The Escape Artist

When all babies are born, the hospital wraps them up tight in a swaddling blanket because babies like to feel safe and warm.

Not Cora. From the beginning she has hated anything that constrains her arms or legs.


This was her second day of life. Notice how she has her little arm popped out.

At night, we would put her in a sleep sack that wraps around her arms and she would work and work until her arms were free. So we stopped trying to force it and just kept them out.

She also is not a fan of having her legs or feet covered up. As soon as we put socks on her, they come off.


I’ve pretty much given up trying there.

I remember when Isabella was a baby my mom would insist on keeping her covered with a blanket all the time, and she loved it.

Not Cora. As soon as any blankets are put on her, she kicks them off. It’s become a little game and we use it as a form of exercise for her now.


No blanket in the world can survive the kicking legs of this baby!

See what I mean? As SOON as anything is put over her legs…BAM!…it’s kicked off.

Hey, at least it gets her little legs a-movin’!

Fast forward 16 years in the future and I’m envisioning a gangly teenager sprawled out on the bed sleeping with all covers kicked off. Just you watch…

I’ll end with this other fun little video. I was trying to get footage of Cora talking and smiling. For over a minute she’s just laying there making faces when all of a sudden she lets out a little mini rock n’roll scream! It’s hysterical!

She sounds like an old cassette tape being rewound really fast….


Wanna read more?

Life A.D. – Month 1 | A Day in the Life: Baby Edition | Cora’s Birth Story

Time Flies When You’re Up Every 2 Hours

Or “How the last 5 weeks got away from me.”

I can’t believe I haven’t posted anything in 5 weeks. Here I thought that I would be blogging at least once a week during maternity leave since I’d be home and have so much time on the computer.


Boy was I wrong!

Free time? What’s that? I definitely have less of it now than I did before. It’s so much harder to schedule and plan for things when you have an infant who eats every 2 hours. Just when you think you’ve got a few minutes to get something done, she wants a bottle or to be held or have her diaper changed.

She’s, like, so demanding…


And of course the moments when Cora is sleeping quietly and I start to think “Here’s my chance!”, her big sister wants attention. Gees kid, make your old meals would ya!


Seriously though, it has been challenging at times but we’re getting it figured out. Sure, there are 2 of us here but that doesn’t necessarily make it easier. We each have our own agenda of goals to accomplish. Sometimes they align and sometimes they don’t.

As of this week I’m back to work so we’re adjusting to a whole new routine. CJ is figuring out the intricacies of being a Stay At Home Dad to 2 little ones while I get used to sitting at a computer all day and having to think about things besides spit up and play dates.

It’s all good though and establishing this new routine will help us in the long run. Fortunately Isabella is pretty adaptable and old enough to help out.

Both girls are doing great. Cora had her 2 month check up a couple weeks ago and is up to 10 lbs. 8 oz. and 23” long. Other than a bad case of cradle cap and dry skin, doc says she’s doing great. She’s very alert now and likes to “talk” a lot.


It’s so much fun to sit with her and just “chat”. Those moments are priceless.

And when she smiles at me…fuhgeddaboudit!


In terms of my recovery back to normalcy, it seems to be taking longer than I had hoped. Sure, I’m all healed up “down there” but there are other things. My tailbone got bruised during labor and delivery and it’s still sore. Sitting all day at work has aggravated it all the more so I’m using one of Cora’s tummy time Boppy’s to sit on and provide relief. I also have to ice it a couple times a day. I tell ya, I have sat on more ice bags in the last 3 months than anyone should ever have to…

My weight is still an issue too. I haven’t lost a single pound or inch in these last 5 weeks since I posted. I’ve been working out 6x a week and watching my calories but it’s not working.


My “Before” pic – it’s a silly one but you can see my belly pretty good. Ugh. (FYI this was taken at Morrill Hall in Lincoln, NE)

So, last week I joined Weight Watchers. I had hesitated for a while because I was worried about the cost commitment but enough is enough. I know several who have done it and had success, and group support tends to work well for me anyway so I figure, why not. It’s still too early to have results but I’m hopeful this program will be what I need to drop these pesky 20 pounds.

Also, we are officially done having kids. CJ had a vasectomy last week. We’re both getting too old to go through this all over again. We’ve been so blessed to have two beautiful, HEALTHY, girls and I’m very content with that. So instead of going on birth control for years to come or not using anything and risking a pregnancy, we went this route. CJ is feeling pretty good, with occasional soreness.

