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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Catch up: 5 + 7!

Well gosh be-darnit, the kids' birthday's have come and gone! We are now mind-blowingly the parents of a 7 year old man beast and 5 year old sass-princess. It's incredible! What in the heck?! Since for 4 + 6 we had a big ol' party at our house last year, we decided to let them each pick one friend to go with them on a day of adventuring on their actual birthdays. We also decided to go small(er)-scale because when planning it all out, I was super pregnant with Grace and we just had no idea how we would be doing with a new baby - party planning seemed out of the question. Anyway, it was honestly such a blast!
For Carter, him and his buddy Ethan (who's our neighbor and his classmate - got to love elementary school where your friends live right around every corner!) took off for a good 8-9 hours with Chad on my big man's birthday. The plans for the day were to go to Nickel Nickel - this awesome arcade that has been revamped from when Chad and I were kids! How cool is that? Anyway, apart from the general coolness of the day, this particular arcade only accepts nickels for the games - NICKELS! I meeeeeeeeeeeean... 5 cent games are okay by me! Hahaha. So the two of them Nickel Nickeled it up for hours and hours and hours, then went to an elaborate lunch of Carter's choosing: SUBWAY! My first born angel wanted Subway above all else for lunch - again, OKAY BY MAMA OVER HERE! After lunch they returned to the arcade for more fun and then headed home where the girls and I had slaved away making Carter a 4 tiered chocolate cake.

I do have to say though, it was SOOOOOOOO STRANGE to just be at home NOT with the birthday boy this year. When we have parties, they're always way before his actual birthday given it's proximity to Christmas and even when we don't have parties, of course our entire family is together. This year was just so different in that regard! Like the whole day when the boys were gone it's like I had this pent up energy like "OKAY! THIS IS CARTER'S BIRTHDAY! IT'S A FUN, FUN, FUN, FUN DAY!" but Carter wasn't there to hug and squeeze! I called my parents to ask if they could come over for dinner that night just to make it even more birthday-ee for our big guy once his friend went home. So once Chad and the boys got to our house, we sang happy birthday, opened gifts and then his bud left with his parents. Next we all ate dinner with my parents and had a jolly good time.
HOW IS HE SEVEN?!!!!!!!!

For Miss Dakota, we had this amazing day planned out at Downtown Disney where her and her little friend Riley from preschool were going to get princess make overs at the Elsa and Anna Boutique followed by Sprinkles cupcakes and Starbucks! I mean, how could you go wrong with that combination? It was SO FUN.

The way the whole day went was Kota and I left the boys and Grace at home, then headed down the street to pick up Riley and her fun mama. Then the four of us headed to DTD, all while it was raining just a bit. The girls looked soooooooo sweet in their little princess dresses while walking up to get their hair, make up and nails done! OH MY GOSH it was darling. As they got made-up, Jessica and I took 40,000 pictures because it was the cutest thing ever.
Next we headed over to Sprinkles to get the "IT'S YOUR BDAY" set of twelve cupcakes, then went right on over to Starbucks where we ordered up a storm. When we sat down, we lit up 5 candles for Miss Riley because it had actually been her birthday just days earlier, and then we did the same for Kota - it was SO FUN! Jessica and I enjoyed warm coffees and it was so merry!

As we were heading out of DTD, the girls asked if we could do a quick run through of Build-A-Bear where unexpectedly, Jessica treated the girls to adorable reindeers! HOW SPECIAL AND FUN WAS THAT?! It was truly the cherry on top to a wonderful day out. As we headed back to Corona, we said good bye to our birthday buddies and headed home to our boys and babe. We then relaxed while Chad and I chowed down on more of the Sprinkles cupcakes, trying to chill out before New Year's Eve celebrations began down in Ladera at the sister's house.

It was soooooo much fun with Kota! Again, it was super weird for all of us Cisneros's not to be together on her birthday, just like it was odd for Carter's, but ya know, it was all awesome!

We are so proud of these old kids. It will be fun to see what Grace wants to do on her 5th and 7th birthdays! So insane that she seems so far away from those ages, but I just KNOW it will whoosh by and before we all know it we'll be hanging out with HER friends. Insane!

Monday, February 6, 2017

Christmas 2016!

While I was scouring my brain for a reason to write some Cisneros family facts up in here, I realized I hadn't recorded a dang thing about this past Christmas! What on earth?!

