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Recovery: My C-Section Story

The photos above were taken about 6 hours after Johnny was born. This was the first time Giada got to meet her new baby brother, a moment in which she had been preparing for months beforehand. It’s amazing how calm he got once she started talking to him, he definitely recognized her voice from all the times she sang to him and told him stories while in my belly. At the time these photos were taken, I was doing great. For just getting off the operating table that same morning, I was up walking around and feeling no pain, considering. The nurses were pretty shocked at how fast I was recovering, but warned me to take it easy and not overdo it. I should have listened.

It’s standard to go home on day 3 after a c-section, but I’m a bad patient and was in such a rush to get back home to my other two kids and resume my normal life that I begged them to release me on day 2. Johnny had already spent one full night under the phototherapy lights and his last bilirubin check leveled off, his poor heel had been pricked so many times at that point and since bilirubin levels typically fall within the normal range the older baby gets and the more he eats & poops, I felt confident that he’d be ok. I felt great too, just ready and raring to get out of the hospital and back in the comforts of my own home.

The next day, day 3, the visiting nurse came to my house as they usually do for all new mothers. It’s a great thing my hospital does, they come to check on both of us and it allows new moms to feel safe and secure while given the opportunity to stay home and bond with their new baby. My visiting nurse, Liza, also happened to be my midwife during Giada & Marco’s pregnancy. She recently retired from the practice and decided to continue working with moms and babies for the hospital this way, so since I couldn’t see her at all throughout this pregnancy I was really glad she got to come over and meet my new son. She pricked Johnny’s heel one more time to confirm his jaundice was a thing of the past, put his blood sample in her bag for testing once she returned to the hospital and then asked to see my incision so we could remove the staples. I felt perfectly fine, but to be honest I was so consumed with all the new changes going on and so thrilled that I was finally home that I probably wouldn’t have noticed anything wrong with me anyhow. My focus was constantly on the kids and the readjustment to life as we now know it, and I was overly joyous in a blissful cloud of new motherhood again that I didn’t stop to think of- let alone worry about- my own recovery.

She took one look at my incision and changed her mind about removing my staples. It was obvious it wasn’t ready yet, and on top of that she was concerned with the swelling and redness I had. She knew right away it was infected, so she called my midwife who then proceeded to call my pharmacy to start me on an antibiotic. A couple hours later after I picked up my prescription, the hospital called with Johnny’s results. Bad news, I was gonna have to bring him back to be readmitted so he can spend another night under the phototherapy lights, only this time without me.

I was devastated, it felt like everything was hitting me at once and all of the emotional turmoil that escaped me previously throughout the last 3 days finally came around to taunt me. Like a tiny voice from a guilty bad conscience paid me a visit just to punish me for leaving the hospital way too eagerly & much too soon so it could say, “Uht-ah, you’re not getting away with childbirth that easy. Wipe that smile off your face because the joys of motherhood are just now beginning, darling.”

I mentally smacked that sarcastic devil off my left shoulder and went into my room where I had a breakdown. I was shaking, crying, overcome with anxiety and all. Not because of the news of his test results in particular, but because it was the straw that broke the camel’s back. The lack of sleep, the kids making so much noise, the uncertainty of how I was healing, the fact that I’d have to be separated from my newborn overnight plus the hard time I was gonna have going back to breastfeeding after it was already a struggle being that we were supplementing in the hospital for his jaundice… Oh yeah, and the frenectomy I scheduled for Johnny to correct his tongue tie issue that couldn’t come fast enough, further making feeding difficult and contributing to his jaundice & weight loss which was nearing the 10% mark; all that plus much more hit me like a bag of bricks, and I just broke down.

Fast forward one week later to when these pictures were taken. John Fox was brought home the very next morning after his readmittance and was finally in the clear, now all that was left to do on his end was have his frenectomy performed so he could feed better and that was scheduled for the following day. For those of you who don’t know, it’s a painless procedure where they clip a tiny bit under his tongue so he can extend it out further. It was no big deal, he didn’t even cry. He was thriving, but I on the other hand was only getting worse. There I was a week post partum and I seemed to be in more pain then compared to the whole week prior. Once again, all the pain that I had escaped and successfully eluded me after my surgery somehow found me, and suddenly I was on the couch crying, unable to twist or move around at all.

That stupid little sarcastic devil showed his face again, wagged his finger at me and said, “Uht-ahhh, you didn’t think you were gonna get away with a c-section without a lot of pain, did you?”

I was supposed to be getting better, not worse, so I back handed that devil off my shoulder for a second time and then used it to pick up the phone and call my doc. I went in the same day and expressed all my concerns, explained how I was still taking the antibiotic like I should, and afterwards my doctor proceeded to finally remove my staples. The staples being gone really helped, I can’t believe how irritated they made my incision feel, but when I peeked down at my incision all I saw was a flap of skin and all the anatomy beneath it. It was completely open still, there was a big hole in which I could see everything inside my body through. The right side healed fine, but the left side looked like I was just stabbed with a sword and left wide open. It was the scariest thing I’d ever seen! Being somebody that’s never had any medical aliments or trauma besides my previous c-section, it was by far the worst thing that’s ever happened to me.