That’s about it from the Team Trader camp!

Life A.D.–Month 1

It’s hard to believe that a whole month has gone by. Where does the time go?

A lot can happen in 4 weeks.

Babies get bigger and Mommies get smaller.

One of those is true and the other is a big fat lie. Can you guess which is which?



Funny thing is, I feel smaller but the scale says otherwise. Here’s how I looked just one week after delivery, to refresh your memory.


I think the belly has shrunk down a little bit, but not enough for my liking. Then again, as everyone says, it took 9 months to put it on, it’ll take 9 months for it to come off.

It doesn’t help my cause that I can’t exercise yet. Things are still sore “down there” (though getting better) and it’s another 2 weeks before I see the doctor and (hopefully) get the all clear.

In the meantime, I do what I can. I do my nightly pushups and ab work. I’ve added in some leg moves that can be done on the floor. I think once I can add in some cardio, I’ll start to see some change.

I’ve also started tracking calories again, just to see about what I’m eating a day. I think I’m doing pretty good with that, making healthy choices most of the time. It’s hard but not as hard as it’s been for me in the past. I think I’m more determined this time around.


Oy do I look tired.

As I said, I’m healing up slowly but surely. That too is taking longer than I had thought it would. For the most part I feel fine and have stopped taking any kind of pain medicine. But I do start to feel it if I overdo it, by walking too much or being too active.

CJ has actually had friends come over to “baby-sit me” because I’m not very good at asking for help. At first I was embarrassed but it ended up being a good thing and I’m grateful he made me accept the help.

CJ’s sister even came in from Michigan for a week, which was awesome. Isabella has loved all the playtime and attention she’s been getting from all the visitors too!

photo 2 (2) 

Cora is doing great.


She’s eating more and staying awake longer throughout the day. That first week or 2 she pretty much slept ALL THE TIME – day and night. Now she has more periods of being alert, which is fun. She still wants to eat every 2 hours or so, which kind of sucks during the night. We’re hoping she starts stretching it out here soon so that we can get more sleep.


Big sister Isabella has come around to loving her little sis but is still trying to figure out how to interact with her. Isabella wants to play with her like she does her dolls, not quite understanding that Cora is a little more fragile than they are. We have to constantly remind her not to jump around her or poke at her. It’s a fine line to encourage her interaction while at the same time teaching and sometimes scolding.


But we’re all still getting used to everything and the changes that come with a new baby. I think in this next month we’ll really start to settle in and get our groove!


Check out these links!

A day in the life: baby edition | Cora’s Birth Story | Body A.D. – Week 1

A Day in the Life: Baby Edition

Oh how life has changed. When I did my original “Day in the Life” post, my day was mostly about work (I also did a DITL: Weekend Edition).

Not anymore.

At least, for right now.

Here’s what most of my days look like lately, and will for the next 10 weeks or so.

It’s hard to know when to “start” my day because it feels like it’s never ending. So I’ll start when the day officially starts – midnight.

12:00 a.m. I’m usually sleeping at this time. CJ and I have a system for overnight feedings where he takes the first few and I take the last few. Since I’m not nursing, it makes it easier to split shifts. That way, we can each get a 4-5 hour block of uninterrupted sleep. So, that means CJ’s on duty until about 2 or 3 am, at which point I take over.

Does that mean my day begins at 3am? I don’t know. It’s all pretty much a blur.

2:30 a.m. Basically, from 2:30 until about 7 a.m., I’m in the nursery. I feed Cora then put her back to bed.


I rinse out the bottle, go potty and then curl up in the recliner and try to get a few more winks until the next feeding.


Why don’t I go back to bed? Well, right now, Cora is waking up to eat about every 1.5 to 2 hours. And she makes grunting noises in her sleep. So, to be fair to CJ, I just sleep in the nursery so that he’s not awakened by me coming and going or her noises. Once she starts stretching out the feedings, I’ll go back to sleeping in the bed.

The recliner is actually quite comfortable. It reclines all the way back so I just curl up, wrap the blanket around me and I’m golden!

7:00 a.m. Isabella usually gets up around this time and will either go in to the master bedroom and snuggle with CJ or come in to the nursery and snuggle with me. Once we get up, I try to take a shower and get dressed right away. If I don’t do it immediately, chances of it happening at all are slim to none.

