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Monday, November 7, 2016

Grace Renee's birth story!

Our third little munchkin has come! She's here, she's here! And my goodness, what a great transition it has been, adding her into the mix.
So this is the first baby where I was certain - CERTAIN - I was not only going to go into labor on my own (as opposed to getting induced with the other two), but I knew - KNEW- she was going to come early. How could she not? She's our third baby and I was having strong braxton hicks starting at 35 weeks. Not only was I experiencing the run of the mill braxton hourly, but I had these insanely painful leg feelings - like my knee would buckle due to how bad these shooting pains hurt. I read that those were contractions (when trying to figure out if it was a sciatic nerve thing), which got me very excited considering I felt so much so early on.

But anyhoo, come 39 weeks, I was still very much pregnant. It was depressing! You would have thought I was 45 weeks based on how I was acting! I went to Target 3 times that week to CHRISTMAS SHOP IN OCTOBER to make myself feel better about having not gone into labor by that point. TJ Maxx got DESTROYED by me with more Christmas shopping. It was STRAIGHT UP retail therapy. I just couldn't fathom making it all the way to 40 weeks with a third baby. Then, on the the day I hit 40 weeks, I went in to my doctors appointment to schedule my (depressing) induction date for 41 weeks.

"Well... I'll strip your membranes today, but we won't be able to schedule your induction until 41.5 weeks because Dr. Koning is out of town."

WHAT. 41 and a HALF weeks??!!! 10 days out from the day I was sitting there, 40 weeks pregnant and questioning why my body never wants to release my babies out into the world?! It was not okay! Why?! Why?!!! This happened on a Friday where I also had to go to my first stress test to make sure she was okay in there - something that annoyed me because I knew she was fine, given all of her bouncing around. Then later that same night, Carter ended up having to make a trip to the ER due to a hockey injury. When I registered him, they told me that our copay would be very high because the hospital was out of network for us. WHAT.
Immediately I was like, "WOAH, THIS IS WHERE I'M HAVING THE BABY, I'VE BEEN TOLD THIS HOSPITAL IS JUST FINE BY SEVERAL SOURCES. WHAT DO YOU MEAN IT'S OUT OF NETWORK?" She explained to me that it was fine to have the baby there, but for the ER it was out of network. What in the world? Okay... So he got all fixed up and we were out of there.

Then, on that next Monday, I went in for another doctor's visit where I was told that I had dilated more and they would be surprised if my water didn't break on my way down to my car! PROGRESS! SUCCESS! I was so happy to hear that!!!!! Truly it was awesome given my history of never going into labor!

A few days later though, when I still hadn't gone into labor, I remembered that Carter's ER visit had been out of network, so just to be safe, I decided to call my insurance to get the peace of mind I had been assured when we first found out we were pregnant and I wanted to know if I could deliver at the local hospital (insurance had told me all was well back in February). I started calmly talking to a representative, explaining the situation, and her response was, "Oh yeah, our insurance no longer has a contract with that hospital. It would be out of network." WWWWWWWHHHHHHAAAAATTTTTT???!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tears threatened immediately, I got off the phone and speed-texted Chad saying holy crap, we have a MAJOR insurance problem here!!!!! I then called my doctor and explained what was going on and they assured me that they delivered women with my insurance all the time, so don't worry about it. I couldn't NOT worry about it. I called my insurance back again to get a second opinion from a different rep, then called the group. The group said they were going to be the ones billed, so don't worry about it. Then Chad got back to me saying he had called the insurance, the group and my doctors and all was well - don't worry, it's not going to be an out of pocket expense. I still couldn't not worry, but with Chad, my doctor's office AND the group trying to reassure me, I guess the only thing I could do was to calm down and try to be a chill human right before having the baby. Truly, it wouldn't be a Cisneros birth without a major last minute insurance disaster.

