Friday, April 22, 2011

Yolanda's Baby Shower

Before Mother's Day, I hosted a baby shower for my friend Yolanda. She already has a son, but she was thrilled to having a little girl.

I took a few months to plan everything, including decorations, set up, food, etc.

For the centerpieces, I used empty cans from Gerber's Crunchies and wrapped them with scrapbook paper. The candles were held inside empty baby food jars with a cute ribbon.

We had a whole spread of appetizers and I wanted to decorate them as well. I added these adorable blocks, balloons, etc to each platter.

I made some star-shaped cookies with royal icing for dessert along with these cupcakes.

We had a raffle for guests who brought diapers.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Want Free Stuff?

A while back Cuong and I signed up for a website called Swag Bucks. It's a super easy way to earn free gift certificates, etc. All you do is use it as a search engine for everyday things. We have it set as our homepage and use it to search for things like, "hotmail" or "google mail", or anything else. It will show you the link and every so often you earn a "swag buck". Since we've set it as our homepage we've been earning them really quickly.
We've been using it since Halloween and we've already received $45 in free Amazon gift cards.
There's nothing to install, no commitment!
They have a store full of things that you can cash in your swag bucks for.

Click the link and sign up...start earning some awesome free stuff!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Birth Story - If you're so inclined

As my due date drew closer and closer, I kept getting more and more anxious! We thought for sure she would come early! I made my final trip to the grocery store about 3 days before my due date.

At 5:30am on August 28th (Ashley's due date), we were laying in bed and I felt somewhat of a small gush. I knew it felt different, so I got up to check it out. I thought it was my water breaking, and was actually worried that as I got out of bed that I would leak all over the floor! Luckily that didn't happen, but there was quite a bit of clear fluid that had leaked out. I cleaned up and changed and told Cuong what had happened. I told him that he had better stay home from work because that definitely wasn't normal!

I didn't feel any contractions start, so I tried walking around our bedroom and eventually headed downstairs to try walking around down there. I grabbed some toast to eat and then called Labor & Delivery. They ask you to call so they can let you know if one hospital is too busy and you need to go to another one. I spoke to the Triage nurse and told her what had happened. She told me to take my time, take a shower, eat something and that I have up to six hours to come to the hospital. I did what she said. Cuong and I took a walk up to the park to try to get contractions started, took a shower and then had some more toast to eat.

We headed to the hospital a little later and check in at the Labor & Delivery Triage center. They brought me into an observation room and hooked me up to a monitor to check the baby's heart rate and for contractions. I was having inconsistent, non-painful contractions and Ashley's heart rate was perfect.

A Midwife came in to verify that my water had actually broken and told me that I should have come in right away when my water broke. I told her that the nurse told me I had up to 6 hours to come in and she said, "No, we want you to be in ACTIVE labor by 6 hours!" Hmph, so much for listening to what the nurse said! At this point, I was about 1 1/2 cm dilated.

Since I wasn't having consistent contractions, they recommended that I be admitted into a Delivery room and started on Pitocin (12pm). I really didn't want to have to get Pitocin while I was in labor, but I knew that it needed to be done since my water had broken and they like to get the baby out within 24 hours after that. So I got a huge, nasty IV put into my and and they started me on some fluids and Pitocin.

After your water breaks, you're more susceptible to infection, so they try not to check you for dilation as often. Three hours after they started me on Pitocin I was only 2 cm dilated (3pm).

Normally people would be up out of bed, walking around to try to entice labor to become more active, but since my water had broken, I was still leaking a little bit of fluid whenever I would get out of bed. I figured it wouldn't be a pretty sight to have the leaky girl out in the hallways!