Most of the time one of the girls stays with me while I shower (Isabella watches cartoons and if it’s Cora, she sleeps or plays on her mat) and CJ takes the other one.

Today it was Cora who was my shower buddy!


And of course Samson is always close by, in the sunniest spot!


8:00 a.m. After getting ready for the day, it’s time for breakfast. Breakfast for me is either coffee or a smoothie and then a combination of oatmeal, scrambled eggs, yogurt or toast.

8:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. The bulk of the day is a mixture of feeding Cora, changing diapers and playing with Isabella.


Some days CJ takes Isabella out to a play group or story time hour, which gives me a nice break at home with just the baby. 


On those days, I use the time she’s sleeping to get things done around the house, pay bills, update the blog or run errands.

Around 11:30 we have lunch followed by more of the same – feedings, diaper changes, and playing with Isabella. IMG_3687

Last week we planted sunflower seeds!

I tell you what – I do not know how stay-at-home parents do it in terms of keeping it fresh everyday. As many toys as Isabella has, I still find it hard to come up with new games or things to do. Isn’t that sad?  I see how the days can become monotonous really quickly if you don’t take time to plan activities ahead or have a set schedule. I will probably try to set something up as the weeks go on – both for my sanity and to get Munchkin ready for pre-school in the fall. I hate to admit it but many times I turn the TV on to keep her occupied while I tend to Cora (if CJ isn’t around or unavailable). It’s become a bad habit. One that we’re going to curb immediately!

2:00 p.m.. This is my favorite part of the day – naptime! We usually get both girls down by about 2:30 and then it’s snoozeville for me too. CJ will sometimes stay up with Cora if her feeding/sleep schedule is slightly off of ours or nap with her downstairs on the couch. I always hit the bed and will get around 1.5 to 2 hours of sleep. I NEED this time. If I don’t get a nap, the rest of the day is miserable.

4:00 p.m. Up and at ‘em! If CJ hasn’t been able to catch a nap during the previous 2 hours, he’ll go upstairs and get some shut eye while I hang with the girls. It’s usually pretty quiet – feed Cora, get Isabella a light snack and read some books or color.

5:00 – 6:00 p.m. Time to get dinner ready and eat! After Isabella was born, making meals seemed like a big challenge. We weren’t very good about planning ahead back then. Thank god for frozen meals people had made for us and gift cards to Pizza Hut!

This time around, I’ve stuck to planning meals out for the week every Sunday. This helps immensely. Most of the meals are simple ones because we don’t have the luxury of extra time to cook right now.

6:00 – 8:00 p.m. These 2 hours are spent doing quiet activities or getting ready for bed. I can’t give Isabella baths yet because I’m not supposed to lift anything over 10 lbs (so can’t lift her in to the tub) and it hurts to sit on anything hard (like the toilet lid) or stand for long periods. So we try to make it a family affair. We all go upstairs and CJ and Isabella do her bath time while I feed/watch Cora and fold laundry or just rest.  Some nights if there is time, we will go back downstairs and watch part of a movie. And of course we always make time to read bedtime stories!


8:00 – 8:30 p.m. This is when Isabella goes to bed. To be honest, the adjustment of having a little sister has been hard for her. She doesn’t like sharing the attention so she’s been acting out negatively, most often at bedtime. She will dawdle or not listen or even tell us no when it’s time to go potty, brush her teeth, etc. We made a checklist for her to cross items off, which worked for a few nights but then that got old. We’re still trying to figure out a good solution but in the meantime, each day is a new adventure…or struggle.

8:30-10:00 p.m. By the end of the day I am exhausted and very sore. Overall my pain levels have gone down quite a bit but after wrangling 2 kids all day and dong various other chores/activities, things really start throbbing down below. So I take some time to sit on an ice pack, put my feet up and unwind. I also have to prepare for the night of feedings – getting bottles ready and such.


10:00 p.m. I try to head upstairs by 10 (sometimes earlier) so that I can be in bed by 10:30. After washing my face and brushing my teeth, I lay on the floor and do some stretches, Kegels, ab exercises and push ups. I haven’t  been cleared to workout yet because things are still tender in my nether regions, but I figure I can still do a little bit to start getting my upper body back in shape.

Then I hit the hay and am out like a light until it’s my turn for feedings.