What did we do, what did we do?! Well of course, on Christmas Eve we headed down south to the ol' Paplia home to celebrate. This is such an amazing night every year - not only is it relaxing and cozy, but the kids run rampant. There are so many grandchildren now - 6!!!!! They literally just run around the house like wild banchees while the adults drink eggnog and wine. It's fabulous. The gift giving is always very on point as well - mama over here got a massive truck load of legit TOWELS! This present prompted my niece to let me know that "they are just towels!" Oh, my dear niece. I told her that in 20 years I'll buy her towels and see the tears of joy well up in her eyes bahaha!

On Christmas Day we woke up to Santa's generosity in the forms of several hundred Pokemon cards, a trampoline, and a cool, all-her-own play thing for the little one. Funny fact - Chad and I heard the kids wake up when they did because their door makes a squeaking noise when it opens. We both sat still in bed and waited to hear the screams of excitement upon noticing Santa had come. Instead of letting loose yelps of mind numbing happiness, Carter said matter-of-factly, "Kota, Santa has come. Go wake up Mom and Dad to let them know." Chad and I both looked at each other, a little worried about the coolness of Santa's gifts on our minds, but then Kota came bursting through the door with a huge smile on her face and told us to GET UP!!!!!!! So then we felt better hahaha.

That day we had Grandpa Ernie come on over to hang out with us then at night Grandma Cheryl came over to spend the night. It was great! Totally relaxed and awesome. Love these wonderful people!

It must be noted that Chad got me a few scotchmallow bars and I love him so much for it. He wrapped them in a huge box and labeled it "Mama Bear." I mean, it was awesome - the exact type of gift I always talk about wanting: nothing too crazy, just something sweet. They're my favorite bars from See's and he remembered from years ago! I love that guy. He got me a few other small, sweet things and it was the best year ever in terms of gifts between the two of us. I mean, can you really beat a few BACON SPLATTER SCREENS? Yep, I got him some of those - 3 to be precise, for each of his cooking needs, thank you very much. The simple gifts are the best gifts!

Also another thing. This was our THIRD Christmas in this house - can you believe that that's the MOST CHRISTMAS'S IN A ROW WE'VE EVER SPENT IN ONE PLACE IN OUR ALMOST 8 YEARS OF MARRIAGE?! This was a very exciting fact to us. Several times throughout the season we both repeated how cool it was that "THIS IS OUR THIRD CHRISTMAS HERE, ISN'T THAT SO AWESOME?" After the years of hip-hopping around OC, having 3 sets of Christmas time photos in the same place really does give ya the warm and fuzzies. This isn't our forever home so it's not like we'll get 20 more Santa visits here, but it sure does make a couple feel settled. The best ever!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Our Dave Ramsey update

*Just like the first post I did about Dave Ramsey, this topic is a super weird one to "discuss" - I mean, personal finances isn't exactly polite to chat about, ya know? But truly, this whole Dave thing has been such a large piece of our lives, it's weird NOT to record it up in here. So I'm just going to get up and over feeling weird about it and will begin writing! After all, if there are humans who read this who have never heard of this dang process, then maybe this will help them out. Ya never know!
Well gosh be-darn, it's been over TWO YEARS since my last update, which came around the ONE YEAR anniversary of our first date with the Rams. PEOPLE. I am sick of Dave. He can go kick rocks. I'm so sick of him, but I love him - ya know? Without him, we'd still be stewing around in a wasteland of dumbness. So all in all, to keep it straight, we've been hanging out with the Rams for THREE WHOLE YEARS NOW - THREE! Not three weeks, not three months, THREE YEARS. (Which I'm kind of proud of, kind of sickened by baha! But for real, I'm proud of us for sticking with him for so long.)

Okay so quick recap:

1. That first post outlined a successful year undoing a large chunk of weirdo decisions made in the past. It was so cool! What a blast that was.

