"....I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." ~James 10:10~

Monday, December 30, 2013

{Chloe's First Christmas}

A Sweet Daddy...
Girls who love you lots...
A Party at Aunt Fran's...
 Fun with Makayla...
 Books to read...
 Hugs to be had...
 And smiles to share.
 Matching Pj's...
Armfuls of love...
 Christmas Eve Festivities...
 Love that lasts a lifetime.
 A Birthday Party for Baby Jesus...

A visit from Santa
Grandparent Love...
 Times 2.
 And Hugs...
...and Finally....naps!

Thanks be to God for ALL of His incredible gifts! Especially our little bundle of pure Christmas Joy!


Saturday, October 5, 2013

{Belton Standpipe Festival}

Today was our first public outing!
We went to the Standpipe Festival and boy was it HOT! Mommy was a little nervous at first but the longer we were there the more relaxed I was. Chloe never missed a beat and was a perfect little angel!

We found some cute new hairbows and enjoyed time with friends :)

Little cousins having LOTS of fun!
Later, after our first trip to the Mall and Walmart, it was time for a bath.
Loving this little monkey more and more every day!!!


Friday, October 4, 2013

{Morgan's Sweet 16!}

Look at that sweet ride!

And that sweet cake! YUM!

...and TONS of sweet LOVE for Chloe!

And we can't forget sweet cousins to help open presents :)

Happy Sweet 16, Morgan! You are so SWEET, so SPECIAL, and so LOVED!
Wishing you the SWEETEST year EVER!


Friday, September 27, 2013

{CLEARANCE HAUL: Burke's Outlet!}

Proud to say that all items were 95% off! 

Spent a total of $26 bucks :) The pile includes 2 new sports bras, at least 12 headbands, OPI Kardashian nail polish, lots of the Almay concealer I love, jewelry, books for Mom and Molly, scrub shirts (to resell on the online yardsale), a new gray jacket for moi, eyeshadow, books for Chloe and Makayla, disposable doggie doo bags, 2 cloth table cloths, 3 vinyl table cloths, nail stickers, and bronzer. A little something for everyone. Happy and THE SISTAH-FRIENDS should be excited...I come bearing gifts tomorrow!

Woo! Hoo!


{Bye, Bye Breast...}

Hello, cabbage leaves!
Attack of the mega-thumb!

I'm guessing you guys have figured out by now that we have decided that formula feeding is the way to go for us and I feel like a giant weight has been lifted off of my chest...and it's literally getting lighter by the minute as this milk dries up!

When I wrote my first post, Is Breast Best? a few days ago, I think I wrote it with the choice already made, and just needed some reassurance and confidence that I was doing the right thing. After a few nights of prayer (I bet God has heard many women weep to Him over sore boobs and lack of supply!) and a TERRIBLE bout of mastitis the day after my first post (there's an answer for you!) and a carefree day of keeping my boobs in my bra, it's been overly apparent that parenting has become so much less stressful and much more enjoyable. Obviously this is not the choice for everyone but for us, it's changed many parts of our day for the better. Let me explain...

Some people may be thinking that we made a selfish decision to deprive Chloe of the liquid gold my body was (barely) producing but here's what I think. First of all, I wish breastfeeding would have been easy and wonderful for us...but it wasn't. For all of you moms who are having success...YAY for you! :) But for me, it was dreadful. Not altogether torture, but I literally dreaded every time I had to pop open that nursing bra. I needed a schedule, I needed to know how much she was eating, and I needed to keep my boobs "put up" for more than a couple hours at a time. I am just the type of person who needs structure to keep sane and breastfeeding seemed quite chaotic for me. Again, I'm not saying breastfeeding is bad, the few times it worked well for us were beautiful. I think the Lord designed it wonderfully to feed and nourish new life....but I'm also thankful he helped put formula on the shelf! PRAISE.THE.LORD! Can I get an AMEN!?!

This bout of mastitis has been A.W.F.U.L. Quite possibly the SICKEST I've ever been. I just don't want to deal with that possibly coming back again. Easy reason, right? If you disagree, let me know how you feel after having an extremely bad case of the flu + a boob the size of a bowling ball that you can't touch or move without cringing. It's that bad.