Three hours later she checked me again and I was only at 3cm (6pm). She told me that she was going to insert an internal fetal monitor instead of using the one that was strapped onto my belly. That way they would be able to see the baby's heart beat and the contractions better and know whether or not they needed to up my dosage of Pitocin. After inserting the internal monitor, the Midwife told me that since it was a "foreign" object, it might actually increase the timing and pain of the contractions. The L&D nurse told me that I could get the epidural at that point if I wanted it. I told her I would think about it since I was only 3cm dilated. It just seemed too early to me to get it. About a 1/2 hour later, I told Cuong to get the nurse because I needed the epidural! It was amazing how fast the hard contractions came on! The nurse had to give me a bag of fluids before I was able to get the epidural, but she paged for them to come down when I was ready. The doctor came in and administered the epidural and it wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be! Phew! It was definitely a relief to get! (7pm)

At about 9pm, the Midwife checked me again and I was only at 4cm. At this point, I was starting to get worried. I was progressing only 1cm per 3 hours! I really didn't even want to think about having to have a C-Section! Luckily the Midwife said that you're considered in "active" labor when you reach 4cm and she was anticipating that things would move more quickly now.

After getting the epidural, things were great. I just had to keep my eye on the clock and make sure I turned to the other side about every 45 minutes to keep the medicine from only flowing to one side of my body. Like clockwork, after another three hours, the Midwife checked me again and I was at 8cm! Woah!! Now that was fast! (approx Midnight) It made me feel much better though to know that I was progressing and ALMOST there!

I started to feel more pressure as Ashley was moving further down. The nurse was monitoring the contractions and Ashley's heart rate and saw that every time I had a contraction her heart rate was dipping. To counteract that, they had me breathe with an oxygen mask on. Thankfully that helped and her heart rate remained fairly steady throughout the contractions.

A little while later the Midwife came in and checked me again. I was at 10cm, but she wanted me to "labor down" a little bit and allow Ashley to move further down the birth canal so I wouldn't have to push as long. She estimated that I would be ready to push in about an hour. She said that first time moms generally push for anywhere between one to four hours.

About a half hour later I told Cuong and the nurse that I felt like I was ready to push. The nurse checked and said that the baby had definitely made her way down. She went to go get the Midwife to deliver the baby....but she was delivering ANOTHER baby right at that moment and wouldn't be able to come in. She said that I could go ahead and start pushing. She must have figured that it still would be a while.
The nurse came back in and said that I could start pushing with each contraction. So I had Cuong on one side of me and the nurse on the other to help hold my legs. After pushing for a while, I think the nurse was starting to get nervous because Ashley's head was getting closer and closer! After I had pushed for about 40 minutes, she paged for the OBGYN who was on call. He came in and about 10 minutes later, Ashley made her debut.

She came out with her eyes wide open and ready to greet the world with a good loud cry!
She weighed 7lbs, 6 oz. and was 19 inches long.
While she was under the baby warmer she reached up and grabbed onto Cuong's finger with a good strong grip! She was so alert and beautiful!

More to come later....

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Officially on Baby Watch

Good Morning!

We just got back from a doctor's appointment and the midwife says that we're officially on baby watch! Ashley is in position and will be considered "full term" on Friday (37 weeks). My hospital bag is packed, car seat is installed and the nursery is ready! I haven't had any consistent contractions, so there's no impending labor! Don't worry!

Over the past 2 months, we've had 4 baby showers!! They were all so helpful and wonderful!

In June we had a shower with my Warmington work friends at our house. It was great to have everyone over to check out the house and give everyone a chance to hang out together outside of the office. One of the gifts we received was the carseat!

Next, in July, we had a shower with Cuong's co-workers from Santa Fe Springs. We had lots of fun...and we got the much needed stroller! Yay!
The very next day I had the shower that Jen planned!! Everything was SO adorable! Jen did a "Pink Paris" theme complete with lots of Eiffel Towers and French themed food (croissant sandwiches & Parisian salad, etc). Plus, a very delicious cake!

It was a great chance to see some of my friends and family friends that I hadn't seen in a while! I couldn't believe how many gifts we got! We were just barely able to squeeze everything into the car! It was so much fun going through everything; hanging up all of the tiny clothes and organizing all of the baby items.

To round out the weekend, we headed down to Oceanside for a final shower! It was a co-ed & family friendly shower complete with games for the kids and the guys! Who wouldn't want to race to see who can suck down beer out of a bottle the fastest?! It was fantastic to see all of the support from our friends down there.

Monday, July 13, 2009

33 Weeks

So I'm in the 33rd week (out of 40) and we're heading into the home stretch! In one way I feel like it's gone by so quickly, but then in another...I'm ready to have my little baby.

