June’s Birth Story

June Deanne arrived Friday, May 13, 2016 at 2:43 AM!

9 lbs. 9 oz.

21 1/2 in. long

15 in. head circumference

June was due on May 12th. Since I was 10 days overdue with Ada and 4 days overdue with Lola, I was sure that I’d be going at least a few days over with June. For most of my pregnancy, I told people that I was due on May 17th, my Bobba’s birthday, so that I could avoid the barrage of, “Is baby here yet?” questions. I made sure that my due date was packed with appointments and things to do so that I could stay busy and keep my mind off being due with no baby.

Thursday the 12th looked like this:

Get girls ready for school

Drop girls off

Joke with teachers about how I’d see them on Monday, still pregnant

Pick girls up from school

Go to 40 week check-up

Take girls to get their hair cut

Go to Orcutt Burger for dinner

Get my nails done

I had a full day! And stay busy I did. Well, at my check-up, when Dr. Rasul checked me, I was 4 cm dilated! I asked her to strip my membranes and she said that I would probably go into labor that night. She wanted to send me right over to labor and delivery, but my doctor (Colton) wanted to send me home. Less intervention = better chance of VBAC. I agreed and wanted to go home too to finish my list of to dos for the day! I was having some mild cramping but nothing unbearable. As I was leaving, she looked me up and down and said, “I don’t think baby will be 9 lbs. You let me know.” I went about the rest of my day and it was when I was getting my manicure that things were getting a little more uncomfortable. It was so funny, I closed the place down so they were mopping the floor while my nails were being finished. They said not to get out of the chair and walk, they would push me in my chair to the front. So I had two guys pushing hugely pregnant me in the rolling chair along with the owner walking behind us saying, “Taxi!” It was hilarious!

When I got home from the nail place around 8:30 PM, I told Matt and the girls that we needed to get packed up so the girls could spend the night at my mom’s that night. After a false alarm the week before (which really was my body doing some work and progressing), I already had everyone’s bags ready. So it was just the toiletries and electronics that needed to be added to the bags. As I was packing the bathroom stuff, painful contractions started. I was timing them on my phone and they were 3-4 minutes apart. I’d texted my mom after my doctor’s appointment so she had dropped off sub plans at her classroom just in case it was the real deal! We dropped the girls off at my mom’s and I stayed in the car it was so painful. Matt comes back out to the car and asks, “So, home or hospital? Maybe we can watch one more episode of Walking Dead?” I just looked at him and said, “Hospital. Now!” He dropped me at the ER door since it was after hours (11 PM) and went to park the car. I waddled in and said, “Hi, I’m in labor.” They got me in a wheelchair and took me up to L&D. Matt came up and joined me in the little triage area where they made sure I was actually in active labor. Baby girl was definitely coming tonight!June's Birth - karainthekitchen.comContractions at this point were getting closer and getting up on the little bed with metal bars on the side was not comfortable or fun. My nurse was awesome and stayed with me the whole time I labored! She rubbed my back and talked me through contractions. She said I started squatting while holding onto Matt and she knew we had to get into a delivery room. I had no idea I was doing that, it’s amazing what your body instinctively does to get through pain.

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Lola’s Disney Side 4th Birthday Party!

Miss Lola Jennie turned FOUR in August! She wanted a Princess Sofia birthday party, and it worked out perfectly with the Disney Side @ Home Party box we were sent. It had crowns, amulets, napkins, plates, placemats, snack bowls, a food stand, a centerpiece, tablecloth, and activities for the kids in it. The favor boxes were Doc McStuffins (another favorite) filled with wands, nail files, stickers, Cinderella buttons, and other goodies. IMG_3808We bought balloons and Maverick was not a fan of the giant floating Princess Sofia! IMG_3809For a game, we had the princesses see how far they could walk with books on their heads. Me demonstrating: IMG_3813They each received a magical amulet after completing the book balancing game.Disney Side @ Home PartyOur big four-year-old! IMG_3815

