Tag Archives: firsts

Happy Birthday Baby Z!



My sweet Baby Z turned 1 last month! It’s been a little crazy since then and when he turned 13 months yesterday, I realized it was probably time to document the experience before I’m writing about his first and his second birthday!

It wasn’t until I started planning his birthday in November that I realized how difficult it would be planning a party so soon after Christmas. It was so hard to find a theme that wasn’t Christmas-y or Red & White. Assuming I could trust the weather would be fairly chilly, I went with a Cocoa & Cookies theme.

But of course! The day of Baby Z’s birthday party it was a high of 63 that day. So…while it was a little warm for cocoa, everyone was a good sport and helped remove the cocoa and sweets from my home.





I didn’t completely learn my lesson from The Little Man’s first birthday, and thought I’d make Baby Z’s cake. It slightly resembled a brain, but definitely turned out better this time!


And just like his brother, he didn’t want to touch the cake and get messy! Rather than torturre the poor child by waiting until he dove into the icing (which would have been an hour at the rate he was staring at it), I grabbed a spoon and let him dive in that way.




Overall, it was an awesome day celebrating Baby Z’s first birthday with family. It’s been such a rollercoaster of a year and to think the first year was over was almost a huge weight lifted, but at the same time, that first year only happens once!

Happy Birthday Baby Z!

* * * * *

For the record, Baby Z’s 12th month stats are:

Weight : 22.1 pounds (62th percentile)

Height : 30.5″ (71st percentile)

Head : 19.3″ (99th percentile)


Welcoming Baby Z: His Birth Story

This past week, I took a much needed blogging break to welcome our sweet baby boy into the world.

So much has happened this week it’s hard to know where to begin, but I’ll start with simply sharing his birth story with you.

A little background for those of you who are new followers, the delivery of my first son was not a pleasant experience for me. You can read the full story here, but to sum it up in a few words: late arrival induction, 13 hours of labor, giant head & 9 lb baby = 4th degree tear and lots of physical/emotional pain.

Leading up to his delivery, I was extremely nervous about my C-section surgery. I was slightly hoping I’d just go into labor and not have to worry about it anymore, but, of course, that didn’t happen.

Early Monday morning came, and it was time!

We arrived at the hospital around 5:30am, and were shown into the pre-op room where the questions and fluids began. After giving my complete medical history to the nurse, assistant anesthesiologist, anesthesiologist, and blood tech,  by 6:45am, all that was left to do was wait . . . and let the anxiety build.

By 7:15am, they were ready to move me into the OR.

Everything at this point happened very quickly. Epidural went in, Tim was brought into the room, and the cutting began.

There was a lot to the surgery that I didn’t expect. I was told you’d feel a lot of pushing and tugging but what I didn’t realize was that I’d physically feel everything. Although there was no pain or temperature sensations, I felt touch and movement along my skin; down to the scalpel moving across my belly. I also wasn’t expecting it when I began to smell the burning.

After what felt like an eternity (but was more like 10-15 minutes) of movement on the table, tugging, and pushing, at 7:46am, our son was born!

He weighed 7 pounds, 13 ounces and was 18.7 inches long; although the doctors and nurses thought he looked larger than that!

Overall, this birth experience was a 100 times better than my first. I could easily see doing it all over again. Even now that I’m 6 days post surgery, I’m moving around and doing things I could never imagine doing after the birth of my first!

I remember the moment I saw him for the first time, I was a little speechless. Based on our last sono the Thursday before, I was convinced he was going to come out looking almost identical to my first son. Jet black hair, chubby checks, and large blue eyes. Although he had those same traits, I don’t think they could have looked any more different. 

I don’t know how it’s possible to love someone at first sight before you’ve had any experiences with them, but both times I saw my sons after they were born, it happened. Sorry to my husband, but these little guys didn’t have to woo me before they captured my heart. 

Wrapping Up November

It’s been awhile since I’ve just talked about my family in a blog post, but since this is what I’m especially thankful for this month, I thought it might be fun to do a little update on where we are and what we’ve been doing in the month of November. 

There’s been a lot of growth (not just in my belly!) and I want to make sure to write about all the changes before they become a distant memory. 

I’ve already shared with you some of the extracurricular activities we’ve been doing such as Ice at the Gaylord Texan with Chevy and our Austin weekend away, but what I haven’t told you too much about is what we’ve been doing at home. 
Sleep Training . . . Again!
Over the last few weeks, we’ve had some major projects get underway. We’ve almost completed the Little Man’s “Big Boy Room” with the exception of the closet, but he’s officially moved out of the nursery and is now a full time resident in his toddler room. 