So anyhoo, that was a Wednesday, Thursday was when I would turn 41 weeks but my induction date wasn't until the following Monday. Wednesday night, I finally became okay with the fact that I was practically 41 weeks pregnant with my third baby. I became happy that I got the extra time with my older two babies and hey, what if this baby was a wild thing who never ever lets me sleep for the rest of my life? Maybe it was a good thing that I was so overdue! To further the peaceful thoughts, I went on a solo walk around the neighborhood. It was not a psychotic speed walk like the rest of my "let's try to go into labor" struts. It was a "let's enjoy this lovely moment" type of meandering. I called one of my best friends and we had a nice chat. It was great!
Then the next day I woke up knowing I should go to Costco but not really feeling up to it. A few hours later Chad called to tell me that he was going to come home a bit early so maybe we should stock the house with food and have a fun day with our soon-to-be-non-baby-of-the-family, Kota. Some special time for her and our doggy! GREAT! I was so stoked for a fun day with the family, before he even got home I took a now-rare trip to the park with Kots and, hey hey hey, leashed up unruly Snow too. While at the park, I did walking lunges because, you know, I couldn't give up ALL attempts to go into labor despite my newfound peace. To make it all better, I started to have semi-painful "contractions" every 10 minutes. I'm throwing up quotes because I legit thought those little things were the real deal - since I've never gone into labor on my own I truly had no idea what an ACTUAL contraction felt like. But I felt blissful in my belief that THIS WAS IT! Once with Chad, we hit up Costco with those things hitting every 10 minutes, then to keep the pace up, went to Target to grab a few things where they went down to every 7 minutes. Around 3:30 I decided that we should let Chad's mom know what the deal was, but didn't want her to stress - after all I had no idea if those "contractions" were even contractions. She waited out traffic then got to our house that night at 8:00.

As soon as she walked in the door, not kidding, they stopped. STOPPED. I ceased to feel ANYTHING in the uterine area. NOT. ONE. THING. I couldn't believe it - simply could not. Around 9:30, I resigned myself over to the fact that once again my body was reminding me that it does not go into labor.

THEN!!!! At 11:00 pm with Chad fast asleep and doggy snoring, I had a REAL DEAL contraction. Like that thing HURT! I was like woah, holy heck! Then 10 minutes later, another one! Then like 15 minutes later, another - 9 minutes later, another - 13 minutes later, another! They were super painful but so inconsistent I didn't know what to do. I read a few of my favorite blogs and then had 2 minutes between contractions which freaked me out - I got up, got dressed and told Chad let's hit the road for the hospital at 1:30 in the morning. We told Chad's mom who was sleeping on the couch that we were going to go, then loaded into the car where I got scared I was being dramatic and they were going to send me home. We drove the 7 minutes down to the hospital, checked in at 1:43 am and got all hooked up. They checked me and said I WAS AT 6 CENTIMETERS AND THEY COULDN'T BELIEVE MY WATER HADN'T BROKEN YET! THIS WAS IT! I was sooooooooo happy!

I was playing around with not getting the epidural. At this point the contractions seemed so manageable! They were consistently 5 minutes apart and not too bad!  "Hey, I can do this!" It was great! But the nurses kept reminding me that if I was on the fence I better decided quickly given our third baby status. Chad was straight up nervous I wasn't going to get the epidural - he kept asking if I had made a decision hahaha! The look on his face! He was trying to be calm but the stress was pretty obvious!
Then, at 3:45 am I had one of those insane double peaked contractions. Like I could not believe the intensity of this thing. It came 4 minutes after the previous contraction which made me lose my nerve regarding this non-epidural experiment I had been debating for the past 9 months. As soon as that thing passed, I looked at Chad and told him, "I'm getting the epidural," hahaha! I paged the nurse and immediately started freaking out that I had possibly waited too long. She came in, checked me, told me I was at 8 and that the anesthesiologist would be in in 15 minutes. In my mind I was like "OMG I MAY HAVE TO EXPERIENCE 3-4 MORE OF THOSE INSANE CONTRACTIONS?! WHAT IF I DILATE IN 15 MINUTES?!" But thank goodness homie g with the goods strolled on in a few minutes later.

