Wednesday, June 26, 2013

What's new with the Graham Family

We have Basset Hounds - 2 of them. Got them last May when they were just 6 weeks old. They are Flash - tri color male and Bella - lemon & white female. They are the most awesome dogs. We had researched what dog breed would fit well in our family and they absolutely fit the bill. The girls can play with them to their hearts content and they never get upset, even when Olivia yanks on their ears or sticks her hand in their mouth. Or tries to ride them like a pony. They are PERFECT family dogs! When they were babies -
And now -
Olivia is a crazy monkey, no seriously you have no idea. She is into everything pretty much all the time. She climbs like a monkey. She is busy busy busy busy.
Faith has gotten so grown up. She's more serious. Very tender hearted. Just finished 1st grade. She is very busy this summer with dance, gymnastics and summer rec.
We just said goodbye to our faithful car the Impalla had 214,000 plus miles on it. We got a new Subaru Outback and are loving it!
John and I celebrated our 10th anniversary last August, so we are almost to 11 years married. Been together 14, hard to believe really, but wouldn't have it any other way. John works hard for his family and we are thankful for it every day. I'm so glad we found each other. And we certainly make beautiful daughters!
I have taken my hobby of sewing into a full time business. I set up at the Carthage Farmer's market weekly (if it's not raining that is) and I have many craft fairs coming up this summer & fall too. I am loving taking my creative love to the level of providing for my family!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Back to life ??

Okay really i need to breathe some life back into this blog..... working on how to do that :-) I wonder if anyone even reads blogs anymore, with all the Facebook, Twitter and other "instant gratification" type things out there, do people still take the time to sit and read odd musings of life on blogs? Hmmmmm maybe I will find out.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Olivia has arrived!

Olivia’s birth story

*note – I did not keep exact track of time/events*
Thanksgiving day/weekend – I had lots of strong contractions on/off all weekend. I knew things were starting to gear up, but never became a solid pattern of labor, just on/off again. I found it a bit irritating but was hopeful it was helping me make progress.
Monday 11/28/11 I had my weekly appointment with Jody (my friend & midwife). She checked and found me to be 1 cm, very soft & 50% effaced, all good news. Baby’s head was in position and she was able to do a really thorough sweep of my membranes. Left office at about 10:30 and started having regular contractions shortly after. Went to Kohl’s to do a bit of shopping, took my time and walked around the whole store, contracting the entire time. I got a bit excited on the way home because the contractions were continuing despite sitting down – YAH! Got home, went for a walk, rocked on my birth ball as much as possible and did my best to stay busy. Contractions continued every 3-5 minutes most of the day. They did slow down a bit in the afternoon and I was worried they were going to peter out on me. At dinner time I texted Jody and ask her if I should go ahead and send John to work since I knew early labor could literally last days, she said to go ahead and send him. After dinner and about the time John headed off to work contractions really started to pick up. By 9-10 pm they got really strong and were coming every 2-3 minutes and I was starting to have to breathe through them. My original plan was to stay home as absolutely long as possible but I just wasn’t comfortable at home. Mom & cheyanne were both awake (and I love them and all but I felt like they were “intruding”) .
Finally at midnight (11/29/11) I had mom take me in to the hospital. Faith & Cheyanne both went too but as soon as I got up to L&D I had them turn around and go right home. I knew Jody would stay with me the whole time and that John would be on his way back and hopefully arrive by 4 or 5 am. (he knew what was up and had called ahead to Pocono to have them get him in/out quick so he could get back in time).
Got to L&D. Was at 2-3 cm and 80% effaced so my contractions were definitely doing something. I was also pretty dehydrated, which is why I think the contractions were feeling more painful & coming so close. It was a bit disappointing to show up still not in “active” labor but it gave me the opportunity to have a bit more freedom of movement since I was a VBAC and would have to be attached to monitors indefinitely once I was “active”. Got situated and got a good strip on the monitor (took a bit as I was dehydrated and baby wasn’t showing good variation so I had to eat & drink some to get her going). Then I got in the whirlpool tub to relax and hopefully ease some of the pain/tension. I really enjoyed the tub, but it slowed my contractions some and I have to admit I was thinking ahead of the pain & honestly feel like that was a big mistake on my part (thinking too much, instead of relaxing). Once I got out of the tub I talked to Jody about pain management, I was really feeling that my expectation of going “all natural” was just not realistic for me. She explained about the narcotics & epidural. I felt like going with the epidural was going to be safer for the baby. I was at 4-5 cm and still 80% at that point and they ordered the epidural.