Last Tuesday, we went cold turkey and he hasn’t been back to his crib since except for one brief nap on Thanksgiving day. His first night wasn’t as horrible as I’d been imagining it would be. It took almost 2 hours to get him to fall asleep. No crying. No fussing. Just running around and exploring with lots of reinforcement to get back into bed. Then he slept until almost 7:30 the next morning; almost 30 minutes later than normal! 

I wish I could say the next few nights were just as amazing, but thanks to a terrible cold, we spent 2-3 nights with him waking up while we helped him back to sleep. Then he’d be awake the following morning anywhere from 5:30-6:15am. 

It hasn’t been until recently that he’s gotten some relief from the cold and is once again sleeping through the night. We’ve got bedtime down and we’re back to the old routine. Nap times are still work, but he’s at least now sleeping in his bed! 

If we could only get him to wake up after 6:30am on average, I’d be much happier. But I guess I’ll take what I’m given!
Sporting the ‘stach for Movember.
(Donate to Tim’s cause here!)
A Joint Thanksgiving
This year, we were technically with my family for Thanksgiving, but since my family and Tim’s family all live within a half mile of each other, we decided to plan a joint Thanksgiving for everyone who was available; which ended up being. . .everyone! 

We hosted all of Tim’s family (Dad, Mom, 2 Brothers, & a Sister-In-Law) plus my family (Dad, Mom, Brother, Sister-in-Law and my Grandma). 

It was a Thanksgiving feast if you ever saw one!

There were 3 types of turkeys; fried, smoked, and baked. Over 6 different sides. 3 types of desserts. Rolls, Pumpkin Muffins, you name it. . .we had it! 
And since Tim and I were the hosts, we had the privilege of assigning seats. So we came up with the perfect table combinations. . . 
The Kids’ Table
The Grandparents’ Table
(+ Grandchild/Great-Grandchild for entertainment!)
At the end of the day, we went outside to take some impromptu pictures, and were able to witness the Little Man’s first rainbowThis was sort of a neat time for us as parents since his current favorite book is a pop-up version of Noah’s Ark.  

He’s read all about rainbows for awhile, and was finally able to see his first one! 

I’ve mentioned this before, but my sister-in-law and I are exactly 4 weeks a part in our pregnancies (to the day), so we captured some shots of us for our baby books. I’m at 32 weeks, and she’s at 36 weeks. 

And if you can’t tell from the belly difference, she IS expecting twins. I am not! :) 
The Little Man’s Milestones
I also haven’t shared much about his growth lately, but over the last month, my baby boy no longer seems to be a baby. From about 17-20 months, it didn’t seem like he was having major changes in his personality or in his learning, but over the last few weeks, it seems like he’s just exploded with changes! 

Here are just a few of the differences I’ve noticed:
  • He randomly came home one day from Mother’s Day Out and started going in circles. It took me a minute to realize what was going on, but he was shouting “Posey” as he ran. Since then, “Ring Around the Rosy” has been his favorite activity. 
  • Just this week, he asked for a tissue and actually blew his nose! We’ve come a long way since using the nose bulb! 
  • Every object has become attached to a person. It can’t just be a “mixer,” but “Mommy’s”. 
  • Then, literally overnight a few weeks ago, he began putting the words together. “Mommy and Daddy’s,” “Mommy’s Car,” “Daddy’s bed,” “red truck,” “hot air balloon,” etc.
  • THEN the next week came broken sentences. Me: “What are you doing?” LM: “Standing on a box.” And it’s been chatter ever since! 
  • He’s currently in love with all of his stuffed animals. I think it’s just a comfort as he transitions rooms, but he currently sleeps with a penguin, Lucy the pug, Brobie, Elmo, Clifford, Cookie Monster (the side of a pillow!), and a lovey. He’ll go looking if one is missing! 
As I said, we’ve got several project underway. From making the nursery transition from toddler to infant again to converting our office into a functioning playroom, you’ll start to see several home improvement posts pop up during the month of December as “nesting” turns into panic. 

With less than 7 weeks to go until we become a family of 4, 
I’m trying to cherish every moment! 

How’s your family doing this November? 

Halloween or Bust!

Now that we have a kid (and more on the way!), I’m rediscovering all of these holidays that were beginning to loose their appeal. For example, Halloween

Just two years ago, I remember almost giving up on the festive fall activity because it seemed like it had lost the awe and excitement. We’d been spending large amounts of money buying candy to pass out, only to have 20 kids appear at our door and a large number of them were teenagers who didn’t even take the time to dress up. (Not to mention the $15 pumpkin that had been smashed Halloween night which was supposed to have supplied our pumpkin desserts through November!) After that, I was almost ready to be the Halloween Scrooge and turn out the lights at our house on Halloween night. 

