Thursday, January 23, 2014

Throwback: Lily's Birth Story

Chris and I are in the final stages of "baby prep mode" and have been absolutely ripping through our to-do champions! But as we prep for the Captain's arrival, we have been constantly reminded of where we were a little over two years ago and pleasantly reminiscing about the Pea Pie's arrival.

I get asked a lot about Lily's birth story...probably because I was so vocal about wanting to have a natural birth. It's so weird, people just love when you "fail" at having a natural birth. I'm constantly just "smiling and nodding" when people rub it in that I ended up getting an epidural because I couldn't "hang". It's beyond disappointing because despite their intentions, the comments are rude and borderline hateful. Although those smug comments do still sting a bit, I no longer consider how Lily arrived to be a disappointment or failure...and here is why: she was a healthy, beautiful newborn! As hectic and emotional as her delivery was such an amazing experience that I truly look forward to doing again.

So, as we type out our birth plan for Harrison, we were compelled to visit my old blog and read Lily's Birth Story that I wrote a week or so after her arrival. To "throw it back" this Thursday, we wanted to share! Enjoy!

At 4:29am on Tuesday, May 10th, I woke up with mild cramping. I remember looking at the clock and seeing the time...thank goodness I did because I knew the next set of cramping was about 30 minutes later. I wasn't too alarmed because the cramps weren't "like the book said they would be". So, I shrugged it off and went back to sleep. Chris and I woke up for work around 7:00am and I was still experiencing the cramps. Just in case, we both called-in to work. I downloaded the "contractions timer" app on my iPhone and started timing. I still wasn't sure this was the real deal...but I knew it was something.

As the day progressed, so did the cramps. Despite the fact that they were getting more intense they were also getting closer together. I still wasn't 100% sure I was actually "in labor". So, we kept powering through them. I did a lot of walking, a lot of leaning over onto counter tops, a lot of side lying and even more hip swaying to deal with the pain. Chris called our doula to fill her in and get suggestions. She advised us to rest as much as we could, eat something light but substantial, and to keep her updated. So, we ordered Jimmy John's and I continued to manage the contractions that were now 4-5 minutes apart.

Come 11:00pm, I had had enough. So, we finished packing our bags, said goodbye to our adorable animals and headed to the hospital. Upon arrival, I was anxious, scared, and just plain ready to know how close I was to seeing our little girl. I was convinced I was at least 4-5 cms. I mean, I had been laboring for over 18 hours! Plus, how embarrassing if I was wrong and this wasn't labor at all? Well, after being assessed by the nurses...I was somewhere in the middle. I was definitely in labor but only the very early stage of it. I had only dilated 1 cm and was about 70% effaced. WHAT!?! I was so disappointed!

After being monitored for an hour, Chris and I decided to go back home to progress further before being admitted to the hospital. They gave me something to help me sleep and off we went. We got home close to 2am. Unfortunately, their pills weren't as magic as we hoped as I barely slept! When we "woke up", the contractions were still 4-5 minutes apart but WOW, they were intense. I tried the same techniques (lots of movement) from the day before with little comfort. I tried to eat a bit of toast but couldn't quite stomach it. I jumped in the shower and that was actually the best help. The hot water on my back was wonderful! Once I got out, I was done. With tears in my eyes, we packed up and headed back to the hospital. 

We were admitted around noon and headed to Labor and Delivery Suite 11 approximately 3-4 cms along. Not ideal, but better than the night before. I was given an IV and was hooked up the the wireless monitors, which kept tabs on the baby's heart rate and my contractions. I also put on my adorable hospital gown! Yes, I'm vain and brought my own! The excitement of it all helped me power through the first few contractions with a bit of ease. Chris set up his computer to play zen-like music and we turned the lights down to create a more relaxing environment. As much as that helped, I needed a bit more assistance getting comfortable. So, my doula and the nursing staff set up the birthing tub.

The birthing tub was amazing! The water was kept at 98 degrees and was large enough to keep me covered with water from the shoulders down. I was able to almost float and kick my legs during each contraction. The weightlessness really helped relax me...enough that Chris caught me snoring in between contractions! Being able to rest was invaluable and before I knew it...I had been in that thing for an hour and a half. Unfortunately, the exhaustion caught back up with me and I had reached a breaking point...I asked for the epidural.

I wanted a natural childbirth so badly and this was not how I had pictured everything happening. I was so full of mixed emotions at this point. I later realized that I had been in labor for around 36 hours without any medical interventions...I can be proud of that! 