“Oh no”, I thought. “This cannot be happening to me.” For the first time, I was actually scared.

As a non medical professional, my first assumption was that I’d have to get stitches. To me, that would seem like the obvious quick fix and one that would certainly be indicated judging by the appearance of my wound. However that wasn’t the case, I was told that these wounds have to heal from the inside-out and if I got stitches it might lead to further infection plus leave an empty pocket beneath it. Starting from that day, I’d have to go to a specialized facility (appropriately called The Wound Center) to address and care for my open incision. It would be a daily thing since my dressings would constantly have to be replaced, not to mention a huge inconvenience being that I’d have to leave the house every day and be away from the kids for about 2 hours each time.

My doctor did a great job of making sure I was seen by them right away, they didn’t have any openings until a week out yet he somehow managed to convince them to take me in the next day. By the way, thank you Dr. P, you are a fantastic physician and all your efforts and involvement in my care will never be forgotten and is greatly appreciated. Well, my very first visit to the wound center didn’t go quite as I expected. I thought they would just patch me up until the next day and send me home, but instead they ordered me to be on a wound vac. A wound vac is a machine that has to be attached to the open area of my incision and be left on 24/7, it applies negative pressure therapy on the affected area and ultimately heals the wound 50% faster than it would’ve on its own. Kinda cool, but kinda a pain in the ass having to be hooked up to a machine all the time.

The cause of my open wound: too much activity after surgery. Or at least that’s what I was told. I happen to think it’s more likely to be secondary to infection, but who knows. It’s probably both, however here I am now at 2 weeks postpartum and I’m still recovering. Technically, this story is still one in progress, but I’m pretty sure now I’m finally over the hump and on my way to being back to normal. So expecting moms who may be having a c-section, heed my warning and be a bum that first week. It may be boring, especially if & when you feel like your normal self again, but when they say no cooking, cleaning, driving or lifting anything heavier than your baby… listen to them. I’m extremely grateful for both the health of my newborn and for the great care I’ve been receiving from the medical staff at all three facilities I’ve been visiting so frequently, but God I am so ready for this to be over. Along with the pain and physical discomfort this issue is dealing me, I’m so mentally drained and in a constant state of paranoia that something bad will happen to me. If I get an infection again I’ll have to be hospitalized and since it’s still a wide open wound, the fear is always there to bug me. I have to be healthy and strong, not for myself but for my kids. I’ve been doing everything I can to participate in my own care because I know these kids need me here at home and can’t live without me. I remember the days when it was just me, and how having children changes things so drastically. Now, everything I do revolves around them, even taking better care of myself if only for their own sake.

Motherhood, what a journey. And to think my story of parenting 3 has only just begun. But you know what? I simply wouldn’t have it any other way.

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John Fox’s Birth Story

You know how people say, “I don’t care if the baby is a boy or girl, black, white, green or purple… as long as it’s healthy”?

Well, I had a purple baby.

This is the lengthy story of the night I went into labor at 37 weeks & 6 days with Mr. John Fox…

I remember watching the fireworks that night on the 4th of July and thinking to myself, “he’s got to be coming soon”. I also remember being bit by a mosquito during that very train of thought and becoming overwhelmingly paranoid of contracting the Zika virus- thank God those fears can at least now be put to rest. I was having contractions with every small move I made, and they were incredibly uncomfortable. They weren’t happening in a pattern yet but they were happening and I’m not kidding when I say they hurt. I kept saying to Jack this can’t be normal, who on earth has contractions so intense just from standing up, sitting down, rolling over or bending down. At 35 weeks, I had already been to the hospital twice to stop contractions that were coming every minute regularly for over two hours, and it took a combined total of 3 shots to finally get them to stay at bay. They never stopped completely, only ceased in regularity. They were still frequently occurring at an hourly rate, at minimum, for what felt like forever. It was so frustrating, at that point I had just wished for them to either go away, or to stay so I can have the baby already because it was getting really old. The activity-induced contractions were happening for over a week or two and I was ready for it to be over.

We hit a speed bump on the way home from the firework show which of course triggered another contraction, and even though it was no better or worse than all the previous ones I’ve had that week, something told me that my body is ready to give up on carrying this baby. My c-section wasn’t scheduled for another week and a half or so, but I knew instinctively that I wouldn’t make it that far. I remember wishing for my water to just break like it did with my other two pregnancies, at least this way I couldn’t be sent home from the hospital without a baby in my arms and the long days of pregnancy would finally be over and done with.

We got home around 11:30pm and the strangest feeling happened to me. You know all that talk about lightening? Wow, it is SO true. I had just assumed that my baby already dropped long ago because I had to pee every 2 seconds and I was so close to delivery, but I was dead wrong. I was laying back on the couch and all of the sudden, in the blink of an eye- I didn’t feel pregnant anymore. I could breath and I felt as light as a feather, I almost wanted to get up and do jumping jacks. Out of nowhere I was reminded of what it was like to breath again without a baby kicking my ribs and lungs every minute of the day. It literally felt as if there was no baby in my belly anymore, and at that point I had already watched enough YouTube videos and read all the What To Expect While Expecting articles to know that meant the baby is coming, and he’s coming soon.

