Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Newborn Photos







All photos featured were taken by Whitney Duggins Photography. 
If you are in the central North Carolina area, I definitely recommend her. 
Check out more of her work here.  

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Baby's First Easter



 






I'd have to say that Coop's first Easter went by without a hitch other than the fact that he peed all over the both of us before church even ended & we had to leave before communion. #priceless 

Other than that I believe it was the perfect day! Lots of Easter basket treats, learning about God's love, family time & new traditions.. Can't wait for more holidays with my little family. Hope your Easter was as blessed as mine! 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Quinoa Salad

I came up with this recipe after realizing I needed to clean out the fridge. We had kale, lemons & carrots that needed to be used up. I think this salad would also be perfect with some plain greek yogurt for some extra texture & balance. Hope you enjoy! 

Ingredients:

1 cup cooked quinoa
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1 cup shredded kale leaves 
1 15 oz can of chick peas (drained & rinsed) 
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 lemon squeezed 
Salt & Pepper 

Mix everything together & serve cold. 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Cooper's Birth Story

I guess since my son is officially one month old today I should write his birth story before I forget any of the dramatic details.. And believe me it was full of those.

If you've been following along you know that it's pretty amazing we made it to 39 weeks.

I starting having preterm labor around 26 weeks & was in and out of the hospital the rest of my pregnancy.

On March 2, I was supposed to go I to the hospital at 8:00 pm and all was set for me to be induced the following morning. But my sweet little boy had a mind of his own! Looking back I should have known something was up when I got up that morning full of energy at 6:30... I made my parents (who had drove down the day before) breakfast. I cooked a ton of food & I even cleaned the kitchen.. Something I always try to pawn off on someone else. My mom & I ran some last minute errands & got everything ready for Cooper to arrive. 

My grandparents were supposed to arrive at our house around 5:30 from Arkansas & my mom suggested I lay down & get some rest before I head into the hospital. I had been having back pain all day but didn't think too much of it considering I had had it a lot during my pregnancy. As I was trying to nap the pain got so bad I could barely stand it. My mom got an ice pack for my back as well as rubbed it off an on. But nothing really worked. 

My grandparents finally arrived & we all left to go have dinner at one of our favorite restaurants in town, The Dairy Bar. We had just gotten a table and placed our order & I was having the most painful contractions. I could barely talk or even sit for that matter. 

My family kept asking if I wanted to go into the hospital early but since I had been so frequently I felt like I should just wait. The contractions ended up getting so bad I had the waitress put my food in a to go box & I left immediately. 

My husband, mom & I arrived at the hospital around 7:15 & checked in. I could barely sit still while they wheeled me up to labor & delivery. They asked me to change clothes & get in a gown. 

I was hooked up to the moniters & asked the standard questions.. Medical history.. So on & so forth. They came in & checked me & of course I still hadn't dilated past 4 1/2 cm, & I had been there for about 5 weeks. Go figure. I literally felt like that baby was never going to come out. 

Fast forward about 30 mins.. I kept having the worst contractions. I wouldn't let my husband leave my side. I was bawling. Wouldn't let anyone touch me. And overall hot mess. I was in true full blown labor. 

After much debate, several screams & a bucket of tears later, we decided to go against my birth plan & get an epidural. 

My dad & grandparents, who had arrived somewhere in my midst of pure agony, were asked to leave the room while it the epidural was administered. 

I cried & screamed & felt like I shouldn't even get it after I heard all of the side affects. I just knew I was going to be leaving the hospital paralyzed or something.. I was going crazy. Somehow.. With the help of God, all his angels & my husband I was given the epidural. & was relaxed for 15 minutes when I was checked again. 

This time I was at 9 cm. My parents  & grandparents were back in the room & I was screaming again. At the end of a contraction I asked my dad to buy me a pair of shoes, as a push present. Of course he said yes anything to distract me even for a second. 

I was finally having some relief so I asked my husband to run to the car. Of course we forgot the camera. As soon as he walked out to get it the midwife walked in & said it was time to push. I told her no way not until Mr. Army Man was back in the room. 

A few minutes later he was back & I pushed. And I pushed and I pushed and I pushed and I pushed.. And I pushed for 48 minutes until my sweet little boy arrived and peed all over the midwife as soon as he came out. 

We were immediately united & he kept touching my face. I cried while he kept caressing my face. I was a mom. It was the most beautiful moment I've ever experienced. & my love for him grew so big in that one precious moment. He would always be my little boy. We spent the next 10 minutes or so, awed by that precious boy. My husband cut his cord and I snuggled my baby once more. 

I was exhausted beyond belief but that small little boy was everything I had ever wanted and better than I could even imagine. Cooper Harrison Neal had finally arrived & stole my heart forever. 