2. Then, since that post, things kept changing - we moved from Lake Forest to Ladera Ranch where our rent changed slightly. Car decisions were made (one of which wasn't the best - damn lease) which changed payment situations. We moved to Corona where our new mortgage was drastically different from renting. Rates dropped, so mortgage payment changed again. Car decisions were made... better than leases though, but of course payments changed (we know the Rams encourages buying cars in cash instead of financing, but hey sista we NEEDED cars right away, payments were our only option). What else, what else - I know there were more. These facts weren't necessarily a bad thing, just a bunch of shifting around. I was proud of us though, even though these changes definitely meant constantly switching up the "Dave Ramsey'ing" of our lives. At least with each of these changes, we had our heads screwed on straight as opposed to the early-20's version of ourselves. So that fact right there meant Dave had continued to earn his spot as the third member to the ol' Cisneros marriage bahaha! But with all of these changes, nothing really changed from that first year of working our butts off to get things under control. In fact, with the cars, it actually got a tad bit more intense. Tons of people told us to not be so hard on ourselves - after all, we were mainly focusing on car debt and student loans, two things that at least weren't the scum of the earth, like credit card payments (little did they know that we were working those too! Bahahaha it's all so horrid!). What they meant by trying to convince us to not be so hard on ourselves was at least cars were a necessity, not some luxury, and at least student loans were a "nobler" type of debt. Nice thoughts, but Dave's influence was too deep to "be cool" with even those payments.

3. Then a few months ago (September, to be exact!), big mama over here wanted to try her hand at bill-paying. We got to a point where I realized that all of the shifting had stopped for the foreseeable future - we both have reliable cars, mortgage payment is constant obviously, those type things - and as mentioned, I had never EVER done this before in my adult life, so I thought it would be prudent of me to give it a shot. Well tally-ho I ain't ever going back to not paying the bills! I looooooooove it. And that's where I shall pick up this post!...
Clearly we are still in the "debt snowball" area, just like gooooood ollllllllll' 2013. That's okay though, honestly. Before I was paying the beels, I felt desperately lame about how we were STILL in that arena. But now that I know what's up and am fully comfortable with how strict I am with the way we choose to spend, I'm actually quite thankful. Between Chad and I, I'm definitely the one who cares more about this whole "endeavor" than he does, so I just do my thing and KNOW that we are getting somewhere, unlike my total blindness to things beforehand.

I can't wait for September of 2017 to see how my "methods" have "performed." As more and more of my friends and acquaintances get to know Dave and his strict freakin' ways, my biggest piece of advice to them is to have the person who a) CARES MORE and b) IS MORE ORGANIZED to be the one "in charge." It will be an awesome day when we graduate to Baby Step #3, but in the meantime I feel calm about the process. This is part of our journey and I'm truly thankful to be doing it with Chad, the most fun guy on the planet, even if that meant that for a good 2 years we kind of just.... sat there. At least during those stagnant years we weren't going deeper into pointless debt (if you don't count the cars), meaning our habits had changed dramatically - truly the most important part of the whole "process." So it was all good in the hood!
So this post compared to the last post, I would say, is a kind of coming of age story in which I graduated from a manic human desperate to rid myself of the disgustingness that was a few weirdo decisions (LET'S TAKE OUT ALL THE STUDENT LOANS! AREN'T THESE GOVERNMENT DOLLARS FUN?!?!?! - naivete is a weird thing), into a butterfly of calmness. A few ways this calmness has been achieved... (if you're someone who's starting off with Dave and want some tips from an ol' Baby Step #2 veteran)...:

1. Utilizing the Rams' envelope concept really helped me realize that we could totally live a great life while STILL paying things off. Before using envelopes to save for things we wanted to do in life, I felt super sad about how we wouldn't go on a cool vacation with the kids for many years because we were down in the depths (Dave would say to shuttle every single dollar toward the payments, not toward something frivolous like vacations, which is great of course, but we have a family here! We want to do cool stuff with them and show them awesome things!). Using his envelope idea we've saved for a super awesome vacation coming up here in a couple of months, have had a completely stress free Christmas shopping experience these last few years, have planned great birthday outings for each of the older kids, and have had a super awesome "date night" life - all sans guilt! These cool envelopes coincided with payment pay offs - they're compartmentalized now. It's great!

2. This one is more mental than anything else, but I just had to STOP with the GUILT. The beating myself up? It needed to stop. Once I stopped stressing over the state of affairs, all went better. Our financial talks became way less tense and everything just flowed better. Yes it's not a great feeling to take a look at your finances and be like "WAY TO GO, YA EFFING IDIOT," but you are certainly not alone. It's tough to ease up on yourself, but dollars and cents are not worthy of my mental capacity to the extent I was letting it all get to me. Feeling fortunate for the dollars and cents available to make it all better? Now that is a great way to think!