I went to sleep knowing that I may very well be in the early stages of labor, but if that’s the case I might as well get some rest. It was exactly 4:00am when I rolled over and woke up. I don’t know what made me wake up, but the second I did, and I mean the very same second, I felt my water break. It was such a strange coincidence, if I had woken up a second later I would have soaked the bed, but since I felt it break the very instant I opened my eyes, I immediately stood up to save myself an enormous mess to clean up later. As I got up there was no doubt about it, my water had definitely broke. I was 37 weeks and 6 days and baby John was as ready as I was to come out and greet the world.

With my first, the same had happened, it was an unmistakable gush. With my second, I couldn’t even tell my water broke. I trickled the tiniest amount of fluid only once and then it stopped altogether, but since I knew it wasn’t pee I went to go get it checked at the hospital and I was right. All the nurses were shaking their heads and were certain I just wet myself… but nope, I was ruptured. They said it must’ve been a “high leak” and that the baby’s head was corking any more from coming out. All I know is I’m glad this third go around wasn’t a guessing game. It broke, and I wasn’t coming home this time without a baby. I woke Jack up, told him what happened, did a little happy dance and jiggled my way on over to the phone to call my mom.

Once again I went off my experiences with the other two and took a shower, dried my hair, the whole bit before leaving the house while taking my sweet time. Both times before I wasn’t even contracting and was perfectly calm and comfortable while headed to the hospital. This time… What a mistake that was. It was 1.5 hours later when we left the house and I was in agony in the car. The contractions were killer, I couldn’t believe they kicked in that fast. With each contraction that hit at less than a minute apart, I lost what felt like another gallon of water. I kept thinking how on earth can all that water fit in there?! I walked into the hospital and felt so bad for making a huge mess on the floor. The security guard asked me where I was headed and to hand over my drivers license for a visitor’s pass and I about gouged her eyes out. I looked down at the floor, then back up at her with both hands on my belly and said, “Where do you think I’m going?” Jack was still outside trying to park the car while I was in so much pain that another male security guard quickly grabbed a wheelchair and whisked me away, all while making me feel so at ease and comfortable about the whole situation. He was such a nice guy and reassured me that there was nothing to be worried about, broken water is fine but his only rule is no having babies in the lobby, lol.

We arrived at 6am and the doctor showed up at 7. They were prepping me for surgery, saving the ridiculous questions to determine if I was actually in labor or not because judging by my torturous contractions and all that amniotic fluid, I clearly was. When they checked me at 6am I was 3 cm dilated and I swear I must’ve been past 5 an hour later because I literally thought at that point I was going to die from the strengthening contractions. I don’t know how the human body can sustain such a thing, seriously. I wasn’t allowed to have anything for pain until they did my spinal right before surgery began, and by the time they were ready for that it was 8:00. Finally, I got the spinal and felt absolutely nothing, hallelujah. Seconds later I laid down on the operating table and the Dr was already in. I felt pushing and pulling, and at one point it felt like an elephant was sitting on my chest or I was being crushed under the weight of a car, whichever you deem worse. Jack was holding my arms down on the table because I was being tugged so hard, and then finally out came that little cry.

John Fox Hannan came at 8:15am, and I couldn’t wait to see him. It took a couple minutes before a nurse came around the drape empty handed and gave me a cautionary warning before bringing him over. She told me that there’s nothing to be worried about, his body is pink and his lips are pink which means he’s breathing just fine, but he suffered from some bruising during the delivery. She said not to judge his circulation by the way his face appears and once again reassured me that he is in fact a healthy baby with 10 fingers, 10 toes and a very apparent set of strong lungs. She then asked if I was ready to see him and of course I said yes, but I couldn’t help trembling with concern about meeting my son for the very first time.


My first thought was… “He’s so small.” He weighed 6.3lbs.

My second, and most prominent thought was… “Oh my God, he’s blue.”

They put him on my chest and I just kept asking, “Is this normal? Is this normal? Have you seen this before? Is this normal?”

Everyone explained to me that sometimes the baby hits the pelvic bone really hard while trying to descend and since he was in a posterior position and I had zero water left, there was nothing to cushion the blows each time I had a contraction. His entire head was purple, and his chin and eyes were a deep, dark blue. I felt terrible for the baby, and I didn’t know how I was going to explain to my family that this was “normal”. They took Jack and the baby away to go get cleaned and swaddled while my surgery was still in progress, I was supposed to get a tubal ligation but 45 minutes on the operating table later, I heard the doctor say she couldn’t do it.