I've definitely been getting bigger as the weeks go on. Cuong helps me put cocoa butter on every night and he said that he's able to tell a difference when my tummy grows a little bit more.

My ribs are getting pretty sore now. I think it was just a fluke thing that may last a day or so....but it still hurts. She likes to get up under my ribs and then kick hard or just push on them. Luckily when I lay on one side, gravity will pull her to the other side. At least it gets her away from one side of my body so she can push on the other side! :)

Baby showers this weekend! Can't wait! It should be fun!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Woohoo!! I'm famous!!

Haha, Just Kidding! My sister-in-law just let me know that my Shades of Summer scrapbook page made it onto Elizabeth Kartchner's blog!!
Last summer she mailed out 10 boxes around the U.S. with a pair of yellow sunglasses and instructions on what to do next inside. Apparently my group's box was the only one that made it back to her after it had been sent to all of the assigned recipients.
I remember how much I looked forward to receiving that box on my doorstep, so I'm glad that everyone followed through and got all of our pages back to her.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Rest in Peace, Grandpa

Grandpa & I, circa 1984

After a long 84 years here on earth, my grandfather passed away on Wednesday, June 10th.

He definitely had a great & memorable life. He was married to his sweetheart for 62 loving years, had to children, 3 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren (including Ashley). He was fully aware that Ashley would be born in August and I think he was trying hang on just to see her be born and grow up. Now he can look down from heaven and see her anytime he'd like.

After learning that he had been admitted to the hospital on Monday night, I drove down to San Diego on Tuesday afternoon. Due to a leak in his feeding tube that was tapping into this stomach, he had developed a massive infection in his abdomen area. Because of his age and condition (suffering a stroke about 3 months before), the doctors were unsure about even administering antibiotics to him. He definitely would not be able to survive another surgery to try and remove any of the toxins.
When I arrived to the hospital on Tuesday afternoon, my grandma, mom and uncle were already in his room. I walked in and my grandpa opened his eyes. He looked at me and said, "I love you". My grandma asked him if he knew who I was and he quietly said, "She's one of my sweethearts." After his stroke he sometimes had a hard time recalling peoples' names, but definitely knew who they were and that they were important to him. Those were the last words he said to me. We left the hospital that evening and headed back to my grandma's house.
The next day (Wednesday), we headed back to the hospital after we at breakfast. By then, my dad and great-aunt had joined us at the hospital. My brother had left Arizona around 9:00am and was making the 7+ hour trip to San Diego. My grandparents' pastor had spoken to the family earlier in the week and encouraged everyone to tell him that you loved him, tell him that we will all be okay and take care of each other and it's okay and he can let go.
I think it was one of the most heart wrenching ordeals I had ever been through. I went through plenty of kleenex, that's for sure. To see my grandma go up to his bedside and look into his eyes, tell him she loved him, and that it was okay to let go...that just got me all worked up. You could see the deep, unending love in both of their eyes and just feel the love and power between them. I couldn't imagine having to do that.
We had been at the hospital for a few hours and lunch time started to roll around. We were hesitant about leaving, but my grandma kept telling us that we needed to eat. She and my great-aunt said together in the room where my grandpa was. Reluctantly, my mom, dad, uncle and I headed to the hospital cafeteria. We had just barely sat down and began to eat when my great-aunt comes rushing in and tell us to pack up our stuff and come back to the room. He was nearing his last breaths. She darted back to the room and we began to pack up our food and head back. By the time we reached his room, we were probably about 20 seconds too late and the nurse was confirming the lack of heart beat.
It was a very tough thing to have happen. Cuong called shortly after he had passed and I could barely compose myself to tell him what was going on. A little while later, Cuong met us at the hospital.

He will most definitely be missed. He was the type of grandpa who had unending stories to tell. I don't think I had heard very many of them twice. He would tell us about his days serving in the Army in WWII, in the Philippines and in New Guinea. About the native people they would come across, the wild animals they would have for dinner, the gigantic snakes in the trees, the beautiful orchids that were covering the waterfalls, etc. He had so many experiences and so much knowledge to share.
Things won't be the same without him, but I know he is in a much better place now. He can look down on all of us and we'll know he's always there. He'll be there in the thunder (bowling a strike!), in the gentle breeze and in the refreshing rain.