Then we had the Little Man. . . 

I did my best to reignite the Halloween fire in me by over-participating in festivities with him last year; from Trunk or Treat to Baby “Boo” Camp to pumpkin play dates. We did it all, and it was fun!! Although the trick or treaters were once again slim pickin’s, it made it worth it to have a memorable family time leading up to October 31. 

When this year came around, the Halloween anticipation was building!

I’d picked out matching skeleton outfits for the whole family. I once again purchased pumpkins and had already planned out which Fall Festivals we’d be attending! Well, let’s just say with each event that passed, I was becoming more discouraged that anything Fall related was going to be a success. . . which all lead up to last night’s Trunk or Treat. 

He woke up from his nap on “the wrong side of the crib” and when we tried to gently place his costume on him, the kicking and screaming began. How could I have thought that I’d be able to do anything fun with a “2” year old?? 

By the end of it all, I’d pulled his costume off, sat down on the couch, and decided we weren’t going. It wasn’t worth it. After a few minutes, Tim talked me down from the ledge and baby-stepped me to Trunk or Treat.

Once we got there we started with the costume. . .then added the vest . . .and about 2 minutes into the “trunk or treating” we were able to add the hat. . .

He had no idea what this event was, but he began to realize every car he went up to would give him a piece of candy. Although it took a little bit of warming up. . . 

He finally got into the right mood!

By the end of it all, he had no idea he was even wearing a costume (or hat!) He ran, danced, and had a great time; which means mommy had a great time! 

I’m going to accept the fact that this was probably our one good Halloween event for this year, but that’s okay! I’ll take it! 

Thirty By 30: No. 13 & 16

And just when I thought I wouldn’t be able to cross of the more difficult tasks on my Thirty by 30 list, my husband comes through! 
With 7 days left before my birthday, Tim planned a staycation for the two of us to Fort Worth, and I was able to cross off two items in one trip. 

When I created this list last August, I knew sometime during the upcoming year we were going to need a mini vacation, and it came at the perfect time. Tim’s wrapping up a project at work and has been stressed. I’ve been feeling tired and overwhelmed from trying to fight off one child who’s going through the pre-terrible two’s and another who’s taking over my body. 

It was awesome to be able to drop everything and head 45 minutes west where we could leave all of our worries behind. I loved that we were able to get that vacation feel without having to hop on an airplane or drive 3+ hours to get there. 

Why Fort Worth?

I have no idea why I picked this destination!I think part of me knew that there was some amazing museums and attractions for kids, so when I put this on my list, I’d had every intention of going as a family. I also realized that I’d never actually spent any time in Fort Worth, and it’s really close! As a writer for Dallas Moms Blog, I felt like I should get to know this city next door. I mean, how is it that I know more about Frisco than I do about Fort Worth. They’re practically the same distance. . . =)

Our first destination on our staycation was lunch! The Mellow Mushroom near TCU had been recommended to us, and I’m so glad we took a risk and tried it. The pizza was delicious. The crust was the perfect thickness; slightly thin but not too crispy, and all the ingredients were really fresh. 

Afterwards, we decided to head over to the Botanical Gardens since it was in the same area of town. I was imagining something similar to the Dallas Arboretum, but it was so much more!

Most of the gardens are free, but we parked right next to the Japanese Garden and decided to pay the $4 admission to check it out. It was beautiful inside! 

Could I have enjoyed this with the Little Man? Absolutely not. There were several places where I know he would have run ahead of me and just jumped right into the water. The whole garden was so peaceful and quiet. 

If I lived in Fort Worth, I would probably get a membership to the Botanical Gardens just to bring a book, sit on a bench, and read. 

Afterwards, we went to check in at the hotel and rest for a little while. We stayed at the Sheraton Fort Worth Hotel & Spa; right in the heart of downtown. Thanks to our Starwood Preferred Guest membership we were upgraded to a suite. Although it wasn’t for my birthday, it made me feel special! 

Since a storm was expected to come in later that night, we decided to venture out a little more before dinner and were able to experience a few more of Fort Worth’s main attractions. 

We walked across the street to the Water Gardens

And then jumped on Molly the Trolly to Sundance Square.

Sundance Square wasn’t what I thought it was. Mostly restaurants and retail shopping. I’m sure it has an amazing “night” scene, but unfortunately, my “condition” prevents me from enjoying that. 

If you’ve not been on the Trolly before, it’s very different from the McKinney Avenue Trolly. It’s more of a city bus that takes you from the hotels to different points in downtown. It’s clean, free, and convenient, but don’t be surprised when locals and possibly a few homeless people hop on board. 