After the epidural, things progressed a little more quickly...but not much. After getting out of the tub, I was approximately 6-7 cms with a long way to go. The epidural really helped me relax and I caught a few more minutes of sleep. Chris had not rested or even eaten at this point and it was about 5pm. So, he made a quick trip to the cafeteria downstairs to refuel. Being the smartie that he is, he brought back some Mr. Pibb...only my favorite guilty pleasure EVERI'll admit it, I took a little swig when everyone had their backs turned! At this point, I had only had water, ice chips, and a little apple juice...I deserved it!

I have to brag on the nursing staff at Woman's Hospital...they were incredible. They were very in tune with our expectations and desires and did everything in their power to make sure we were supported and comfortable. It helped that we had our doula with us and she has such a great relationship with the hospital. When most people have to say goodbye to their support system during the epidural being administered, my doula was able to stay and talk me though that intervention. This was especially helpful for me, seeing how I was quite emotional that I was getting it anyway.

Now, I had heard that one medical intervention can quickly lead to another...and I can say that is really true. Just a few hours after the epidural was given, I had my membranes artificially broken (aka my water was broken by the doctor). Although things didn't just domino immediately after this, we did progress a little stronger and faster. I was now 7-8 cms dilated...and incredibly sick to my stomach.

My legs felt the tingling of falling asleep, my back was knotted and sore, I was being twisted and turned every few minutes for various reasons, and I was now throwing up like a champion. YAY! Chris could not have been more supportive through this nasty time. He held my hair back, kept a cold rag on my face to help me fight the nausea, and kept whispering words of encouragement. There is not a doubt in my mind...I couldn't have made it without him!

Come a little after 9pm, I was told that my doctor was heading to the hospital to deliver our little one. So, everyone started preparing for the final stages. At 10pm, we were told that he would be arriving in about 30 minutes. I had my eyes fixed on the clock. Sure enough, he arrived at 10:30pm and the party really got started! I barely had the energy to keep my eyes open but the end was near. I pushed through four contractions and little Lily made her appearance at 10:46pm. She was a healthy and beautiful 7 lbs 8.6 oz, 20 inch long baby girl!

Every cliche' about childbirth is completely true. The minute I saw Lily, I was hooked and every bit of the last 42 hours was well worth it. Chris and I fell in love with her immediately! 

Although not everything went as we had hoped when preparing our birth plan, I couldn't be more happy with the results! We were blessed with a happy and healthy little baby girl...nothing could be better!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Craft Time with Lily!

This is a little old but still cute so I wanted to share! For those of you who are familiar with my mother, you know her obsession with all things Pink Flamingo and all things Lily. So, we wanted to get her a little something for Christmas that combined both. What better combo than a serving platter with hand prints on it...enjoy!

Once everything was painted on our oven-safe ceramic platter with acrylic paint, we baked at 300 degrees for 30 minutes. Once it was cooled, it was ready for use and even dishwasher safe!

It was so easy and fun...not to mention, it was a hit! GranZee loved her little gift!

Monday, January 20, 2014

A Lazy Weekend Meal

Chilly weather + Laziness = Crockpot Soup at the Henry House! 

A couple weekends ago, all of these magical things aligned and a delicious Broccoli & Cheese soup happened. Enjoy!

Broccoli Cheese Soup


1 green pepper, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 (10 ounce) can cream of broccoli
1 1/2 cups milk
1 lb Velveeta cheese, cubed
1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped broccoli


Heat your olive oil over medium heat and then toss in your green pepper and onion. Try not to completely walk away from your stove when your toddler tells you that she has to potty and wants to actually use the big girl potty...because this will cause your spirits to sore and you'll spend the next 15 or so minutes cheering her on... and your onions will go from translucent to burnt but still edible. 

When your onions are translucent and tender (or in my case, burnt but still edible), toss into your crockpot with the other ingredients. Yeah, check out those brown onions! Whatever...worth it and still delicious!

Turn your crock pot to a low heat, mix nicely, and let this party melt and simmer for the next 3-4 hours. I checked on it every 30 mins to an hour or so...ok, whenever I found myself in the kitchen. Here is what the progress looked like for us:

Start time:

One hour in:

Two hours in:

Three hours in:

And then we couldn't wait any longer, so we prepped for dinner by adding a little shredded cheese and parsley. 

This is crazy rich but also crazy delicious! Chris got full in the middle of bowl one...I had no problem devouring my entire bowl and using every ounce of self control I had not to get another! 

And...little Miss Lillian thought this was a fantastic choice for dinner:

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Happy 30th Birthday Rachel!