Also a weird side note, during the short time I was waiting for the guy to come in to shoot me up with amazing numbness, I thought about how much an epidural may cost and if this whole thing was going to be covered by insurance, then thought "NICOLE GET A GRIP! YOU'RE HAVING A BABY, GET THOSE THOUGHTS OUT OF YOUR HEAD! WHAT AN INAPPROPRIATE TIME TO THINK ABOUT YOUR BANK ACCOUNT, YOU FOOL!" Bahahahahaha!

After I laid back down from getting the epidural, I had the strongest feeling that I needed to push. I thought I had for sure waited too long and what the HELL had I been thinking. I didn't even want to tell the nurse about the feeling because I didn't want to have to do it!!!!!!!!! What if she told me I would have to deliver before the epidural spread?!!!!!!! It was true terror. But turns out it was my blood pressure that had gone up so they had to inject something into my IV and then all was good. At this point it was 4:00 and I had officially been awake for 24 hours (the previous day I had woken up at this time due to being a large, uncomfortable whale of a human). So I shut my eyes and instantly fell asleep, then woke up at 5:30 and they told me it was almost go time.

I started pushing at 6:00 and she was born at 6:10!!!!!! It was insane! I was SO NUMB, for sure the numbest I've been between the three babies, I was thanking God for the invention of the epidural. Like literally lying there and in my head thinking "Thank you, God, for providing the epidural." I don't know why that thought was so prevalent! It was like I was just so thankful to have had delivered a healthy baby after officially going into labor on my own, early in the morning with Chad drinking coffee right next to me, all in good spirits (aka NOT in pain)! It was all so 100% how I wanted it to go! So glorious!
Grace looked so much like Carter to me when she was born and in the weeks since has reminded me of both kids' looks, Kota's equally with Carter's. Her coloring is light so combined with her chunky-chunkiness it all reminded me of my big boy during those first few hours. She even had neck rolls straight out of the womb! I mean, it was just so wonderful. She has been the calmest of little sweeties, we are so blessed to have her here with us. It's just such a miracle! We are so thankful and in love!

Welcome to the family, Gracie!!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Carter's first day of 1st grade! Wah!

 Well gosh-be-darnit, we have a FIRST GRADER UP IN HERE! How can this be? Wasn't he just born yesterday? Did we not drive home from the hospital just a couple of hours ago? I don't get it, I DON'T GET IT.
 He is now home from this wild thing called "All Day School" and is playing video games, per his request. The ONE RULE he said he MUST FOLLOW... are you ready?... was to NOT EAT THE TEACHER! The one rule!

Honestly I just can't believe it - he's in first grade. Truly this is the rest of his life. After dropping my baby off with his amazing teacher (Mrs. Jimenez! Exactly who I wanted him to have!), I pondered the several hours ahead of Kota and I before pick up. It was SO EARLY and we had SO LONG before 2:57. It was mind blowing!

I'm so proud of him. Truly - this kid. He's so confident, secure and ready for whatever is coming at him. From the outfit he picked out to his "seriously mom, no more pictures" words this morning as I walked out his classroom door, he's got my heart. 6 years old and a true master of his little universe - it makes me so happy!
 This is a very weird thought, but the other night we let the kids ride their bikes in the street - something we hardly ever do because Kota can't seem to get the whole "car" thing down. She thinks it's fine to just continue riding on when there's a huge hunk of metal hurling toward her. But anyway, I had this thought exactly: you know, parenting's gone pretty great so far. No complaints. So far, so good. I really like it.

Baha! Those were my actual thoughts! Like hey man, this whole gig is going pretty well. I very much enjoy these little people Chad and I are raising - they're turning out to be alright. It's the most obvious thought in the world but it totally popped into my head! It spanned from finding out we were expecting Carter to that very night where we were all hanging out in front of home in the street.