A little while later after he was cleaned up & passed around for everyone to see. After I finally ate my dinner from the restaurant & a huge peanut butter and strawberry jam sandwich. I fed my baby for the first time. 

Breastfeeding your child is like nothing I've ever experienced before. It's a bond I'll never share with anyone else. (Unless I have another baby.) You are all that baby needs. I can calm him with a single touch. It's pretty magical. 

We were later moved into our room where we would stay the next two days before being released on Tuesday. Those few days were exhausting.. Becoming new first time parents, learning about our new son, my "new" body & adjusting. 

Everything was a whirlwind of exciting little moments that I will remember forever. It is such a sweet blessing having a child & it as if he has been with us forever. I can't wait for what is all ahead & to document it all here.

Check back tomorrow to see what else happened this first month of Coop's life. Believe me it's been pretty crazy! 

Monday, March 10, 2014

He's Here!


Cooper Harrison Neal arrived on March 2 at 10:48 pm. He weighed 7 pounds 11 ounces & was 19 1/2 inches long.

Can't wait to share more on his birth story! Gotta run.. My sweet baby is wanting some cuddle time with his momma! 

Monday, March 3, 2014

Bumpdate: Week 38

Week 38

Gender: It's a Boy! 

Weight Gain/Loss: Let's just say +35. 

Baby's Growth: Not sure what he should be at this point.
But just taking a guess, I'm sure he will be over the 8 pound range.

Movement: Slowly slowing down. 
I'm thinking he's out of room.
Thank goodness he will be evacuated soon!

Food Cravings:  CHOCOLATE & salads.. 
Definitely not together. Lol. 

How I'm Feeling: Lots of energy. 
Still a few mild headaches & crazy crazy painful heartburn. 

Anything Making You Queasy/Sick: Not really!

Sleeping: Just depends on the night.

Stretchmarks: Yes! So embarrassed by them but at least I can blame genetics?
Lathering up with both Palmer's Cocoa Butter Lotion & their spray oil, as well. 

Belly Button In/Out: In... But very flat!

Nursery:  
We need to:
Hang curtains
Put new knobs on dresser
Steam clean carpets 
Decorate built in book shelf
Wash all clothes
Wash all bedding & blankets
Hang artwork 
Find mirror to hang above dresser
Order rocking chair
Spray paint monogram for above crib 
Organize all his presents from his baby shower
Put down rug 

Other To Do's: 
Put car seat in car
Pack hospital bag
Buy aromatherapy birthing oils
Finish birth plan

Favorite Moment This Week: 
I went to my final OB appointment on Tuesday, February 25 & got the best news ever.
Yesterday, I was admitted to the hospital to be induced.
We should be having a baby at any moment!

Looking Forward To:  
Holding my sweet baby boy in my arms & kissing his chubby cheeks.

Thanks for reading!
I will hopefully post again soon with news of our son's birthday & of course about his big debut!
Hope y'all have a great week!

*Just a reminder I am posting this one week behind so I can recap my week in full.
I am currently 39 weeks.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Bumpdate: Week 37

Week 37

Gender: It's a Boy! 

Weight Gain/Loss: +32

Baby's Growth: 
He should be weighing in around 6 lbs. 
But I have a funny feeling our boy is much bigger!

Movement: His movement has started to slow down.
I think he is still really active but his movement isn't as big because he has run out of room.

Food Cravings: CHOCOLATE!!!

How I'm Feeling: Picked up a little bit of energy this week!
Having some migraines and crazy painful indigestion.

Anything Making You Queasy/Sick: Nothing really. 

Sleeping: Just depends on the night.

Stretchmarks: Yes! So embarrassed by them but at least I can blame genetics?
Lathering up with both Palmer's Cocoa Butter Lotion & their spray oil, as well. 

Belly Button In/Out: In... But very flat!

Nursery:  
We need to:
Hang curtains
Put new knobs on dresser
Steam clean carpets 
Decorate built in book shelf
Wash all clothes
Wash all bedding & blankets
Hang artwork 
Find mirror to hang above dresser
Order rocking chair
Spray paint monogram for above crib 
Organize all his presents from his baby shower
Put down rug 

Other To Do's: 
Put car seat in car
Pack hospital bag
Buy aromatherapy birthing oils
Finish birth plan

Favorite Moment This Week: 
We got a call to come pick up his rocker from Babies R Us. 
It looks absolutely perfect in his room & so happy it came in before his arrival!

Looking Forward To:  
Holding my sweet baby boy in my arms & kissing his chubby cheeks.
Thanks for reading!
Hope y'all have a great week!

*Just a reminder I am posting this one week behind so I can recap my week in full.
I am currently 38 weeks.