Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Viva Las Vegas- Anniversary Edition


Our anniversary was on Sunday. Knowing that we really didn't have money to do anything too extravagant (every penny we have is going to have to go towards moving to Vegas in January) I spent the majority of my sick day (Friday) trying to come up with ideas. Thank heavens for Pinterest....I try not to spend too much time on it, but I did find a link, which led me to another link, that led me to another link where I was able to find not only an idea for a stellar Christmas present (since Christmas is pretty much either needing to be homemade this year or non-existent...LOL) for Jeff and an idea for our anniversary date.

So... I came up with a fake travel agency that gave us a free Las Vegas travel package for our anniversary in honor of Jeff's new job. The travel package included beginning the evening with "cocktails" (i.e. mocktails) and Blackjack at Caesar's Palace, dinner at Mandalay Bay inside one of its restaurants the Shanghai Lilly (which is actually now closed and being replaced with a restaurant of a celebrity chef, but I picked it because it worked with my food theme), a special screening of a movie inside the MGM Grand Theatre, and a dip in the spa at Treasure Island.

I gave Jeff some "documents" in a manilla envelope the morning of our anniversary. He chuckled a little bit when he read it. One was a letter from the Anniversary Travel Agency, another was the menu for our dinner, and the final coup de grats was a print out of two tickets for the VIP movie.

How did I pull it off- after all I do live with my parents in a smallish apartment? Well, I had my dad reserve one of the clubhouses where we live. I lucked out and the only clubhouse available was the Parkwood Clubhouse (i.e. the old one) It ended up being perfect because I was able to separate each of the events into a different room in the clubhouse.

I designated what room was what by hanging printouts of the hotel logos on the wall outside the entrances. I also purchased about $3 worth of decorative items from the dollar store and decorated the table for the "restaurant".

All in all, it was an awesome evening. I was a little stressed because we got started late (dinner took longer to cook than I had thought it would). However, decorating didn't take too long and Jeff had a little giggle at my ingenuity. He said that the evening demonstrated one of the reasons he loves me so much, only I would think to throw something like this together.

He, of course, loved dinner. I found copycat recipes on the net for his favorite Panda Express Orange Chicken. I needed a little more spice and it would have been perfect. I also found a few other copycat recipes for some dishes from P.F. Changs. It was yummy! I honestly think it was one of my best attempts at Chinese food at home of all time...EPIC!

We decided to sit in the hot tub in "Treasure Island" before we watched the movie...which may not have been the best idea. Neither of us had been in a while and while it felt really, really good to sit in front of the jets and work out some of those knots we both came out in a hot tub induced coma...instead of watching our movie selection for the night (Harry Potter 7 Part 2- we've both already seen it, but it was fairly new on DVD and my parents had purchased it, which meant we could save some money on a rental- even if it was only $1). We ended up watching a movie that was on the television (the 2nd DaVinci code movie...I don't remember the name...LOL)

We were practically falling asleep, and I knew I needed to clean up, so once the movie was over we cleaned up and came home. My parents were sitting in the living room holding our baby, who had apparently just fallen to sleep but woke up and was wide awake until about midnight...LOL We were both exhausted and baby wanted our attention- she was punishing us for leaving her alone for a few hours...ha ha

A few days later, we had the opportunity to cap off our anniversary with a date night to the Forgotten Carols. My parents were kind enough to watch Faith for us and I spent the whole evening wishing we'd brought her. There was another mom with her baby and every time I saw her get up and sway to the music with her fussing baby I missed mine so much! I just wanted her to be there, to hear the music and feel the spirit that is always there at the productions of the show.

Jeff had never been and, in the end, when we left he lamented that he hadn't known about it when he was single. He said it would have been a perfect date night because of the end...Michael McLean has a tradition where he has the audience link arms and sing the chorus of "We Can Be Together Forever Someday"...he then recovered by saying it was even more perfect because he was sitting next to his wife and singing it...nice save Honey! LOL I think I got more of a kick out of him experiencing the show for the first time than I did out of the actual show (which is one of my most favorite things about the holiday season in Idaho Falls. I will miss it next year when we are living in Vegas. The Forgotten Carols and Christmas just go hand in hand...I'm sorry... LOL)

I do have pictures...however Blogger is being dumb and not letting me post them. Once I can get them to post you will all get to see a slice of the evening...plus some cuteness of little miss Faith.