For food, I made peanut butter and grape (purple for Sofia) jelly sandwiches, had watermelon, grapes, oranges, string cheese, animal cookies, and filled our Mickey Mouse cake pan with carrots, broccoli, and dip. Disney Side @ Home PartyIMG_3842Happy little party-goers!Disney Side @ Home Party

Our DisneySide Party box had an awesome cake mix from Duff of Charm City Cakes in it. It was a colorful rainbow cake that was so fun and easy to make! IMG_3843The kids loved seeing when we cut into it.  IMG_3856 IMG_3857Lola opening her gifts…I love her facial expressions! IMG_3867 IMG_3871 IMG_3873Trying to get her sweet face in the picture with her Lola sticker book from Cap’n Walt :)IMG_3875 IMG_3881Ada & Emma trying out Lola’s new bunk bed set from Nonnie!  IMG_3905IMG_3883Having Lola as a part of our family for the past four (1/2) years has brought us such joy! She has been a light in our world. She’s a mommy’s girl and snugglebug. She loves to make her sister laugh, play with her, pull funny faces, use Maverick as a pillow, sing, go to Primary, color, write, spend time with her Nonnie & Nana, ride her scooter & bike, and would swing all day if I’d let her. Love you Lo!!   

I was sent a Disney Side @ Home party box to help throw a magical party for my Disney-loving girls! As always, all opinions are 100% mine. 

A Little News!

We are adding another little pumpkin to the bunch this Spring! Miller-5I’m 14 weeks along and due on May 12th, 2016! With my track record of being overdue – I’m saying May 17th instead. It’s my Bobba’s birthday and would be a great day to have a baby :) Miller-6We are so excited! Ada & Lola can’t wait to be big sisters to baby. Lola kisses my belly and says, “Goodnight, little one.” So far everything looks great! Growth is right on track and baby’s heart rate was 140-142 at my last appointment.Miller-4I am sorry if I’ve avoided you or been short in past months, I’ve been sick. So very tired, too. Thank goodness for Zofran! It took the edge off and helped me keep food down. Wish I would’ve had it with my girls.

Photos by the talented Kirsi of LK Photoshoots! She is so good with my girls and has such a great eye for locations and ideas. Book your spring photo shoot with her here!

Santa Barbara Wine Country Half 2015 Recap

I was SO excited to run the Santa Barbara Wine Country Half Marathon for the second time this year! Find my first recap here, and 6 reasons you should run it here.

The best part was that it was Matt’s very first half marathon! It was so fun to run it with him. I told him he would be hooked after running it and he is. He said, “We have to run this every year!”

The only problem was that I hurt my back. We moved on May 1st and all of the packing, bending, lifting, and cleaning, led to me throwing out my lower back when I picked up Lola on Tuesday. Went to my chiropractor and told him, “So, I’m running a half marathon this Saturday…” and he’s like, “You mean you hope you’re running! As long as you don’t lift a box or a daughter the wrong way again!” So needless to say, I was in pain the whole race but still ran it. Much slower than I’d hoped to (2:50), but we finished together!

Packet pickup was in Solvang at the Expo on Friday. We saw the finish line all set up and couldn’t wait to cross it the next morning!

I tried on the most comfortable shoes: Newtons. They were so bouncy and maybe when my current shoes wear out I’ll get a pair of them :)

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Alaska Airlines was a sponsor and did free name engraving on luggage tags for everyone. We also entered to win a trip…still crossing my fingers!

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I LOVE the shirts this year! Super soft and light. And how cute is the race bib? They took one of my grapes in exchange for my shirt. The timing chip was built into the back of it; read: no clunky chip to tie to your shoe! Technology is awesome.

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Race morning! Kandie drove us (THANK YOU!!) and we were there bright and early, ready to run! Check out Destination Races’ sweet new start structure:

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The overcast weather could not have been more perfect for running! Matt was mad that he even bothered bringing his sunglasses. Mine were so light that I didn’t mind them on my head the whole time.

