Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Baby Food

What can I say, Olivia is an eating girl! Recently, Olivia discovered food... real food. Food that she doesn't have to work for. She really likes that. After weeks of wrestling her, I think she is back to actually enjoying nursing, but we can only cross our fingers. Here she is eating her baby food, with very good manners might I add.
I have decided to make Olivia's baby food. My motivation for doing this is two fold: I believe it's the healthiest and I believe it's more economical. I like that I can control the freshness and ingredients. Not that I have anything against canned baby food, but I like that I pick the produce and blend it up right away. I feel good about giving her great quality food.

So what I do is lightly steam the vegetable and then put it the Vita Mix and puree it until smooth. I then put the food into an ice tray to freeze individual portions. Each "cube" is approximately 1 ounce of food, so I do know how much she gets. After the food is frozen, I remove them from the tray and put a certain portion in a vacuum sealed bag. So far so good. Thus far on the menu: Bananas, Pears, Carrots, Sweet Potatoes, and Squash. She likes them all, but no matter what you give her, the first bite always produces a sour face. After the first bite, she just goes to town. The only thing she won't go to town on is avocado. It was hysterical! I mashed up some avocado and gave it to her. Not only did she have a sour face but she started gaging and tonguing it out! I was laughing so hard! She didn't find it so funny. But I tricked her. I added some banana to it and she ate it all. I am not ashamed to "hide" vegetables! They need it, even if they don't know they're getting them!

The weekend before I went back to work, Daniel and I went to Seaside... without Olivia... for TWO days! We had such an amazing time! I got GOOD sleep and we were just able to hang out and play together. We ate very good food, watched a movie or two, went in the hot tub, just did whatever we wanted, without a schedule. It was just so great to spend time together again. It was better than dating, because we both felt like we appreciated the time more. But boy did we miss Olivia. We talked about her a lot and called frequently to make sure she was eating and sleeping ok. She did phenomenal! She stayed at Grandma Long's the first night and Grandma Vrtiska's the second night. Both nights she did great! We were so proud of her! And when we saw her again it was a very sweet reunion... as can be seen in these pictures. My sweet dad captured the moment and I'm so glad he did!

We love our little family of 3! Olivia is by far the greatest blessing we've received and count our lucky stars that she was entrusted to us!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Happy Easter!

Just shy of four months old, Olivia celebrated her first Easter at the Jackson School Easter Egg Hunt. Well technically she spent her first Easter at church, but we're talking about the secular part of Easter. She wasn't scared of the huge bunny in the slightest. Apparently she has never seen Donnie Darko... freaky bunny!
It was a beautiful day for an easter egg hunt and the sun was in her eyes, but she sure does look cute! I love making all these bows and flowers, even if Dan takes them off as soon as I put them on.

She is so helpful, she's holding baskets already. Actually she does attempt to hold a bottle, but she never gets a good enough grip.

We were joined by my sister Lindsey and three of her children. Isabelle is just about two months older than Olivia and they will soon be best friend cousins. They're too cute!

Find the eggs. Hidden with all the eggs is the greatest treasure of them all: Olivia! She's such a sweet baby and the greatest blessing Daniel and I have ever received. Having children is what we're meant to do in this life, I'm certain of it!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Top 15 Favorite Pictures (In no Particular Order)