All in all, my anniversary was pretty good. Here's to one year- its been so awesome that I can't wait to see what this next year brings. I love my Mr.Nielson more now than I did when I married him (which is saying something!) He is truly one of the biggest blessings I've ever received. He is truly proof of how much God loves me. God loves me so much that he made sure I found the one guy who would be perfect for me...and no matter what, through good and bad, nothing will change that.

Happy 1st year Jeff. You are amazing, wonderful, and I love you all the time- no matter what! :)

Hugs and Loves until next time.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Time Flies

Sometimes I really, really wish that new babies didn't put their parents into a sleep induced stupor. There is so much going on and there are so many changes that are being made, it almost feels like you blink and you miss it.

On 4 days my baby will be 1 month old...Considering that she wasn't supposed to be here until 3 days ago this is quite a feat in and of itself...

Let's just say that this is a pattern in my baby's life- she wants to do things early.

For example, by the time she was 3 days old she was already trying to lift her head on her own- a feat she had accomplished by the time she was a week old. The sad thing, I don't even realize when she officially lifted her head all by herself for the first time. I was in such a sleep deprived haze that all the days seemed to mold together and all of a sudden, there was my baby lifting her head all by herself!

Sunday, while I was taking a long nap, my husband was watching her and decided to give her some tummy time- what does my child do? She proceeds to roll over from her tummy to her back! And because once just wasn't enough, when my husband decided to put her back on her tummy after she'd rolled over she decided to give him an encore presentation and SHE DID IT AGAIN!

I was pretty bummed I missed it...we've since placed her on her tummy again, and she tries to show my her new trick but doesn't quite get there. P.S> she has been rolling onto her side from her back since she was about a week old, I did see her roll from her back to her belly the other day, so maybe that counts as seeing her new trick?????

I was completely bummed because I lost my camera, I have been quickly realizing that I need to capture all this cuteness before it disappears forever...my amazing husband found it for me on Saturday.

In other words, I vow that the next blog I post will be filled with cuteness!

In other news, Jeff's new employers read our minds and gave our contact information to a realtor that they use to find housing for their employees and she seems really nice. Here's hoping we can find a place...and money to pay for said place...LOL

Hugs and loves until next time

Friday, November 11, 2011


As usual with most things in my life, when I do something for the first time I do it in a big way (well, atleast what seems like a big way for me.)

Change has been a constant companion of mine, even when I believed I was stuck in one place, things around me were changing so rapidly all I could do was grab for something sturdy and hang on.

I don't mind change, I've experienced so much in my life that it doesn't seem like a big deal- however, these latest rapid changes seem more like a big deal, mostly because we have time to anticipate their arrival.

Jeff got a job!

I don't know about him, but with the economy the way that it is, I definitely didn't anticipate him getting one so fast!

Its a great job, with great benefits and great pay.

So, why is this job such a big deal?

This job is a big deal because it means that a little over a month from now I will be on my way to Las Vegas in a UHaul, snuggled up next to my husband and a hopefully sleeping baby. (I'm hoping we can get one of the BIG trucks that we can attach the car to the back of so I don't have to drive alone with baby in the backseat that far.)

Because we weren't anticipating this job or this move, I have to say that I am a little nervous. We are essentially still going to be poor college students when we make this big jump, and we don't exactly have money saved up to move hundreds of miles away...

However, I choose to have faith. This summer when moving to Vegas was a real possibility that I had accepted (before Jeff didn't get the initial position he interviewed for) I knew that Vegas was right. It scared me to think of it being "the place" (or at least "the place" for the next 5-6 years) but I just had this feeling everything would work out.

I am working to remember that feeling. I am working on having faith that somehow, some way, we will be able to come up with the money we need to make this happen.

The company is going to cover our moving expenses (U Haul, hotel, food,etc.) but they will pay on a reimbursement basis- which means we still have to come up with the money for the drive down and hope that they will pay us back quickly...

The place to live is the trickiest part.

We're hoping we can find some way to get a home loan with 0% down- again, that darn economy rears its ugly head and I realize that this may be a dream, within a dream,within a dream... but I can't help but hope...$400 earnest money will be a lot easier to come up with than a security deposit plus first month's rent (and possibly last months rent too...)