John arrived about 4:40 am and shortly thereafter they came to do my epidural. Contractions had really started to pick up again by then and I was anxious for the relief and to maybe get a bit of rest before I got really going. They gave me a bolus of fluid before anesthesia dr. got there knowing I run a low blood pressure and was somewhat dehydrated, despite that I’d been drinking good since I arrived. Epidural placement went well, he had no problems. Things get pretty fuzzy for me from here …
I believe when they actually put the loading dose in the epidural is when the problem started. I remember telling the dr I felt a little “funny” but I couldn’t really explain in what way. He asked me some specific questions and I remember answering but then the next thing I remember was waking up groggy and having an oxygen mask on and a room full of staff. I was very scared when I woke up…
What I’ve been explained happened was that due to my volume depletion & my tendency to run a low blood pressure normally, the epidural caused me to totally bottom out my pressure. I guess I dropped to 56/35 and I passed out. John did stay in the room, off to the side and I’m sure was terrified. He said he heard the anesthesia dr. tell them to get us an OR and also asked for some other people to come, though I don’t know who/what. They gave me a lot of different meds to bring me around and stabilize my blood pressure. For the next while after I “came to” they continued super close monitoring and asking me specific questions about how I was feeling/etc. My labor nurse later told me that the Dr. was quite rattled by what happened and had said out of the room that he had never seen anything like that before. I know I cried a lot (and still do) thinking about Faith, John and the baby and worrying what would happen if things hadn’t gotten corrected so quickly.
For the next several hours we had to rest and let the baby stabilize from all the meds. She got the meds too of course and it caused her to go nuts in my tummy kicking & rolling around. She finally settled down and Jody talked to me about what was going to happen next. Since I couldn’t tolerate the epidural (they turned it right off obviously) and going to the OR under general anesthesia was a horrible option, I had to go all natural. I am going to be honest that I was extremely scared and still feeling so “off” from the other incident but I really had no choice in the matter. It’s really hard to face something like that when you feel the choice isn’t yours anymore.
At 10 am they started me on Pitocin. The blood pressure emergency had really petered out my labor and we needed to get baby out. Contractions picked up quick and once again I have to say things are really a blur. I will be honest that I am embarrassed by how badly I handled the contractions. I am sure I scared any sane woman to death with my screaming and begging for help. At times I was able to handle the contractions with breathing techniques but more often than not I was totally freaked out. My water got broken sometime around noon I think and we did find there was fresh meconium in the fluid, that scared me too, thinking of the baby & knowing that could be trouble for her. They assured me that they would have the NICU doctor there at birth to make sure she was alright.
Things did move really quickly considering this was my first “real labor” and dilation. I’m not 100% sure on time but somewhere around 2-3 pm I was at like 6-7 cms. Jody did finally give me some stadol hoping I could at least get a tiny bit of relaxation in between the contractions. I’ll be honest in saying I think it was a total waste, the highs of the contractions were so intense that even though the lows were easier it didn’t really help. At one point toward the end I got on hands and knees for some contractions to try and get the last little bit thinned out. Shortly after that I felt a lot of pressure and thinking back I honestly think I started pushing. At the time I didn’t think I was, but thinking back now I think I was pushing a bit with my contractions. I remember Jody asking me a couple times if I was pushing and I told her no, but I wonder now if I was subconsciously pushing. I asked to go to bathroom, it was so much more comfortable to be up and on the toilet than laying on the bed (that’s the absolute worst part of the VBAC having to have that constant monitoring). I went to the bathroom and Jody came in and asked again if I was pushing & I told her I was having a BM, I was only doing that. She said wait wait let me check. She checked me and I was complete. She told me to stop pushing and told me I had to get back up. I didn’t want to and felt like I had to finish going, she had to really force me to get up and get back to the bed. She checked again and sure enough I was complete, we did a test push and she quickly called the nurses & NICU doctor in.
I started pushing at 3:50 pm. I felt so empowered and motivated, the pain was horrible but at least I could now do something about it. It went QUICK and I could feel baby moving down and crowning. Jody had me feel the top of her head. I really don’t know much about what was going on around me, the whole experience was surreal. Olivia was born at 4:00 pm. And the first thing I said was “I DID IT”.
I have to admit I’m still somewhat in shock that I actually had my vaginal birth.
NICU Dr. suctioned Olivia quickly and got her right back to me. I was able to nurse her right away which was a fantastic feeling as well. Olivia nurses like a champ and I’m so thankful to my midwife & friend for everything she did for me. I was extremely rough on her and because of our friendship I know it was an extremely hard labor for her to go through too.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Okay so obviously it's been a while!

Where to start? Hmmm well Olivia Grace will be arriving soon. What, didn't know we were expecting? Well yes our 2nd daughter is due to arrive at the beginning of December. She was not at all planned, but after the initial shock of it all we couldn't be more thrilled! Faith is beyond excited to be getting a sister, she's only been asking for a sibling since she learned to talk, so this is HUGE for her.

I have had a very uncomplicated pregnancy, which has been a huge blessing, as early on I was very nervous that because of my weight loss surgery the baby wouldn't gain weight well or would have other potential problems, but so far so good!

