2017

How fast a year goes by.


I'm having all the mom feels lately as it gets closer to Caden's first birthday. 

In less than two weeks, my little Halloween baby will be a whole year old. How is this possible?! It feels like just yesterday when Shaun and I were racing to the hospital after my water broke. 

So much has changed over the last year. We moved across an ocean... drove across the country... visited many new states and saw lots of new places... got to see lots of family and friends and even got a trip to Disney World out of it. I know C probably won't remember any of it, but it's important to me to make memories as a family and we'll have all of them and some great photos to share with him when he gets older.

Along with Caden turning one, comes a lot of other uncertain certainties. Shaun and I would love to have another baby (or two) so that Caden can have a sibling (or two.) And as we've been trying for a few months now, I'm starting to think that this probably won't happen until I wean him from breastfeeding.

I'm having a hard time digesting that thought though and while I want another baby so badly, I don't want to stop too soon. I'm proud that we've made it a whole year, when in the beginning, I wasn't sure we would make it a whole month. It's an important accomplishment (to me) and definitely one that I'm more than proud of. 

Only time will tell, but in the meantime, I'm so looking forward to a new chapter with our little guy. He is growing to be such an adventurous yet sweet little boy. 

Cheers to the next year and forever, baby boy.




warmest aloha,

September 27, 2017

New England Trip!

Last month, Caden and I took a trip back to the Northeast to visit my family. Now that we live a little bit closer,  it makes going home to visit more frequently, a little more feasible.

We flew into Providence, RI, so we could spend a week with my parents at the Cape (Cape Cod for all you non-yankees) then we traveled back to Connecticut with them for the second week.

I've always loved visiting the Cape during the summer and was so happy that I got to bring Caden to one of my favorite places. I hope that we can make it somewhat of a tradition as it was when I was growing up.

We got lots of bike riding in at the Cape and Caden LOVED it. Can't wait to get one of these bike trailers for home.

Having a blast on the swings!

Some sightseeing in P-town.

Can't visit New England without having a monster Lobster Roll!

We celebrated TEN months during our trip!

Got the cutest little baseball cap from The Black Dog.

We had the most beautiful end of summer/ early fall weather during our trip.

Vacation baby!

Grammy couldn't be happier to spend time with little man.

Got to spend time with Uncle Kyle and Auntie Maegen.

Lots of strolls!

In CT, I took Caden to Mystic Aquarium. We saw lots of penguins, sea lions, whales, sting rays, etc.!

Another must-do in CT, a trip to Lyman Orchard!


 Caden loved riding around in his new wagon at Grammy and Grampy's house!


Checking out some goats at the Hebron Harvest Fair.

Spending some quality time with his cousins!

Checking out some big ships at the Connecticut Maritime Festival.

More wagon riding!

 C got his first pair of big boy shoes while in CT! He's not walking just yet, but loves to crawl around EVERYWHERE and pull up on EVERYTHING.

My sweet little travel buddy was such a champ on all of our flights. I think this kid has traveled more in his first year of life than some people have in their whole lives.


We had so much fun and I was so excited to do some of my favorite things with my little guy. I know he won't remember everything, but I'll remember, and we'll have plenty of pictures to show him when he gets older. 

To me, nothing beats getting to travel with our little one. My only regret was that our time in CT was so short and went by so fast that we didn't get to see a lot of people that we usually make it a point to see. Oh and also, Shaun had to stay behind and work (sad face!) I can't wait for the next time that we'll all be able to travel together. <3


Warmest Aloha,

August 17, 2017

A REAL Breastfeeding Story.

In light of World Breastfeeding Week, which was earlier this month, I feel compelled to share our story.



Before having Caden, I mostly heard things like, "she was a natural" or, "he latched right away." So, with having a pretty easy and uneventful pregnancy, labor, and delivery, I thought for sure we would be a "natural" at breastfeeding, right? Wrong.

What so many people fail to tell you, is that breastfeeding does not always come as "naturally" as you may have been lead to believe. It is hard and stressful and emotional for mom AND baby and you may think about quitting every single day.

From day 1 in the hospital, I was already starting to see the dark side. Caden had a hard time latching, he didn't have a lip tie or tongue tie, but he was new at it and I was new at it and we needed lots of practice. What I didn't know then, was that this was going to mean lots of tears for both of us and lots of sleepless nights to come. I'm sure all of those crazy postpartum hormones didn't help either.

I thought I felt pretty knowledgable about latching, I took the hospital's breastfeeding class, but that was only just a small piece of the puzzle. Every time we woke to nurse, I had the nurse there trying to help. We tried every position she could think of and since all modestly had gone out the window long before, nothing was to be left untried.

When we were discharged to go home, I guess I didn't feel too worried, thinking that this was all new for both of us and we would catch on soon.

