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    Jayden’s 1st Month

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    Woot! Woot! What a milestone! Our little man is one month and we survived as parents. I can’t believe how much he has grown! Packed on almost 3 lbs since his birthday. This boy loves to eat, fart, and make funny faces. He is advanced in his motor skills, kicking, grabbing, and holding his head up. It was a crazy whirlwind of a month with many challenges, but in the end we couldn’t be more thankful for our healthy growing boy.

    One of the challenges I had as a breast feeding mother was keeping up with his appetite during his growth spurts. By his second week we were supplementing with formula in addition to my breast milk. The restless nights, 24/7 eating periods were both physically and emotionally exhausting for me. I don’t think I could have kept it together without all the help from our family, both of our mothers, and my wonderful husband. He saw me at my worse, barely surviving on two hours of sleep, no shower in days, walking around in stained spit up and breast milk leaked clothes, but always managed to make my days better when he came home. Just watching him be such a good father to our son made me fall in love with him over and over again.

    Here are some pictures we took of him for his first  month. I used my new photo editing software Adobe Photoshop my husband got me, and for the first time using it I was pretty impressed at how user friendly it was. I definitely have much to learn as a beginner photographer, but I am pleased with the results. Can’t wait to watch this little man grow!

    <3 Dawn

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    Family

    Jayden’s Birth Story

    Jayden's Birth Story

    One hundred jumping jacks and seventeen hours of labor later, on January, 19, 2015 at 6:08pm my son made his debut into this world. I had been planning and anticipating for this day to come, and though it didn’t go as I had planned or be what I expected, it was one of the most memorable experiences of my life.

    It was early Sunday morning when I noticed my mucus plug had been released. At that point I was 40 weeks and 3 days over due and any kind of progress was happy news to my ears. I had been waiting for what it seemed like forever for the arrival of our baby. My patience had grown thin and I was growing more and more hopeless that this baby would never arrive.

    Later that day I decided to go for a walk with my sister around the mall to get things moving, and when we got home I took a recommendation from a friend and added a hundred jumping jacks. It wasn’t until 1 am in the morning did I start having contractions along with a bloody show to compliment it. It started 10 minute apart like mild cramping, but by 6am they were 6 minutes apart and getting progressively worse and more painful. I remember the only relief I had through my contractions was petting my cat Sasha and counting down the minute. When my contractions reached 5 minutes apart my husband and I decided to go to the hospital.

    When we reached the hospital we received promising news we would be meeting our son before dinner time that day if not sooner. I was still able to walk through my labor but after being up all night I was beginning to tire and between contractions I would nod off because I was so tired. At 8am I was only 3cm dilated our doctor came in and gave me an option to break my water to speed up the process. I hastily agreed to the procedure. Even though I had wanted a natural birth, seven hours of labor had tested my patience and I was ready to get this baby out.

    If there was one thing I wish I had done different it would have been that decision right there. No sooner after they broke my water my labor pains intensified a hundred times worse. I was 4 minutes between contractions with a minute long contraction. By 10am, after 2 hours of labor with my water broken I was ready to either kill everyone in the room, or pull my hair out. I knew at the time I couldn’t go any longer without an epidural. I still wanted my husband alive, and I still wanted to have hair by the end of this so I finally gave in. I remember that moment that epidural was put inside me, I felt like I was in heaven. Within minutes I passed out, and the last thing I remember was me thanking the anesthesiologist and telling him he was an angel.

    Five hours later I woke up, refreshed with the biggest smile on my face. Both me and my husband had taken a little nap and we both felt rested after a long night of laboring. Shortly after I woke up the nurse checked me and gave me good news that I was 9cm dilated and almost ready to push. There was a tiny upper lip of the cervix that was still left that we had to push through before we started the final birth pushing. I remember my legs were numb and not feeling any pain down there. It was the best feeling in the world, but it made it harder for me to push because I couldn’t feel myself pushing. I remember just imagining myself pooping when I was pushing and just hoping I was doing it right.

    Finally after getting through the little bit of cervix I had left, it was time to do my final pushing. My husband was doing such a great job coaching and helping me through the process. He kept the mood light in the room with his jokes. My doctor brought the mirror out so I could see myself push. It helped me out so much to see my progression when I push. I remember the moment I saw his hair and his head peaking through it gave me such an adrenaline rush. When the nurse asked me if I had one push left I remember screaming, “I have two!” That final push when his head came out and the doctor pulled the rest of his body out was probably one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I was in disbelief. I just couldn’t believe I had carried such a precious human being.

    My husband was able to cut his umbilical cord and be there for the cleaning. I remember the moment they put him in my arms I was over joyed. He was more than I could have ever imagined. After the delivery I only had a minor tear and some stitches. The recovery process went very well with little complications. I did have a slight fever through the delivery so my baby and I had to be on a 48 hr watch just to make sure everything was ok. Overall I was very pleased with how everything went. I couldn’t have asked for a better hospital, nurse, doctor, and support staff. I commend those who’ve had natural births and hope one day I will be able to do the same. My first was a great learning experience, and I’m so glad I get to share it with ya’ll.