Later that evening, we went back over to Sundance Square for dinner at Reata. This was Tim’s pick, and it was a unique type of restaurant specializing in Authentic Texas Cuisine. It reminded me of a cross between Tillman’s, Steven Pyle’s, and Saltgrass. 

On Sunday before heading back to Dallas, we decided to visit one last tourist attraction; the Fort Worth Stockyards. I’d heard that there was a cattle drive through town at 11:30am, so we packed our bags and headed over. 

Although it was a lot smaller than I expected, Fort Worth was an awesome quick weekend away. I know I didn’t experience everything, and would still love to take the Little Man over and visit the Museum of Nature and Science and the Fort Worth Zoo. I’ve heard these are the best places to visit.

But as far as Fort Worth goes, I feel like I’ve “been there, done that” and am ready to check it off my list! 

Plano Balloon Festival 2012

 Having kids makes you do the strangest things! If you’d asked me 10 years ago if I’d ever spend my Saturday morning at a pumpkin patch 45 minutes outside of town or end my day watching hot air balloons take off, I would have said you were crazy. But when you become a parent, this intrinsic desire to see the “wonder” in your child’s eyes takes over, and you’d do just about anything to capture a smile. 

. . .including spending your precious Saturday at a pumpkin patch and hot air balloon festival. 

I will admit that once we’d decided to go to the Plano Balloon Festival this weekend, I started to get pretty excited about it. I’d read all about the event on Dallas Moms Blog, and loved the idea of doing something completely different! 

If you haven’t been before, here’s a brief run down of the event. 

Who knows? You might find yourself in my shoes next year choosing the Plano Balloon Festival over Addison’s Oktoberfest too!

The event runs Friday-Sunday. There are two daybreak launches on Saturday and Sunday mornings starting at 6:30am, and there are two evening launches on Friday and Saturday night starting at 6pm. There’s a final launch on Sunday evening at 6pm, but one of the highlights of the event is the “Balloon Glow” and this doesn’t occur Sunday night. 

Although I’ve heard the morning launches are a lot less crowded, we chose the evening event so that we could watch the fireworks after the last “Glow” on Saturday night. 

The festival lasts all day with inflatable rides for kids as young as 2, lots of festival food, vendors, and exhibitions. We arrived Saturday at 5pm right before the Parachute Exhibition. 

When we arrived, the crowd wasn’t terrible, and we decided to park at the Collin College Spring Creek Campus ($10/car) since we had a lot to lug into the event. You are allowed to bring your own food and beverages (Warning: this is a no beer / wine / alcohol event!), so we decided to pack our own sandwiches and buy dessert from some of the vendors while we waited for each activity. 

There are lots of places for families to sit. The closer you get to the balloons, the more you’ll sit on an incline. We decided to sit right near the rope that separates the crowd from the balloon field and we had to sit at a 45 degree angle the whole time. There’s a large hill with flat space (and shade), about 500-700 feet away from the field with a pretty decent view too. 

The balloons began to start to inflate around 5:15pm and kept our 18 month old entertained for a good 45 minutes until they began taking off at 6pm. 

Once the first set of balloons took off, a second round of balloons came in at 6:45pm. These were the character balloons and took a lot longer to inflate. 

Don’t get too excited when you see these! They won’t be launching, but they make the “Balloon Glow” that much more exciting! 

At exactly 7:50pm, there wasn’t a single breeze in the air, so they decided to let the audience come out onto the balloon field during the “Glow.” (I don’t think this is a rare occurance; however, depending upon the weather each year, balloons may not launch or allow you onto the field if the weather isn’t stable.)

At exactly 8pm, the announcer began a countdown from 10, and on 1 all the balloons fired up their flames and lit up their balloons all at one time! 

If you want a way to memorize your child (or yourself), this is it!

If you miss the first “Glow,” don’t worry! For 20 minutes, the announcer will begin the countdown again at various times letting you know that the balloons are about to “Glow” again. Sometimes they’re a constant glow and other times he calls for a “Twinkle” where the balloons will all twinkle like stars. 

And if you’re like us, you’ll appreciate the multiple “Glows” because it took almost all the whole time for us to get a decent family picture!

I’m not sure if this is an event we’ll attend every year since our family will be changing often in the next few years; however, it’s definitely something I can see doing again in the future! If you’re looking for a fun, family-friendly event for your toddler, I would highly recommend giving the Plano Balloon festival a try! 

Lessons from the Sick

Once again, I took an unexpected blogging hiatus while our family dealt with a first. I don’t know what I was expecting when my son started Mother’s Day Out just two weeks ago, but I know I didn’t anticipate the illnesses coming as quickly and violently as they did!