Another reason is that I really enjoy the help of having people feed Chloe occasionally. Not only does she get the chance to bond with other people,  I get to jump in the shower (AHH!), maybe even shave if I'm lucky!, grab a couple extra hours of sleep, or just chill out for a few minutes. It's a little piece of heaven for a new mom. Mom's have needs too...even after baby arrives. Mom meeting her own needs doesn't mean she loves her baby any less or will let any of baby's needs suffer...I think it just means Mom is smart and knows that to take care of others you have to take good care of yourself. Selfish? Naw. Smart? Yes!

I can see that formula is gonna drain the pocketbook a little and my hands are gonna be a little dry  from washing all the bottles (a good reason to get some new hand cream...score!) but hey, I'll trade that any day over sore nipples, confusion if my sweet girl is getting enough to eat, and being confined to the pump like a ball and chain. I'm happier. Chloe is JUST as happy. And hubby's happy too, even more so when ESPN is on during his turn.

So there you have it. Thanks SO VERY MUCH for all your comments, advice, and support for either way. And best of luck to you all who are on the same journey, whether it be by breast or bottle. As moms, we all just want to do the very best we possibly can for our child. We want our child to be healthy and happy. We want to be healthy and happy, too. Ultimately, it's not breastmilk OR formula that nourish, protect, and grow our children. It's the Lord who does this and I trust him to help Chloe grow stronger and healthier every day despite the means we choose to put food into her body.

So pop open a can of Similac or pop out a breast and let's make a toast. Here's to the efforts we're all making to become the best moms that we can be! Cheers!


Monday, September 23, 2013

{Is BREAST best?...}

Personally, I think it just H.U.R.T.S!

Let me preface this post with the following facts about our situation:

1. I'm trying to have a good attitude about breastfeeding...trying hard...
2. It's not fun (but there will be many things I'll do as a parent that might not be FUN but are good for my child.)
3. I don't seem to be producing enough milk???
4. I'm confused over #3
5. It's a great thing to do for your child if you can, no doubt!
6. Pumping hurts way worse than having her on the breast IMO

And on the other hand...

1. I want to do what's best for my child. ALWAYS.
2. I MIGHT actually be making enough milk. Not knowing is the hard part.
3. When Chloe nurses well it feels like a huge success!
4. At least we've gotten in 3 good weeks of breast milk
5. I'm having to pump 8 times a day which is HARD to fit in our day if I manage to take advantage of hours I could be resting.
6.  Thank God for lanolin

Our feeding schedule is very hectic right now. For example, here's yesterday's pumping/feeding log from 11:00 am to 11:00 pm. Our goal (per lactation consultant) is to aim for 8 pumpings daily and/or breastfeed on demand as well as supplement with formula to make sure she's getting enough since she lost weight after delivery. The pumpings are supposedly to stimulate production. Chloe's now over her birth weight and eats well. She needs to eat 2.25 oz per feeding-also according to her pediatrician and the lactation consultant.

11 am-pumped 3 oz.
3 pm- pumped 3 oz. (she had a pumped bottle in between while we were at my in-law's house)
4:15 pm- she nursed shortly then seemed content
6:30pm-nursed very well :)
9:15 pm- nursed very well:)
11:00 pm- pumped 1.5 oz
Midnight-gave her a pumped bottle
3 am-nursed well
4:00 am-nursed again
4:45-nursed again
5:00- she was still crying and rooting LOTS so we supplemented with a formula bottle
8:30 am-pumped 3 oz.
Then I finally got a chance to sleep :)

This is just a complicated schedule of feedings, pumpings, and supplementing. I think feeds would be easier and more enjoyable if I could just exclusively breastfeed...maybe then it would be more appealing.

So now I'm stuck in a place between wanting to and trying to have success breastfeeding but  secretly ( well, not so much now:)  longing to switch to formula and give my boobs a break! I'd love to hear from you if you opted to use formula and why OR if you had difficulty breastfeeding but stuck it out with good results. Help this new Mommy out!


{And then there were 3...}

Sept. 1st at 8:28 pm our sweet Chloe Lea made her arrival into the world 24 days early. It was the most AMAZING day of our lives and here's how it all happened....

Saturday, August 31st: My last baby shower started at 10:30 am. I was SO HOT that I thought I might ignite into a ball of flames. Looking back now, I think I was in early stages of labor. After the shower (which was awesome!) I went home to rest and get ready to watch Clemson play (and beat!) GA that night. After a nice nap, I said goodbye to Travis, who was going to the game with a buddy. I remember feeling kinda anxious and the last thing I said to him was "keep your phone on!"