Okay this post is getting SUPER long...
All of this "calmness" has not come without a fight or two (or a million tense conversations...) between Chadly and I, but again, it's part of our journey! It truly makes ya stronger, chap. So all in all, envelopes have done us well and we are calmer humans than when we started this whole thing. Peace of mind is what it's all about, and even with disturbing, constant payments, that can be achieved as long as you stick to your guns.

Again, I can't wait until next year's Dave Ramsey update post! I won't go 2 years in between again. It's going to be awesome. AWESOME!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

In which I outline my extensive thoughts on children's soccer

Why are my humans the most perfect bunch in the entire universe? They are the bomb!

Okay, what to say, what to say. Grace is sleeping, Kota is entrenched in Peppa Pig and I did a bunch of cleaning yesterday... there's nothing for me to do right now! Therefore the only acceptable action to take is to create my favorite type of post ever: one with no real point! They're the best when looking back.

Hmmmmm. Welp, Kota has informed Chad and I vigorously that she WILL do soccer again so that way she can get the snacks and run through the tunnel at the end of the game. THESE ARE THE ONLY REASONS SHE WANTS TO PLAY SOCCER AGAIN. Running after the ball? Nah. Scoring? Who cares! No, she's very honest about her intentions. Every fiber in my body wants to say no to this request because I do not understand why Chad and I will have to be subjected to sitting outdoors on a hot, dumb field when there's no passion behind her soccer-playing, but I don't think that's a good idea. I mean, if she wants to be on a team, who am I to get in the way? Yes, the team camaraderie isn't exactly her motivation, but what if she starts to love soccer and then plays for the rest of her life? That could happen! Merr. I'm still sad about the lack of desire to return to dance though... wahhhhh!!!!! But that's okay...

Speaking of soccer, Chad and I are thrilled that Carter doesn't want to go back to it hahaha! We are evil parents. He was good at it, scored tons of goals and everything, but his little heart lies with hockey (THANK GOODNESS). There were a few weirdo parents on his team - I'm pretty sure one of them thought Chad and I were teen parents or something, she was so mean and condescending to us! She even yelled at Carter for something harmless. Several times I wanted to ask her why the HELL her husband hadn't volunteered to coach like MY husband had if she was such a bitter human being and wanted everything done just so. I even ranted about the benefits of having children in your 20's so that way we COULD volunteer to coach soccer without the threat of a heart attack, UNLIKE THEM! Bahahaha okay this post is turning into a very weird one. But anyhoo... - that was just one of the factors which ultimately rubbed salt in the wound that was us hauling our lives to the soccer fields weekly. It was so sweet the way he told us he didn't want to play again though! He said, "Dad, I don't want to play soccer anymore, I want to play hockey. But don't worry, I'll finish out my season." My heart! Proud of him for understanding the bigger picture and why we even do sports in the first place: to learn life lessons like perseverance. Go Carter!

But anyway, I feel bad for being such a poop about soccer. Truly it's nothing against the sport! I would have the same reaction to hockey if neither kid was very passionate about it but yet we would have to make our way there every week. So all in all, if they LOVED soccer or any other sport, of course I would get into it.
 ^^^Kota at one of Carter's games bahahaha.
^^^Them plus Grace makes my heart sing!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

A day of firsts by an almost 29 year old

So when I was very pregnant toward the end of September, I had a full day of firsts. Both kids were at school, freeing me up to slay life in the jugular. Now these firsts are not that dang impressive, hence their noteworthiness. Most of them were so basic that I had to text my best friends just to let them know that I, Nicole Christine Cisneros, an almost-29-year-old, accomplished these things. It was quite the day!
So first of all, I paid a round of bills for the first time in my ENTIRE LIFE! Me! For the FIRST TIME EVER! Never had I ever paid bills before September of 2016. In college, my parents generously floated my over-spending boat and then I got married at 21! Chad paid all of our bills after that. The only thing I did banking related was to contributed 20% of my part time pay toward our savings, which came to an end once I had Carter bahahaha! So from 21 to 28, the whole of my "adult life," I skipped the part where one does this very basic, grown woman task - and guess what? I FREAKING LOVED IT. It was so dang fun to me! In my pure joy, I texted Liz and Whitney to tell them how amazing bill paying was to which they responded that I was a freak and if I could pay their bills with such enthusiasm I was welcome to it. So that was the first of the firsts!