Last Wednesday, I took the Little Man outside after his nap to play and enjoy the beautiful weather that had moved in the night before. It wasn’t but two feet outside of the door that I heard him make a really familiar, but unfamiliar, noise. 


As I turned to look, I realized what I thought had just happened actually did. My son threw up. I just stood there in shock because the last time that’d happened almost 9 months ago we called it “spit up.”  I have always considered myself very fortunate that I have never had to experience my child vomit, and as I looked at him to try and figure out what to do, it seemed almost surreal. 

He just looked at me like, “Huh.” I figured he must have just worked up his stomach by running outside, and it was nothing more than a fluke. So, I took him inside, changed him out of his clothes, and sat him down on the couch while I turned on his show. I walked into the kitchen to grab my phone and call Tim to tell him what just happened, and no sooner than I dialed his number, my living room turned into a scene from The Exorcist. He was vomiting uncontrollably and began crying between heaves. 

I began to panic! 

Unable to get a hold of my mom, I quickly dialed my mother-in-law (before dialing 911) and told her what was going on. She gave me a few things to look for like really high fever, head injuries, and blood. Since there was none of that, I was convinced it must be food poisoning. 

As a matter of fact, once I started brainstorming with my husband, I realized the milk I’d given him before his nap wasn’t actually from the night before…it was from the previous night! 

Of course it was food poisoning! He’d been given bad milk! 

Fast forward to Thursday.
After surviving 6 hours of being thrown up on, Thursday started off pretty well. The Little Man had slept through the night, and was eating crackers without getting sick. He took a really good nap (almost 3 hours) and I thought the worst was over. 

Sometime around midnight, The Little Man woke up and began crying. 

By 1 am, he was awake and refusing to go back to sleep. 

I was doing everything in my power to get him to sleep, and when nothing else was working I started to cry myself. I was running on empty and was functioning on only an hour of sleep. When I tried to turn and rely on Tim, I watched him jump off the bed and make a beeline for the bathroom. 


Maybe this wasn’t food poisoning? 

Fast Forward to Friday.

The Little Man finally fell asleep around 5am after a drive in the car. Tim and I called in reinforcements that afternoon while we got caught up on some rest. The Little Man seemed to be on the mend after a bad night. Tim hadn’t gotten sick since the night before. 

All was finally well. 

And then sometime around midnight, 
my stomach started cramping. 

I slept that night, but not well. . .and by morning, I just kept telling Tim how much my stomach hurt. I specifically remember laying on the bed, and saying “It feels like someone has stabbed my stomach with a knife. . . “

Uh Oh. 

It wasn’t food poisoning! 

It wasn’t until that day we realized a really bad stomach virus was going around Mom’s Day Out and the church nursery. We’d been double exposed, and within 4 days we’d all come down with it. 

It’s been a very interesting last week, but looking back, it was a good experience to have had. I knew at some point, I was going to encounter stomach viruses with babies, and I think it was under the best conditions as it could have been. 

In the future, I’ll have to remember to. . .
  • Always grab a trash can. I learned the hard way that when your child gets sick once, odds are it’s going to happen again. And if you’re really unfortunate, again and again and again. Two loads of towels later, I wish I’d just grabbed a trash can instead of trying to use towels to clean up.  
  • The floor is your friend.  Not the bed or the shower because the last thing you want to do at the end of a long day of nursing your child back to health is grab a spot cleaner to try and remove the stains and smells. I wish I’d known this before I’d set him on the couch to watch tv. 
  • Sleep when your baby sleeps. This is a lesson I thought I’d learned in the newborn stage, but once again I doubted how sick my child could get. I had no idea when I went to bed at 11pm, he’d be up at midnight and would be unable to sleep due to stomach pain until 5am. I wish I’d grabbed that nap when he did. 
  • Watch what YOU eat. Once we realized it wasn’t food poisoning, I should have anticipated how quickly the virus would spread. I only wish I’d chosen soup for a few days over lasagna, frito pie, and tacos. 
  • Enjoy the cuddle time. There will probably be lots of tense and frustrating moments as you watch your child go through the agony of being sick and not being able to tell you where it hurts, but during the down time, there will be a lot of sweet moments that aren’t normally there during healthy days. 

First Day of School

My “Big” Man started his first day of “school” this week, and let me say it was an emotional roller coaster for both Mommy and Baby.

Leading up to the day, I decided to do a quick read up on separation anxiety and how to help his transition go a little more smoothly. My worst fear was that he’d have a complete meltdown the whole time, they’d have to call me to come get him, and then we’d spend days trying to get him back to a place of comfort where he seemed to be getting back to. 

