Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Coming soon ...

Coming soon ... Pictures from Julianna's First Birthday party.
Things have been so crazy hectic insane I haven't had a chance to post anything.

I know you are all waiting with baited breath for the pictures LOL. I'll post soon. Stay tuned...

{Julianna does not like her feet touching the grass AT ALL!}

Thursday, May 26, 2011

busy busy

The next fews days will be busy busy busy ... I am off from work tomorrow and don't go back until tuesday but I have so much to do to get ready for Julianna's birthday party on Memorial Day. It's going to be fun but a hectic few days! Needless to say I won't be posting for a few days ... but wanted to pop a few pictures of Julianna up here waiting for someone to take her to daycare this morning. I am in my "I love playing around with PS textures" mode now ... and every picture gets a texture LOL. It's just a phase. It will pass.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

If you are having problems making comments today -

If you or anyone else is having an issue posting a comment on a blog, then you most likely have the "Embedded" form option chosen in your blog settings.

If you change to the "Pop Up" option or "Full Page" option, then it seems this fixes it. The "embedded" comment options seem to be broken on any blog I go to that is setup that way.
Just figured I would put that out there.

To fix:
Go to "Settings" and then "Comments" and change over to Pop Up window. Save.
That should fix it.

Wordless Wednesday {almost}

We get these Groundhogs all the time where we live. They are diggers and if you're not careful, they will dig under your foundation and build a nice home for themselves. My husband and I have had to "Re-Home" a few of them in he past years (Trap -n- Release).

Anyway, this one was sitting on my deck the other day like it was no big deal to be there. My dog was foaming at the mouth to get a shot at it. But this furry guy can tear apart my little Jack Russell with those claws & big teeth. Kind of cute to look at ... but I wish they would go elsewhere LOL. (Yes, do you see the lovely green stuff that is growing on my deck from the 3 weeks of solid rain we are having here?!?!)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Where did the time go?

I just can not believe a year has gone by since Julianna graced us with her entrance into the world! {Her birthday was yesterday - Monday, 5/23) They always say the time goes by fast... but I never believed it. Well, I am a believer now. It FLIES by. I am sad that she has grown up so fast in the last year... but also happy because of all the things we have to look forward to.

Julianna hit a few milestones this month.

She is full out crawling and army crawling. It's crazy how fast she can get around now. She also wants nothing to do with us if we try to hold her. Down down down on the floor is what she wants. She has this newly found freedom and she loves it. I am trying not to take offense but I can't help but think we will never snuggle again - that makes me sad. I want her to need Mama all the time.

Julianna is able to stand up while holding onto something. And she can pull herself up too. That is huge - I did not think she would ever get to this point. I know she is slower than most with this as I see others her age already toddling around the house!! "All in good time" I keep telling myself.

Since Julianna started getting teeth late (last month), we were late to start with table foods & stage 3 foods. Julianna still is not crazy about Stage 3 lumpier purees... I have heard that some babies just do not like the lumpy stuff and skip right to table food. That works for me! She is loving most of the table food & finger foods we give her. She loves her stage 2 purees still but is shying away from some veggies that she used to love. *Sigh*.  So right now, her meals consist of Fruit &/or Veggie Purees and cereal... and then some table food if it's something she can eat.

So far, she has tried & likes the following food: scrambled eggs, gondulas (beans from my rice & beans), mashed potatoes, rolls, strawberries, french toast, pasta, beef brisket, egg noodles, asparagus, soft cheese, and some other foods I can't recall!

Her 12 month appointment is Tuesday - I can't wait to see how much she weighs & how tall she is. She is barely fitting into her 12 month clothes anymore ... I have a huge pile of 18 months summer clothes for her just waiting to be worn.

I snapped a few shots of her in her birthday dress ... but will preface it with I had terrible lighting as it is foggy, dark & rainy here in NJ for the last 2 weeks. I had to use the flash a few times (bleghh!!)


Monday, May 23, 2011

1 Year Today - May 23rd

To My Sweet Julianna Belle:

I can not believe you are 1 year old today. One year ago today, Daddy and I became parents to the most beautiful baby girl in the world. You have fulfilled our life in ways that we never knew needed fulfilling. We don't remember life before you. We love you more than anything. Daddy and I love being a family and are blessed to have you as our daughter. You are beautiful in every way. We must have done something right in life to have you as our daughter and make our family so perfect!