They brought me back to recovery and explained I had too much scar tissue from my previous c section to successfully tie my tubes without serious risk and asked me right off the bat what I plan to do about birth control. I was told I couldn’t go through another c-section again because it would be extremely dangerous. The doctor explained it was a very difficult surgery, and warned me a second time not to get pregnant anymore. Scary news, but then Jack came in with the baby and my attention was diverted to yet another scary realization.

I had a purple baby. I was still angry inside and wanted further explanation even though the whole staff already explained it to me more than once. I couldn’t believe how being in labor for only 4 hours could cause this much damage to a baby when it is a natural process in which both the mother and child are meant for and equipped to do. The very first thing I did was start nursing him. It was the best feeling in the world and the one thing I was looking forward to doing the whole 9 months prior. I love all the motherly feelings and bonding nursing gives you, it’s such a gift to new moms to be able to do so. The contractions it causes are no fun, but at least you know you’re shrinking back to your normal size while biting your tongue through the pain.

I looked down at my little Fox and couldn’t even tell what he looked like yet; his face was dark and puffy, his chin was black it was so bruised, and his eyes were swollen shut on top of being black and blue. It looked like he just escaped the fight club. I was so, so sad. I can’t imagine the pain a full grown adult feels when they’re injured like this, so can you imagine a newborn baby? My poor son, he must have been terrified and hurting so bad as he made his grand entrance into this world. And in addition to that, I was still in surgery for almost an hour after he was born so he didn’t  even get to be with me right afterwards to feel comforted. We lost that entire first hour of his life together, when skin-to-skin is so important.

An hour passed, and to my amazement his face had started to change right before my eyes. He went from an entire purple face to being bruised in just the chin, cheekbone & eye area. Another few hours passed and it was just his chin and eyes. The next morning, although still very swollen, the bruising was strictly around his eyes and the bridge of his nose. By day 3, it was just on his eyelids and the inner corner of his eyes. It was the most rapid transformation I’d ever seen.

It was a miracle, or so I thought. They explained to me that babies are so immensely resilient and can handle a lot more than we think, but I still think he had an angel on his side helping him heal a lot faster than he might’ve otherwise. I’ve never seen bruises go away that fast, especially since they usually get worse before they get better. It was the most incredible thing to watch his face change almost hourly, and by day 2 those tiny little black eyes had grown on me so much so that I wouldn’t have it any other way. I thought they were adorable. What a little tough guy.

Unfortunately, this was only the beginning of a long, drawn out recovery for the both of us. Since jaundice is fairly common in newborns and bilirubin is a direct result of dying red blood cells, his bruises along with a minor tongue tie which made it difficult for him to feed efficiently made his levels spike higher than the norm. And what started out as a speedy recovery for me quickly morphed into the worst case scenario due to infection and an open incision that never healed shut once my staples were removed, but I’ll save those two stories for another time.

As I sit here and write this birth story exactly two weeks from the day Johnny was born, I realize just how much we’ve been through in the past 14 days. It’s certainly been a whirlwind of emotions and anxiety, but it never really hit me until now that things are finally beginning to settle down. For the most part, that is. I’m looking forward to sharing more of the journey my little boy and I have been on so far, but for right now I think I’m going to go catch some Z’s while my little Fox is sleeping.

Before I go, I really want to thank every single one of you who left such kind and beautiful comments on my Instagram, as well as everyone who called and sent messages to me privately. I also want to send a special thank you to the amazing staff at Martin Memorial hospital, you surely left a mark on our hearts. I’ve been so consumed with this new precious baby and all the things that’ve been happening that I never got the chance to reply and express my gratitude to all of you. I hope you all know how genuinely grateful I am, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Until next time- which won’t be long!

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Currently Craving: Funfetti Crescent Rolls

My daughter came across this recipe on Pinterest. Yes, even she- at only 4 years old- can fall victim to the black hole of Pinterest. So, as Giada would have it, an immediate demanded was prompted for it to be on the menu that day (after threenager comes what…?). I knew she was insistent on this one so I had better get it done, but as usual I was worried I wasn’t gonna have all the fancy ingredients it takes to make many of these Pinterest concoctions, meaning I’d ultimately have to tell her no. And prepare for a hurricane. Cat 5.

 

But surprisingly it was one of those easy food hack recipes; just a few simple ingredients and you’re on your way. Way to go, Giada- Good choice! These crescent rolls were also a great recipe to have the kids help out with in the kitchen, so an activity plus a snack all rolled up into one (no pun intended). Perfect, so I can roll this pregnant ass back to rest afterwards.

 

  

To get the recipe for these Funfetti Crescents, click here. They’re delicious and addicting, filled with cream cheese and hints on vanilla.

I have to talk about this happiness-inducing little tea towel. I got two different ones for Mother’s Day and I think they’re too stinkin’ cute & worth mentioning. There’s always a towel hanging from my stove, I love collecting different monochrome statement towels so Jack knew I would really love these. I found them on Zulily by Primitive Designs by Kathy. 