January is birthday time around the Chenry house and in honor the Queen of the Castle I present to you 30 things I've learned from Rachel:

1.      Mornings are a sacred time and must be cherished. The equilibrium of the morningtime calm can be shattered at the slightest provocation.
2.      Salsa goes great on everything. EVERYTHING.
3.      You can never have too many pairs of pajama pants.
4.      A Cherry-Vanilla Coke can fix almost any problem.
5.      Rachel Phrase: Chu adj. - a terrible smelling smell.
6.      Any weekend plans must be discarded if ABC Family is running a Harry Potter marathon.
7.      It doesnt matter how much time she spends reading about Batman on Wikipedia, comics are not a good Christmas present for your girlfriend. 
8.      You cant believe everything you find on Pinterest.
9.      Want to show your girlfriend youre not afraid of commitment? Co-sign on a car loan.
10.    Undo it all by asking her to buy a house with you, without a proposal.
11.    Hurricane preparedness starts with Spaghettios.
12.    Driving is an art, full of subtle changes in the passengers desires which can never be fulfilled adequately by the driver.
13.    It is of the utmost importance where the mail is placed in a home. Kitchen counter? Bad. Small basket across the house? Precisely.
14.    You can never have too many TV shows.
15.    Rachel Phrase: Nigh, nigh time n. the state of falling asleep.
16.    When cooking, make sure to forcibly remove all other parties from the kitchen or they might learn your secrets or worse, witness your shortcomings and try to help.
17.    Sunscreen is an important part of life.
18.    Milk instantly turns into poison after the expiration date.
19.    Classically, a mounted deer head is not normal home décor.
20.    You pronounce it Crick`et, not Cry`cut.
21.    If you feel like you are losing an argument, start yelling. Volume levels should correspond in loudness with the degree in which you are losing.
22.    Legal services should never be pre-paid”.
23.    A cordless screwdriver and breathalyzer is not a good way to say “Happy Birthday”.
24.    Striped shirt, plaid pants? No sir.
25.    Growing your hair is hard. Cutting it is easy.
26.    Compost it, unless of course its a compost ready bag of Sunchips.
27.    Rachel Phrase: EMERGENCY! n. state of discovering a spider, or lizard, or small bug.
28.    True power is knowing that you want to eat food, but not having to make any decisions regarding where, what, or how to get it.
29.    Also, food tastes better when someone else orders it for you.
30.    Being happy and chasing your passion is worth it.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Happy Birthday Da Boi!

Our sweet Oliver turned 5 on Wednesday and to celebrate his birthday, he took a (much needed) trip to the puppy spa and enjoyed a homemade puppy cake! It was so easy...and he seemed to really enjoy it!

Puppy Carrot Cake


1/2 cup flour
a pinch of baking soda
2 tbsp butter, softened
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 tsp of vanilla extract
1 egg
1/2 cup of shredded carrots 


Begin, by preheating your oven to 350 degrees. While that is heating up, get out two bowls for some mixing! In one bowl, mix your flour and baking soda. In the other, mix your butter, vegetable oil, egg, and vanilla extract.

Now, toss your shredded carrots into the liquid mixture. Followed by tossing in your dry ingredients for one big party!

Spoon your batter into a little greased ramekin and bake for 25 minutes. BAM...that's it!

I got a little nervous when I took it out because it looked like this:

But after it cooled, it came right out of the ramekin and was the perfect size for one birthday candle and one birthday boy!

I think Oliver was quite intrigued by his little treat!

In fact...he tore that cake up! If you ignore the fact that Lily and I are in our PJs, our commentary that is quite corny, and the shaky camera will absolutely enjoy this!

I think Lily got more of a kick out of this than anyone! 
Even though da Boi only thinks she is "ok", Lily sure does love him!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Hot Choc-o-late

This year I made some homemade hot chocolate for the holidays. It turned out to be a great gift for co-workers and a little extra something-something for the family too. Check it out:

1 big box of nonfat dry milk powder
6 ounces of non-dairy creamer
2 cups confectioner's sugar
2 (16 ounce) containers of cocoa mix (I used Nesquik, it was all I could find)
pinch of salt
1 large box of chocolate puddin'

Here is everything together, I had to use an old popcorn tin really get in there and mix it up.

Rachel approved!

This beauty all garnished up with majestic whipped cream and cocoa powder.

Wrapped up and ready to gift!

Friday, January 3, 2014

2014 Resolutions

Happy 2014! After ringing in the New Year with sparkling cider, a relaxing detox bath, and a marathon of 30 Rock (Season 7), I woke up feeling fantastic on January 1 and wondering why I ever celebrated New Year's Eve any other way. Oh how having a toddler and being preggers will change your priorities!

The Henrys had a truly fabulous 2013! We moved into our new home, had some ridiculously fun times with our family and friends (especially Lily, that girl is crazy great!), and found out our trio will soon become a quartet. Our animals only keep things interesting in a good way now and we are all happy and healthy. Basically, 2013 set a pretty high bar...but something tells me 2014 will be another great one!

Chris and I chatted quite a bit, while enjoying our cabbage and black eyed peas, about our resolutions for the New Year. Well, resolutions isn't quite the word...they are more goals and projects we would like to see met or finished before 2015 comes knocking. Enjoy!