I guess this is the time that we need to rely on our friends and family the most. If you're reading this and you happen to have friends or family in Vegas that could help us out, that would be amazing. Whether you have an uncle who owns and apartment complex that would be willing to wait a few weeks to be paid (until Jeff gets his first paycheck) or you have a cousin who is a real estate agent or mortgage broker in the Vegas area who could help us as well...anything... We would be muchly obliged to you and you would truly be the answer to a prayer.

All I can do is continue to pray. If this is right, we will find a way to make it work somehow. I believe that with every fiber of my being. Heavenly Father will move mountains to get you to where he needs you to be.

Here's to moving mountains.

Hugs and loves until next time darlings!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Some major decisions have been made in the last 24 hours- the first big one is that I have decided to dry up.

It was a heart wrenching decision, but my older sister and I spent some quality time together yesterday, and after attempting to see if baby would even try to latch, it became very clear that I needed to change my tactics. Amber helped me to see that there is no point in killing myself to make the pumping thing work, and with the sneaky suspicion that baby has a milk intolerance/allergy, I really just didn't think I could take on one more thing...that one more thing being completely cutting milk out of my diet on top of pumping every 2 to 3 hours to try to remotely keep up with her demands...

Some people may read this and think it sounds selfish- believe me, that is part of why it was such a hard decision to come to. The reality is that a baby needs a functioning, happy mom and with all the sleep deprivation caused by needing to pump, topped off with her fussy and gassy nature and never wanting to be put down at night, I knew that functioning and happy would not be an option if I continued on the path I was on.

Most people have been incredibly supportive. I must say how touched I am with the willingness of my friends and family to share their experiences with me and sending me the ultimate message of- its going to be okay!

I will say that things are already beginning to look up slightly. My older sister (the nurse) said that it may take 2-4 days before we would know if the formula switch was going to help anything, but I have to say that baby slept much better last night and had a lot less gas pain. She still had her moments of discomfort, but it was much easier to get her to calm down and stay asleep when I laid her down- this meant that I managed to get a little more sleep (not much, but it was more than I've gotten yet.) I still had to pump twice last night, but I am only pumping enough to take the edge off and am trying to wait as long as possible before pumping anything off. Amber says that this will gradually deplete my milk supply and help me to dry up with less discomfort...here's hoping it works soon. It will be nice to sleep until baby decides to wake me up. I think that has been the most frustrating part. She is fast asleep, and I wake up to pump, I'll just be finished and trying to lay down to go back to sleep and she wakes up....like I said, last night was better but I was definitely on the path to going crazy.

Its hard to believe that baby is almost 3 weeks old. 3 weeks ago yesterday I went into labor in the middle of the afternoon and denied being in labor for the next 48 hours...in fact more than that since I denied it until my midwife sent me up to the hospital that fateful Wednesday 3 weeks ago...

She has changed so much in just the last 3 weeks, and I almost feel guilty that I waited so long to make my decision to just move to a sensitive formulated formula all together- I wonder if I would have been able to enjoy her more if I hadn't been killing myself for the first 2 weeks trying to make breast feeding work...I guess we live and learn. I guess, in the grand scheme of things, it won't matter too much...most first time moms are just as sleep deprived and dazed and confused as I was and they somehow manage to get through the haze and back into the light...so why not me?

I found myself thinking today that I needed to try to get on a schedule. I desperately want to feel normal again, I desperately want to get out of my pajamas, feel awake enough to be a functioning member of society, and take my baby out into the world to show off how beautiful she is...however, I am beginning to realize I need to be more gentle with myself and stop being so hard on myself. You see, I have definitely been beating myself up for not being able to just bounce back and be normal- but with the help of wonderful friends who have been there- I am realizing that its okay to be in this limbo state...I still maintain my desire to be normal, but from here on out I vow not to let myself get too bogged down by the fact that I just can't seem to make my day work to get everything done that needs to be done.

Of course, as I type this I look around and my bedroom- or should I say the war zone that used to be my bedroom. Baby has peed and pooped on the sheets during diaper changes...have I washed them yet? Nope...I have probably a good 6 loads of laundry that need to be done, but have I started it yet today? Nope....