The course did not disappoint! The gorgeous vineyards, lavender fields, beautiful homes, rolling hills…

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Then ending with the finish line in Solvang. Look at the windmill in our finish pic that Kandie took!

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At the finish line where my mom met us with the girls! They were happy to wear our medals until they got too heavy…a good problem to have ;)

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We got to the VIP area after being measured for our SOLS (more on those later!), and the food tasted incredible! The sun came out just as we finished the race, it was perfect.

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Bottom line: I’d do it again in a heartbeat. Hopefully on a weekend where I haven’t moved the week before :) Thank you, Destination Races, for putting on such a great event right in my back yard!

I was provided with two discounted race entries. As always, all opinions are 100% mine! 

Becoming a Mother with a Special Nurse

With Mother’s Day approaching, it has me reflecting on the time when I first became a mother. It was December 2009, and I was 9 days overdue. I was incredibly anxious to meet my daughter!

I worked with Dignity Health and SocialMoms on this post to pay tribute to the incredible nurses who helped me become a mother in honor of #NursesWeek.

I will never forget getting to French Hospital and meeting my wonderful nurses. I was throwing up because of the pain, and they were holding my hair back and wiping my mouth for me. They were so sweet and accommodating!

I have always had a hard time with needles, but not for the reason you might think. They don’t scare me at all – I just have slippery, hard-to-find veins. I’ve been poked so many times and had giant bruises from a needle going straight through my vein before. So I always warn nurses that I don’t do well when it comes to IVs and such. My nurse, Claudia, was perfect. She calmed my fears and said that we would find a nice vein and that she’d never missed before. She was asking me about what we were naming the baby, where we were from, and before I knew it – the IV was in! Magic I tell you :) She also made sure that I had all of the red Jell-O I wanted!

Pregg-O Jell-O

Here is the direct quote from my labor story: “My nurse, Claudia, was INCREDIBLE! She bent over backwards to make sure that my family and I were comfortable. She was such a sweet, calming, funny, perfect person to have around. Love that woman.”

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I remember my mom coming to meet us at the hospital. I was laboring and they had the whole labor & delivery wing nice and quiet with dimmed lights. My mom said that Claudia greeted her warmly and asked in a hushed tone who she was here for. When she said my name, Claudia gently led her to my room and made sure she, Matt, and I had everything we needed. It was all such a peaceful experience thanks to her and the other nurses! I remember telling my doctor that I never wanted to leave Hotel French ;)

For such a life-changing event of becoming a mother, I am forever grateful that I was surrounded by such loving, kind, and considerate nurses. They made the labor, surgery, nursing, and recovery the most memorable and wonderful experience in a situation that can be overwhelming and uncertain. Thank you, nurses.

New Mommy

Which nurses have touched your life and made an impact on you?

Check out the posts being shared on the @DignityHealth Twitter feed, Facebook page, and  @Hellohumankindness Instagram.

This blog post is part of a paid SocialMoms and Dignity Health blogging program. As always, the opinions and ideas expressed here are my own.

GoodNites* TRU-FIT* Underwear

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for GoodNites* TRU-FIT*. I received a promotional item to thank me for participating. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.

Have you heard of GoodNites* TRU-FIT* underwear before? If you have a child that is either potty training or has troubles with wetting the bed at night (or both), you need to know about these babies. Sold at Walmart, they look and feel like real underwear! They have a clever little pocket inside that you can place a removable, absorbent, lining inside of.

Check out GoodNites* TRU-FIT* underwear here: bit.ly/18gcVGN

Children should not be embarrassed or scared to participate in activities because of their bedwetting. One out of six children ages 4-12 wets the bed! As a child, my poor husband was petrified of spending the night at his friends’ houses about something he had no control over. Children cannot be trained out of bedwetting. They will eventually grow out of it with time. Having an open discussion about bedwetting with your children is extremely important. They need to know that it’s normal, and not to be ashamed when it does happen! We take our girls to the potty at midnight, before we go to bed, and then we don’t have to worry about doing laundry in the middle of the night :)

I love that GoodNites* TRU-FIT* look like real underwear! They have cute patterns (for girls) that are washable and can be folded right next to their normal daytime undies. This will help children feel confident and not worry about being bullied or made fun of because they are wearing something that looks like a diaper. GoodNites* TRU-FIT* underwear have fully-sealed seams along with six layer advanced absorbent protection to keep your children and their bedding dry all throughout the night!