Since MDO didn’t start until 9am, I spent the few hours before we left talking about how we were getting ready to go play and how excited I was to see his teacher. I told him how much fun he was going to have with his new friends and that a familiar face would be in his class with him. 

I don’t know who I was trying to convince; him or me?

Everything seemed to be going well that morning. He was in a great mood and didn’t start to fuss when he saw the other kids. 

I have to admit, I was a little jealous seeing all the other parents outside of the building getting really cute first day of school pictures, but I was on a mission. I felt if I stopped and even tried to get one, I’d pay for it! 

We got there about 5 minutes early, so we had to wait a few minutes before they opened their doors. I felt a little bit of panic as I watched him looking around. I could tell he was getting nervous wondering what all these kids were doing here. I thought it would be a little bit of a distraction from the obvious by trying to take his picture. So, since I was on my own, these were the best pics I got. 
(All he wanted to do was spin in a circle.) 

Normally, I’d be so excited to see all the fun things with his name on them, but with each little detail I was becoming more and more anxious. 

We placed his nap mat, lunch box, and backpack with lovey into his cute, little bin outside of his classroom door.  

I stood in the hallway for just a moment with him letting him know that after his nap time I’d be back to get him, and that he was going to have so much fun. And when it was time to say goodbye, we approached the classroom door, and the waterworks started. He latched onto me so hard, and had to be practically pried out of my arms. I said goodbye once more, and walked away. 

I made it out to my car before the waterworks started again; only this time it was me! The whole way home I then had to convince myself that I was doing the right thing. It was good for him to socialize with other kids his age. He was actually going to be learning from someone other than me and Elmo. I wasn’t just being selfish! 

When I got home, I sat on the couch and waited. . . 

I knew it was only a matter of time before I got a phone call asking me to come and get him. When 10 rolled around and I hadn’t heard a word, I started to relax a little. Maybe it wasn’t going to be so bad. Although there were about a million things I knew I could now do that the Little Man wasn’t around (get my hair done, have my nails done, go shopping, clean the house, work on projects), I decided to take it easy, and so I grabbed my laptop and began to work. After all, I didn’t want to be in the middle of an appointment or covered in paint when that phone call came! 

I spent the next 3 hours sitting on the couch working on Mom’s Night Out sponsorships; only stopping for lunch. It was so nice to be able to focus on one thing without stopping to get snacks or water or change a diaper. I honestly found myself thinking as 1pm rolled around, too bad he can’t stay a little longer. 

I know. I’m terrible!

At 2pm, I was there ready to get my baby boy. When I walked up to the door, he was actually standing there crying, but the teacher assured me he was perfectly fine until the parents started showing up. She told me he did great and she even got him to sleep on his nap mat for an hour! How? I have no idea, but she’s a genius! 

I felt so relieved and excited for him that I decided he (and I) needed to be rewarded, so off to Chick-Fil-A we went to share a milkshake!

I think I’m going to like this whole Mother’s Day Out thing . . .

Especially come January, when Mother’s Day Out will become Newborn Mommy’s Day In! 

My Experience as a BlogHer Newbie

I’m not new to the blogging scene. As a matter of fact, I’ve been blogging since 2006, and that was way before it was “cool.” But for me, blogging has always been a way of journaling the story of my life and expressing my thoughts and emotions through writing; especially since we all know my verbal skills are lacking!

It’s only been recently that I thought I’d try and make something more of blogging. . . Enter Dallas Moms Blog. It’s become more than a hobby for me; I can definitely see myself writing for this site for a long time to come, which is why I’d decided to attend this year’s BlogHer conference in New York. 

I first discovered BlogHer when they began to recognize several of my blog posts on my personal site by featuring them on BlogHer Moms. (First in January, then again in April.) I’d been slightly participating in BlogHer up until that point, but really began to feel validated as a writer by being featured. This encouraged me to starting looking at my blog not just as a journal, but as a platform. 

The more I got involved in BlogHer, the more I realized I wanted to learn as much as possible about the world of blogging to attract more readers to my The T-Shirt Mama site and be able to write more interesting posts for Dallas Moms Blog. 

So, this past weekend, I found myself at my first BlogHer conference! 

For those of you who might not know what a BlogHer conference is or haven’t attended one before, this post is for you! I honestly searched the internet looking for all the helpful advice I could find before attending, and I still felt under prepared. Hopefully, this inside look will give you a better idea of what it’s like to attend a BlogHer conference, and give you some idea of whether or not you’d like to attend next year in Chicago!

Being my first conference, I chose not to attend the Pathfinder Day. (To be honest, I’m still not quite sure what it is, but now that I have my BlogHer feet wet, I might attend next year to discover more.)  Instead, I met up with Steph from City Moms Blog for lunch, and picked her brain on what to expect. And I’m so thankful I did because it really helped me understand what the sponsors were expecting from the bloggers. 