Here's the story
{It's a long one, go get a cup of coffee first}

On May 23rd 2010, I woke up around 5am with some pretty strong pain that felt like it could be labor but I wasn't sure. Julianna wasn't due until May 27th ... so I figured we had a few more days. Well... we didn't! As the pain got more intense, it sure felt like contractions to me. And uh, pretty close ones at that. Brian said "Maybe you better get up and get in the shower ... so we can get ready to go".
{Note to pregnant moms - Pack your bags wayyy ahead of time and don't assume you will have the baby on time or late!}. Brian was running around packing bags at the last minute. It was pretty funny looking back at it now. Not funny when we were running around like Laurel & Hardy that morning trying to throw things into the duffel bag.

I got in the shower... and at that point, labor came on pretty strong. It felt like Julianna was really wanting to come out and meet us soon! {Uh oh!!} Brian had to help me get ready because I couldn't stand up straight due to the contractions - and they were about 2 minutes apart already! Wow, so much for labor lasting for a couple of days or coming on easy! haha! I called the mid-wife and she said to meet her at the hospital ASAP {but have some breakfast first}.

We got to Hackettstown Hospital, and Brian wheeled me right upstairs in a wheelchair (Nooo way could I walk at that point). He had to come back down and register. At this point, I was bent over in horrific labor pains. Whoever said labor was slow & relaxing & a beautiful experience is a big fat freakin' liar. It hurts. It hurts like hell! It hurts like nothing you never felt before and I don't care how well you breathe or listen to spa music or meditate. It EFFING hurts. My wonderful midwife (Roxy) got there shortly after we did. She had such a calming way about her that quickly made my situation feel much more in control.

Roxy ordered the epidural immediately (those were my wishes since the day I found out I was pregnant). From the time we got to the hospital, to the time I got my AMAZING epidural, it was about an hour and a half.  The epidural did not hurt one bit. I had an excellent anesthesiologist that got the needle & line in... and was all done in seconds it seemed. I even had a contraction during the process and my midwife was able to hold me and talk me through it so I didn't move. I will never forget the feeling when the pain started to slowly go away... Epidurals rock let me tell ya. I would never do it any other way. Sorry but I am just not into the whole natural birth 'experience' thing. It just was not for me. I need pain-free. Give me drugs. I'm a wimp. I know everyone has to have things the way they like it when they are in labor and drugs are not for everyone - but this was how I needed to do it.

So then the waiting began. Roxy said Julianna was not trying to move down even though I was in such hard labor. She was still way up there. We waited a couple hours (I think) and then Roxy started pitocin. After that, Julianna was still not interested in coming out ... then I developed a fever and I forget what the other issue was but it was affecting her heart rate too. She said the baby was getting very stressed due to the fact she weren't able to move down into 'postion'. Roxy was hesitant to wait any longer since we were both starting to have some issues. She made the call for the C-Section. And I will tell you the last thing any mid-wife wants to do is a C-Section. Because Roxy was so concerned and said it was needed right away, I knew it was totally necessary.

We had to wait for the Operating Room ... and I think we went in around 8pm or so. Julianna was born via C-section at 8:21 pm on Sunday May 23, 2010. She was 7 pounds and 10 ounces... and 20.5 inches long & healthy! The minute Jules was born, it was truly the most miraculous moment of our lives. Brian and I both felt the instant bond and loved her immediately. She was our beautiful baby girl. And she was ours! We made her! We love Julianna more and more each day. I did not think it was possible to love anything as much as we love her.

Julianna was born with a fever & it concerned the doctor but it went down after a few hours (or by the next morning). They did not like her rapid breathing (respirationsNICU to play it safe since she still had rapid respirations. He said Julianna had a slight Pneumothorax (pin-hole in the lung) which is a "kind of a normal" thing to be born with.

There wasn't a NICU in Hackettstown Hospital. So, the doctor set up a transport to bring Julianna to the NICU in Morristown Hospital (about 30 mins away). Brian and I were crying the whole morning because we didn't want her to go and we wanted her to be ok. {Truth be told, we were crying from the minute she was born and it was just such an emotional couple of days!}. I only got to hold Julianna for a few minutes after she was born and then a few minutes in the morning due to the fact she were being monitored all night on the C-Pap machine. It was the most horrible feeling when she left to go to Morristown Hospital ... without her Mama.

It really was dreadful for me to be stuck in the hospital healing from my surgery and I couldn't go visit Julianna in the NICU. Brian went back and forth all 3 days I was there. He would sleep in my room and then go see Julianna at the other hospital... then come back to see me ... and then go to see her... He wasn't going to let his baby girl have her first few days in the world without Daddy around. Brian is an incredible man & father.