THEN, oh then, I fearlessly BACKED MY VOLVO INTO THE GARAGE IN REVERSE. I know, it's a fete worth bounds of jealousy. I just whipped that bad bitch into the neighbor's drive way across the street, threw her into reverse, then floated backwards into the depths of our garage. Next, a picture was taken of my car and sent to Liz and Whitney to keep them updated on my epic day. They were super interested, let me assure you...
Next, mama over here scrubbed the tile on all fours. I remember my parents would sometimes do this to the tile in our kitchen, and I've thought about that several times, wondering why the heck they would put themselves through that sort of torture. But that day I was on fire! So while 9 months pregnant, I deep cleaned my floors for the first time in my LIFE! Not just while we've owned our home here in Corona, but in my LIFE. I've been a home keepin' woman since 21 and never had I ever truly taken care of my floors beyond a quick swiffer. I felt pretty dang proud of it!
What was next, what was next? I don't know, but I know there was something else on this list of firsts. It will probably hit me in the middle of the night when I'm feeding Grace or something. Anyhoo! Betta get to those kids' homework now! I have A HAIR APPOINTMENT IN 2 HOURS! I'M SO BEYOND HAPPY I'M GOING TO ATTACK THEIR HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENTS WITH VIGOR THANKS TO THE ENERGY THIS APPOINTMENT HAS GIVEN ME! Alooooooooooooooooooone time, here I come!


Saturday, December 3, 2016

Life with 3 bebes

I thought the jump from 2 to 3 bambinos was going to be hell - I've been told this practically my whole life. Everyone I've ever chatted to about families and children during my 28 years of being has reported that 2 is VERY doable, awesome, amazing, fabulous, wonderful and legit - 3 however... May as well go check yourself into the state asylum while you're ahead. The biggest source of this was my own madre! That's not to say she would have done anything differently - in fact once she even said she totally would have done 4!... had 3 not been such a wild roller coaster of puke-worthiness haha! - but she definitely conveyed to me several times how hard juggling tres bebes can be. The whole topic was perpetuated by Chad's former 2-children-nothing-more-nothing-less mantra for the first 6 years of our marriage. Everyone kept telling me to count my blessings because we had 2 great kids, a boy and a girl, both of which were very manageable, awesome and well behaved. Once we decided to go for 3 due to my extreme wishes to have more than 2 kids, there was a tiny part of me that was worried that IF little ol' me lost my mind because it was all so dang hard, THEN EVERYONE WOULD POINT AND LAUGH AND BE LIKE HAHA WE TOLD YOU SO, YA DAMN FOO!

So you could imagine my surprise when we brought baby girl home and we... are... all... still... AFLOAT! Not only have we stayed afloat, but we are actually THRIVING! What is happening over here? Even at my own baby shower, I remember joking about how I was so happy to have such great friends who I could totally call when I inevitably would bawl my eyes out due to how hard the whole 3-kid-thing was going to be! I truly thought it was going to be insane and I would just have to bear through it because this whole thing was my idea (obviously was Chad's too - he had to give the go-ahead after all! I guess he's kind of important in the whole procreating realm baha!). But hey! We are LOVING it. I know everyone says this, but she fits into our family perfectly. She's calm. She actually LIKES daddy! She doesn't get freaked out when Kota goes over the top with her scary screams. She let's Carter hold her for long periods of time. I mean. It doesn't get any better!

In fact right now she's just lying on our bed fast asleep. She's the coolest! She also makes me feel like Carter and Kota are my actual friends. Like they are humans who I get to hang out with. People to converse with, ya know? We get to talk to Carter about hockey, Pokemon cards and how much he likes his teacher. Kota gets to regal us with her dramatic TK playground stories. She can tell me if she wants to wear this leotard to gymnastics or that one. Grace reminds me how gosh dang INNOCENT children come! I wouldn't recognize that pure innocence though without Carter and Kota to compare it to! The dynamic has been great and we're only 6 weeks in! 

I know it's going to get harder eventually. One day Grace will become mobile and I'll be like woah, I thought the 3 kid thing was easy here in the Cisneros home - guess not. But for right now I'm sure as heck am going to appreciate the grace (see what I did there?) God has showered down upon us with making this whole transition easy, especially with all of my preconceived notions going into family-of-5 life. It's awesome! Very thankful!


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!!
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