So there’s my current pregnancy craving, anything sweet & easy to whip up is perfect these days. I’m in the very last days of my third & final pregnancy and the fatigue is hitting me more than the so-called nesting instinct. Why couldn’t I get the better end of the bargain, ugh. I’ve been feeling like a big rolly-polly bum and counting down the days until I can meet my little boy… all while munching on a sweet treat in my mouth, lol. I have been having contractions frequently and so much pressure that it’s hard to even stand up straight. With my other two, my water broke, so these symptoms are all new to me believe it or not. I just hope it doesn’t last that much longer, I am so ready! I have a “What’s In My Hospital Bag” post coming up next that I think all you pregnant mommas out there will really appreciate, the second and third time around is so much different and there’s tons of things I have to say about what’s necessary and what’s completely ridiculous to pack. I hope you all enjoyed your weekend, maybe before next post I’ll get to announce his arrival on Instagram!

Crossing my fingers!

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Dad: The Superhero 

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daddy

You are so much stronger than a superhero to me. I don’t recall Batman or Superman ever doing all the things you can do all the time and I’ve never seen Captain America fix all the things you know how to fix. Your heart is a lot more bright & shining than Iron Man’s and you even know how to use a hammer better than Thor! You’re the most amazing person I know, there’s nothing like making memories by watching you do all these super human things that I can’t wait to learn how to do, like shaving your face or driving a boat! How do you do that, Daddy?! Or cutting the grass on that big machine that looks like a car, that looks like so much fun and I can’t wait until you let me try! You teach me so many new things every day and you don’t even know it. But it’s all good things because you’re a really good role model, Dad. I may only be one years old, but because of you I already know how to treat people and be a good protector. I do a really good job at watching over the girls when you’re gone like you tell me to, you’d be proud of me. And I’m always there to help Mommy & Giada with anything they’re doing, they like to call me their Little Big Helper. All the things you teach me to do I’m getting really good at, and I can’t wait to grow up to learn more so I can be just like you. There’s really no other superhero I wanna be more like, no one has as many super powers as you! Happy Father’s Day Daddy, I love you to the pow-zoom moon and back …to infinity & beyond!

Marco

So Daddy

I know you always say not to grow up so fast and that I have to stay your little girl forever, but I gotta let you know the truth. I’m growing a little bigger each day and pretty soon Mommy says I’m gonna be a full-grown, young lady. I’m not saying this to scare you dad, I’m just trying to say that you don’t have to worry because I’m gonna be just fine. You’re doing a good job raising a really strong girl, one full of confidence and strength, and because of you I know I can do anything I set my mind to. I couldn’t have asked for a better Daddy to help me grow into a little woman because you simply are the best. I know so because Mommy tells me all the time and I know she wouldn’t let me hang around anyone who’s not. That, plus she says that one day I’ll have you to serve as an amazing comparison when entering the dating world, so that’s gotta be good, right?! Not only do you always make me laugh and play silly games with me, you also make me feel happy and safe every single day. You’re always spoiling me which Mommy says isn’t good but I know it’s because you love me, and you know what Dad? I definitely notice that, and I love you a million times more in return. You are the only boy in the world I like! Besides Marco, but sometimes he bothers me when he knocks down my toys all the time. It’s ok though because even when he gets me mad I know how to handle it because you’ve taught me how to be one smart cookie. Maybe a little too smart because I’m starting to figure out how to talk my way around anything, but smart nonetheless! When that day comes that I’ll be old enough to go out into the world on my own, I’m going to be able to land any job I want, feel great about myself no matter what happens, plus change a tire all by myself if I have to! You’ve filled me with such strong building blocks and there’s no one in the world who can knock me down because I know I’ll always have this instilled strength and security that comes from you. So in a way I can’t wait to grow up, Dad. I know it’s not what you want to hear, but I really can’t wait to show you all the things I will do, and all the great things I can achieve in my life, wholly because of you. I love you more than anyone, Happy Father’s Day!

giada

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loveyou

You’re our favorite conspiracy theory expert, high-tech gadget & gizmo guru, perfectionist by nature, history freak by choice and a biggest self-educator we know! You’re the best mechanic we’ve ever met and you’re not even a mechanic, and you’re the smartest computer geek that’s ever lived while you’ve never even taken one computer class, how does that work?! You’re amazing! You’re the most awesome baked potato maker on the planet and while you contribute that to our Irish heritage, I know better because you can also make a tomato sauce better than Mommy and she’s 100% Italian (but don’t tell her we said that!) You’re the ultimate improviser, friendliest stranger, kindest neighbor and most unselfish soul one will ever meet in this world, and we are so blessed to call you our DAD!