Truly, what a life! It's so wonderful. We are lucky we get to grow with these littles and watch them come into their own. What a joy!
^^^Love bug!!!!!!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

So I made a DIY blog - there, I said it!

Okay so I've been turning over and over in my mind whether or not I would want to make a new blog for a pretty long time. My hesitation was just that I didn't know if I actually wanted to DO that. Leave this awesome family space? Eek. Put MORE energy into the ol' computer? Eh, it sounded as if something like that would conflict with the little aspect of my life called PARENTING - just a tiny responsibility I have ;)

But alas! I have made a new blog because I've had these INSANE (and I mean INSANE) needs for an additional creative outlet. It's like, the creation of a new web world I felt excited over was NEEDED. And since I've been pretty dang happy with the extent of our DIY's in the place where I feel most passionate (at home, yo!), I decided to just do it and make a separate space where us C's could document that portion of life. (I say "us C's" and pretty much mean... me. Chad is not exactly the blogging type hahaha).

HENCE WAS BORN MINI HOUSE, MIGHTY HEARTS! Go read about that in the new About Me section, why dontchya.

This creative "venture" I guess you could say is a direct result of nesting - THE NESTING WITH THIS BABY! It's clearly out of control, but hey, I love it.

SO! If you are an awesome individual who enjoys watching two humans mess up DIY's then try them again and again and again, go ahead and follow along. Apparently you would have to "subscribe" via email (following on a blog roll is a thing of the past in blogger? I don't know - I felt archaic when asking the blog designer lady where the heck the "followers" section was HAHA!). But if you would like to do that go right ahead, you awesome human, you!

If you follow along via Google+, I'm going to start posting those there just like this blog automatically does.

ALSO - oh my gosh, this has given me actual anxiety - I... kind of... figured out... PINTEREST! Y'all I have PINNED the pictures from Mini House Mighty Hearts! They're out there! On the internets! Just hanging out! On a board of mine! Can you believe it?!!!!!!!! I feel kind of douchey about that part, but a best friend of mine shook me out of my shyness and was like DAMNIT NICOLE! IF YOU GUYS DID A PROJECT AND IT CAME OUT WELL, SHARE IT WITH PEOPLE WHO ARE STRUGGLING WITH A SIMILAR PROJECT! DO IT!

So. I did it.

But I'm still going to go hide under a rock because it's slightly embarrassing. Oh well though - I really DO feel happy that I've been chronicling a few of our DIY's in their own little space, albeit in hindsight at the moment.

But anyhoo, I think I'm still going to post family moments up in here. I just can't WALK AWAY from 600+ posts since 2010 of my sweet family! That CAN'T happen! So anyway, yay. I'm slightly embarrassed, feel a bit douchesque, but oh well, what can ya do?! If you mozy over there I hope you like it!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Bass Lake 2016!

Well gosh dang, family trips are just the absolute bomb diggity. We just got home from a long weekend trip with the Paplia clan and I have to say, it was the BEST!

So we left home at 5:30 on Thursday morning (without closing our garage door, may I add -__- ). Chad left to get breakfast burritos while I packed up the rest of the goods and (hey hey hey), sneak in my pregnancy workout DVD, then we woke our sleeping cuties and told them IT WAS TIME TO GO! VACATION! WOOOOO!

Bass Lake (where my family would vacation growing up! It was a momentous trip: Gina and I would be bringing our kiddos with us to where our parents took THEIR kiddos - and my mom's parents even took her when she was a youngin!) is about a 4 hour drive from home, but we wanted to go the extra little bit and see some awesome Yosemite sights given that we would be so close. So we actually opted for the 5.5 hour drive to the national park, and because duh, we had to do it big, decided to explore Glacier Point (the the most scenic point of the place). After driving the winding roads all the way up the mountain, we found that we would have to wait in a long line for a bus to take us the rest of the way. We thought, "Hey it's all good! We are about 20 minutes into vacation, we can stand to wait a little longer for the bus!" but with the heat, it actually kind of sucked. There was even this really negative guy standing behind us! He was such a party pooper! His poor kids must really loathe family vaca's with his commentary constantly being voiced: "this sucks." "...who's idea was this?" "...we've got about 45 minutes left to go." "...well I'm just going to look at my phone because we HAVE to wait." - annoying man.