I could easily post a hundred pictures of Olivia, but I must practice some restraint. I have picked my top 15 favorite pictures, and I'll explain why. Each picture has a story. It's one thing to take a picture, it's another to capture a story with a picture. Starting with number one: Belly picture. This picture was taken I believe the night before Olivia was born. I'd been trying to set up a maternity photoshoot but things just weren't falling into place. I had a feeling the baby was coming soon, so I took a picture of my belly. I'm so glad I did; it's the only one I have. It's crazy to look at this picture now and see what I looked like with a belly. My belly never got that big, and I feel blessed for that. 2. Bath time! Olivia loves her baths; always has. When I see this picture, it reminds me how small she once was! She's just a little over 6 pounds in this picture! I never thought she'd grow as fast as she has. It also reminds me of our favorite time together: bathing and showering. It's one of the things I do with her that is always enjoyable. I absolutely love that bonding time.
3. Bunny ears! Dan and I enjoy putting clothes on her head. She looks so silly. Last night, as I was taking her shirt off for her bath, I did this again and she looked like a little alien. It is so funny. I realize this might sound weird to you, but for us, it's a reminder of playtime with baby!
4. Lindsey and I have been very excited that we both had girls within a month and half of each other. Isabelle came first in November. I was always worried that my kids wouldn't have cousins their age because I'm the youngest, but I was wrong. Now Olivia has a cousin to be best friends with, and I hope that's what they are! Best friend cousin in the making!!
5. Favorite picture of all time! I hesitate even sharing this picture because it captures one of the most intimate feelings I've ever shared with Daniel. I am so glad Stephanie took this picture. This was taking just right after she was born. The bond I felt with Dan in that moment was so strong, and I'll never, ever forget that feeling.
6. "Well hello there!" Dan and my favorite birth picture of Olivia. She looks so alert and happy already! She ALWAYS stares at the camera, so it's no surprise she has since birth!
7. Strange calling this a "favorite" picture, but even our struggles and afflictions are for our good. This was taken during the time after birth where she wasn't crying. She literally layed there, breathing so fast. She had just run a marathon and had a 103 degree fever at birth. This reminds me how fragile life is and also how blessed we are to have a healthy baby. Some are not so lucky, and I thank Heavenly Father every day for such mercy to give us a healthy baby.
8. Because of her fever, she had to get an IV and receive antibiotics for the first 48 hours of life. It was the strangest thing to see her without an IV because that's all we've ever known. And I have to give props to the NICU nurses who can start baby IV's like nothing! Those veins are TINY, and I complain about how difficult it can be to start an adult IV!!
9. Big Blues! Olivia's eyes are just absolutely breath taking. I love them. She's so aware of her surroundings and takes everything in. It's no surprise to me that she's 2 weeks old and looking directly into the camera-- that's Olivia!
10. Nap time. In the beggining of life, she slept anywhere, anytime. I always loved to see her sleeping with and on her daddy. She's been daddy's girl from the start.
11. Screaming time. Olivia loves baths, but she hates being cold after them! She would seriously just scream the entire time we dressed her. It was so pathetic, I had to take a picture. This picture always reminds me of the song, "It's my party and I'll cry if I want to."
12. "Drunk eyes." For the first month, Olivia would fight sleeping... who am I kidding, she still fights sleeping! But in that first month, she'd fall asleep and then flutter her eyes, looking totally drugged! Such a little cutie!
13. Do I do anything but cry? This was at the height of Olivia's "pooping problem." She was born with a congenital anal stenosis. She had a narrowing in her intestines that made it very, very difficult to pass stool. Because she was unable to poop on her own, she was sooooooo fussy! She cried so much, and it just breaks my heart to think back on those days when my daughter was in such pain. It was difficult for us because we couldn't even play with her, she was that uncomfortable!
14. First "out of the hospital" family picture! We are proud parents of our beautiful daughter!
15. HEADBANDS! Mommy loves making headbands for Olivia. She already has close to 30 headbands. I've had such a fun time making them, and think she looks just about as precious as can be in them!

And for the grand finale, a video of Olivia! We had been doing Patty Cake all morning and she was just laughing and smiling. By the time I grabbed the camera, she was over it! But I love these moments with her when I sing and play with her. She now tries to sing back. She extends the length of her coo's so that it sounds like singing. She's trying so hard! She's going to be a singer I think.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Olivia Makayla Long