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!

hannans

[DAD Tee: Thanks to The Blue Envelope]

 

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The Perfect Maternity/Nursing Top

 

  

  

  

This awesome top is from Figure 8 Maternity and it’s double function! It’s a maternity tank plus nursing top (did you notice?) It comes in a bunch of different colors like:

Ink Blue (Pictured) • Turquoise • Black Lilac Purple • Khaki • & a Rosie Taupe

Each time I’ve been pregnant, there was always that one piece I wore over and over again, and this time it’s this top. I even fish it out of the laundry basket sometimes because it’s just an ultimate go-to top. Especially now in the summer, it’s really lightweight, cool and has built in support so I don’t have to wear a bra (even though these milk factory boobies still need one, lol). I like the width of the straps and how they can be adjusted, and I also really appreciate the ruched sides, it makes it flattering for any stage of belly growth and is a perfect fit even at 40 weeks. It’s a dual use tank, great for a baby belly and even better afterwards because if you look closely you can see the top half folds up for breast feeding, making it a breeze to nurse anytime both comfortably and discreetly.

It’s made of a material called lyocell, have you ever heard of it? Well I haven’t before now but now that I know, I’m seriously in love with it, It’s very similar to the softness & feel of jersey knit but stretchy and very forgiving. Lyocell is a cellulose fiber made from eucalyptus, and an interesting fact about it is that it’s grown in sustainably managed forests where the cultivation only requires 5% of the water used in traditional cotton farming and 99% of the chemicals are continually recycled, reducing waste and pollution tremendously. It’s also been tested for harmful substances by Oeko-Tex and that always helps put an expecting Momma’s mind at ease. But bottom line is, it’s extremely comfortable and always is cool to the touch on a hot day. Check, check!

It’s my perfect maternity layering piece this time around. And honestly, who wouldn’t love a double function tank top? It’s literally two in one- maternity & nursing– so hello monies saved!

This place has sooo many maternity outfits that I go crazy filling up my shopping cart with. Tons of maternity dresses, nursing tops & even matching mommy & newborn outfits!

Here are some coupon codes to use on their clothes!

$20 off select 2 dresses coupon

$15 off any two bottoms coupon

$20 off any two nursing loungewear items coupon

You can view all the rest of Figure 8’s special deals and promo codes going on right now right here! There’s a whole list of ’em I hope you find your next favorite piece to style your bump like I did, it sure makes life a lot easier when you have that one piece you can always run to.

graziella H

P.S. Only 3 more days left to enter to win a pair of Freshly Picked baby moccasins over on my Instagram page, head on over to enter if you’d like to win!

*This post was sponsored by  Figure 8 Maternity.

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F is for Family

Family is one of the most important things in the world- right next to O2 and H2O. I’m having a lot of fun being a relatively new mom and raising one of my own, here are some shots from when I took the kids out the other day…

Get these tee’s from The Blue Envelope  here:

Big Sister Tee

Little Brother Tee

Mama Tee

It’s amazing how much one’s world changes when they go from being an only child to living in a house full of people. It took some time adjusting to the constant noise and random sounds arising from other parts of the house but now that I’ve grown accustom to it, I wouldn’t change it for the world. Sure, there are times when I just wish I could run out to the store by myself, or hell even go to the bathroom by myself for once would be nice, but the pros definitely outweigh the cons.

In our family of 4.5 we have a mama & dada, a big sister & one little brother. Until next month that is, when we’ll be welcoming another little brother to our gang. I’m still trying to wrap my head around it, I have no idea how I’ll handle a 4 year old demanding something from me all the time, a 1 year old that still thinks he’s a tiny baby and wants to be held like one all day long, and a newborn crying for milk every couple hours. But like with all things, it will work itself out.

There are days where I just want to check out. Grab my keys and hit the road… Alone. Crank up the volume on my stereo, roll down my windows and fly down the highway at 95mph like I used to do too frequently in my pre-motherhood days. But then there are times where I’ll happily turn down any fun, social event because I’d much rather spoon with my babies on the couch & watch a kiddie movie with popcorn and ice cream on hand. Overall I really enjoy the parenthood life, it comes with days full of surprises and excitement, and of course noise. I might be considered one of those nerdy moms by saying this, but dressing my kids alike and coordinating our outfits is probably one of the smallest yet greatest pleasures being a mom brings me. We are a family, and coming from a home where I was the only kid, I think it’s so much fun to all look alike.

Anytime I dress the kids I try to put them in the same color, and when I saw these statement tees I literally squealed out loud with excitement. Everyone knew we were a family when they saw us out & about that day, it was really cute. I love The Blue Envelope, they have tons of tees like this to chose from and they’re all made of an extremely soft material. They have nurse tees, teacher tees, number tees and so much more that mark a milestone or role you or someone you love can really appreciate. They make the perfect gifts, you can browse they’re entire collection to see what I’m talking about here.

I’m also announcing the winner of my Instagram Giveaway later today so if you entered, keep checking back to see if you won! And just an FYI, I’ll be hosting another Instagram giveaway for a pair of Freshly Picked baby moccasins on June 15th! I hope you all have a nice Thursday, it’s almost Friday folks relax. 😊

graziella

*Sponsored by The Blue Envelope.

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GIVEAWAY!

Hey guys! I loved my Nuby Miracle Mat so much that I’ve teamed up with them to give one away to one of my Instagram followers! Contest starts today over at my Instagram account and ends Wednesday, so go enter for your chance to win! Here are the rules:

•Like this photo on Instagram 👆🏼📷

•Follow me (@graziellahannan)🙋🏻

•Follow @nubyusa🍼 (We check!)