But we were fine! Just happy to be there, we were!
 ^^^In-line shenanigans.
^^^29 weeks!

 So I loved Glacier Point's amazing viewpoints, but Y'ALL. Those cliffs got me SO NERVOUS! I felt like one of the kids was going to go plummeting off at any moment. All of the youngins there were rock jumping from one large boulder to the next while their parents oo'd and ahh'd at the sights - my eyes were glued to Carter and Kota because I felt certain this was where they were going to fly off into Yosemite Valley. Terrifying! I felt like kind of a poop being so worried about them, but then I saw another mom yelling at her kids to stop jumping around like maniacs, so I felt better - haha!

So Glacier Point was a great highlight! Next it was off to Oakhurst to grab a few last minute goodies for our cabin and then it was BASS LAKE TIME!
 As soon as we got there, everyone quickly said hello to our cabin-mates (the sister and her family) and my parents who's cabin was down the way a bit, then we quickly changed into bathing suits and hit the pool. It was all so beautiful! Love it there.

The next morning we were all rarin' to go - IT WAS PONTOON BOAT DAY! Chad, Bear and my dad headed to Miller's Landing to pick up the rental while Gina, my mom and I hung with the 5 kiddos. Once they picked us up, we let loose the tube and got to extreme sportin' it up! The kids loved it. I seriously wish I could have tubed but being a 7 month pregnant whale of a human doesn't exactly allow for much wake-bouncin'. But anyway, that was a great day. Tons of great food, fun jumping off the boat and swimming. I'm pretty sure Carter is a professional chocolate ice cream-guzzler. That kid can seriously put away some frozen goodness.
 ^^^That night - THAT FREAKIN' NIGHT - the food. The FOOOOOOOOOOOOD! It's been said before and will be said again: traveling with a professionally trained chef is the way to go, my friend. There simply is no other option. Every trip we take with my sister and her family is THE BEST because we get fed like kings. It's simply UNBELIEVABLE.

But anyhoo. Boat day 2 was right around the corner! I didn't bring my humongous DSLR because instead of a tame pontoon boat, the boys got A SPEED BOAT! Yes! My parents opted to stay at the resort for this day, so us kids went wild with the toy.
 So I have to admit, I really wasn't all that excited for this day when we were in the planning stages of the whole thing. Chad and Bear were stoked on the idea of taking the kids out on a speed boat, but I legitimately was like "Well... I know my parents USED to water ski and such, but Gina has never done it in her life and obviously the kids would be doing it for the first time. I'm 7 months pregnant so won't be tubing OR wake boarding/water skiing... what is the point of this fast thing?" I thought it would be a great thing to do in the future but for this year? 5 kids ages 7 and under? I just didn't really get it. BUT I WAS WRONG! This was the coolest boat ever. Not only was it very relaxing because we were closer to the actual water as opposed to being propped higher in the pontoon boat, but there was SO MUCH STORAGE, so all of our coolers and whatnot were not within sight. The kids LOVED it and the speed was actually freakin' awesome. Carter got out there to wake board but didn't quite make it up, and then my niece tried and she got up for a few seconds! It was an absolute blast! We only ordered it for half the day but next year I want to get it for longer. It was soooooooo fun!
^^^Each family took a night to prepare dinner. First it was Bear and Gina with that amaze balls fettucini alfredo dish, then my parents did enchiladas and for the final night we made carne asada tacos. Such great food! We were all overly stuffed by the end.
^^^Okay, how cool is this picture???? It's one of those photos where I feel like we'll look at it when we're all in our 80's and be like "Hey look at us at Bass Lake in our 20's!" Totally one of those pictures the kids will look at one day and be like "Look at how young our parents were! Is Mom/Aunt Nicole pregnant with Gracie? I think she is!" So cool!
So yes, it was a great vacation if there ever was one. We loved every second! I was pretty impressed that Gracie let me hang in there as long as she did, and I'm dang glad that our kids are awesome. Seriously, what a life!!!!!