I healed up as expected and was discharged on Day Three. We drove right to the NICU to go see Julianna. I burst into tears when I saw her hooked up to all those monitors. But I also knew she was in good hands. The Morristown NICU is brand new and very modern. Only 2 babies to a room - and the nurses there were seriously amazing. They are heroes for real. They were so caring and helpful. THey didn't even make fun of me when I told them I had never changed a diaper before either! LOL.

Brian and I went to the NICU daily until Julianna was discharged 6 days later. It was so weird going home at night and we did not have our baby home with us. It was a difficult few days to say the least. I feel terrible for the parents that can't take their babies home for weeks after they are born. That must be horrible to go through. 6 days was rotten enough for us.

Oh let me touch on the Pneumothorax - the reason she had to go to the NICU. She had this pinhole in her lungs that kept her respirations very high. They needed it to be at a certain # per minute before she could be discharged. Most babies end up having to have a chest tube put in to fix the issue. Some (very few) end up healing on their own. Julianna ended up healing on her own. She was a very mellow newborn baby. The NICU nurses all commented on how mellow & calm she was. She was not a screamer, and that helped tremendously to heal her Pneumothorax. {She really never has been - she has a mellow disposition to this day}. So on the 6th day, we were told she could go home... she healed herself up. She had no other complications or health issues after that.

It's funny. When you are going through the reality of 'about to give birth' - I didn't think about all the things I was worried about & terrified of for 9 months. I thought about how we were going to be ok and make it through everything... and how incredibly wonderful my husband was while I was in labor... how we were going to have a beautiful baby girl. It didn't matter that I had to have an unplanned C-section either. That was what had to be done. Nothing else really mattered in the end. It was the absolute best day of our lives.

In the NICU

We hated to see her hooked up to all this stuff. 

Resting peacefully in the NICU.  

Heading home for the first time!! 

I can't believe what a big girl she has turned into a year later!

Thursday, May 19, 2011


A couple days ago, I talked about how we decided to order a "Butterfly kit" online ... and grow our own Butterflies for Julianna's first birthday party (Party Theme: The Very Hungry Caterpillar - See the connection here?)

Well we got the caterpillars in the mail already & they were living in their self-feeding containers. The caterpillars turned into chrysalis's about a week later ... and we my husband gently moved the chrysalis's into the Butterfly habitat cage. The chrysalis's hung out for about 7-8 days... and POOF ... out popped 8 beautiful butterflies from their cocoons.

It's actually a pretty neat thing to experience, and I decided we will do this again with Julianna when she is old enough to understand the butterfly life cycle.

So anyway ... we have these 8 beautiful Painted Lady Butterflies fluttering around in their habitat. We give them fresh orange slices every night... and they seem happy. For now. I am hoping I don't wake up one morning before the party (May 30th) to find 8 dead Butterflies.

I have a plan to do a "Very Hungry Caterpillar" story time and then do the butterfly release for the kids at the end. I thought it would be exciting. What won't be exciting is 8 butterflies that croak before May 30th. They are supposed to live 2-4 weeks. The party brings us right to the 2 week deadline. Cross your fingers. I also want them to live so they get to see the light of day and go pollinate and do what butterflies do. It's great for the environment.

I would really love to get a picture of a Julianna holding a butterfly, but I'm scared she might try to eat it. She tries to eat everything. That would probably not be a good thing ... for the butterfly or Julianna.

In this picture, they are still kind of brownish in color. But in the last day, they started to turn a pretty orange color (shown in the 2nd picture) - Butterflies are really quite beautiful creatures.  

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Wordless Wednesday {almost}

Pepper has a lifetime of this to look forward to.
See the look on Pepper's face as Julianna uses her to lean on.
Luckily Pepper's a good sport!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


I have to tell you ... I don't have anything. I think I am going through a Blog-Block. I got nuthin!

Here's what I do have ... in no particular order.

Julianna's first birthday is less than a week away (next Monday 5/23). It still hasn't fully hit me that my baby girl will be ONE year old. I feel like I am losing my baby... she is turning into such a big girl already.

I am trying to put together the final plans for her party on 5/30. I still have yet to hear from half the people whether or not they are coming. This weekend coming up will be hectic as we need to go do all the party shopping (That ought to be a big bill lol!).

We grew "Painted Lady" butterflies in our house (through a kit by InsectLore)... and they hatched from their Chrysalis's early and are fluttering around their pop-up cage as I type. Their life span is 2-4 weeks. So with the party being 2 weeks away, I am asking begging them to stay alive until 5/30 so we can release them at the party. Selfish? Sure it is. But hey, I need them to not kick the bucket before then. Please pretty little butterflies - hang in there!!

