So that might not be a popular statement this time of year. I mean there are usually lines out the door and the wait can take for-ev-er. All you want to do is mail your gifts to the precious people in your life – not stand in line wasting your valuable time. Come on…you already spent enough time in line at the mall, right?

Well, what if I told you that you didn’t have to stand in line at the post office. Did you know that there’s a secret, no hassle way to ship your presents? And not only do you not have to wait in line, your mail carrier will actually come and pick up the package from you. Can I tell you what a lifesaver that is for a mama with a baby?!?!

That’s right! We’re in the 21st century…the Internet age!

You no longer have to step foot in a post office. If you plan ahead you can even have them drop off how ever many priority boxes you need for free! Once your presents are wrapped and your package is ready, just seal it up and head to USPS.com. You can even stay in your PJs and sip a steaming cup of coffee if you want.

From there you can pay for the shipping via a credit/debit card or Paypal (another perk for me since I use my Etsy earnings to pay for some holiday shopping). Then print your label, stick it to your sealed box and schedule your pickup.

But that’s not all. The website said I could get same day pickup if I scheduled before 2:00pm CT (not necessary this time, but great to know in the future). And I also saved $1.50 by doing it all on line.

So, let me get this straight…the USPS saves me time and hassle by having someone come to me to get my package, I no longer have to wait in line, and they give me a discount for the convenience. Yep! Sign me up!!!

I love the USPS for Christmas Present Shipping

Christmas presents all set to ship!

* I was in no way compensated for this post and all thoughts and opinions are genuinely my own experience.

 

For a couple friend of ours, the game Scrabble has special significance. They played the game on their first date and he actually used the board game to ask her to marry him. So, when they got married, I knew I wanted to give them a special gift using Scrabble as the inspiration. Unfortunately, it took me way too long to actually turn my thought into reality, but eventually I made them Scrabble drink coasters using wedding words to send to them as part of their gift.

I was thrilled with how they turned out and hope the couple loves them as well.

Love Words Scrabble Tile Drink Coasters

If you are interested in making your own Scrabble coasters, I’ve outlined the steps below.

The first step was gathering my supplies. I used:

  • 1 Scrabble board game
  • 1 piece brown felt (with adhesive on one side already)
  • Exacto knife or scissors
  • Glue

Making Drink Coasters with Scrabble Tiles

Next I had to brainstorm words. The coasters measure 4 tiles wide by 4 tiles tall so that narrowed the words down significantly. I used mostly 4 letter words interspersed with a few 3 letter words using the blank tiles. I first tried to have words going both horizontally and vertically, but that proved too difficult using only the tiles from one Scrabble game. So instead I wrote out four words horizontally and one word vertically on each coaster. The vertical word shifted on each coaster from the first row down to the last row, just to keep it interesting.

Then I cut the felt into 4 squares and used the adhesive backing to stick the tiles down.

Scrabble Tile Love Coasters

Once all the tiles were placed, I trimmed down the felt.

Scrabble Tile Drink Coasters

In order to keep the coasters together, I glued in between the tiles both horizontally and vertically.

Making drink coasters with Scrabble tiles

Voila! Wipe them down and that’s it.

Here are the words I used just in case you cannot see them in the photograph above.

Coaster #1: Kiss, Need, Only, True, Knot

Coaster #2: Chat, Dote, Mar (month of their wedding), Zeal, Home

Coaster #3: Love, Amor, Two, Best, Vows

Coaster #4: Ring, Pair, I Do, Anew, Grow

What do you think? Cute or cheesy? I’d love to hear in the comments below.

 

This post is completely overdue as my baby is now almost  2 months old. Where has the time gone?!?

However, I did manage to take a photo on her 1 month birthday. Thank goodness! I can hardly believe how fast she has grown.

I go to a breastfeeding group once a week and now I look at the new babies with nostalgia. I know that is totally silly and my little baby is still a little baby, but you just don’t really understand how fast that time will fly (or how quickly they will grow) until it is already gone.

1 month baby progress photo

I’m looking forward to her 2 month photo. There’s going to be such a change. Plus, she has started to smile so we’ll see if we can capture that on camera.

 

I had an inkling she would come early, but she still surprised us!