Later, waiting on Travis to get home, I got REALLY restless. I swept and mopped the entire house. I happily watched the end of the ballgame...GO TIGERS!...and sighed with relief when Travis got home. However, a few minutes later, another buddy called him and was stranded in Clemson. So, around 2 am, he went out to pick him up and I went to sleep.

Around 10 am on Sept. 1st I sat up in bed after a pretty good night's sleep and immediately my water broke. It was such a weird feeling. Sorry for the TMI...but just a big "GUSH" followed by lots of running around the house with a tired but excited husband trying to figure out what to do next.

Thankfully, the bags were ready to go!
After we debated on whether or not I was peeing on myself or my water had actually broken (more on that later!), we came to the conclusion that my bladder couldn't possibly have that capacity :) So...in Rada fashion we got a Bojangles combo and woofed it down on the way to the hospital to see if it was "Go Time"....and not just "Bo Time"...haha! Poor Trav was half hoarse from the football game and already in a sleep deficit but we were just glad Chloe waited until Daddy was home to decide to come! We joked that she just wanted to be here with us to celebrate the big Tiger win!

We got checked into labor and delivery and waited on the Dr. to confirm if this was IT! I told Travis I thought we'd probably be sent back home but he said he thought we would have a baby by the end of the day. Dr. Hearn confirmed shortly thereafter that little Chloe would be making her entrance into the world within 8 hours. Hubs is usually right, but instead of any "I told you so's" there were only kisses and tons of phone calls to let everyone know Chloe was on her way!

Although she was coming early, Dr. Hearn eased our fears by letting us know that Chloe would more than likely be JUST FINE...and she was. But I had to get her out first....:)

Boy was that an adventure...and worth every moment of pain...and I'd already do it again in a heartbeat. I was actually pretty lucky...I was 5 centimeters when I was first checked into the hospital around 11 am. At that time I hadn't felt a single contraction. By 5:30-6:00 pm and after an epidural, for anticipated pain to come, I was 10 centimeters and ready to push. I didn't have a single pain (other than super mild contraction pains here and there as it got closer to pushing time). I was so excited and ready to meet our sweet little girl! Travis was so awesome through it all and I couldn't hope to have anyone better by my side.

Dr. Hearn came in around 6 pm (because he was waiting on the patient next door to us to finish delivering her baby--they'd had 5 ladies check in within 30 minutes of each other with their water broken---a real "LABOR DAY" weekend!). Since I wasn't having any extreme pain, pushing wasn't so bad at first. But after the 1st hour and learning that Chloe was face up, which made for a difficult delivery, I was more than ready to just get her here! I had my Mom on one side and Travis on the other and my Dad in the back corner for extra support and love. It was the most special moment of my life. Another hour and a half later, Dr. Hearn was able to turn her (OUCH!!!) and we avoided a C-section. I remember thanking the Lord immediately for this most PRECIOUS and PERFECT gift! And kissing Travis with such appreciation for him as a husband and dad. And loving my Mom and Dad even more than ever and understanding for the first time the depths of loving another person unconditionally. It was INSTANT.

And nothing will ever be the same and we are so GRATEFUL! Chloe had a little jaundice but other than that she was ready for the world :) She weighed 6 lbs. 13 oz. and was 19 3/4 inches long with a head full of dark hair and she stole our hearts.

Life has never meant so much or been so wonderfully full of love and purpose. Chloe Lea, you are our everything! Today, one day before your expected due date, we are holding and cuddling our sweet 3 week old beauty, and we'll treasure every single day we are blessed to share with you!

Let the ADVENTURE begin!

 "For you, O LORD, have made me glad by your work; at the works of your hands I sing for joy."
*Psalm 92:4*

Mommy and Daddy :)

Monday, July 8, 2013

{Week by Week Update: 29}

Shame on me!!!

It's been waaay too long since my last post but I never expected the last few months to be quite as busy as they were!

I finished another semester of school and after one long 55 page research paper later I'm finally getting a break. YAY! It was so worth the hard work though!

Now I find myself at 29 weeks....AMAZING!!!