    💛 Dawn

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    Family

    40 weeks and 2 days later….

    As I walked to the checkout line, waiting to make my purchase, I stared enviously at the lady ahead of me with her cute baby boy in tow. I was 40 weeks past due and walking and shopping was one of my favorite things to do to pass the time. I was ready for my baby to come into this world, and as a first time mom, patience was not on my side. I never felt so envious like this before. At first I was excited and appreciative of all the new moms out there with their babies, knowing I would soon be one of them. But now wherever I looked, in the grocery store, at the mall, on Facebook, Instagram, all I saw was what I was missing out on. I know statistically 40% of first time mothers deliver after their expected due date. But like most first time moms, we all secretly hope to be in the other 60% who have their babies earlier or on time.

    Earlier this week I had embarked on an experiment of 10 days and 10 ways of naturally inducing labor. I tried everything:
    1. squating
    2. eating pineapples
    3. drinking raspberry tea
    4. walking
    5. Eating spicy foods
    6. Dancing
    7. Bouncing on an exercise ball
    8. Massage
    9. Stairs
    10. Sex
    I was hopeful I would be one of those success stories you read on pregnancy websites where it worked for them, but yet no baby for me.

    It’s hard not to compare yourself to others, even though you know no two pregnancies are alike. I had to accept that the most natural thing in the world, and one of the biggest gifts God could give you has no due date. He will come when he is ready, not when you are ready. It’s a lesson that not only you will have to learn and accept now but in the future in all stage of your child’s life. We can only do our best and give our best as parents, but ultimately he will be who he wants to be in his on time and in his own ways. It’s funny how even at the earliest stages of conception, God has already given us lessons and insights on the future of the gift that we shall receive.

    So as I sit here patiently waiting, tired, anxious, with mix feelings, I am one thing above all and that is grateful. Because if there’s one thing I can 100% bet on is that we can’t be pregnant forever! And whether it be a day or a week from now, I will wait for this blessing to arrive, because in the end I know he will be worth every minute.

    <3 Dawn P. Darnell

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    Family

    Working Mom V.S. Stay at Home Mom

    When my husband and I first found out we were pregnant this was one of the first issue that came up for us. Our pregnancy was not planned, and at that time we had other personal and relationship goals we were going after.

    At first our plans were for me to either work part time or not at all due to the time restraints my husband had with his job. His schedule required him to work nights two weeks straight and one week off. At that time I was in the first trimester of my pregnancy and honestly I did not feel like working at all.

    But as time passed and my pregnancy progressed, opportunities came presented to us that opened the option of me being able to work full time or part time. Josh, my husband, had received a promotion at work, and I had also become really successful in my career, and both of our mothers were more than willing to babysit whenever we needed it. We agreed daycare would not be an option for us, and my mom was willing to take care of our baby if I decided to work full time. We were lucky we were only 15 minutes away from both sides of our family.

    But even then with all the options before us, I was still hesitant about going to work full time. I felt some what guilty and selfish for pursuing my career. I wanted more than anything
    to be the best mother and wife that I could. My family meant everything to me. It was easier when I didn’t have as many choices. I understood the sacrifices both working mothers and non working mothers make especially when there is no option but to be one or the other.

    It’s not easy being a mom in general. There’s pros and cons in every situation. Being on maternity leave, and not working has given me more appreciation for stay at home moms and all they do. I don’t know if I would be very successful being a full time mommy. I’ve never even changed a diaper in my life! The closest thing to a baby I’ve taken care of is my cat, and she’s pretty darn easy to take care of.

    On the other hand, working full time has its pros and cons too. It’s a sacrifice of time you will miss with your little one. But I have seen a lot of mothers do it and be very successful at what they do including my own mom. And as crazy as it seems I miss work already and I haven’t even been gone for two weeks. I guess for me my work has always given me something to feel accomplished about, daily affirmation that I am good at something. I guess what worries me is if I will feel the same way about motherhood.

    So though I am only a couple days from my due date, and while I’ve given so much thought in my decision, I have yet to make up my mind. But I do know this, there is no right or wrong, no all around better choice. Working or not working, I know all mothers make a sacrifice, and whatever decision they make is a decision they make for the best of their family. As mothers we cannot judge others on their personal choice to work or not work, rather offer support for the decision they do make. I am thankful for having a supportive husband that works hard to be able to give our family that choice, and for our families for being there for us and offering their help with the baby. They say it takes a village to raise a child, and I’m very blessed for our village our child will grow up in, because no matter what decision I make he will be loved unconditionally.