The first night home actually went okay. I literally set my alarm to wake every couple hours to nurse and although not easy, we made it through and I felt somewhat rested and optimistic by the next morning. Then, the second night home, my milk came in.

I had heard about how this could feel, however, it was just one more thing I was NOT prepared for. As if latching wasn't hard enough, add milk-engorged breasts to the equation. It's not hard to figure out what the outcome of that was - lots of tears for both me and Caden. Thank God our insurance covered a breast pump and I had already been equipped with one long before baby boy arrived. At about 1:00AM, I made my way downstairs and broke that thing out. Through sleepy, bloodshot eyes, I read the instructions and finally found some relief.

By the next morning, I was convinced my boobs were going to stay like that forever (obviously an irrational thought) and called my lactation consultant. I left her a teary voicemail and with a call back a short time later, I was so thankful to hear that she had an opening that day. It was Friday mind you, I don't know what I would have done if I wasn't able to see her before the weekend.

Of course, Caden latched and nursed pretty well in the appointment, but she gave us some comforting words and advice and a silicone nipple shield and sent us on our way. That nipple shield was a God send. We were finally getting somewhere. I didn't want to become too dependent on it though and was determined to make this work for both of us.

Within about a week, we were only using the nipple shield at night since that always seemed to be our toughest time. When we were both tired and frustrated, that little thing got us through. It also helped a bit with the pain because up until then, it felt like razor blades every time C tried to latch. In time, the nipple shield started to add to the problem so I was relieved when we were able to eventually stop using it.

The first two weeks were the absolute hardest. The lactation consultant had told me to give it at least six weeks. When you are four days postpartum, that is the last thing you want to hear and six weeks seemed like an eternity. In some of our lowest moments, I was literally hand-expressing onto a plastic spoon that Shaun held for me so I could feed our baby. 

I can promise you that I thought about giving up breastfeeding every. single. day. over those six weeks. But the nurse was right - around the six week mark, things finally seemed to be getting easier. We still weren't perfect and it still took some effort, but we were getting there. There were some lows, but by now, those feel like a very distant memory.

Looking back, I'm very happy that I decided to stick with it. Even in our toughest moments, I just didn't feel like there was any other option. Today, Caden is nearly ten months and we have made it so far. I don't really know exactly when our breastfeeding journey will end, but until then, I will soak up all the baby snuggles and every moment, bonding with my baby boy.




This post is strictly to tell our story. Breastfeeding may not be for everyone and it literally isn't an option for others. I have no judgement toward anyone who chooses another way; the most important factor is that your baby gets fed whether it be by breast or bottle, you do you. Being a mom is for sure the hardest job I have ever had and I know that I'm not a perfect parent, therefore, I would never want to judge someone else for doing what they need to do to be the best parent they can be. xo



warmest aloha,

August 9, 2017

Summer reading.

Another thing that I've been trying to pick back up on is reading. Having an infant definitely makes it hard to even find enough quiet time to read more than a page or two, but things have been getting easier around here and I finally got through my first book of the summer (summer is practically over, I know.) 


I recently finished The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom. It was on my Goodreads list for the longest time and I was excited to get it. I finished it in less than a week, not bad! I also just recently got a library card. I haven't had a public library card since I was in high school - 15+ years! So after doing the the other day, I checked out Glory Over Everything, which is the follow-up to the Kitchen House. I haven't started it, but I have less than 21 days before it needs to be returned. Ha.

Anyway, I'm sure I'll actually do a lot more reading once it starts to get colder, since we won't be spending as much time outside, so I'd like to find some new books to add to my reading list. 

Does anyone have any good suggestions???? I'm open to "summer reading"-type books still. I like fiction and especially American historical fiction and chick lit, of course! Because, let's be honest, who doesn't?


August 8, 2017

Mommin' and bloggin'.

I guess I fall into a whole new category of bloggers now - moms! 

I have a lot of thoughts that I'd like to share, however, I do not claim to know everything nor do I have all the answers. Maybe I'll add that disclaimer to each post. I'd just like to think that if any little tidbit I write can help someone, I'll be happy.

I somehow managed to be TERRIBLE at blogging while we lived in Hawaii, which is so, so sad because I was so fortunate to meet so many amazing people and have such amazing experiences. I've been thinking about picking one day each week to re-cap and put those experiences down on "paper". They so deserve a spotlight and I won't ever turn down an opportunity to talk about our time there.


Just one very small peek at a bittersweet day - this photo was taken on our very last day on Oahu. Caden was 9 weeks old and it was a perfectly beautiful evening on Bellows Beach.

Looking forward to sharing so much more!


warmest aloha,

August 7, 2017

Life lately.

I've been having a strong urge to get back into blogging, such as I always do, but life tends to get in the way.