Thursday night I attended the Evening at the Expo. Imagine any Expo you’ve ever attended, and that’s Evening at the Expo. Sponsors and exhibitors are lined up in a large conference room (At BlogHer, it’s 4 large conference rooms), and they’re there to pitch to you. They want you to hear about their new products and offers hoping that you’ll help them promote. In exchange, you’re building relationships with them in hopes to build your “brand.” 
I spent almost an hour walking around and only made it through one floor of the Expo. And that was rushing! 

It was also at this Expo that I was able to grab my first BlogHer swag bag, and boy did it get filled! 

For Newbies: Thursday night is your opportunity to scope everything out. Bring lots of business cards and expect your swag bag to be extremely heavy by the time you leave. Don’t feel the need to grab freebies that you won’t end up using, and pay careful attention to all the fliers. Many have offers on them which require you to just send a simple email, and you’ll have easy connections with the company. 

Friday & Saturday
Anyone is welcome, but BlogHer hosted a Newbie breakfast that I attended. The food was good, but the room was packed with people! I arrived about 10 minutes early to stand in line, and I wasn’t even near the beginning. 

I was thankful to have someone to sit by, but I quickly found that most people come on their own. I wasn’t alone in feeling alone! 

For Newbies: Don’t worry if you arrive slightly late to any of the meals. They don’t cut off the food until the end! But don’t be surprised if seats are hard to come by. For several meals, I walked out and found many conference-goers sitting on the floor and in the lobby. And don’t be afraid to sit by new people! That’s what you’re there for!  

The rest of the day was spent in sessions. I attended several that would help me with both my personal blog and Dallas Moms Blog; including a brief review of HTML and how to effectively use Facebook & Twitter. 

Many of the more technical sessions were crammed with people, and if I didn’t arrive early, I found myself sitting on the floor. Even still, I found the speakers to be loud enough that it didn’t cause me to lose out on the session. 

In between sessions, and when I could find the time, I continued to rush through the Expo to try and build brand connections. I also made my way upstairs to the suites where several companies had set up shop. 

These were my favorite way of meeting people because it was typically a lot less crowded, and there was more time to visit and discuss any questions you had about products. 

Visiting with a dermatologist one-on-one about rosacea and other skin care questions. 

 Each suite did an amazing job decorating to fit their theme and brand! Hershey/Walmart turned their entire room into a camping ground complete with campfire and s’mores. Which (by the way) I’ve been craving ever since! 

Lunch time on Friday and Saturday was a unique experience! The Hilton did an amazing job ushering almost 5,000 bloggers through almost 8 buffet lines.

 It all seemed very unorganized and chaotic, but surprisingly we made it through really quickly, and even found a seat in time to hear. . .  Martha Stewart!

Martha was the keynote speaker on Friday, and did an amazing job of making the audience feel empowered by their use of the internet. She discussed her personal experience with using blogs, e-magazines, Facebook, and Twitter. She even revealed that Twitter is probably her favorite platform. 

Saturday was more of the same. Sessions and a keynote speech from Katie Couric. 

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to attend the Voices of the Year ceremony after the session had ended. My pregnant body had given up on me by this point, and I had to force myself to head back to the hotel. 

For Newbies: Each day of the conference, I highly recommend not overwhelming yourself with feeling like you have to do everything! The most valuable part of the conference is the sessions. Plan those out first, then fill your time with the sponsors, Expo, and other off-campus activities. The more involved you get, the more overwhelmed you get! 

At one point on Saturday, I just accepted the fact that I wasn’t going to get every free object to be had. I wasn’t going to be able to attended every session. I also didn’t need to feel bad if I had to stop and rest instead of heading to a party. 

The Parties

Being that it was my first year, I felt honored to be invited by Hasbro to attend their sneak-peak party on Friday night. (Apparently it’s one of the parties to go to, and now I know why!) Since it was the only one I was invited to, I wanted to make sure I attended. 

The first 300 people to arrive were given a swag bag, and I’m happy I arrived 30 minutes early because the line was already about 70 people deep.  

Although standing in 90 degree NYC heat for thirty minutes wasn’t ideal, it was in line, that I met some great bloggers like Rachel Marie Martin of Finding Joy and Jenn Perry of Daze of Adventure who offered to let me hang with them since I was clearly alone. :) 

Being pregnant, I knew I couldn’t keep with them, so I ended up grabbing my glass of water, and finding a table where I had a great view of the party. 

I walked away with over $100 worth of Hasbro products (to put in the top of the closet until my son is old enough!) and some great memories! 