It was 4:00 am on Wednesday, June 5th and I had just gotten up for my one of my nightly bathroom trips. I was amazed at how regularly I was getting up at 4:00 am toward the end of my pregnancy. Just as I settled back in bed my water broke…

Why in the world it could not have happened 3 minutes earlier when I was in the bathroom over a tiled floor is beyond me, but oh well.

It really was like a scene from a movie, but thankfully I was in the privacy of my own home. I woke my husband up with, “I think my water just broke!”. He shot out of bed like a rocket and then quickly asked, “are you sure you didn’t pee the bed?”.

“Um…nope, I just went to the bathroom”

So we proceeded to get ready and pack our hospital bag. Yep, a little behind the 8 ball here, but at least I had a list. Brett threw on some clothes while I called the doctor and told her what was happening. She calmly told us to plan to get to the hospital around 6:00 am and in the meantime we should shower and have breakfast because it could be a long day.

And that’s what we did. We took a deep breath and prepared for our last day as a pair. We also took the opportunity to wrap up a few loose ends. Of course, we had to take the full belly pic, which unfortunately was not as full as the peak moment of 3:59 am on June 5th before my water broke. Then there was that work contact we signed and emailed before hopping in the car – hey it’s hard to take a day off when you own the company.

After checking in at the hospital – thankfully we were pre-registered so we avoided paperwork that morning(!) – they took us to our room and set me up on the monitors. Since my water had already broken, I had to stay on the monitors, but the good news was that they could be tracked wirelessly so I could walk around and they could get wet so I could labor in the tub.

Next on the list was to call our families. We called Brett’s mom first because it was an hour later there. Surprisingly she was on the road a couple of hours later and would get to the hospital the following evening. Then we tried my parents and it took several attempts to get through. Eventually I had to give up on my mom’s cell and call my dad’s. Turns out they were working out in the garage and she did not have her phone. They were able to join us a few days later on Monday evening.

Then it was time for distractions. We were all smiles from the time we checked in until about 10:30 am. That gave us enough time to watch Nadal win his match in the French Open and have another breakfast provided by the hospital. Of course, the doctor came in to check me and the nurse, Lisa, was great at making sure we were all settled in.

My contractions had been between 15 – 20 minutes apart when we arrived at 6:00 am and were very minor. By 10:30, I was having to concentrate on staying relaxed and my contractions had decreased to 3 and a half minutes apart. The goal going into labor was to be drug free. That was definitely put to the test.

As my contractions increased, the doctor working that day (yep, my doctor had the day off!) checked me for the first time. Based on everything I had read and our birth class, I expected to be between 3 – 4 cm dilated. Turns out I was only 2 cm, but was 90% effaced. The doctor tried to make me feel better by telling me the effacing part was a lot of work, but I was not buying it. Being only 2 cm definitely had me scared! How much worse was it going to get?!?!

I decided I would try getting in the tub and hoped laboring in there would be more comfortable. While I was in the bathtub, Brett kept me occupied by telling me random stories of our life together. Remember the time we went to that concert? How about when that guy was being a jerk? That little bakery in Argentina was so great… I was surprised at how effective that tactic was during my contractions.

After a couple hours, I was pruny, cold and ready to get out. Not sure why, it wasn’t any better out of the water because that’s when the back labor hit. Oh goodness was that uncomfortable. We walked around the maternity wing a little bit more, but that soon became too difficult so I crawled back in bed.

One thing that surprised me was that I did not want to be mobile in the end. I did not want to stand. I did not want to move around or bounce on the labor ball. I did not want Brett to massage my back or provide counter pressure. All of this was completely unexpected.

Then I made a bad choice…the doctor came in around 2:30 and asked if I wanted to be checked again to see how I was progressing. I debated and eventually decided yes. Again, from what I read and birth class I was hoping to be between 7 – 8 cm. The contractions were clearly picking up. I had to be getting close to Transition, right?

Nope, I was only between 5 – 6 cm. What?!? Really?!? How much more of this could I take and how much longer was I going to be here? So I asked the doctor and she actually gave me an estimate. She told me that most first time moms dilate 1 cm per hour. A quick calculation told me I had an estimated 4 more hours. That’s when I panicked. I cried and pleaded with Brett. “I’m not sure I can do it” definitely escaped my lips like a bad cliche.