Well, here it is 3 months later, and I'm just finally posting my first blog since Olivia was born. On January 3rd, 2011 at 4:56 PM, Olivia Makayla Long entered the world about as dramatically as her life has yet proven to be. I pushed for four hours. Olivia was in distress. I had a fever. She didn't cry for 2 to 3 minutes after birth. She had a fever. She had an IV and antiobiotics for two days. But boy was that the most amazing experience I've ever had!? I wrote a very detailed story of her birth and am not sure if I'll post it here because it's nearly three pages I believe. Needless to say, the labor was intense. The pushing more intense. Her arrival was tense. But when the placed her in my arms and our eyes locked, it was the most spiritual experience I've ever had. It is hard to describe, but I literally felt the power of our temple sealing in that moment. At 11 days old, we took Olivia to Mari Thompson for her newborn shoot. The pictures turned out amazing. The pictures lie because it was very difficult to photograph her. She fought going to sleep, tooth and nail, just as she does now!
She was born with a full head of dark hair, just as her mother was! The verdict is still out as to whether her hair will turn blonde like her mom and dad.
Her nephew Isaiah has said to his mother, "Don't you just love her 'starey' eyes?" She has these intense eyes that stare intensely into yours. It's as if she's literally reading your soul!
She is a "spirited baby", as I've discovered from The Baby Whisperer. That is the perfect word to describe Olivia. She has quite the little personality and when she smiles, she smiles with her whole body!
Daniel and I feel blessed beyond belief by the addition of Olivia into our family. She has added infinitely to my happiness, struggles and all! It's all part of the process and even on my most difficult day, I still look at her and smile while my heart melts by the big blues!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

9 Months and 34 Hour Labor

Wow! Where do I begin? Well I am currently a few days over 37 weeks pregnant and have taken my final "monthly picture." I can't believe 9 months has come and gone so quickly. Daniel and I have had quite the adventure lately. I have been having early contractions since about week 32, I believe. As a result, my doctor reduced my shifts to 8 hour shifts instead of 12. I much appreciated that. So it comes as no surprise to me that I went to sleep on Friday night having contractions-- painful but not "oh my gosh" painful-- every 10 minutes. Because this was not the first time this has happened, I just went to sleep. I woke up a few times having contractions but was able to fall back asleep so I really wasn't all that excited. I woke up at around 5:45am and decided I should probably keep track of the frequency. I also noticed that I was having an incredible amount of pressure "down there." It literally felt like her head was coming out. I was contracting pretty much on the dot, every 10 minutes. After keeping track for a little over an hour, I figured I should try to get a little more sleep, as I really had only about 3 hours of sleep at this point. I woke up around 9:30am and continued to have contractions. At around noon I'd say, I decided that instead of keeping track of the timing, I'd try to distract myself and see if that would help. My dad and I went on a walk. Shortly after our walk began, the contractions seemed to be coming about three minutes apart and were much more painful, especially in my back. After we got home, I figured I better give the doctor a call. I called the on call doctor who said I should come in to the hospital to be evaluated. This is me, photographed by Dan, shortly after our arrival to the "prove it" room, as I lovingly call it.
After a couple cervical checks, a lot of activity, and very painful contractions every two minutes, the doctor determined I was in labor and I should be admitted. She thought that because I had dialated 2 cm and almost completely thinned out in such a short period of time, it would be unlikely that my labor would stop. The nerves really started to kick in, as I've always been a little nervous about delivering a baby. In fact, I found a poem I wrote in Junior High about my fear of giving birth. It made me laugh, because the end of it pretty much said I'd never have a baby! Anyway, I was taken to our room where I was poked like a pin cushion! Oh-My-Word! I cannot believe how painful those IV attempts were. When I found out they had to use an 18 gauge needle, I knew this would be painful. I know how big and how hard those 18 gauges can be to get and I was not excited. The first nurse who attempted was HORRIBLE! I literally was in a sweat and seeing stars by the end of her proding. She even let one needle hang from my arm as she attempted another vein, while the hematoma grew larger and larger in my arm. I was mortified. The IV nurse eventually got a site, which I was very unhappy that it was basically on my wrist. Dan wasn't happy with the first nurse. Here's my IV that Dan proudly took a picture of! Haha!I continued to contract and eventually was talked into taking some Fentanyl IV. Why was I resisting? That stuff was G-O-O-D! Exactly what I needed! By this time it was nearly 1am and the nurse wanted me to try to get some sleep, if possible, as she predicted I'd be in active labor by 5 or 6am. Well I did sleep... some... by 6am came and the contractions had slowed down to about every 10 minutes. They were becoming more mild and I no longer felt I needed fentanyl. At 9 am, the doctor came in and said he was going to send me home. He said that because I was still considered "pre-term" (I was 36 weeks and 6 days), they wouldn't keep my labor going by inducing... I was please with that. All I wanted to do was curl up in bed and SLEEP! And sleep I did! I slept all day Sunday and slept 10 hours that night. I couldn't even imagine how exhausted I'd been if I actually delivered our daughter that morning! The Lord was looking out for me! That was quite an experience for Daniel and I. We are both glad we were able to experience this prior to the real event because now we feel we have a little better idea of what to expect. We were able to talk about what went well and what didn't go well. I think we both feel we have a better plan in place now. And while I am anxious to meet our daughter, I am going to cherish these last few days, weeks, or however long it is until our bundle of joy arrives!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

