IMG_9117 We got back from our trip on Monday and by Tuesday Cooper was mopey and clingy and not at all acting like himself. A persistent low-grade fever reared it’s head Wednesday – Friday, but I accounted all of it to the huge molar erupting through his swollen pink gums. He wasn’t eating right (but he never does when he’s teething) and wanted nothing more than to sleep on my chest like the good old days. I happily obliged and we even camped out in the living room every night for some extra cartoons because sleeping was hard and Advil and cold pickles can only do so much.

Friday night I didn’t feel good and spend the whole day Saturday on the couch but Cooper was finally acting like his regular hilariously sweet self and we were all just glad that was over. But then he started breaking out in what I thought was a rash from the fever. It happened before. We didn’t really bat an eye at it until my mom saw him on Sunday and asked, “are you sure he doesn’t have the chicken pox?” That’s when the Google frenzy started and it kinda sort did look like what was coming up in the image searches and the next morning we had the first available doctor’s appointment.

“Nope, not chicken pox. Coxsackie.”
“I’ll be right back to tell you about it”

I Googled it the second she left the room.

It appears that at some point while we were enjoying the lovely city of Tampa and Cooper was crawling all over the park and touching everything and probably going down the slide with his mouth open and just being a generally disgusting baby, a yucky virus was attacking his insides.

In layman’s terms it’s hand, foot, mouth disease. Doesn’t that just sound gross? Disease. It’s actually just a virus and there’s not a thing you can do about it (or do to not get it either) besides hide in your house and try not to rip your hair out. And being the kind, giving person Cooper is shaping up to be, he passed his germs right along to me. Oh, you shouldn’t have, really. It’s not so bad right now except for the fact that it feels like I’m stepping on pins when I walk and yesterday my hands were incredibly itchy. Today they’re just covered in spots. Luckily, neither of us got it bad and Corey skipped it all together. But that doesn’t mean I’m not doubling up on my vitamins or drinking ACV like it actually tastes good.

You can only catch the germs from coming in contact with an infected person’s saliva (or poop! I told you it was gross) so we braved Publix real fast this morning (it was either that or we were having ritz crackers for dinner) armed with a purse full of hand sanitizer and baby wipes. I put Cooper in pants to discreetly cover his bumps, tried not to make eye contact and not let anyone see the palms of my hands. But of course I would run into one of the super friendly old ladies who were usually the only other ones roaming the aisles at 9am, and of course she leaded in and touched Coopers arm telling me how cute he is.

“Aw, thanks! …Oh, can’t forget your yogurt, Coop…Have a nice day!” I called over my shoulder as  I grabbed the cart and got us out of there as fast as I could.



We embarked on Cooper’s first road trip to Tampa last weekend to visit Corey’s sisters and it felt so good to just get out of the house for a couple days (even though I checked our camera to look at the dogs more than a few times). We both took off Friday from work so we could drive up Thursday afternoon and I was a little worried how Coop would do since he would be awake for at least half the drive. Besides a few little whines when an episode of Little Einsteins ended or he needed more snacks NOW, MUMMY (Stewie, anyone?), he was perfectly content and was even better on the way back.

We got there around dinner time on Thursday, ordered a pizza and called it a night. On Friday we got to see our nephew Ethan perform with his school band and Corey almost got a group of 6th grade boys behind us in trouble because they could not stop laughing. I can only imagine what’s going to happen when Cooper’s in school and his dad is the chaperone on the field trip. Hopefully I can compete with his cool factor. If not, I’ll bride them with candy.

On Saturday we drove over to the Brocante Vintage Market in St. Pete where they had every vintage antique-y thing I ever wanted but have no idea what to do with. Other than that we didn’t do much besides play a raging game of apples to apples, take too many shots of whiskey with pickle juice chasers (try it!), run around at the park, and just hang out around the house and it was perfect. There’s nothing I enjoy more these days than watching other people enjoy our boy. He was the life of the party and even did a little walking (of course not when anyone was trying to get him to walk and/or had their phones out. Punk.)

The rest of Corey’s North-Florida family stopped by for a quick visit and it was great to have everyone in one place. I think it was the first time since our wedding! I don’t have a big family on my side and there’s nothing wrong with that but it’s a definite change of pace. I’m just glad Cooper will always have tons of cousins and aunts and uncles to play with.