I have a whole list of topics to write about and daydream about when I'll actually have the time to sit down and type out my thoughts. Hopefully this is a start!

I thought I'd do a little post to update everyone on our life lately. 2017 has been quite a whirlwind to say the least.



After my husband's promotion at the end of last year, he got new orders that would move us away from Hawaii. Sad, I know! So, here we are, in our new Idaho home.

I know it sounds odd for someone who is active duty Navy to get stationed in a landlocked state, everyone always looks at us funny. Long story short, he is currently doing oversight at a huge Department of Energy site here in Idaho.

So far, we like it okay. There is LOTS of new territory here to explore and we have done a little bit so far. I've always wanted to live out west and here we've got our chance so I look forward to taking full advantage of the next few years!

When we left Hawaii in January, Caden was nine weeks old and he just recently turned nine MONTHS old. I can't believe it. Since then, we have been able to go home and visit both of our families in Connecticut and Kentucky. We also took a two-week long vacation to Florida. We got to spend some time with my parents in Port St. Lucie, attended my cousin's wedding in Orlando and got to take C to Disney World, Animal Kingdom, and Epcot. We spent the last part of our vacation in Fort Myers with some of Shaun's family.

We camped, for the first time as a family and with Caden, over Memorial Day weekend near Yellowstone National Park. We rented a camper and went with some friends. We also spent some time exploring the park.

Last month, Shaun's family came out to visit us in Idaho over the Fourth of July. We spent a few nights in a really cool cabin near Yellowstone and spent about a day and half exploring the park with them. So far, we've spent about five full days exploring the park and there is still a lot we haven't seen. It's incredibly big!

I hope that next year we'll be able to do a big national park loop through Arizona and Utah or a Northern California trip; still so many places we're dying to see!

Our little guy keeps us on our toes and I know it's just a matter of time before we'll be chasing him all over the house. He makes our universe so much brighter and he is literally my reason for breathing. No one ever said that being a mom would be easy, but it is more than worth it.




warmest aloha,

April 3, 2017

Welcome to the world, baby boy!

Introducing Caden Michael:
born October 31, 2016 @ 4:58PM, 6 lb. 14 oz, 19" long.

Birth Story:
I was lying in bed that Monday morning and was half awake since Shaun had just hit the snooze on his alarm. He had just gotten back into bed from the bathroom when I was woken up by what I thought was gas pain at first, but then quickly realized that what I felt was a contraction. It was about 5:30 in the morning when I felt the pop.

I quickly sat up and told Shaun, "I think my water just broke." I slowly got up to go to the bathroom and felt more warm liquid and was pretty confident that it was time. I also started to lose my mucus plug at that same time. We were caught completely off guard since I was still two weeks out from my due date!

Once we were both out of bed, I called L&D to let them know and they said they'd see me when I got there. It was really happening!

I rushed around the house trying to make sure that we had everything we needed. Luckily, I pretty much had my bag and the baby's bag packed already and Shaun quickly threw some things in a bag for himself. About thirty minutes after my water broke, the contractions started getting worse. A friend mine told me that I'd know when I was in labor because I would be able to talk through the contractions; I'd say that's pretty accurate! 

We got in the car and headed for the hospital; Shaun drove while timing my contractions. At one point they were about 3-5 minutes apart and I was getting really nervous. In Hawaii, you do not want no get stuck in rush hour traffic and here it was about 6AM and we were right in the thick of it. Thankfully Shaun knew a "short cut" through some back roads and about 45 minutes later, we arrived (should have taken us half that!)

We got to the hospital at 7:00 and didn't have to wait long once we got there. They then took us back to examine me and test to make sure that my water really broke (I was 100% sure of this.) Once it was confirmed we were admitted and they brought us to our room in labor and delivery. It felt so surreal being in that room!

Before I knew it, a doctor had come in to run through everything with me; she kept mentioning pitocin and I was really confused as to why they were talking about that since my water had already broken and I was clearly in labor. Come to find out, if your water breaks, they want you to deliver in 18-24 hours to avoid any kind of infection. They put in my IV (terrible experience resulting in a blown vein in one arm and a very uncomfortable IV inserted into the other arm) and started a very low dose of Pitocin since by this time, my contractions had slowed down to about every ten minutes.

Since I hadn't eaten, they were nice enough to let me order breakfast from the cafeteria since we knew it would probably be a while. Things were going well, however, around 10:30, I was still only at 1 centimeter. They put the foley bulb in around that time and within about 3 hours, I was at 3-4 centimeters. The pain was definitely increasing, but I wasn't sure that I was ready for the epidural. They had me talk to the nurse anesthetist just as a precaution and we decided to move forward with it since he was going to be leaving for lunch and didn't want to come back to me being in extreme pain. Once the epidural was in place, they increased the Pitocin a little bit and I was feeling great.