1. I would like to read at least five books (for pleasure) this year. I know what you're thinking..."real lofty goal there Rach" but trust is.

2. I would like to better tune my negativity filter. Last year I let a lot of things really get to me but instead of doing anything about it, I just let it brew inside until I wanted to burst. In the guise of being nice or trying to be the bigger person or just trying to stay out of the conflict, I wasted a lot of time dealing with or thinking about people or things that were not adding anything positive to my life. So, I would like to get rid of some of that and I've actually already started. Confession, I'm never going to get off of Facebook...I like it, whatever. But some of those on my "friends" list are not bad people...they just post things I don't agree my very core. So, instead of just defriending everyone with opposing ideas or views, I have simply hidden them from my newsfeed. I no longer see anyone constantly bashing the government, spewing intolerant hatred, or just being a regular's fantastic! It's a small drop in the bucket of ridding complete negativity but that small gesture has already made an impact.

3. I would like to establish a better life balance. Between personal life, work life, and side business life...things get pretty hectic and my personal life tends to take the hit when a hit is needed. I bring work home way too often which tends to distract me when I should be spending quality time with Chris and Lily. What stinks is that I also let a lot of people take advantage of me last year. I spent WAY too much time with people who didn't recognize or appreciate the time I was spending away from my amazingly supportive husband and down-right awesome child. So, I would like to make a conscious effort to organize my life where I'm spending most of my time with the people that matter most...because they deserve it! And...the tough part...saying no to people and projects that just aren't worth it.

4. I love our home...seriously, I tell Chris how happy I am that we moved into our neighborhood at least once a week. Our house is just perfect for us and I'm pretty sure I would be content never, ever moving. We spent this first year in our house making it a home...but a couple things have gotten pushed to the back burner that the clock is now ticking on! We have until March to get a nursery ready and I would like to have Lily's big girl room and their joint bathroom done in that time frame as well. Eek. We also need to focus on the backyard...the whole still not having grass thing is problematic...but I'll let Chris add that to his list!

5. This last one is pretty vague and borderline redundant, but what the heck, I'll mention it anyway. I just want to work on being a better person, wife, and mommy. Not the "Pinterest" version of what a better person/wife/mommy looks like...that's just ridiculous! This isn't something that I will be able to check off a to-do list at the end of the year, but a daily effort to simply be better. I'll work a little harder to make those that matter around me happier. I want to be more educated on certain topics and give back to my community a little more. Basically, all the things that make a good person "good"...I'd like to give that the ol' college try. 


Typically I'm not one to make big, bold goals for the year. I've already got two major events on the books: Harrison's big debut and finally closing the books on my masters. So what else? There are lots of things I could be better about. Taking more pictures, making better use of my free time, taking better care of myself physically, or reading more. But I've made these sorts of resolutions before without getting them to stick. So I'm thinking specifics are the way to go and here is what I've come up with:

1. Brew more. Now that I think about it, last year I only made two beers. Two. Barely enough to call it a hobby. Granted, this was partially due to moving into a new house, but still not my most stellar showing. This year, a simple goal of four. Double last year and easily done seasonally.

2. Keep in touch. I'm a terribly shady person and would like to change this. I want to stop relying on Facebook and the internet to keep tabs on the people I care about and start actually calling, visiting, and maybe even writing a letter or two.

3. Backyard. Yes, I used that as a verb. We love our new house. It's wonderful, but we still don't have grass in the backyard. It's kind of a long story involving lack of communication and choosing to fence it in first, but 2014 will be the year that I fill it with flower beds, fruit trees, maybe a swing set, a little garden, and maybe even some grass. Sure, this is more of a “goal” than a lofty aspiration but I really wanna get it done.

4. Put on my handyman hat. I want to be a DIY person. I read stories of people building things, woodworking, and making cool things all the time and while I have dabbled in some little projects with some success I think my first step is creating a space to get serious. This year I hope to clean out the garage and actually build a workbench and start organizing tools and developing a little station to let out some creativity and maybe a little testosterone too.

5. Notarize. This is a longtime goal of mine that I'm throwing out there. I really want to become a Notary Public. Why not, you know? Maybe this year I can squeeze it in. 

All in all, I just hope to have a good year. Try to develop some hobbies, improve the house a little bit, and keep trying to be a good dad and husband. That would be pretty solid I think.


When I (Rachel) asked Lily what she wanted to accomplish in 2014, she said two things:

1. I love the potty! (Which is currently a lie but I'll take it to mean that she would like to work on potty training and tackle that at some point this know, when she is good and ready!)

2. I love purple! (Not real sure how to interpret this I'll say she probably wants to paint or draw more pictures that have purple in them. I can get on board with that!)