Family Pictures with LK Photoshoots

We recently had our family pictures taken and I am SO happy with how they turned out! The weather did not want to cooperate, but we ended up some gorgeous shots thanks to LK Photoshoots!

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We were originally going to take these at the beach, but it was pouring rain there! So we tried some other locations and they worked out beautifully.

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I was so impressed with Kirsi’s vision and direction. She would take a handful of shots, then when the rain would start, she’d say, “Okay, let’s go over here!” Then we’d hop in the car and chase the sunshine! She was also a natural with Ada and Lola. They can be stand-offish with people they first meet but they warmed up to Kirsi really quickly!LK Photoshoots - http:/www.lkphotoshoots.com.jpgThese girls adore their Papa!LK Photoshoots - http:/www.lkphotoshoots.com.jpgNonnie and her girls :) LK Photoshoots - http:/www.lkphotoshoots.com.jpgI wanted 3 specific things from this session.

1. A new headshot – check!

2. A cute pic of my mom and the girls – check!

3. A great family photo – check!LK Photoshoots - http:/www.lkphotoshoots.com.jpg

If you need someone to take your family pictures, I highly recommend LK Photoshoots!

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Drop, Shop, & Oil with Pennzoil at Walmart

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #DropShopAndOil #CollectiveBias

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Now that the new year is here, we need to make sure our cars are happy on the road. My trusty 4Runner, Lafawnduh, has been with me for ten years! She has 192,000 miles on her and is the most reliable car. She’s taken me to college and back, on trips to San Diego, Moab, Los Angeles, the beach, and now takes my daughters to and from preschool every day. She’s taken care of me, so I want to take care of her. Regular oil changes with high quality oil are part of that.

That’s Dan below, the nicest guy at my local Walmart Auto Center. As he was looking under the hood, Lola said, “There’s his beard, it looks like Santa Claus!”  When I asked to take his picture he said, “Oh, you like the older models in the picture huh?” :)

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I arrived at 5 PM and was the only person at the Auto Center. By 5:10, my girls and I were in the store shopping. Easy, peasy!

We chose Pennzoil High Mileage Vehicle oil since Lafawnduh has so many miles on her. It helps reduce leaks and oil consumption and is specifically designed for cars with over 75,000 miles. It also helps the engines run clean for a long time.

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All Pennzoil products help clean out sludge lesser oils leave behind. It’s designed for complete protection and will allow you to drive an extra of 550 miles per year vs. a dirty engine. No other motor oil provides better protection from friction!
Pennzoil is so confident in their oil that they offer a free warranty that covers 15 engine parts that may fail due to engine wear or which experience abnormal wear due to friction. (For more info, check out the Pennzoil Warranty Site.)

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We shopped around and found snuggly Valentine bears, comfy bean bag chairs, and Ada found the paint swatches. If you know this girl, you know it is her goal in life to collect as many free pamphlets, papers, fliers, paint swatches, menus, etc. that she can!

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We were hungry so hit up McDonald’s for some food. While we were eating, my name was called over the loudspeaker letting me know that my car was ready. It was only 5:38! Super fast service.

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We returned to the Auto Center and the girls wanted to play in the waiting room. Even though you don’t have to, you could hang there if you wish.

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The guys were incredibly friendly and helpful. One of them even fixed my driver’s seat! They also washed my windshield, vacuumed the driver’s side, checked my tire pressure, and checked the fluids in my car. I am so happy with the service and glad that I have Pennzoil oil in my beloved car.

If you prefer to change your own oil, Ibotta’s current offer is for you: $5 off one 5-quart bottle of Pennzoil Platinum with PurePlus Technology

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The next time you need an oil change, head over to Walmart and ask for Pennzoil! Drop your car, head inside to shop, and leave with the best oil in your engine.

