Saturday, May 26, 2012

Sponge Painting

Another fun way to paint: I cut up a kitchen sponge into several pieces (different shapes) for Mercedes to paint with. The sponge I used was a sponge on one side and a scrubby on the other side so Mercedes had two different textures to choose from.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Cloud Dough

This is probably my favorite sensory activity so far. Cloud dough has the consistancy of flour but you can mold it like wet sand.

Supplies: 2 1/2 cups flour
                1/3 cup baby oil

I mixed the flour and baby oil with my hands (Mercedes helped of course) and then we both had fun squishing it in between our fingers and molding it with different utensils and plastic dishes from her kitchen set.

Idea from:

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Glitter Ice

Mercedes considered this a VERY special activity because not only did it involve ice AND water but also glitter. Three of her favorite things.

Supplies: Ice cubes
                 baby oil or vegetable oil

Instructions: Fill a bowl with ice, sprinkle with glitter and drizzle with oil. Fill a glass bowl (we used several bowls) with water and let your child melt the ice in the water. When the ice starts to melt, the oil and glitter make the water really pretty.

Idea from:

Monday, May 14, 2012

Baby Emerald's Birthday Party

My last few weeks of pregnancy, I tried to come up with an idea to help get Mercedes excited for Emerald to come home from the hospital. A lot of people suggested giving Mercedes a present from the baby. I didn't like that idea. Instead, we took Mercedes shopping and let her pick out a present for Emerald. She picked out a special cake, frosting, sprinkles and candles with the letters "Happy Birthday". My mom contributed balloons, streamers, table cloth and pretty napkins.

While I was at the hospital, my mom and Mercedes prepared a birthday party for Emerald. They decorated the house, baked and decorated the cake, wrapped the presents, and even made a "Diaper Cake" that Mercedes is still incredibly proud of. When me and Emerald came home from the hospital she couldn't wait to show us the birthday party. Such a great way to get a kid excited for their new baby sibling.

The party table.

Diaper cake.

The birthday cake.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Emerald's Birth Story

My precious baby girl, Emerald Isabella, was born May 9th at 1:22 pm. She weighs 9 lbs 4.5 oz. She is gorgeous and perfect. Here is the story leading up to her birth:

My due date was May 8th. My midwife did a membrane sweep at 3:30 pm. I started having contractions walking to my car from the doctor's office. When I got home I did a lot of walking to try to help move things along. By 6:30 pm I was having contractions 2 minutes apart lasting about 10-15 seconds each. By 9:30 pm they were 4-5 minutes apart lasting 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. I called my mom (who was going to watch Mercedes) to spend the night just in case I couldn't make it until morning. Sure enough, by 3:00 am the contractions were strong enough I knew it was time to go to the hospital.

We got to the hospital at 3:30 am on Wednesday, May 9. I was dilated to 5 cm. They gave me a room to labor in and left me and my husband alone. I got to labor 40 minutes out of bed then 20 minutes hooked up to a monitor every hour. I was doing pretty good until 6:30 am when the midwife arrived and told me I was still dilated to 5 cm. That was very discouraging. She offered to break my water to speed the labor along.

I had my water broken at 7:00 am. The contractions started coming SUPER strong and I believe it was only about an hour later (after being told I was still dilated to 5 cm) that I decided I needed an epidural and pitocin. I planned on having a natural birth unless I didn't dilate (the same complication as when I was in labor with Mercedes).

Me and Ben both ended up taking a good nap after I got the epidural. The baby was having a little bit of trouble so I had to wear an oxygen mask for the last few hours before pushing. The midwife told me it was time to push right before 1 pm. I was surprised because I couldn't feel any pressure and didn't feel the urge to push so I wasn't even sure I would be able to do it good enough. But once I got going my instincts kicked in and I remembered how.

Even though the entire pushing process lasted only half an hour, it seemed like hours and turned out to be a nightmare. Emerald weighs over 9 lbs. Getting her head out was a challenge. Then her shoulders got stuck. REALLY stuck. I had a nurse jump on the bed, straddling me and pushing on my stomach and the midwife pulling Emerald out. Both of them kept yelling at me to push harder and harder and harder. I pushed so hard I couldn't breathe, and every time I tried to take a breath they would both tell me I needed to push more and harder. When I heard the midwife yell for someone to get a doctor I started to panic. She was stuck for only 60 seconds but it felt like forever.

I wanted so bad to hold her right when she was born, but instead they took her to the other side of the room and there were probably 10 people all surrounding her tiny bed. She wasn't crying. I kept asking if she was okay but nobody would tell me anything. It took long enough that I was literally sitting in my bed preparing myself that my baby might be dead. Probably the worst and scariest couple minutes of my life.

Finally I heard her cry. Eventually after being checked over thoroughly I was assured that she was breathing fine and she had no broken bones. The birth was traumatic for Emerald. She was in shock for the first couple minutes of her life. Both shoulders were sore. She had lots of swelling and bruising on her face and body, and her head had cones on the side and the top. The first night in the hospital she was in a lot of pain and it was hard to get her to stop crying.

The way she was born breaks my heart but I have so much to be thankful for. She is alive and healthy and passed all of the tests the hospital did with flying colors. We've been home for about 24 hours and so far she is a super happy and content baby. She nurses well and sleeps well and is happy and alert when she's awake. I'm loving every minute of our cuddling, nursing and bonding times.

So now I have two beautiful and amazing daughters, each one I love more than anything else in the whole world. I get to invest all of my time and energy making sure they have the happiest childhood possible. Making sure they are constantly learning, growing, having fun and feeling loved. I am incredibly blessed.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Painting with Q-tips

Mercedes asked to paint today and using paint brushes seemed boring so I gave her a handful of q-tips to paint with. She loved making dots all over the paper, and then had the brilliant idea of using the whole handful at once to make LOTS of dots. Success!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Ice Cube Treasures

Yesterday I filled an ice cube tray with tiny toys, coins, shells, rocks and water then stuck it in the freezer. This morning I put the ice in a bowl outside, gave Mercedes a water bottle full of warm water and told her to find the treasures in the ice. She had so much fun playing with the ice as it melted and finding all the treasures! It was warm outside but the cement on our patio was still cool so it took the ice a long time to melt. Mercedes loved every minute of it.