I'm so thankful our sweet little Chloe is continuing to grow strong and big....to God be ALL THE GLORY! We are just so THANKFUL!!!

So far, my favorite part of being pregnant, other than the eager anticipation of her arrival, has been when we read to  her at night. Travis picks out a book and then we lay in bed together and read to her. I think she enjoys it too because sometimes she becomes a little wiggle worm when she hears Trav's voice. Last night's book was Albert the Alphabetical Elephant...who knows maybe she'll come out saying her ABC'S :)

Seeing my body change has not been nearly as hard as I thought it would be. I know that sounds selfish but I was a little concerned about how I would feel about packing on extra pounds but suprisingly, it's not been bad at all. I just remind myself that my body is made for this and that the extra pounds ensure Chloe is getting everything she needs...which is all that really matters. I can start bootcamp after she arrives :) Or never....lol! But here in the home stretch I've been trying to make all my food choices count...lots and lots of peaches and fresh fruit, tons of greek yogurt, gallons and gallons of water (my thirst is UNQUENCHABLE!!!) and just a small slice of pie here and there ;) Oh, my weakness lately has been plates of pickles with Dill pickle potato chips....I try to drink TONS of water on those days to flush out all that salt. But boy is it DELISH!

We are finally moved into our new house and PRAYING for a buyer for the old one. Several people have looked at it and there's been some pretty good interest so far. Travis has been so good about getting everything done and taking care of things around both houses. He's such a wonderful husband...I couldn't ask for a better one! I'm so excited to see him and Chloe together and watch him become a Dad :)

I finally found the crib bedding I want for Chloe...it's so pretty! Haven't ordered it yet but hopefully we'll get to that next month. I also already found a "coming home" outfit for her---
Found this on Etsy but I am gonna try to save money and make one myself. I want pink and gray colors and a coordinating headband, too. Gosh I can't wait to meet her!

For You, O LORD, have made me glad by what You have done, I will sing for joy at the works of Your hands
~Psalms 92:4~
Chloe Lea Rada expected arrival 9-24-13!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

{Mother's Day 2013...and a name for our sweet girl!!!}

This one is VERY special since we are expecting our first child, sweet Chloe Lea Rada...

Yep!!! We decided on a name!

Her middle name is Lea (pronounced "Lee"), after Travis's Mom. Her name was Janet Lea Rada and Travis got her maiden name as HIS middle name...and now Chloe will have that name, too! And Chloe, well...it's just an awesome name for an awesome little baby girl! Don't you think?:)

We put ENDLESS hours into deciding on her name and changed our mind SO MANY TIMES. Choosing one of the first things you give to your child, like a name that will last forever, is difficult. So Chloe...we hope you like it! <3 We think it's gonna suite you perfectly!

Fran hosted another delicious Mother's Day picnic at her house. THANKS SWEET AUNT FRAN!!!! We ate chicken fingers, potato salad, pasta salad, pineapple sandwiches, deviled eggs, chips, fruit, and banana pudding. I ate some of EVERYTHING....it was delicious! It was awesome to spend the day with my Mom and the rest of my family <3

We went to Boulevard this morning and got to sit with Betty and Vanessa...it was a wonderful way to start our Mother's Day morning together! We also got to start the morning out in worship of our God who loved us enough to make us HIS children...what a BLESSING!

Love our Granny, too!!!

Well, I could say a MILLION + one things about how special today was, how much we already love our little girl, how excited we are to be her Mommy and Daddy, and on, and on....

but I'm EXHAUSTED! lol...and work comes early tomorrow morning. So, I'll just say this...How awesome is it that God has given us lives full of such JOY, LOVE, and GREAT EXPECTATIONS?!!! We owe ALL this to HIM!


Saturday, May 11, 2013

{Weekend Ramblings}

Breakfast on the new front porch...
View of the front yard and park across the street...grass needs cuttin' again already! Now all we need is to throw a swing over that branch :)
Flower shopping at Lowes...I could LIVE in that garden department right now!
...and a mystery solved! If you eat a cucumber THIS huge in ONE sitting and you're preggo....be prepared for KILLER HEARTBURN!!!! What was I thinking?!

Lesson learned!!! bahaha :)

Boys moving furniture...75% finished with everything at the old house! Yay!
Babs says "bye bye!" Can't believe we are already at 21 weeks!