For Newbies: When attending parties, they expect you to participate and be a part of the fun. If you’re expecting to go and just show up for the free goodies, you’ve got another thing coming…they make you work for them! Pictures like these may even surface the next day. :) 

Overall, I had a great experience at BlogHer, and I don’t even feel like I fully participated. As you may already know, I cheated slightly by bringing my husband along just in case it wasn’t what I expected. But it was way more!

A big THANK YOU to Stephanie who helped me so much this trip. Without her, I never would have known about the BlogHer Conference Planning Guide and all the other little tips she gave me a long the way. I also appreciate her letting me tag along as she presented City Moms Blog to potential sponsors. I learned so much, and I can’t WAIT to attend BlogHer ’13! 

For Newbies: 
My last few pieces of advice:

  • Apparently the internet never works correctly at BlogHer. If you bring your laptop to the sessions, and can’t log in within the first hour, don’t bother bringing your computer to a session again. It’s not worth the weight on your shoulder, and most of the sessions were posted online afterwards anyway. I just took notes! 
  • No joke. Pack a suitcase inside a suitecase. You’ll need it for all the extra items you bring home or you have the option of shipping. 
  • Speak up! When you sit down at a session, turn to the person to your left and then your right and introduce yourself. It’s the best way to meet new people, and discover weird coincidences! 
    • For example, at the Newbie breakfast a random stranger sat down next to me. She just happened to be rooming with Jenny (a fellow DMB writer!). 
    • Also, standing in line at the Hasbro party, I never would have known I was standing in front of the original author of “Dear Mom Letter”s who we just quoted on DMB. 
    • Or walking up to the Soda Stream station, I’d meet fellow Dallas blogger, A Frugal Friend.
Will I see you at BlogHer ’13?

One Trimester Down!

Saturday was the official end to my first trimester!

I’m currently a 13 weeks and 2 days. My baby’s heart rate at our last appointment on Monday was 153 bpm. The doctor kept joking that it wouldd be a girl. Our baby should be almost 3 inches long (the size of a medium shrimp) and about an ounce.

I wish I could say the first trimester flew by quickly, but it seemed to take forever. Nausea began in my 6th week of pregnancy, and it’s made an interesting last 7 weeks. I’m relieved to say that it’s all been downhill since about week 9 or 10. My nausea was limited to just morning and nights instead of all day. And now, it’s even less frequent than that. 

I’m still not able to eat like I wish, and I’m constantly hungry which makes eating not very fun. I’m so ready to have my normal appetite back! (Especially with our trip to New York City and Restaurant Week coming up soon!)

I also had a fun phone call right before the start of this trimester from my doctor. I’ve been diagnosed with hypothyroidism. This doesn’t really surprise me since I was borderline about 5 years ago. She explained that it sometimes pops up in pregnancy and could go away once the baby’s born, but I’ll need to take medication every day opposite my prenatals. This is just my luck since I HATE taking pills on a regular basis. My brain is such mush. I know I’m going to forget to take it at some point. But at least the doctor caught it! Those who have hypothyroidism and go untreated have a risk 4 times greater to having a child with lower IQ and learning difficulties. If that’s not motivation to remember to take my pill, I don’t know what is!

On a separate note, can I just say how ready I am for this weather??

We’ll be leaving in a few days with the entire Hurst family and heading to Maui, Hawai’i for one last big family vacation before it gets too difficult to do. With 3 babies being born within a few months of each other, it’ll probably be awhile before we can all take off as a family together (with the exception of Dopps Camp of course!)

I know I’ve mentioned to several of you how nervous I am about this trip, but for those of you who aren’t aware…I’m nervous! VERY nervous! We’ll be taking our first long-distance airplane trip with our 16 month old, and I’m predicting the worst. Thinking about time zone changes, lack of sleep, lack of entertainment, and long hours on a small airplane, I am beginning to panic. 

I feel like I’ve done everything I can to prepare for every catastrophe, but I just know no matter how much I prepare, if he doesn’t want to watch his DVD or play with the million toys I’m bringing, and all he wants to do is “walk!” then I’m in trouble. We have a 3 hour flying time for the first flight, and a 5 hour flying time with the second. Our only prayer is that he sleeps most of the second flight since it’ll be during his nap time. 

Then, once we arrive, how do we handle the time difference? We’ll be leaving Dallas at 7:30am and arriving in Maui at 12:40pm; which is almost his bedtime in since it’s a 6 hour time difference. 

On the way back, I don’t know if it’s better or worse: We leave Maui at 12:20pm and arrive back in Dallas at 5:00 AM the next day.


If you have any advice for me, or ways to make me feel better about the flights and/or time changes, I’d love to hear them!