•Tag 2 Mommy friends in the comments under the photo👯

That’s it! Winner will be announced on my Instagram feed Thursday morning so check there to see if you won!

And if you haven’t had a chance to read our review post on this Sure Grip Miracle Mat, you can do so by clicking here!

Good luck guys!

graziella

*This giveaway is sponsored by Nuby USA.

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Dear Giada

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Dear Giada,

I just wanted to make sure you know how much I love you. I know every time I tell you, you say “I know mom, I love you too”, but I really hope you understand how deep my love is for you. You may never understand until you have children of your own, but that’s okay because I was the same way. In fact, we are much more alike than you think, and I’m starting to see more and more of our similarities come out in you everyday.

You are my best friend, my favorite girl and my whole world. Every time you crawl in my bed and cuddle with me you make my heart sing and every time you bring me a glass of water or offer to share your cookie with me a little part of me melts. Ever since you were born it’s felt like me and you against the world, two girls who have each other’s back until the very end. I love it when you ask me to blow dry your hair because you want to be like me, even when it may seem like I don’t. I get so emotional when you run out of your room wearing an outfit that looks just like mine for the day that it actually makes me tear up at times, even though you don’t see it. I’m so proud of you for all of the tiniest little accomplishments you make. I’m so honored to be the first person you run to when you want to show off a new talent or drawing you made because it shows me that you know how much I care. It makes me incredibly happy to know that you can come to me for anything and never feel embarrassed, or come to me when you’re shy or speechless and know that I’ll have the perfect words to use in order to speak up for you and say what you’re too scared to say. I know these days wont last forever, one day you’ll be too cool for me or think you know too much on your own to take my advice, but I don’t want to think about it because that makes me sad. Right now I just want to take in every little act you do that shows me how much you care and not think about all the challenging days to come with the onset of adolescence. Not that I won’t still love you to pieces through out all the challenges you might put me through, because you are my baby and I’ll love you unconditionally for eternity no matter how much you may try and push me away.

There’s a new baby coming and although you’ve been amazingly helpful and beyond excited to meet our newest little addition, I still wanted to take a time out to tell you that you’ll still always be the keeper of my heart. It’s wonderful to hear you say how much you love the new baby already and how much you talk about him on a daily basis. It gives me such great pleasure and tremendous pride to watch you rub my belly and sing the new baby songs, and listen to you talk about all the things you can’t wait to teach him once he’s born. But I just wanted to remind you that you will forever be as important to me as the air I breath, and nothing- no one- will ever change that.

I don’t know what I did with all my time before you were born. Life without you seems like a pointless one, you make my days brighter and always push me to do more. Just the thought of not having you around makes me cringe, and I can only hope that one day when you’re older you don’t stray too far from your momma. I know I can’t tell you what to do, but I’m really wishing you’ll stay close by me and continue to always be my best friend in life regardless of our age gape and biological relationship. We have many more years together before that time comes, so don’t worry Giada. Time may fly, these past 4 years certainly has, but you can count on me to be here for you everyday to read you a story and tuck you in at night. I’ll be there personally to wait for you everyday when you get out of school, sit next to you and help you with any of your academic needs, be available to discuss any topic you want and never disallow you to tag along with me wherever I go.

You give my days meaning and bring purpose to my life, and for that I want to thank you. I’m incredibly blessed to be your mother, and wish for you all the best this world has to offer. It’ll be just me and you in a house full of boys pretty soon and sure it will be a whole lot of fun just like you imagined, but for the times when it’s not and you wish you had me all to yourself again, just remember these words I’m writing to you. I will love you forever and like you for always my baby girl, just like our bedtime book reads… as long as I’m living my baby you’ll be.

Love Always,

Mommy.

graziella

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Toddler Meal Time Made Easy

Ok, so any of you who have a toddler know how messy meal time came can be. And let’s talk about that stage they hit where they’re too big for a high chair and old enough to verbalize their disdain for it, yet still too small to sit down maturely and finish their food without making a mess. Sometimes I wonder why I even use a plate, as soon as my little boy sits down at the table he flips it over and tosses it right on the ground, letting the table itself serve as one big serving tray. Oh, boy. If I wasn’t so in love with that baby face and those eyes that look just like his dad’s staring back at me, I might hit the wall.


But that’s how it goes, no matter what naughty things your children do you love them regardless and sometimes even more. All the troublesome antics that come with parenting just roll right off your back, unless you find a way around them. Then just like magic, sometimes you suddenly find a trick that makes the messy parts of parenthood that much easier and all you wanna do is raise your hands up in the air and should out “hallelujah”!

Let the record state: this Sure Grip Miracle Mat is just that… A miracle.

It’s 100% silicone so it’s slip proof, dishwasher safe and also safe to use in the microwave. It sticks to the table surface really well so no messy fingers can slide it around or turn it upside down. Plus, they come in a bunch of fun colors.