I didn't do much yesterday, but I did manage to bathe Faith (with some help from my awesome sister who came and picked us up to come to her house yesterday. A change of scenery actually did me a world of good- thanks Amber!) and I took a shower. I also did my hair, got dressed and taught a voice lesson...small victories, right?

The list goes on....

Today I managed to let baby have some tummy time today and I played with her, I also managed to get a bath in, which I'm actually supposed to be doing twice a day to help my stitches heal (yeah, it hasn't really happened, but its a nice dream...LOL) ...I suppose that is an accomplishment!

I probably could be doing laundry instead of typing a blog, but the reality is that this is therapeutic for me. I can clear my head and reassure myself that I'm doing okay. It helps me to sit and think of words to put with my thoughts and emotions and then to organize them.

Maybe, just maybe, if I tried to make some kind of schedule for myself and for baby it would possibly slightly work...

However, until we get the sleeping when its night time thing down, on top of making sure this new formula works, maybe it would be better to make goals...small attainable goals until I know I'm ready to make an actual schedule.

Wish me luck- I will let you know how it goes. Until next time, let me assure you that I am hopeful. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, I just need to tie a knot in the end of my rope and hang on until I manage to make it to the light. I am acutely aware that things could be so much worse than they are. I feel so blessed to have a healthy baby, to have wonderful friends who are willing to help me and give advice, and wonderful family that helps where they can. I am also blessed with an amazing husband who works so hard to make sure that things are okay for us.

Here's to onward and upward!

Hugs and Hope until next time darlings!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The lessons of sleep deprivation

Every night I wake up every 2 hours like clockwork, and then I'm up for an hour...I have to pump to get milk for my sweet baby, and then that sweet baby wakes up after I've been awake about 1o minutes, we go through our usual dance of seeing if she will latch (and she doesn't) and then I give her a bottle, burp her till all the gas is out of her little belly and finish pumping. This dance usually takes about an hour every time it happens...

Let's just say I'm not getting much sleep.

I try to sleep when she does, really I do, but the unfortunate truth is that life is still moving on around me, and I hate feeling like a lump on a log laying in bed all day doing nothing. So, my goal has been to try to take at least an hour nap every day...it doesn't always happen but its a nice goal.

I am starting to get used to feeling like a walking zombie, but I have to admit that it is definitely taking its toll. This morning I was reduced to a wet, sobbing mess and my poor husband tried desperately to pick up the pieces and put them back together. He reminded me that I can wake him up to get help if I need it...

Believe me, I think about it every night, but I never wake him...at least not until 5 or 6 when that last feeding comes and I'm getting to the end of my sleep deprived rope. I feel bad waking him up. He has school, he has to drive, I feel like things are better and safer if I'm the only one suffering from this zombie-ish state...


I am learning that maybe I am not super woman.


But, wait- there are more conclusions I've been able to come to, conclusions that inevitably follow realizing you're not super woman....

I think, after last night, I have decided that I am giving up on breast feeding. Faith just doesn't want to do it, and I frankly am sick of trying to force her...This wasn't what I'd planned on...I had wanted to badly to be earth mamma- I wanted a natural child birth free from drugs and I end up in the hospital 4 weeks before I'm supposed to be on Pitocin because the universe had other plans...I wanted to breast feed until my baby was at least 9 months, but of course, when man makes plans God laughs...I didn't get to try to have my baby latch right after she was born, she was whisked away to the NICU- I didn't even get to hold her until 6 hours after she was born for goodness sake! My milk didn't come in because my body wasn't prepared and had been through trauma due to me hemorrhaging a bit after birth...I wasn't even getting colostrum out...I was dry as a bone. Since my milk came in on Monday last week, I'm still playing catch up. I produce anywhere from 1 to 1.5 oz (sometimes 2 if I'm lucky) in a single sitting, my baby eats 2 to 3.5 oz in any giving feeding. I'm always behind, my body just can't do what I am asking of it...

I will admit that I felt a bit of a weight lift off my shoulders when I finally came to this conclusion this morning. Part of me feels guilty...the reasons I'm giving up seem so selfish...but when I think about it, I recognize that my baby also needs a FUNCTIONING mother, and living in this sleep deprived state, I know that I am not being the best mommy I can be.