I am also trying to really go full force & learn my camera... some days I get some fabulous shots... other days I get crappy dark grainy stuff. But that's all part of the learning curve. My husband doesn't understand why I don't just shoot on "Auto" mode... LOL - He doesn't fully get what I am trying to accomplish. I have been explaining to him about exposure and different shutter speeds, etc.... I explained to him about the different lenses I want to get eventually and he is starting to understand my craziness {I think}. If I wanted a point & shoot, I would have stuck with my nifty little Nikon that fits in my jeans pocket. Don't get me wrong, those little point & shoots serve their purpose too! But I just love my DSLR.

I learned something neat from this great photo blog (Click it Up a Notch) - called BBF "Back Button Focus". What a neat concept & it does work sooo well once you practice! So I was practicing that this week too! I love learning new stuff! On the same Photo blog, check out this article on how to take a sharp photo. Great stuff. Had to share it. Enjoy.

I signed up for a free class over at Kim Klassen Cafe (blog) and going to take another at Faith Simplicity in July. I also found a free workshop at the local library that meets once a month. It's held by a local photographer and he has different guest speakers every month. I'm going to the first one tomorrow night if this Sinus infection allows me to.

Julianna has her One Year (12 months) check up next Tuesday. I am so curious to see how much she has grown in the past 3 months! She is getting too big for her 12 month clothes but not ready for her 18 month yet. I guess she will be wearing some big 18 month clothes for a month or so.. haha!

OK so I guess I do have some things going on afterall...

Here are some pictures from my deck...  I was practicing taking close-ups and wishing I had a macro lens of some sort. But will have to do with the macro setting on my camera for now :)   I am also learning Blending Options and some other tweaks in Photoshop as well. Slowly but surely! My problem is I want it all. I need to take baby steps and learn the basics first Skye!!!

Friday, May 13, 2011

My First Mother's Day - Part 2

On Tuesday, I posted Part One of My First Mother's Day... but I had too many pictures, so I decided to break it up into a Two Part post. So here's my Part Two! {Had to repost this due to Blogger being down for the last day}

After our fabulous Brunch, we went to the small local Zoo called "Space Farms" - Mama's got in for free! We walked around and told Julianna all about each animal that we saw. We also bought a bag of corn to feed the animals, mostly deer-type animals. When we were leaving the zoo, they were feeding the baby animals in the nursery - Oh my gosh that might have been the cutest thing I've seen in a while. That was a great way to end off my Mother's Day.

Julianna looking so pretty hangin' out in her stroller at the zoo.

Mama Goat snuggling with her babies. That just makes me smile!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Wordless Wednesday {almost}

We went flower shopping a few weeks ago at a huge place with 30+ greenhouses ...
It felt so "Springy" (but people were looking at me like I was a lunatic because I was taking photos of the flowers!)

I like this one because a big cloud was overhead and it made the picture seem like the sun was going down even though it was 1pm in the afternoon. (That's my hubby there)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

My First Mother's Day was ...

Sunday was my first Mother's Day. I have to say, it couldn't have been any more perfect. I am blessed to have such an wonderful husband and beautiful daughter. When we got up on Sunday morning, Brian gave me a very nice card from him ... and then a super-cute card from Julianna. Then Brian gave me the most beautiful silver necklace with Julianna's name on it. I love it. He got it from this Etsy website if you are interested.
We picked up my mother and went for Brunch at the Farmstead Country Club - this is the place we got married 4 years ago on Thursday. Brunch was sooo delicious. We thought it would be fun to go there for my first Mother's Day with Julianna to show her where we got married. We also took some nice photos by the gazebo by the lake (on the grounds) where we got married. I thought that would be a neat idea!

After Brunch, we went to the small local Zoo called "Space Farms" - Mama's got in for free! We walked around and told Julianna all about each animal that we saw. When we were leaving the zoo, they were feeding the baby animals in the nursery - Oh my gosh that might have been the cutest thing I've seen in a while. That was a great way to end off my Mother's Day. I took some nice animal pictures and I'll post those in Part 2 on Thursday!

Mama and Julianna

Julianna trying to take my sunglasses off (she loves to do that!) 

Daddy & Julianna standing right where we got married 4 years ago! 

Julianna loves to be flipped backwards and stick her tongue out! 

All of us in the Gazebo 

Daddy and Belle on the walkway we walked down when we got married 

This is Brian and I four years ago on our wedding day - I absolutely loved where we got married! 

Who knew we would be bringing our daughter back here 4 years later?!

Part Two of Mother's Day (The animals!) - Coming Thursday ....


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