8 Months & Baby Showers

We're rounding the bend; she's almost here! I can see the finsih line and the anticipation to cross is really setting in! Here we are: 8 months pregnant. I can't believe how fast it's gone by. I'm really starting to feel pregnant physically. I'm at a point where if I eat a large meal, I'll have horrific back pain until the food is out of my stomach. There's just not a lot of room for both food and baby. Once I eat a bigger meal, you'll find me adjusting my position very frequently to no avail! Nothing works. Sitting doesn't work. Standing doesn't work. Laying down definitely doesn't work. I've begun to learn that I just can't eat full meals anymore. Oh well!
I didn't get any pictures from the Longs baby shower, but this is a picture I took before. My sister-in-law Beth did a really cute memory game at the shower. With each match you made, you'd get a prize that correlated with the match. Example: The match was "Daniel and Monica's new family" and the prize was a three musketeer bar. Another example (I believe this is correct): the match was "conception" and the prize was a Skor bar. I thought it was cute, creative, and fun! My mom and I went home with something like four candy bars. It was very fun and a game I might have to use in the future!
My sister Stephanie threw me a phenomenal baby shower a couple weeks ago. She did such a good job with decorating and everything! Daniel made a cameo appearance. It was fun to open presents with him. But it was kind of funny because my friend Mary was talking to my mom through the gift opening and by the time the gifts were opened and we'd all chatted awhile, Daniel wisked the presents away to be organized. My mom laughed because she never got to see any of the presents. Daniel's response: you snooze, you lose! Not really, but he's got to have order in the home!

Very eager, and excited parents-to-be!
My cousins Amber and Michele and my Aunt Barbara got me the CUTEST outfit from Gymboree. I absolutely love Gymboree and had actually just purchased a dress and t-shirt from the same collection the outfit was from. They got me a cute little fur jacket (as seen below), a t-shirt, these little suede grey pants with matching hat, and the matching socks! Just adorable! Oh and on my lap you can see the first blanket my mom has EVER quilted! Yes, our daughter will get a quilted blanket from her grandma. I love that!
I think this bib is hilarious! I would Never buy it for myself (obviously), but it definitely provided a good laugh! I think it's adorable. Thanks Kehaulani.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

7 Months!

How the months fly by! In the beginning, it seemed the days dragged on, but towards the end, I can't keep up with the days! Here I am at essentially 7 1/2 months pregnant, or 30 weeks. I've noticed the biggest change this month. I feel like this is the month where you can definitely tell I'm pregnant. Last month I still was in the "she could be just fat" stage.
I'm 90% sure we have her name picked out. We think we will name her Maya Long. The middle name is still not decided upon. I kind of want to do a family name, but Daniel is stuck on the name Elizabeth but I say NO GO! He killed my dream of Olivia, so I guess it's payback... Not really. My pick for the middle name: Norene or Jenine, my grandmother and mothers name.

Maya Jenine Long or Maya Norene Long... Hmmmm
I really want to emphasize the way I'm really feeling here! :) Doctor Hoffman says I am carrying her inside me, which sounds like an oxymoron. He says women either have their uterus fall forward or hold it inside, which is what I'm doing. So moral of the story, my back is starting to ache. Mostly noted while working my 12 hour shifts. On my feet. Running around. Sometimes without breaks. No. Fun. But I like my job, and am grateful to have one!
Can't wait to meet you my little sweet, precious, angel, princess Maya Long!