Brett was a great partner and coach. He told me that he knew I could do it, but that if I really wanted to get the drugs he of course would understand. He did not want me to not get the drugs because I was worried about what he or anyone else would think. He suggested I wait a little bit longer and see if I still wanted anything in an hour. That did it. I chose to wait and see.

We tried a few more positions and I eventually ended up in the rocking chair. I rocked myself back and forth for the next hour and a half. The doctor had a few more patients to see, but said she would be back around 4:45. There must be something in me that really likes getting “gold stars” or being a good student because I could see the clock on the wall as I rocked and my goal was to just get to 4:45.

But, can I just say that Transition is really tiring. I was so tired that between contractions, I was actually falling asleep. Not that I was sleeping for long, but it was enough to get me totally relaxed when my body was not in complete pain. Just before 4:45 the nurse said she would check me again and low and behold I was 10 cm!!! Whoo hoo! I did it without the drugs! Now it was time to push.

This came with more surprises. I expected this part to be natural – meaning that I would instinctively know what to do when it came time to push. Again…not so much. I also thought I would want to give birth in the squatting position, but nope. I just did not have the strength. So we ended up in the side-lying position. This left Brett, who thought he would avoid some of the more graphic bits, with a front row seat.

Then all of a sudden, after an hour of pushing, our little girl was out and in my arms! We had also asked for delayed cord clamping and I had pictured Brett and I gazing at our daughter for the next hour while the rest of the business was handled down below and her cord stopped pulsating.

Just gave birth

However that was not to be. Our little girl had too much fluid in her lungs and they had to do more work on her. That meant only 6 minutes with mama before they were putting tubes down her throat and getting more oxygen in her. That also meant that daddy would be leaving and going with her as they hauled her away to NICU. Not what we had expected after a pretty easy pregnancy and labor for the most part.

After about another hour, I was ready to join them in the NICU ward and see my little girl again. Surprisingly I was fine. I was able to walk and eat. I couldn’t believe that just a few hours before I was practically passing out because I was so exhausted and now I was chomping at the bit to get out of that room. That’s hormones and adrenaline for you.

Baby Eleanor

Once we were all reunited the doctor told us that she had to be on a breathing apparatus until she could maintain her oxygen levels. We also learned that she had an elevated white blood cell count and would have to be on antibiotics. We hoped that would only last for 48 hours, but unfortunately we needed to stay in the hospital for a full 7 days. Not part of the plan and not the most fun, but thankfully the nursing and hospital staff were great.

We also look back at that week like a newborn care crash course. There was someone there to change her dirty diapers, help wake me up when it was time to nurse, show me how to use the breast pump, and watch our baby when the car seat guy came to help install the seat. We were also fortunate to be at the hospital in Boulder. The NICU wing has individual rooms for the babies and an adjoining room for the parents. This way you can still room with your little one and not have to leave the hospital at night.

NICU Room

Now we’re home and our little Eleanor is thriving! Not sure how she caught an infection, but we are super thankful to modern medicine and the awesome hospital staff for getting her healthy. I’m sure that next time I will have to be on antibiotics during labor. Oh well, at least there will be a reason for me to have that silly IV in my arm since I’ll plan to avoid the pain meds next time too.

 

Brett and I were so excited to welcome our baby girl on June 5th! Of course we are absolutely in love with her and are totally biased in exactly the way parents should be.

So without further ado, please meet Eleanor Stevie!

Meet Eleanor

My official due date was moved up two days to June 21st so she was born at 37 weeks 5 days. If you are interested in her birth story, stay tuned later this week as I will share with you our journey of how we came to meet our precious little girl.

And now you know why it’s been a bit quiet on Little Green Bow. Sorry for the delay, but she surprised us by coming earlier than expected (even though I was hoping she would not make us wait until the 21st!)

My friend said one of her favorite photos from her pregnancy was one of her full belly and then one with the baby. We copied the idea – albeit as a last minute photo at 4:30 am on the day I went into labor – but I am really happy with how it turned out and super excited she suggested it to me. Thanks, Kelly!

Here is my belly just before giving birth and then me holding our little baby on the outside.

Here is my belly just before giving birth and then me holding our little baby on the outside.

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