And there you have it – my typical day. It’s completely different than what my days used to be like (working outside the home and such) and it’s been an adjustment. I’m pretty much at home, inside, for most of every day.  I do get stir crazy but I also know it’s only temporary. I look forward to the coming weeks when the weather warms up (hopefully!) so we can get outside more. Also, once I’m able to walk and be on my feet longer, we can start doing family outings to the zoo or other fun places in Omaha.

It’ll be interesting to see how things change. Maybe I’ll do another DITL post in a month or so. I hope by then we’re stretching out nighttime feedings, doing more outings and generally feeling more human again!


Check out these other posts!

Cora’s birth story | Body A.D. | Team Trader 2.0

Cora’s Birth Story

Cora Jane is 11 days old so I figure it’s high time I documented her arrival into this world.

In my last post before giving birth, I mentioned 3 important factors to Cora’s story-

  1. They thought she was a big baby. According to ultrasound measurements, she was clocking in at about 8 lbs. 6oz.
  2. It was discovered that she had the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck twice.
  3. We had a C-Section scheduled for Wednesday April 10th at 8:15 a.m.

We had a plan and I was comfortable with it.

And then everything changed.


Early Saturday morning (April 6), around 1:30 a.m., I awoke with a weird feeling in my stomach. I couldn’t tell if I had to throw up, poop or was having a contraction. I figured the bathroom was the best place to be so I went in and sat on the toilet. 20 minutes later I came out, after a bout of diarrhea and throwing up twice. I officially had a stomach bug. I would spend the next 4 hours alternating ends from which fluids exited my body. I tried to drink water in between but could keep nothing down. Finally at 5 a.m. I realized I was probably dehydrated and told CJ to take me in to the ER. I was more worried about the baby than myself. We called my parents to come over and stay with Isabella until we got back.

They checked us in to a triage room in the hospital since it didn’t look like I was going in to labor. I was so dehydrated that it took 2 nurses 3 tries to get the IV into my arm. My veins kept collapsing on them. We were there for 5 hours as they pumped me up with 3 liters of IV fluid and some medicine to help the nausea and diarrhea. They were monitoring the baby the whole time and she was never once in danger, thank God.

I was scared though. I didn’t know what was going to happen. Plus they told me that if I was still sick on Wednesday, they would have to postpone the C-Section! No way! I wanted this baby out!

I finally made it home around 2 p.m. and went straight up to nap. Slept for 3 hours, came down long enough to have some soup and then went back up to bed. I finally started to feel normal the next morning.

But that feeling wouldn’t last long.

After dinner on Sunday, I started to feel a bit queasy again. Great, I thought. This bug is rearing it’s ugly head. The nurses had said if I had any more vomiting or diarrhea, I would have to come back to the hospital. I really didn’t want that so I went to bed praying I would feel better in the morning.

At 12:50 a.m. on Monday, I awoke with a start. I had felt a distinct kick from the baby causing a contraction that was more intense than any I had before. I lay there for a minute waiting for it to go away, assuming it was another Braxton/Hicks. When it continued, I thought I should get up and go to the bathroom. As soon as I stood up, I felt a trickle run down my leg. My first thought was, “Oh great, now I’m peeing my pants!” Then I realized it could be something else – my water breaking. It wasn’t a big gush though so I was still unsure. I sat on the toilet until the contraction ended – which was about 10 minutes. I then texted CJ, who was downstairs watching TV.


He came running up and said, “You think?”

I told him what happened and we decided to sit and wait to see if any more contractions came. 15 minutes later came another, much shorter one. No fluid leakage. Than 10 minutes later another contraction. This time it came with a gush. I stood up and a pool started to form at my feet. I pointed to it and said, “See! Now do you believe me!” CJ’s eyes were huge and he said, “Ok so what do we do? Call an ambulance? Call your parents?”

He called my parents while I changed clothes (which I would have to do 2 more times as water kept coming out with every contraction. I finally got smart and put on a pad). Once again we headed to the hospital!

When we got there and to a room, things started moving fast. They had to try 4 times to get the IV in my arm as I was still a bit dehydrated from not having any food or drink since dinner on Sunday (due to the nausea). You can see from the bruises on my hands and arms all the different places they poked me over the course of both visits!