Check out and enter the awesome giveaway below!

Pennzoil Richard Petty Driving School "Experience of a Lifetime" Giveaway

Ada’s Frozen 5th Birthday Party!

Ada turned 5 last month! She reminds us daily that she is 5 now. We celebrated with friends and family in Frozen style, would you expect anything less? :)

I did all white food to make it feel like a wintry-snowy-land. Cauliflower & jicama with Ranch dressing for dipping. Powdered donettes, marshmallows (that everyone mistook for mints – so I’ll just do mints next time), turkey & Rondele cheese sandwiches with the crusts cut off. Sprite & water to drink!

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I borrowed all of my mom’s Christmas tree collection and I think they looked perfect around the cake! I used Duncan Hines Blue Velvet cake, my buttercream frosting, then topped it with rock candy (I saw the idea from a friend who saw it on Pinterest) and an Elsa. I’m so happy with how it turned out! Ada was in awe :)

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I made snowflake sugar cookies and had a station with frosting and sprinkles for the kids to decorate their own:

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Sweet girlfriends playing ring around the rosie:

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Matt’s dad surprised everyone and showed up as Olaf!

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All the party goers after the piñata. Did you know that they have piñatas now that you don’t have to hit? This one had ribbons that hung down and each person pulls a ribbon until you get to the one that opens it. Ours didn’t quite open enough and I had to rip it more, but I thought that was so cool!

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My big 5-year-old while all of her friends sang Happy Birthday to her :)

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I think we got all of the Elsas in this picture!

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We also had Frozen playing on the TV and had some impromptu singalongs with popcorn after all the food and cake. I’d say it was a success!

Happy Birthday sweet Ada! Thank you for making me a Mommy 5 years ago and teaching me so much. Love you baby girl :)

Wheel of Fortune & Duet

I have been watching Wheel Of Fortune since I can remember! As a child, I loved solving the puzzles and impressing my parents :) I’ve always wanted to be a contestant on the show, and tried to get into a taping in Vegas but it was full. Imagine my excitement while at the gym and a commercial says that the Wheel Bus is coming to SANTA MARIA, CA!!! Our little Town Center Mall, where I had my first job wrapping Christmas presents at Gottschalk’s (RIP), had the traveling Wheel of Fortune show!!

I went down there to apply and was feeling great. I heard a Billy Joel song on the radio while driving down. Always a good sign when my Billy serenades me!

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I got down there, filled out my application, and ran into my friend from college! We stuck together and we took pics of each other. Hopefully I can get pictures with the real Pat & Vanna soon!

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The way it worked was they had a huge box where all of the applications went. Once the game started, they would draw applications out of a gold spinny-thing. Very scientific. I saw a friend get drawn for the first game and it was exciting to cheer her on! My name was called for the 3rd or 4th round and I was SO excited!! I called my family but none of them made it to the mall in time, they had the games moving so quickly.

This is the picture that they took of me and then stapled to my application.

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Here I am on stage talking about how much I love Italians and traveling. They said show personality and excitement and I think I did! I didn’t solve the puzzle, but got the first word. I won a t-shirt and a cardboard bus. It was so much fun! They say that if they liked how I performed on stage, I will hear from them in a few months for an audition here on the Central Coast to be on the actual show! I am crossing my fingers, saying my prayers, and wishing on stars that I get chosen!!

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Lola spotted me in the crowd and Ada was very into the game. She’d clap when everyone applauded and guessed letters. We got lunch at the mall and people passing by were so sweet, complimenting me and telling me I’d get on the show.

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Matt & I sang a duet in church, I love singing with my hubby.

Funny story – we sang this at Stake Conference when we lived in Santa Cruz & when we harmonized, a little old lady in the front row goes, “OH THAT’S NICE!” Super loud!! It was SO hard not to crack up in the middle of singing! I love how in this recording it sounds like a little baby says, “Yay!”

Enjoy :)

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