barbara’s birth story

it’s crazy to think that it’s already been 2.5 weeks since torin’s birth.  being a mother has been the most amazing experience ever and i’m less than a month in.  torin has been a GREAT baby so far, barely crying (knock on wood) and really only fussing when she’s hungry.  we’re so grateful that she’s finally here and healthy. i’ll be updating life with a newborn, but for now, i wanted to recap the birth story, since my memory is slipping fast and i want to be able to remember the day.

since christmas, barbara had been experience random, real, contractions, described as prodromal labor.  her due date was january 16th, but as of her appointment on the 13th, torin was still snug as a bug with no signs of showing her sweet face.  we tried EVERY. SINGLE. ‘TRICK’. people recommended.. eggplant parm, tons of pineapple, 3rd trimester tea, and the list goes on.  the doctor schedule her appointment for wednesday, january 20th, which included a non-stress test, and sent us on our way; no talk of induction or c-section.

the night of 19th, things got really real. barbara started having contractions back to back and didn’t get any sleep. we just KNEW we’d be at the hospital by the end of the night having this baby.  wrong.

we got up and headed to the doctor to have the NST and have barbara checked.  we at least arrived to good news: barbara was 1CM dilated! all the contractions she was having paid off.  she had contractions the whole way to the doctors office, so we were just waiting for them to show up on the machine.. not so much.  barbara didn’t have a single contraction the whole time we were at the doctors office.  as we finished the appointment, the doctor discussed the impending blizzard our area was expecting and what we wanted to do (we don’t get much snow in central VA, so anything above 5-8 is big news and we were expecting 15-18 inches).

we told the doctor we trusted his opinion and he suggested induction the next day, especially since he was on call and would be able to deliver torin, which was one of barbara’s biggest wishes. he told us to be at the hospital at 6:45AM and we would hopefully have a baby by the end of the day.

AS SOON as we left the hospital, barbara’s contractions started up again, so i called out, just in case she went into labor.  we grabbed some more pineapple and went home to relax and get the last few items around the house done before torin graced us with her presence. after we got home, we walked about 3 miles, since walking made the contractions a little better.  as the day went on, they got more intense, but never steady made it less than 5 minutes apart.  as you can imagine, barbara didn’t get much sleep that night and i got a little more than her, but not much.

thursday, january 21st, we were both up by 4AM taking showers and getting ready for the big day.  barbara wasn’t allowed to eat, so i ate my breakfast in the kitchen as fast as i could so she didn’t have to smell it.  by 6AM, we were on our way to the hospital and it was finally sinking in.. our family would never be the same after we left the hospital.

by 7:30AM, we were all checked in and barbara was settled into the bed.  contractions were still pretty consistent, and by this time, she was 3CM dilated and 90% effaced.  i have to say, she made everything look so easy. even during the contractions that were off the charts, she kept her cool and was so laid back. i can only hope to carry myself the way she did that day.  the doctor came back into the room, and at 8:12AM, barbara’s water was broken and pitocin was started.

time went by super slow and super fast all at the same time.  not much happened between 8AM and 12PM, other than some rough contractions.  when they came back to check barbara at 12PM, she was 5CM and 100% effaced, +1.. ( a lot of terminology that i barely understand). barbara finally requested the epidural, so we grabbed lunch, downstairs and by the time we got back up, barbara was in a lot less pain.

from there, things started to get.. interesting.  they pumped up the pitocin to try to move things even further along, but shortly after that, torin’s heart rate dropped and the nurses came rushing in. they made barbara move to the other side and threw a mask on her face. luckily, her mom was in there and kept me a little more calm, but it was still scary to watch.  they checked barbara again, this was around 1PM, and she was already at 8CM. they dropped the pitocin back down to where it was and barbara kept contracting.

they came back in at about 2PM and upped the pitocin and shortly after, again, torin’s heart rate dropped super low.  this time, they couldn’t get her heart rate to stabilize, so barbara’s bed had to inverted and her hips were higher than her head, along with the mask back on. after they checked barbara, they realized the issue was that she was progressing so fast, torin was having a hard time keeping up.  by this time, it was about 2:30PM and the doctor agreed that it was time to start pushing!! yay! torin would be here in no time!