It was fun while it lasted and then I had to come home and do 3 loads of laundry and two of Cooper’s molars very considerately decided to start coming in the very next day!

Is it time for another vacation yet?



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Thanks for having us!



We have a teeny tiny house and hardly any storage. My craft supplies used to take residence in the closet in Cooper’s room but I was always shoving just one more thing in there and it quickly turned into an avalanche waiting to happen. It was such a project even finding the supplies for a project in there and I was buying multiples of things I already had because I couldn’t find anything…and, well you get it. It just wasn’t working.

After a late night Pinterest binge session, I saw a few armoires turned into craft storage and had a total lightbulb moment. We don’t have the space for a full sized armoire, but my mission was set. For weeks I scoured Craigslist, multiple thrift stores (daily) and was telling everyone to keep their eyes open for a small cabinet. I wasn’t finding anything and was thissss closet to ordering a kitchen island to use instead when my MIL found this gem at the thrift store down the street for an easy $60: IMG_8617

As soon as I saw it I was so excited and I definitely got a few “this girl is crazy” looks. The lady ringing me up even asked me if I was sure I wanted it…twice. Yes, load ‘er up!

I got it home, gave it a light sanding, and put my husband (AKA spray paint pro) to work. A few (er, 5) cans of Rustoleum flat white spray paint and new hardware later and she’s better than new. I am seriously so in love with this thing and just can’t get over how good it looks now.

Drumroll please…… DSC_0077 I told you! SO good!

There’s one shelf inside and deep drawer that is the perfect size for all my stuff. AND I CAN ACTUALLY FIND EVERYTHING. Crazy! DSC_0088 DSC_0090 Total cost: $85 ($60 for the cabinet, $20 for spray paint and $5 for the knobs…give or take a few bucks) and worth every penny if you ask me. It’s solid wood and something we’ll probably have in our house forever.

Who knows, maybe it will end up as a little girls changing table someday ;)  beforeandafter




The first time we took Cooper to the doctor we’d only been out of the safety of the NICU for 2 days. I remember we were late to the appointment because he was finishing a bottle and I forgot to pack the diaper bag. I didn’t just forget it on the counter at home, I never even put it together. I didn’t realize we were missing anything, we had the most important thing after all, until we were sitting in the waiting room and I looked around at all the other new moms with their huge bags.

I whispered my embarrassing revelation in Corey’s ear and he just started cracking up laughing. I guess I was so used to being in the NICU where they had everything we could ever need or maybe it was a case of frazzled mom brain. I’m still not sure, but I get a good laugh every time I think  about it. I can’t even imagine what was going through the nurse’s mind when I asked her for a diaper since I forgot to bring one. Doh!

This is actually the diaper bag my mom used with Hailey. When I was pregnant I couldn’t find one I liked and since my mom wasn’t really using this one anymore, she offered it to me and I gladly accepted. I like that it’s the classic coach print and can be used as an overnight bag down the road, but when this baby is packed up it’s definitely on the bulkier side.

This is what I’m packing on the days we’re gone all day with no return time in sight:

    1. diapers
    2. wipes
    3. changing pad
    4. cup
    5. snacks
    6. white onesie
    7. socks
    8. terry cloth bib
    9. burp cloth
    10. disposable bib
    11. disposable place mat (am I the only one grossed out by the damp rag they wipe down restaurant tables with?)
    12. organic food pouch
    13. spoon
    14. roll of plastic baggies (it seems like something you wouldn’t use a lot, but when you need it you’ll be happy you have them)
    15. hat
    16. organic sun screen
    17. Burt’s Bees hand sanitizer (I love this one because I can spray it on his pacifier or toys when he drops them on the ground 12 times an hour)
    18. at least 2 toy cars and 3 crayons – just in case
    19. beads! (Who doesn’t love a good set of beads. No flashing required.)
    20. extra pacifier and clip
    21. chapstick
    22. hair tie
    23. protein bar
    24. Starbucks Via Latte
    25. iPhone
    26. wallet
    27. reusable bag that folds up
    28. Tylenol (teething is the pits)
    29. umbrella
    30. kitchen sink

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For quick runs to the store I have a smaller zippered pouch with an extra onesie, 2 diapers, wipes, a burp cloth, a baby food pouch and a spoon that I’ll just throw in my purse with his snacks* and cup.