When we had first gotten to our room, the nurse midwife had done an ultrasound to make sure that baby boy was still head down; during the same ultrasound, they found that he was, but he was also facing up! This isn't necessarily a problem, but can prolong labor and especially pushing. Because of this, they mostly had me lying on my side the whole time with an exercise ball between my knees in hopes that he was flip over (I also wasn't a very big fan of this, not very comfortable especially while experiencing contractions.)

At about 4:15pm, the nurse came back to examine me and I was already at 9 centimeters and baby boy was dropping with each contraction. She said that she would be back around 5-5:15 to check on me, but shortly after she left, I started feeling a lot pressure. It felt kind of painful, but definitely a different kind of sensation that I had been feeling. I was starting to get nervous that I was going to have the urge to push and no one was going to be in the room with us. I also had asked for something to help with this new pain that I was feeling so they had the anesthetist come back and add a dose of another pain medication to my epidural, it helped so much.

Luckily, the nurses were monitoring me from the nurses' station right around the corner because they noticed the baby's heart rate dropping a bit with each contraction. They said that it was due to head compressions when they came back in around 4:40 to start setting up for delivery. I remember thinking that that's what they were doing, but I still thought we had a while to go! Before I knew it, they were telling me to push! I pushed for about five contractions (15-20 minutes) and Caden was born at 4:58PM.

I remember pushing and having my eyes closed and then I opened them and he was there! Again, I had no idea he would come that fast and it was just so surreal. The nurses had asked if I wanted to have a mirror so I could watch and I declined, but I kind of wish that I hadn't. Shaun cut his cord after it stopped pulsing and once they finished examining him, they brought him over to me for a few moments before they took him to get cleaned up. 


The aftermath took much longer than the actual delivery since I had suffered a second-degree tear. Shaun and the nurses kept saying how Caden shot his arm out during the delivery, which probably caused it. That and maybe the fact that he came so fast. They took good care of me though and before I knew it, we had this tiny, little bundle, all wrapped up, and I was finally able to get a good look at his perfect little face. Shaun was loving holding our little guy and we sent photos to both of our parents, who were on the east coast.

Around 9:30pm, we were transferred to our room in the mother/baby unit. We were starving so we decided to order pizza delivery and I ate a whole small pizza myself haha. It was amazing. 

I absolutely could not believe how fast everything happened (just under 12 hours since my water broke), especially since this was my first pregnancy. Everyone kept making it sound like I would go way past my due date and even the nurse midwife told me that many first-time moms can push for up to three HOURS. Boy did we prove them all wrong! 

I feel EXTREMELY blessed to have had an easy pregnancy, a relatively easy labor and delivery and a perfect baby boy. We could not be happier to have our little man in our lives!



Warmest Aloha,




September 11, 2016

Exciting news!

I think I may have mentioned that my husband had been deployed for the last six months, but haven't talked a real lot about it since I've just been getting back into blogging recently.

Anyway, last Thursday, my baby bump and I got to welcome home our sailor! 




What an amazing day. Since we didn't even find out I was pregnant until a week after Shaun left, this was the first time he got to see our baby bump in person.

Special thanks to my friend, Ann Carter, of Ann Carter Photography for capturing these moments for us!


Warmest Aloha,

August 29, 2016

Team Blue or Team Pink???

At 16 weeks, I was lucky enough of find out the gender of our little peanut and there was no mistaking it! 



I was so excited and determined to find a cute way to tell Shaun. Again, he was still deployed at this point and when working on a submarine, communication is VERY limited. I didn't want to just send it in an email (that, by the way, he may never get) or tell him over the phone, so I decided to make up a little gift box with a couple onesies, a laminated ultrasound photo, and a DVD that I had made for him. At 17 weeks, I went out in town and paid to have an extra ultrasound done at a place that will record it on DVD. This was the best and only way that I would get to share that moment with my husband.


I was also lucky to have a friend who was planning to travel to South Korea to meet her husband, who also works with Shaun, at the next port call. She was able to see him and personally hand him the package. When your husband is in the military and never home, you just have to find a way to make things work!





August 26, 2016

Our pregnancy announcement!

After my 12 week appointment, which was actually at 11w1d, I decided to make the call to post our announcement. I had another ultrasound and everything was looking good; baby boy was still measuring a little ahead at 12w2d and his heartbeat was 167 bpm.

Ultrasound at 11w1d.


Due November 14, 2016!


With planning to leave for a three-week long trip to the mainland the very next day, I thought it would be a good idea to break the news at that time. I was also going to be attending a wedding in Charleston at the end of the week and figured it would be easier if everyone knew ahead of time why I wasn't drinking at all. It was nice to see friends and family that I hadn't seen in a long time and celebrate our news.


Coming Soon... Will be be Team Blue or Team Pink???
 
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