that last sentence was a joke. barbara pushed all she could push, but torin wasn’t having it. she pushed for a solid 2 hours and torin just couldn’t make it through.  the doctor came back in to see how everything was going, joking that she was going to need help with the suction tool like he had been saying the whole time.  he checked barbara and then everything started to get real serious.

he started to move very quickly, grabbing the forceps and getting everything ready.  the baby nurse brought in 2 other nurses to have on hand and it was apparent something wasn’t right. after a quick and not so pretty episiotomy and two pushes, torin was finally here.  they placed her on barbara’s chest, but the doctor quickly yelled “get her out of here” and i, quickly, cut the cord with little thought.  the whole time this was happening, torin was purple and not crying.

after the longest, maybe, 10-15 seconds, we heard a loud wail and tears immediately started falling from barbara and i. we were officially a family of 3.  at 4:42PM, torin kenley was born weighing 9LBs and 22INCHES long.  so much happened in the next 1.5 hours to follow, that i really cannot remember. torin breastfed for a solid 45 minutes, and even with all the issues, was never sent to the nursery or NICU.  she passed all of her tests and then visitors, after the golden hour had passed, were allowed to visit.

 because of the weather, my family was not able to make it down, but all of barbara’s immediate family was able to come in and see us after a very long day of labor.  that’s when barbara decided to scare the hell out of me.  about 2.5 hours had passed since she delivered and the epidural had pretty much worn off.  she knew she had to go to the bathroom so they didn’t insert another catheter, so she wanted to give it a shot.  the nurse and i walked her into the bathroom, but as she was finising up, she mentioned that she was feeling a little lightheaded.  the nurse knew what was about to happen and let me know that barbara needed to get back in the bed ASAP.  we rushed her back to the bed, but by that time, her eyes were completely rolled to the back of her head and her head was limp.  crying and screaming her name, you could tell she couldn’t hear anything.  the nurse finally got my attention and told me to take her arm lift her in the bed. since she was dead weight, the nurse couldn’t really do much.  during the incident, the nurse evacuated the room and called for help and about 10 nurses came rushing into the room.  by that time, barbara had finally come to, but was still white as a ghost.  after some juice and some water, she was finally feeling better, but had not realized anything that had happened in the last few minutes.

after all the excitement, barbara’s family left and we got to settle in the hospital room with our new family. the next morning, her parents came bright and early and i got to go home and feed the dogs, etc (they have a doggie door and had free range of the back of the house) and i took a shower. i got back to the hospital before it started snowing, but as soon as it started, it started falling down FAST.  barbara’s parents left shortly after and it was more one-on-one time with us and our baby girl.  i would never want to be snowed in at the hospital again, but it was nice not having to worry about visitors and just being able to adjust as best as we could.

saturday morning, barbara was cleared to go home, so her dad drove us home, on the awful roads, in her car.  we ended up getting about 15-16 inches at home, again this is a lot of snow for central VA, so i was happy i didn’t have to stress driving my newborn and letting anything happen.

 now, we’re just adjusting to this new life. i’ll probably pop in, in the next week or two and talk about baby items we love and don’t love, because i have always found them helpful from other blogs, like janetha & jessica.

now, i’m going to watch the super bowl commercials and drink some hard apple cider.  tomorrow is the weigh-in for a diet bet i’m participating in, so its back to business as usual.

2 0 1 5

wow! what. a. year. it flew by and took forever at the same time.

it started out with me getting a promotion at work!  

while learning a new skill was difficult, the cyclical nature of my position has kept me very interested throughout the year. i’ve grown as a professional and enjoy what i do (for the most part!). some days are stressful, but im happy for this opportunity.

it feels like barbara has been pregnant the entire year because we found out New Year’s Eve last year that she was pregnant for the first time. 7 weeks later, we would find that our baby, due September 6th, 2015, was no longer living and that barbara would need a D&C. 

it was the hardest thing we’ve ever been through, but brought us so close. i know miscarriages can either bring a couple together or tear them apart, and while i never enjoyed the experience, going through that with barbara helped us learn so much about each other, and for that, i’m thankful.

i got to travel to my favorite city in march!

CHICAGO! seriously, if i were to ever consider moving to a major city, it would be chicago. i hate new york, but love chicago! the food, the scenery, everything! i went for work, and was alone, but i still made the most of it and enjoyed some great food!

in april, barbara was on the right cycle again and we tried IUI for a third time, with our last vial of our donor’s specimen.  

low and behold, it was a success! we confirmed the news in may, with not one, but two positive pregnancy tests! 