  
  

*Utensils, Miracle Mat & Non-Drip Bottle are all from Nuby.

The Sure Grip Miracle Mat will be available to purchase on Amazon & Babies ‘R’ Us in July, but I will be doing a GIVEAWAY starting this SATURDAY, JUNE 4th on Instagram! Make sure to follow me on Instagram to be the first to know when the giveaway starts and get your chance to enter and win. 

Also, keep an eye out on Nuby’s Instagram & Facebook page for giveaways going on all the time! I highly suggest all toddler moms give it a try, you’re gonna love it.

Do you have any other “miracle” tricks to help make meal time less messy? If so, please share your secrets! Trying to keep a clean house with two (soon to be 3 in less than 6 weeks!) is challenging enough as it is, so any tips are always welcome!

graziella_h

This post was brought to you by Nuby.

*To like this post or leave a comment, click on the title above!

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A Day at the Park

More pictures from the day at the park with my son and what living with Mr. 18 Months is like these days… 
  
 



My Dress
: Seraphine Maternity. Marco’s Top: Carrément Beau via Cloudo Kids.

And how cute are these mini denim boat shoes I found for under $15…

So my “little”man (although not so little anymore) has reached the year and a half mark! Where did the time go?? More importantly, just when exactly did my little infant grow into a miniature sized version of a full grown man?  Maybe it’s because I now have two kids, but I swear the time flew by way quicker with this one.

At 18 months he now can say about 15 words like moon, truck and binkie, with his favorite word still being Mommy (I hear it about 898,809,370 times a day, even when he has no questions or statements for me). He loves his sister and stuffed dog Mr. Weinie to death, and anything electronic or can turn on will keep him amused for hours. He’s a sprinter and definitely a climber alright, scaling the bookshelves that border a good part of his room. He’s fallen over 100 times and has acquired way more bumps and bruises than his sister ever did. He’s down to 1 nap a day, sleeps through the whole night (but has been for awhile now) and will listen and understand when asked to go get or find something. He’s such a big helper around the house, too! He loves to sweep and vaccume and actually throws a temper tantrum when I take the broom away. Speaking of tantrums, he’s getting into that terrible two phase… slowly, but surely. He’s way more vocal and shows his anger a lot easier than before, he makes a big fuss when he doesn’t get what he wants and then he’ll take his binkie out of his mouth and throw it across the room in a fit of rage only to run after it immediately and regret doing it a second later.

The binkie thing is something I’m trying to learn more about… At what age do you start taking it away? My boy loves his binkies and cannot live without them but he’s growing so big – so fast that I’m starting to wonder, when am I supposed to facilitate the ceremonious disappearance of the binkie? He’d freak-OUT if I do it now, he’s no where near ready, but I know the dreadful day is coming and it’s gonna be a battle that I’ll have to win soon. I’ve never had to deal with this whole pacifier dilemma before, Giada is a thumb sucker and she’s got a security blanket named “Bubby” that she can’t live without. That poor blanket has been through hell and back, she won’t accept any other one and she’s so attached to it that it’s like a living entity to her.

But Marco turned out to be a binkie man, go figure. As long as he has one of those around he’s safe to take anywhere and be nothing but smiles. This is actually the first time we tried one of these round, orthodontic nipple pacifiers vs the standard shaped one and so far he really likes it. Nuby makes this one and he thinks it’s hilarious to stick his little finger in the front hole to pull it out. I also find it quite amusing to see what his mouth looks like on the inside when he’s sucking a binkie, it’s a completley clear silicone nipple. 😝

The only problems I have with pacifiers is, 1) they get dirty all the time and 2) I can never find one when I need it!!

They go missing everyday and it seems like Marco is the only magician around here who can find them. He’ll walk out of a room with a binkie that’s been missing for 4 months with a “Oh, this? Yeah… I’ve known where it was this whole time” kind of look. He stashes them like a squirrel does nuts, there’s at least 8 hiding in different places all around my house right now that I can’t find for the life of me! There’s nothing more frustrating then trying to get out the door and not being able to find that pacifier. So for any of you moms out there with a baby attached to their binkie, the best thing you will ever do is buy a paci-finder clip! It’s like a huge key chain for their binkie so you’ll never lose it again, thank God for those things!

This is my favorite one, it’s a clip plus a little toy so he cuddles with it at night. You can find it on Amazon here, and you can get these great binkies here. The reason I say great is because these binkies solve that first problem I have, keeping them clean. They’re all silicone and have no crevasses or creases where germs can hide. I can throw them in the dishwasher and sanitize them with his bottle nipples every day if I have to. Both definitely a life saver around here!

Pretty soon I know I’m gonna have to start stashing those binkies myself, only this time to keep them away from him but a part of me still sees him as my little baby and doesn’t want to take something he loves that much away. So I guess I’m gonna have to look more into what other moms have done. Did your baby use a pacifier? If so, at what age did they stop using it and how hard was it to do? Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

graziella
Thanks to Nuby USA, Cloudo Kids & Seraphine Maternity for being part of this post.