The next decision I'm weighing now is figuring out if I want to pump until my insufficient milk supply dries itself up or if I want to just dry up and move to formula and be done all the way. I figure that I will discuss both options with her pediatrician at her 2 week check up tomorrow. Her pediatrician has been great through all this. While he is normally a strong advocate for breast feeding, he has recognized and acknowledged the tough hand me and baby have been dealt. From day one he has said that in my given circumstance there is no shame in throwing in the towel when it comes to breast feeding. He made it clear at our first appointment outside the hospital that some premature babies never can get the hang of breast feeding because they miss out on those crucial first hours when term babies are given opportunities to latch right away and follow their instincts.

If my pediatrician encourages me to continue to pump until I'm out of milk, then I will try to follow his suggestion...what it will eventually boil down to is my sanity and whether or not I want to continue the regimen of waking up every 2 hours to pump when milk comes in. Right now, for me, its become about survival and I know for certain is I can't survive on 1-2 hours of sleep a night for much longer.

However, with all these hard pills that I've had to swallow, I've come to some more conclusions that are wonderful and sweet.

I am even more in love with my husband now than I ever thought would be possible. This deeper love started the first time I got to hold Faith and looked up to see tears streaming down his face. Jeff is generally a pretty solid, stoic character. He is hilarious, but I've only ever seen him cry once before this, it was after he gave me a blessing once when we were first married. Seeing him cry at this moment, and feeling the spirit that was in the NICU as we held our baby for the first time are a feeling and a sight that I won't soon forget. I. Love. That. Man.

The whole time I was in labor in the hospital Jeff was a pillar of strength. He worked so hard to encourage me and make me feel safe and comfortable. I know it was killing him that he couldn't do anything to take my pain away, but he tried to do what he could to alleviate what he could. I wish that the bed I had labored in was a bit bigger. The whole time I was in labor I just wanted to snuggle up with him and bury my face in his chest. I think he knew that, and he stayed close by. He hated that he had to leave the room for a phone interview for a job that he had scheduled the week before- but he was always right where I needed him to be. I would be closing my eyes, crying silent tears and all of a sudden I would feel his hand clasp mine. He didn't leave me alone, he always made sure I had what I needed. He is the most amazing man and I am so lucky that he chose me, as flawed and crazy as I am, to be his eternal companion. I definitely couldn't picture eternity without him- especially now.

Every time he holds Faith he looks down at her and gets this special smile that I've never seen before her entrance into our world. Its Faith's smile, a look he reserves specially for her, and it makes me love him even more because I know he has a special smile just for me too. I know he is completely wrapped around her little finger, and she didn't even have to do anything to make it happen. He is in love with her. He will hold her, look at me, and in his best impression of a 2 year old he will say "MY BABY!" He will then hold her close, breathe her in, and refuse for a time to let anyone else hold her on the grounds that she is his baby. I can't help but love him more in these moments.

Its so funny think back to how nervous he was about being a dad when we first found out that Faith was on her way to our family and see him now. He loves her, he can't get enough. He is awestruck by her. I asked him to give Faith a blessing the other night after my attempt to get more milk in using Blessed Thistle and Fenugreek ended with both of us getting a lovely red rash all over. He was quick to respond. He didn't even hesitate. When he is in the room, you can feel the love he has for both me and his little girl radiate off of him.

He thinks he is just doing what any guy would do...but I know plenty of friends who would say that their husbands wouldn't be this way, they wouldn't be as helpful, as kind, or as loving. Again, I am truly blessed.

Another conclusion I have come to...my baby wants to grow up WAAAAY to fast.

She already rolls up onto her side, lifts her head, and the other day when I was feeding her I tried to take the bottle out of her mouth to burp her only to have her grab the bottle, put it back in her mouth and hold it there all by herself for the rest of the feeding...

People definitely don't lie when they say time goes by and before you know it they aren't babies anymore...one more reason I have to get out of my current zombie-fied state...I feel like I'm missing it, like I can't fully take it in because all I want to do is sleep.

She will only be this little once. Every day she experiences some sort of first and I often don't even think about it, but when I do it makes me want to cry. Its so strange how fast we're exposed to the world, its strange how quickly the firsts start to hit us like a 2x4 in the face.

Well darlings, all I can say is, the moral for today is to allow yourself to take everything in. Drink life in, and don't take it for granted. You never realize what you've missed until you look back and realize that its passed you by.

Hugs and sleep until next time darlings.