Riveting stuff, I know!

*Sometimes I have to gauge home much longer we can stay out of the house based on how many snacks we have left. It’s a very complicated equation but math was never my strong suit.

Cooper - Huge Feet


It was a Saturday and I was 35 weeks pregnant and dragging Corey to Ikea for a rug for Cooper’s room because how could I possibly bring home a baby to a rugless room he wouldn’t even use. To me it made perfect sense and Corey gave up trying to keep me in bed. My feet ached the entire 20 minutes we were there and I had to stop and sit on a pile of boxes halfway though the store. But we made it out of there with the dang rug and I felt like I won.

I woke up in the middle of the night feeling wet but I blamed it on a swift kick to the bladder even thought I really didn’t think I peed myself but what did I know, so I just cleaned up and went back to bed. The next morning I was getting ready for work but promptly needed a bagel. STAT! We were in the car on the way to the Dunkin’ Donuts at the end of our street and I looked over at Corey and very casually asked, “You don’t think my water could’ve broken and me not know it, right?” and without missing a beat he said “No way! We’re going to 40 weeks!” Ok, then! So I ate my bagel and went to work.

I was there not even 15 minutes before I was calling the doctor’s office telling her that it was definitely not pee and it was best if she not ask me how I knew. With instructions to go straight to Labor and Delivery, I slapped a frantically scribbled sign on the front door to the bookstore and rushed home.

When I got there Corey was just casually walking around the house, the bags I packed the week before already by the door, combing his hair like it was any other day. I could hardly breathe the entire way home. I was sweating and just wanted to get to the hospital after the way my doctor sounded on the phone. We pulled up and I was instructed to wait in the car. This time I listened. Corey ran back out with a wheelchair that still had an oxygen container strapped to it, but I didn’t ask any questions. They got me in a bed and told me to wait. I’d been to the hospital 3 or 4 times during the pregnancy for spotting and because I’m just an all around crazy person, so I knew the drill. It could be a while.

The nurse came in and checked the monitors strapped to my belly. “I don’t see any reason why your water would be broken, but I guess we’ll see,” she said looking at my chart. I immediately felt self conscious like I had no idea what I was talking about because this was my first baby, but she grabbed a little test strip and “well whadda ya know. It looks like you are having a baby!”

Well whadda ya know! Hmph!

We broke out our phones and started making calls. “Yes, TODAY! I know!”

They wheeled me up to the room where I was going to give birth to our son and told us to wait. One thing I learned about pregnancy, you’re always waiting for somethingWait, wait, wait. So we did.

We got to the hospital at around 10am on Sunday and Cooper wasn’t born until 4:49am Monday morning and I started pushing at around 2am (?) so that means we had 16ish hours to kill.  Truthfully, I really have no idea what we did all day except that I had to use the bathroom every 5 minutes which meant Corey had to wheel my IV behind me and it was such a hassle. By the time I made it back in the bed and managed to get comfortable again without pinching any cords or pulling the monitors off my belly I had to pee again. It was a vicious cycle. We didn’t take any pictures and I wasn’t even nervous which really surprised me. Corey watched football and I putzed around on my phone. I looked back through my Facebook messages and found a few with my friend Stephanie telling her what was going on in the hospital (IV fluids, antibiotics, pitocin), but that’s about it. Corey’s parents stopped by and my mom was on standby (she slept in her clothes just in case!). I ate an apple pie from the McDonald’s down stairs.

So far I hadn’t felt more than just mild cramping. Nothing major until about 10pm. I know it was 10pm because Walking Dead just ended and we must have dozed off for a couple minutes because Talking Dead just started when I woke up to some serious pain. Enough to take my breath away. The real stuff. I gritted my teeth through a few contractions trying to gauge exactly how much pain I was in and if I should wake up Corey and page the nurse. The last thing I wanted was to press the call button and have them tell me I was only 3 or 4 centimeters dilated like I was two hours ago. But the contractions were really strong and my heavy breathing woke up Corey and the nurse was on her way. She came in with a bag of medicine to put in my IV because I was “probably not dilated enough for the epidural”.