    💛 Dawn P. Darnell 😊✌️

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    Fitness

    4 things to do to prevent stretch marks when you’re pregnant

    When I found out I was pregnant I feared what everyone else feared and that was getting stretch marks. You read all of these things about what causes them and what you can do to prevent them and wonder what works and what doesn’t. I was worried because I had read genetics played a part in it, and my mother had stretch marks from her pregnancies. I already had stretch marks on my thighs and waist from my younger days when I went through a growth spurt, and even though they weren’t noticeable it still worried me because I didn’t want them to spread to my stomach. But here are somethings I swear helped me from getting stretch marks through my pregnancy. I’m not a doctor, but I hope my personal experience can help others out there.

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    1. Drink lots of water – stay as hydrated as possible! Flavored water and tea was my drink of choice. When your skin stays hydrated it allows for better elasticity.

    2. Take your vitamins – Prenatals everyday helps you get the vitamins you need for you and your baby. Sometimes it can be hard to eat healthy when your pregnant, especially when your hormones are out of whack and all you want to do is eat sweets like I did. Vitamins are good for your skin.

    3. Stretch and exercise – I do believe keeping your body active and flexible through your pregnancy helps with circulation and blood flow through your skin.

    4. Body butter – I am a big believer in Palmer’s cocoa tummy butter. My sister gave me a tub like this and it lasted me through my whole pregnancy. I lathered it on twice a day religiously, when I woke up and before I went to bed. I was not stingy with my application at all.

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    I truly believe in incorporating these simple steps throughout your pregnancy to help prevent stretch marks. It may not work for everybody but it’s worth a try. Hopefully it works for you as it’s worked for me.

    💛- Dawn 😊✌️

    Family

    Nautical Bohemian Themed Maternity Shoot

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    I finally got my maternity photos back and I wanted share them with you. I was really pleased how they turned out. I wanted to do a Bohemian theme but also add a nautical touch to tie in our Nautical themed nursery and baby shower. The Life Preserver is a DIY project I wrote about in my previous article Jayden’s Nautical Nursery and DIY Life Preserver. I love how these turned out. My brother did a great job in capturing these precious moments.

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    For the Home

    Jayden’s Nautical Nursery and DIY Life Preserver

    38 weeks and nesting. This week I was able to work on putting together Jayden’s temporary nursery at my parents house. My husband and I are still currently looking for a house and are considering possibly building a new home. We are fortunate to be able to stay rent free at my parents home until we find a more permanent solution. I wanted to share some pictures with you and a DIY craft I did that I found on Pintrest.

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    Check out this cool DIY Life Preserver. Here’s the step by instructions found on this site below:

    Clever Nest DIY Life Preserver

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    The only difficulties I had was making the cloth smooth around the wreath. I used pins to play around with the cloth, and when I was satisfied with how it looked I superglued the pieces together.

    Let me know what ya’ll think. 😊

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    Food

    Gluten Free Meatloaf

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    Hey guys I was googling healthier versions of meatloaf on my Yummly App and came across two recipes. One made with a Turkey and the other one was a Paleo Recipe. Below is the link to both.

    http://flavorthemoments.com/turkey-meatloaf-with-homemade-barbecue-sauce/
    http://thepaleodiet.com/paleo-meatloaf/

    Unfortunately I wasn’t fan of the turkey, nor was I a fan of having a flat texture with the Paleo recipe. So I decide to make my own recipe and take what I did like from both and combine it into one and hoped it would come out just as good. I was pleasantly surprised how amazingly delicious it came out! And it took less ingredients and time to make. If your a beginner at cooking like me there’s a 5 ingredient 5 step rule to anything I make, anything more is just too complicated for my short attention span brain lol. But you would be proud of me I did venture out a little with incorporating more than five ingredients with this recipe.

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    Ingredients:

    3lb lean beef
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    1/2 cup of milk
    1/2 old fashioned rolled oats
    1/2 teaspoon of salt
    1/2 teaspoon of ground pepper
    1 whole chopped purple onion
    1 whole chopped red bell pepper
    1/2 cup fresh cilantro
    1/2 fresh parsley
    2 teaspoon cumin
    3 eggs
    Ketchup

    Directions:

    1. Take all ingredients and mix in bowl with your hands. Set in fridge for 30 to 45 minutes till firm

    2. Heat oven to 350 degrees.

    3. Bake for 15 minutes and then add ketchup. Add as much as you would like.

    4. Bake for another 35- 45 minutes until done.

    Hope y’all like it! Let me know what ya’ll think. 😊✌️

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    Family

    We’re having a boy!

    This last Wednesday we found out we are having a boy. Both Josh and I guessed it, and I had an inclination from the beginning it would would be a boy. We are so excited! I wasn’t ready to share my crown yet with a little girl, because I knew she would come out just as spoiled as me.

    For our gender reveal we decided to do balloons, and for our party we did little monster cupcakes. Here are some photos of our gender reveal.

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