12 weeks exactly was July 4th, so we got together with our dear friend char ( and took some festive photos for the announcement.

we would later, in August, find out we were having a girl! we had a gender reveal party on the dock that we got married on, so it was a special moment to share there, again.


my brother and his fiancé finally tied the knot in September!

we also found out, just before Christmas, that they are pregnant with their first, due in August! babies all around!

i got to meet some of my ig friends, kristen and aubrey, during a work trip at the end of September, as well!


in October, we celebrated our one year wedding anniversary with year old cake and a trip to the boathouse in downtown Richmond.

it surely didn’t feel like a year and it didn’t feel like work. i love this girl with all my heart and every day that passes, i know i made the right decision.

my 28th birthday came and went. we kept it low key. i don’t feel the need for huge celebrations. i had dinner with family, and that’s all i needed!


then the holidays crept in, and here we are!


it’s hard to believe, in about 2-3 weeks, whenever torin decides to come, we will officially be mommas! 

i cannot wait for this next chapter in our lives and can’t wait to squeeze and kiss all over that face! 

happy new year to anyone reading! i hope your 2015 was all you wished for and hope for the best to you in 2016!  

baby post: nursery reveal!

hey guys!

so, i still need to host the ‘virtual baby shower’ but a few people requested an extension, so i’m pushing is back for now.  in other news, TORIN IS ALMOST HERE. like, what?! why did time speed up so fast??


33 week ultrasound, with a head measuring 2 weeks ahead.

we’re just about ready for her arrival, which is still tentatively january 16, 2016, but little girl is measuring big and the doctor seems to think barbara wont be baking that long!  so far, barbara has LOVED pregnancy.  so much so, that, if were to have trouble becoming pregnant, she gladly accepted the position to carry twice. her first trimester was filled with nausea and a few food aversions, mostly meat, but other than that, this whole pregnancy has been enjoyable. this weekend we organized the last few things, including putting together the car seat and that’s when it really got real:  TORIN IS ABOUT TO BE HERE!


just waiting on baby torin!

i receive A LOT of questions about how we decided on barbara carrying first, the whole insemination process, and plans for the future, so i may type something up on that whole process. we’ve definitely learned-as-we-go, which hasn’t always been easy.

SO, lets talk about all the fun stuff that has been going on baby related, like baby showers and nursery decorating! i’ll talk about baby showers later, since we had multiple and many pictures were taken! i talked about plans of the nursery awhile back, so, now with everything done, i wanted to show our plans versus reality!

so, if you remember, here are a few collages/inspiration photos of what we had in mind; pinterest was very helpful in the planning stages:

color inspopink gold gray

gray with pink tassles

accessories 2accessories 1

and here is the finished product:




crib area

crib | quilt (handmade) | name banner | dream catcher/mobile


teepee and glider

polka dot wall decal | teepee (handmade) | heirloom bear blanket | side table | glider | crochet cacti 


dresser and changing area

dresser| knobs | changing pad cover | deer head | sound machine | diaper cart | lantern

 print | print | print


reading area

tassel garland | picture/book ledge | i love you night light

we’re SO, SO happy with how it turned out. its cozy yet spacious and filled with items/patterns but still calming.  barbara and i find ourselves sitting in there for hours just talking, which i love.  i seriously cannot wait to have it filled with our sweet baby girl.

i’ll stop back in later this week with baby shower recaps and will hopefully be posting about the “virtual baby shower” soon, as well!  we’ve been overwhelmed with all the love and support we’ve received regarding our sweet baby girl and cannot thank everyone enough for everything they have done for us!

thanks for hanging around!