I laid back so she could check everything out and I got a tiny bit worried when she scrunched her eyebrows and went in for a second feel. “Honey, you’re 8cm. Do you want that epidural?” I was in so much pain I couldn’t even speak. I just shook my head. Corey phoned the parentals and told them to get a move on and then not even 5 minutes later the lovely, beautiful, anesthesiologist came to make it all go away. Too bad the first thing she made go away was my husband. Hmph.

I thought I would be nervous about the epidural but when the nurse stood between my legs while the anesthesiologist drew on my back, I leaned into her breathing through a fierce contraction like she was family. It’s funny how quick your shame goes out the window when there’s contractions involved. I used to think how embarrassing, you’re just there with your legs open and all those people in the room, but when the time came I was all come on and get a good seat up front.

Anyways, the epidural was like falling into the softest, fresh out of the dryer, quilt and taking the world’s longest nap. I was rejuvenated. My legs weighed 500 pounds each, but I was feeling mighty fine! By this time our parents were there and they were all complaining that it was “the most boring labor ever” because I was not the insane crazy lady they all expected me to be. I just wasn’t in any more pain. I was and then it was gone. No problem!

When it was time to start the action and things weren’t happening and the doctor said “ok, let’s turn off that epidural so you can feel when to push” yeah, that was different. Wowzers! I don’t even know how to put it into words. I pushed for over 2 hours but after it as over it felt like 5 minutes. At one point the doctor asked if I wanted to reach down and feel his head. No, thank you. A few pushes later she grabbed my hand and I felt his head alright. It’s not that I didn’t want to touch my baby, I just definitely did not want to think about what was going on down there, if you know what I mean.

The room was filled with people, my mom, Corey and his mom, my doctor, two nurses, and the NICU team (maybe 3 or 4 people). It was a full house and like I said, no shame. I did make everyone happy and get out 2 F bombs though. And before I knew it my mom was yelling “look down!” and I had to try and sit up and look over my still pregnant looking belly. He didn’t cry out like we were hoping, but instead just made a few grunts and looked around with the biggest eyes I ever saw. He was beautiful. And he had huge feet.

They wrapped him up and put him in my arms for a brief 30 seconds and off he went. I already knew he’d need to go down to the NICU because I was only 35 weeks (cut off for babies going straight to the regular nursery is 35w1d and we were 1 day short). It was definitely not the delivery I expected but in that moment I wasn’t the least bit sad. It was still full of tears and joy and so much love. I knew he was being well taken care of and I breathed a sign of relief that I did it. Another thing I wasn’t expecting was the 3 week stay we had in front of us.

At first, I’ll admit, I felt robbed. I wanted to be like everyone else and be able to sit in the hospital bed with my baby all wrapped up in the outfits I packed for him while our family and friends stopped by to catch a glimpse, and I didn’t get to do that. Instead I was wheeled up to an empty room and got up in the middle of the night, not to feed or change him, but to pump out a measly ounce of colostrum and walk it slowly down to the NICU on the 2nd floor. But looking back on it, we were incredibly lucky because he was perfectly healthy, just small, and we’d be home in no time. When it was happening those 3 weeks dragged on and I was convinced they just wanted to keep him forever, but now I know that 3 weeks is nothing. And just because my experience is different from a few other people doesn’t mean it wasn’t special and great and the absolute best day of my life. It was just that – different. Ask me at the time and I would have done anything to change it, but now I realize the whole situation made me a better mom. I savored every late night wake up call, feeding and diaper change because I felt so privileged to be able to do it and knew what it felt like not to. And to top it off, I got a 3 week intensive crash course in infant care from the best of the best. By the time we made it home I felt like a pro. It’s all about how you look at it.

One thing I’ve quickly learned about Cooper – he does things on his own time. He was conceived within the 1st month of stopping the pill, born at 35 weeks, and still isn’t walking at 15 months. That boy has his own agenda and we are rolling with it.

We love you baby boy. To the moon and back.

IMG_3782 Cooper - Newborn

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