We spent the late spring and part of the summer doing some camping. Lots of good times as always. Hope that this next year we can get in even more. Toward the end of the summer we got very bogged down with preparing for baby & getting home improvements done, we just didn't have as long of a camping season as we would have liked. We also got to enjoy some weekends at the cottage on Lake Ontario with our wonderful friends Tim & Jody. It's a great spot & we really enjoyed it, hope to do more of that next year as well.

Faith started Kindergarten this year. So hard to believe she is 5 years old. We had a bit of a rough start as she adjusted to being gone "all day" but she seems much better with it now and is doing well. She still doesn't care for coloring, LOL. She also tends toward a bad habit her mama always had in school which was rushing through her work, we are working on that. I'm proud to say that she is already able to read many words and simple sentences. She also enjoys math a lot. Hoping to instill a real love of school in her, it's going to be hard when the baby comes because i suspect she will be jealous of the time baby gets to spend with just mama.

In October we lost our beloved german shepard, Michelob. He was 9 years old and died suddenly. We don't really know what took him from us but suspect he had some kind of intestinal blockage or perhaps even a cancer that we didn't know about. He didn't act sick or seem to have any problems, i went out to let him in one night and he was just laying there dead. Very traumatic for all of us. We really miss having a dog, but timing wise it's just not the right time to get another dog. We are looking forward to spring when we hope to find a puppy to join our family.

John continues to work long overnight hours. The schedule is definitely hard on us, and will probably get worse when baby comes but we'll make it work. I'm grateful for his good job with benefits that make it possible for me to stay home with the kids (wow that seems weird to add that "s" on there). He struggles because the company can be difficult to deal with at times, typical corporate bologna but for now it is what it is and I try my best to encourage him to let work be work & enjoy our home & family as much as he can. I'm so lucky to have found a very practical, responsible & loving man :-)

That's it for today, must get busy on the remainder of the "get ready for baby & Christmas" list that i have. Have a blessed Thanksgiving if i don't update before then. I am going to try my best to update this blog more often, promise :-)

Monday, July 25, 2011

WOW i've neglected this blog big time :(

I promise to get it up to date soon!!!

So much to update for now, here's a picture of our 5 year old on her birthday!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A true friend...

Sometimes I ponder this question......
I have friends that I can go weeks and/or months without talking directly to and we can pick up right were we left off. Even if i haven't talked to them in a long while, i know that at a moment's notice if i need them they will be there. To me that's a true friend, a friend for life. I care deeply for my friends, they are like my family. I hope that my friends feel the same about me, that no matter what if they need me i'm here for them. I don't say thank you enough to all my friends, i hope they all know how deeply important they are to me & my family. LOVE YOU ALL, you know who you are :-)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

WOW i haven't shared in a while

Sorry about about a picture recap??

Sunday, November 28, 2010

What have we been up to?

Oh a little of this, a little of that :-)
Here's some recent pictures of Faith. Enjoy!
Waiting for the school bus her first day of school :)

Her first day of school outfit, how did she get so BIG?

Halloween Costume. She wanted to be "Princess Dora" from one of her books, i think we did a great job on the costume, good thing mama knows how to sew :-)

She is ALWAYS helping me around the house, I bet when she's 13 or so she won't want to mop anymore?

Faith got a new hat, was supposed to be for mama but i didn't bother to check my knitting gauge and the band was way too small for my big head, she sure looks cute though!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Grocery Shopping Savings

Total regular price of all the stuff = $175.00
Total paid - $74.36 + i got 2 - $10 coupons off my next purchase so total for all these groceries is only $54.36!!!
PLUS i earned another 10 cents off per gallon of gas for my next fill up!

Break down -
Ragu Pasta Sauce - 1.08 per jar
Wish Bone Salad Dressings - .88 cents each
Skippy Low Fat Peanut Butter - $1.50 each
Bic Pens - 10 packs - FREE
Keebler Snack Crackers - $1.50 each package
Kelloggs Cereals - $1.67 per box
Gillette Deodorant - $1.21 each
Crest Toothpaste - $1.50 each
Always Pads - $2.00 each
Snack Pack Pudding - .75 cents each
Oust spray - .54 cents each
Herbel Essense Shampoo/Conditioner - $1.25 each
Aussie Styling Products - $1.25 each
Degree Deodorant - $1.50 each
Bic Soleil Disposible Razors - $2.15 each

Monday, June 14, 2010

Homemade Strawberry Jam

First we started out with locally grown strawberries -
Then you smash them up -
Squeeze the lemons for the lemon juice -
Bring berries, lemon juice and pectin to a boil -
Add the sugar and boil -
Put it in the jars and in the processor & process -
Cool the jars for 24 hours -

We had so much fun making this jam. Honestly by the time you buy the berries (i don't berry pick, maybe next year), the jars and the other ingredients it probably is cheaper to just buy it....BUT....I know exactly what's in it and it will taste WAY better anyway!