The Big Reveal

The new baby’s gender has finally been revealed! We had a little party with family and friends this weekend to unveil the gender, and it couldn’t have been more perfect. Don’t worry, I won’t leave you hanging until the end of the post to find out. Watch this and see what we are having next!!

Continue reading for all the details…






Yay! A girl! We are so thrilled, and can’t wait to plan the nursery, pick a name, and gather sweet little girl things. Jonah is now learning the word “sister”, and we will spend the next 4 months trying to get him to understand what’s going on.  I can’t wait to see him as a big brother.

And now, for a quick rundown of the party.  I went with a pink and blue theme (no surprise there), but kept everything really fun and simple.  Guests were greeted by a “he or she” wreath at the door.

Once they walked in, they were asked to vote on who they thought Baby #2 would be.  The group was pretty much split down the middle the whole evening.

The dessert table was set up with pink on one side and blue on the other.  I hung the colorful spheres above the table because I thought they were fun.

I also taped up a few of baby’s ultrasound pictures.  The “evidence” ultrasound pic was still sealed up in an envelope at this point.

Guests were asked to take a blue or pink felt circle pin to represent their vote throughout the night.  It was fun to see which “team” each person was on.

Dinner was simple.  We ordered jambalaya from the Jambalaya Shoppe, along with potato salad and rolls.  Other than pink and blue cupcakes, I made pink-dressed strawberries (dipped in pink-tinted white chocolate) and blueberry crumble bars.

After we dined and let the anticipation build (and build!!), we went out back to reveal the gender.  Josh and I had decided we wanted to find out the gender when everyone else did.  A friend of mine was in charge of preparing the box of balloons.  She was the first and only person to know the gender during the party, and she did a great job at keeping a straight face the entire time.  We had no clue!

We were so surprised! Josh and I really thought we were going to have another boy (even though we told everyone we didn’t have a guess).  As you can see from both of our faces, we were shocked and overjoyed.

It was one of the best parties ever! The entire evening was full of suspense and anticipation.  We are so thankful for everyone who came and shared this special occasion with us. We won’t ever forget it.

Jonah’s Birth Story

Happy first birthday to my little Jonah Stephen!  I thought a great way to celebrate this special day would be to share Jonah’s birth story.  It is something that I have been wanting to write down since it happened, and I figure a year from the day is the perfect time to do it.  It was such an important and amazing day for me and Josh.  It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I promise to leave out any gory details. If you do read it, thanks for listening, and I hope I can share at least 5% of the amazing-ness that was October 1, 2010.

I am not very good at being patient.  Ask any driver in front of me who doesn’t go when the light turns green.  When it came to the baby in my belly who kicked my organs throughout the day, I was in an even bigger hurry to get him out.  I was ready to meet this little guy and introduce him to the world.  My doctor didn’t help much with easing my anxiety.  At about one month from our due date, she predicts that Jonah would be early.  “This baby is soo low,” she says.  So not only was I impatient, but I was convinced that I wouldn’t have to wait another month.


Our due date was a week away (Sept. 30th), and I was at another appointment, wishing I was home with my baby already.  Where is he? Why doesn’t he want to come out?!  My doctor gives me an out: induce on October 1st if he hasn’t arrived on his own. I didn’t need more than a second to agree.  “Yes.  Definitely,” I said.

My birth plan (the one I planned on) was to go all-natural and drug free.  My how things change when you feel that baby with every breath and step you take.  I knew an induction would make a natural birth harder, not to mention making it drug-full and not really natural at all.  But at this point, my crazy pregnant self needed an end in sight, so the induction was set.  I just prayed that he would be healthy and that was it.  At the end of the day, regardless of your birth plan, you are a mom and he is in your arms.  That’s all I wanted.

October 1st, 2010, 3:00am:  Josh and I are up, packed, and heading to the hospital for our scheduled induction.  I had prayed all night that Jonah would decide to come on his own that morning, but no luck there.  We would need to give him a little push.

I had not experienced a single contraction yet.  Any Braxton-Hicks contractions I had were very rare and very mild.  I had no idea what a real contraction was going to feel like and had worried that I wouldn’t even know when labor would start.   Now at 4:00am,   hooked up to every machine and wire and strapped with a mobile monitor, the Pitocin started to drip, and it was on.

Mr. Pitocin made sure I knew what a contraction felt like.  The contractions hit like a hurricane: full-force, non-stop, and without mercy.  In other words, they hurt. Doctor broke my water to get things moving.  That is when the pain really kicked in. I tried walking around, sitting in different positions, using all breathing/relaxation techniques I had learned, but that Pitocin fought back and the contractions raged on.  I was having level 9 (to me) contractions every 1-2 minutes! I couldn’t catch a break.  They just kept coming and coming, and I was not handling them well.

Doctor came in around 10:00am to check my progress. “You’re at 1 cm,” she says.

I almost lost it.  I had been in extreme pain for almost 5 hours, and nothing had happened.  The pain was so overwhelming, I just couldn’t relax and let things happen.  I was stuck at a 1 and knew I couldn’t handle this pain much longer.  “I’m done with this,” I said.  “I can’t take it anymore. I want the epidural. I’m giving up.”