Q: do you like decorating?  what was the last room you decorated?

hello fresh

WHATTTT 2 posts in one day? yep! told you i was going to get better at posting, lets just hope i can keep this up!

sorry for posting 2 review-type posts back-to-back, but i wanted to shout from the rooftops about ollie marie and couldn’t wait to share about my great experience with hello fresh last night!

so how does it work?  well, it’s super easy and i’ll tell you how right now!

first, you pick what kind of box you want: Classic Food Box ($10.75 per person/meal), Veggie Box ($9.08 per person/meal), and Family Box ($8.75 per person/meal).

hello fresh

from there, you can choose how many meals a week you want per week, anywhere from 3-5 meals. after you’ve subscribed, you can pick the meals you want delivered for the next 2 or 3 weeks.

hello fresh meals

you can pause your delivery at any time, before the weekly cutoff, and your account will not be charged for that week;  i’ve already paused my 3rd and 4th week of deliveries. the 3rd week, because i wasn’t crazy about the menu and the 4th week, because it was the week of christmas and i’m sure we’ll have enough events that we wont be eating at home much.

Processed with VSCOcam with c2 preset

chicken fajitas, steak and crispy potatoes, and pork dumplings on the menu for this week.

so, my personal experience with hello fresh, so far?  awesome!  i got my first order in the mail yesterday, which was supposed to be Wednesday, but the company kept me updated, and i appreciated that. i asked barbara what she felt like and she picked fajitas, so i got to cooking!

hello fresh 2

chicken fajitas with quick pickled jalapenos and lime crema

all of the ingredients the recipe called for were included in the box except for olive oil, salt, and pepper, which i obviously had on hand.  the directions were incredibly easy to follow and dinner was done before i knew it.

i was excited to find out how easy “quick pickling” something was.  all i had to do was place the chopped jalapenos in the juice of half a lime while the rest of dinner was cooking.  for the lime crema, i used the other half of the lime’s juice and some lime zest. i will say, when it called for lime zest, i wondered how many people had the tool for zesting and who would have to google “how to zest a lime without a zester”. luckily, i had a zester on hand. so if nothing else, i’m at least gaining kitchen skills/cofidence.

the flavor was great and everything was very fresh. i have heard negative feedback about someone getting moldy vegetables, but i think that is the risk you take with any veggies from store/boxes.  i know i’ve gone to use something i bought only a few days prior and there was already mold growing on it.  obviously if this is a problem, and continuously happens, i would say something, but so far everything looked nice and fresh with no issues, so i will cross that bridge later, if at all!

so, overall, i’m very happy with everything and will keep you all updated with the meals i like and don’t like.  i love finding out about new things, so i love to share my own experiences just in case anyone else is like me! i’m hoping by using this, we will waste less groceries and be tempted to eat out less.  also, with torin coming, i’m hoping this will make adjusting to life with a newborn just a littttttttle easier!

anddddd before i forget, MGMJ42 gets you $40 off your first box! this makes 6 meals only $29!  this is what made me take the dive; it was too good of a deal to pass up! so, what are you waiting for, sign up for your box?!

this post was not sponsored by hello fresh. i just like sharing a good thing when i see it!


so, i’m not sure why i put an exclamation in that title, because, so far whole30 is anything but fun! actually, the first 2 days were fairly easy, but day 3 has been killer, which i was definitely prepared for.

anyways, lets back up a little so i can explain what whole30 actually is..  there is SOOO much information on the website, so if you want to read up on it, feel free! the gist of it, its a whole foods diet, where you are encouraged to eat organic, farm-raised cuts of protein.. fresh, organic veggies.. and some fresh, organic fruit.  you can also have oils, clarified butter, and nuts.  SO, basically, it’s a low carb diet, that adds back fruit and removes dairy.  yes, no dairy allowed. which means no cheese. which means not the happiest betty.

i wish i had taken a picture of my grocery store haul, but i put it away as soon as we got to the house.  we visited 3 different grocery stores and spent about $200 on about 1.5-2 weeks (give or take) worth of food, which i’m really happy with, because we sometimes spend that much on junk.  i got some great cuts of meat and completely organic fruits and veggies and i know those come with a price tag. so!  where we went and what we got:

  • whole foods:
    • fruits//veggies (all organic): peaches, braeburn apples, spring mix, squash, asparagus, sweet potatoes, onions, avocados
    • meats (all organic): spinach/mushroom chicken sausages, apple chicken sausages, pesto chicken sausages, prosciutto (2), paleo bacon (2), turkey hot dogs
    • misc: diced tomatoes, tomato puree, almond butter made from almonds only, kombucha
  • trader joes:
    • rack of lamb, chile lime burgers, coconut cream, plantain chips, guacamole, roasted cauliflower, frozen green beans, frozen stir fry veggies, salsa, salsa verde, dried mango
  • costco:
    • bagged cauliflower (3), mini peppers, organic ground beef, organic chicken breast, shrimp

i’m sure i’m missing plenty of items, i’ll make sure to take a picture of my haul next time.  sorry guys!  as far as meal planning goes, i’m trying to take it one day at a time.  i like my food prepared fresh, when possible, so making 5 meals ahead of time, usually doesn’t work for us.  i make breakfast fresh in the morning, lunch is either cooked the night before or leftovers from dinner, and dinner is almost always cooked fresh.  i know, i’ve only been doing this 3 days, so saying ‘always’ doesn’t really make sense, but this is the process i use normally even not on whole30.

so, my first three days, as summarized by these pictures which i am also documenting on instagram:

day 1:

  1. eggs cooked in ghee. crispy prosciutto. 1/2 peach.
  2. crockpot chicken (2 chicken breasts + 1 can of TJs salsa verde = slow cooked all night). 3 mini peppers. plantain chips. guacamole.
  3. rack of lamb.  spring mix salad with “dump ranch“. cauli mash but i substituted ghee (clarified butter) for the cream and butter and it turned out great!


cravings//feelings: i started whole30 off pretty strong.  no real cravings.  i had become dependent on water enhancers to get my gallon of water in, so that was a little rough, but i got my 120oz in.  other than that, nothing to complain about!

day 2:

  1.  spinach/mushroom/chicken sausage and 1 scrambled egg.  peaches wrapped in prosciutto and pan fried in coconut oil.
  2. 1/2 roasted sweet potato and onions.  TJs chili lime burger. 2 mini peppers.  1/4 avocado.
  3. spinach, onion, cucumber salad with dump ranch.  organic ground beef mixed with diced tomatoes and 1/2 can of tomato puree.


cravings//feelings: day two was HARD.  i got out of work almost 3 hours later than normal and was RAVENOUS.  i told barbara we were going to chipotle for dinner, but we walked up, and the only thing we could have (carnitas) was out.  we turned back around, hopped in the car and headed home.  i was pissed, but i’m glad i made my meal at home.  barbara said it was better than chipotle would have been.  plus, i didnt have to worry about a main course for lunch the next day. my water intake was good again.  i also split an apple (i had 3 slices) and some almond butter with barbara.

she is doing whole30 with me, and yes, its safe even though shes pregnant.  its a whole foods diet, it can only help her pregnancy.  she hasn’t had many cravings, and wants to be supportive, so she’s trying it along with me!

day 3: 

  1. same as day2: spinach/mushroom/chicken sausage and 2 scrambled eggs and extra spinach.  peaches wrapped in prosciutto and pan fried in coconut oil.
  2. ground beef mixed from last night.  roasted squash and onions. 2 mini peppers. guacamole.
  3. not yet made, but recycled picture:  yuca flour coated chicken and cauli mash.


cravings//feelings: worst day yet. i was expecting 3-5 to be the worst days, and i was right.  i want to cheat even though my stomach feels great and so does the rest of my body.  i accidentally weighed myself (a no-no on the plan) and had already lost 6 lbs by this morning, which means i’ve already dropped a lot of bloat and water weight.  i know this is going to be good for me and its breaking me of bad habits i’ve picked up over the last few months, BUT ITS HARD.  i think the only thing keeping me from getting headaches is the bulletproof coffee i’ve been drinking and the fact that i’m allowed fruit, so i’m not having real sugar cravings.

so!  that’s how everything is going so far!  i’ll be sure to check back in every few days to let you know how i’m doing.  i plan on doing this for 27 days, i know shame on me, but i know i wont stick to plan when i’m in florida at a conference, so i’m not even going to try and fool myself.

hope everyone has a great rest of the week!

oh hey

hiiii you guys! is anyone still there?! i just wanted to check in with you real quick to let you know i’m still alive.

my life has been crazzzzzy busy these last 2 months. between working on average 80 hours a week and living life when i have a spare second, blogging definitely took the back burner.

everything should slow down now at work, so hopefully that means i’ll be able to blog about life, weight loss, and everything in between now!

i’m going to new york for a long weekend, this weekend, so i’ll be sure to check back in after!

hope you all are doing well, and if you’re still hanging around here, thanks for sticking with me 🙂