And last but not least, this picture has to be included...
^^^Hahaha! This is from when Chad was haulin' on the way to Yosemite and got pulled over! He went a strong 4 weeks in the new Chevy before getting a ticket. Carter and Kota were straight up LECTURING him when the cop was writing the dang thing! The whole reason he was going fast was to get in front of this slow lady, so Kota told Chad VERY POINTEDLY, "Daddy, it doesn't matter who goes first! We all have to share the road! You should have let that lady go ahead of you!" Hahahaha! The cop almost felt bad for us though, because he struck up a nice conversation with the four of us about visiting Yosemite and traveling to Bass Lake afterward. He even commanded Chad to roll down the back window so he could give Carter knuckles! Bahahaha!

So hilarious and awesome!

A few more from family day because it was glorious

I like these people. They are pretty cool.
 ^^^Almost 29 weeks right here!
 Honestly this day was just too glorious. That is all. Truly.

Well that and I'm also trying to hide from my kids because summer needs to end. I'm a-ok with starting up school now. Bring it on! Carter, Kota and I could stand to get away from one another for a few hours a day. EVERY day - so cool. Let's go 1st grade and TK!
^^^Carter does some great work on the ol' Canon, wouldn't ya say?! Hahaha!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Balboa Park family day

 Fully obsessed with these babies and the bump pictures that I've actually DONE regularly with this pregnancy! Way to go, us!

This last Sunday we seriously needed a concentrated family day. Staying home didn't sound too appealing, but hitting up all of our regular routes and destinations didn't sound too great either. Navigating through traffic to Orange County? Nah. ANYTHING traffic? NO. So Chad, king of the great ideas lately (read: drive in  movie theater genius), suggested we surprise the kids with a mini road trip down to SD to walk around Balboa Park. We could hit up a few museums if we wanted to or just mozy around and BE! It sounded glorious.
We saw turtles, skipped around fountains, walked through the natural history museum and just RELAXED. Well, I say "relaxed," but doing so actually took me over half the day. I've been so wound up lately! Like I can't just chill out. It's either my brain is working on overdrive, not allowing me to sleep, or my body is giving me issues. RIGHT THIS MINUTE I'm pretty sure I'm the most tired I've ever been in my entire life, but I can't sleep. CANNOT. The kids are at Grandma Cheryl's for a summer sleepover so I made a concerted effort to get some day time shut eye. After literally TWO HOURS of lying there, eyes shut and all (!!!), I gave up. But my eyeballs are on fire! My brain is mush! Everything in me needs to go to sleep! I've been letting go of stress because it's not good for bambina, so that's been kind of nice. Next step: sleep training myself so that way actual relaxation can occur more easily.

But anyhoo, I really did chill out about half way through the day. It was a fun time with my babies! It's going to be so weird NOT being JUST the four of us anymore, come October. It makes me a little emotional! I have a feeling I'll be really teary-eyed leaving for the hospital to have Baby Grace. Like we are the Original 4! Who knows how many more of these strictly Cisneros family days we'll have left before things change FOOOORRREEEEVVVEEERRR. Obvi thrilled for what's ahead, but I'm kind of sad! I had these same feelings thinking of going into the hospital with Kota, but it seems like we've been THE FOUR OF US for so long that this will be a bit different. Anyway, can't wait for baby girl and very thankful for days like these where we get to simply enjoy each other's company.

Yay Balboa Park!
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