Everyone in the room was in favor.  They knew I was in pain.  Even Josh, after asking me several times that this was what I wanted, was ready to see me out of pain.  He was so strong for me and with me every second, but this was not the birth experience we had expected.  Everything was too fast, too furious, yet with little to no progress.  For my sanity, I needed that pain to go away.

Mr. Drug-Man/My Hero arrived with his needle.  I had to tell him when to give me the shot (in between my minute-apart contractions).  I knew I could only sit still during that little break.  After 10 minutes, the contractions began to decrease.  Pretty soon, all pain was gone, and I was actually smiling.  Such a relief.  I went five hours epidural-free; I was proud.  Now, I wanted Jonah out more than ever.  How long would it take?

At 1:50pm, doctor came back in to check me.  “Well, lady.  You did it!”  she exclaims.


“You’re at a 10! We can start pushing.”

Was she serious? How could this be? I went from 1cm to 10cm in a couple of hours of just laying there.  My body had finally relaxed from the epidural, and my progress had flown.  It was amazing, a miracle.  Our cheering squad in the waiting room was informed, and they were thrilled.  Jonah would be arriving soon.  It was up to me now to do some pushing so we could meet our little boy.

I pushed for an hour.  Josh, my mom, and sister were there cheering me on and counting for me.  Josh was amazing.  He was my rock through the whole day, and having him right next to me, holding my hand and counting to 10 over and over kept me focused and got me through.  At 3:00pm, the doctor came back for those last couple of pushes and caught our sweet baby boy at 3:07pm.  Josh cut the cord.  Jonah cried his beautiful cry.  I smiled.

I can’t describe the joy in those moments of seeing that baby for the first time after such a long day of pain, waiting, and work.  It was just so worth it all.  Maybe he didn’t come on his own, maybe I couldn’t go natural all the way, but he was there and healthy.  He was ours.

As I held him on my chest moments after he was born, I whispered to him: “I love you my sweet baby.  Happy birthday.”  I got to say that again today–one year later.  What an amazing gift and what an amazing little miracle he is.  Happy birthday, Jonah.  Everyone calls this your first, but between you and me, it’s the second.

Surprise Weekend

So, even though all things wedding/anniversary were blogged about last week, I couldn’t leave this last anniversary event out.  Josh blew it out of the water with a huge surprise for me: a weekend trip to New Orleans and a night in the honeymoon suite, where we stayed after our wedding 2 years ago! It was the perfect gift and surprise, and we had a blast!

Josh’s parents came up to watch Mr. Jonah for the night.  It was our first night away from him, which made it extra special and a little nerve-wracking.  He was in great hands, but I was still the worried momma wondering if Jonah would miss me or think I left him forever.  I’ll cut to the chase: he was an angel and probably didn’t miss us at all.  So, thank you Josh for semi-dragging me away and reassuring me he would be fine!

With Jonah good to go, we were off on our adventure.  We arrived at Maison St. Charles around 3:00pm on Friday and checked in to the honeymoon suite.  Nothing had changed.  That made me so happy.  We had stayed there the night of our wedding and I fell in love with the charming, vintage room.  We had to fly out first thing in the morning after our wedding, so this time around we had the chance to relax and really enjoy the room.  I love the old-french feel, the art (all Degas, one of my favorites), and the huge bathroom.  What an escape!

After getting settled in the room and changing for dinner, we headed to the French Quarter for our reservation at Red Fish Grill.  This restaurant is named “best seafood restaurant in New Orleans” and it does not disappoint. And just a quick warning, this post is going to get real foodie real fast.  I mean, we were in New Orleans.  Isn’t eating like 80% of the experience?!

Our dinner began with a little “lagniappe” of grilled shrimp and fried green tomato.  Appetizer was fried calamari with prosciutto..  Main courses: black drum over a crab risotto for me and giant shrimp over a corn maque choux for Josh.  Every bite was delicious and memorable.

If you ever get a chance to eat at Red Fish Grill, please don’t skimp on dessert.  Three words: chocolate bread pudding.  I can’t even talk about it; it’s so good.  Every bite is amazing.  We took care of them all. :)

Our unbelievable dinner was followed by a beautiful walk around the quarter and by the river.  The weather was surprisingly cool, and the people were crazy as always.

To top everything off, I enjoyed a full night’s sleep that night.  Can’t remember the last time that has happened since Jonah has been born.  It was glorious!  The next morning, we did not wake up to catch a plane to Paris (as we did for our honeymoon two years ago), but we thought we would re-live our trip just a bit with a breakfast stop at a nearby French bakery.  It’s as close to authentic as you can find in the U.S.  We enjoyed a chocolate éclair and a chocolate croissant.  Have I mentioned we really like chocolate?

The rest of the morning was spent browsing the shops up and down Magazine St.  We may or may not have stopped at a couple of kid and baby stores.  We did manage to spot a couple of the famous, highly-coveted water meter covers.  Don’t worry, we left it there.

For lunch, we followed our noses to Slice Pizzeria.  Ok, I’m going to say it: BEST PIZZA EVER!  And this is from a girl who lived in Chicago.  It was so delicious and only a few bucks a slice.  You have got to put it on your list!

After lunch we headed home to our sweet little Jonah.  The weekend trip was just what we needed to celebrate our two years of marriage and take a break from the day-to-day.  I can’t thank the hubby enough for his sneaky planning.  It was a romantic and unforgettable weekend, and the perfect way to start year 3 together!