The contractions started coming faster and harder. Because I was trying for a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Caesarian), I was required to have an epidural, just in case they needed to whisk me off to surgery at some point. The nurse told me I could get it at any time but I held off. Not sure why. I guess I was trying to prove to myself that I could manage through the pain better this time than I did with Isabella. I think I did too. I stayed relaxed and just breathed through each one. I am actually quite proud of myself. But there definitely came a point when enough was enough.

They gave me the epidural but it was different than I remembered. With Isabella, they gave me enough to basically put my whole lower body to sleep. I couldn’t feel or move anything. This time, they only gave me enough to take the edge off the pain but I could still feel the pressure. So while it was some relief, it wasn’t what I had been expecting.

The pressure was almost as bad as the contractions had been. I told the nurse I wanted to push but they told me to wait and let the baby come down on its own first. After waiting for half an hour, it was time.

My doctor (Dr. S) came in and we pushed a few times. She could feel the baby’s head and it was turned slightly. She reached inside and straightened it but with every push, it would turn again. We were left with a few choices:

  1. Keep going the way we were and see if we could straighten and get her out on our own. The risk here was that it could take a while and with her size and the umbilical cord around her neck, it could get dicey.
  2. Give up the idea of a VBAC and go right in to surgery. No real risk here other than those that come with any surgery. Plus a much longer recovery time.
  3. Use forceps. My doc admitted that she was not comfortable using the forceps herself but we could get one of the older doctors to do it. This was the option she recommended and I trust her immensely so we found the doc we needed (Dr. R) and had him take a look. He was confident he could get her out, using a combination of his pulling/straightening with the forceps while I pushed, in one shot. So, we went for it.

Once that decision was made, it was a flurry of activity. The nurses pulled out a cart and started setting up instruments and blankets and getting ready for the baby. The 2 doctors washed and gowned up. It was all done so fast and all I could do was lay there, watch and wait.

When everything was ready, Dr. R grabbed the forceps and got them into position.

I’m not gonna lie. When I saw how big they were I got nervous. What if he crushed the baby’s little head? What if he twisted the wrong way and broke her neck? But there was no time for me to panic. I had to trust in the doctors’ experience and knowledge and just do my part. When he was ready, he told me to push as hard as I could. So I did.

The next thing I know, there was a little baby sliding out of me, everyone started cheering and Dr. S said, “It’s a girl!”

I started laughing and crying at the same time. All the emotions of the weekend came out at once. I was relieved, excited, surprised, tired, and just plain overwhelmed.

Dr. S immediately handed her to me to hold, all bloody and covered in goo! She was so beautiful! They asked if we had a name and we laughed and said no! We were so certain it was a boy that we focused on boy  names. It wouldn’t be until later that evening that we would decide on Cora. Isabella came up with the middle name – Jane.

CJ cut the cord and then the nurse whisked Cora away to be cleaned up and measured.


Meanwhile, Dr. S. had to stitch me up. The use of the forceps had caused tearing in 3 different places. Doc told me it wasn’t that bad but boy was she down there sewing me up for a long time. CJ joked that she must be making a quilt or something!


Finally she finished and we were allowed to hold the baby again.



Not the most flattering picture of me but hey, childbirth ain’t pretty. Yes, I was that tired. And hungry. I hadn’t had any food since 5pm Sunday and it was now around 9 a.m. Monday morning – and I had just done something equivalent to lifting a MACK truck! I was starving! I ordered food and they also gave me an IV to make sure I was plenty hydrated before transporting me up to my room.


We were in the hospital for 3 days and 2 nights. We learned some things from having Isabella and took full advantage of the facilities this time around. I know they recommend having baby stay in the room with you the whole time but come on, mama needed her rest. So we had them take her to the nursery during our nap times and overnight. I had trouble sleeping the first night because of the pain so the second night they gave me a sleeping pill, which helped. All the nurses that we had were amazing and awesome. While the doctors are the “experts”, it’s the nurses that truly run the hospital and take care of the patients. I was actually a bit sad to leave and go back to reality – a new reality.

So, there you have it. That’s how Cora came in to the world. I got the chance to have a vaginal birth and though it was hard, it was worth it. The feeling of having a baby come out from inside of you, by your own power, is one like no other. There were a few scary moments but I completely trusted my doctors and nurses the whole time and knew we would both be ok.


If you liked this, check out these other posts!

Body A.D. | Team Trader 2.0 | Isabella’s Birth Story