Happy Father's Day Duke!

Duke is not a very material man. He just doesn't care for "things", which is great, except I never know what to get him for gifts!! He asked for something sentimental so I threw this video together with Lucy's help. I got to watch him watch the video and it was just the best. He loves his kids so much. These little kids don't know how lucky they are to have him as their daddy. His goal in life is to retire early so he can spend more time with his family. And that goal impacts all his decisions everyday. He is an example to me of putting the most important things in life first. Thanks for all you do and we miss you so much "daddy duke" (as lucy calls him lol).


Duke Forrest's Birth Story

I wrote this post 3+ months ago and finally just added pictures. Little Duke is 7 months now! It's so funny to look at these pictures and see how much he has changed in 7 months. Absolutely crazy! pics are listed mostly chronologically :)

On Thursday, October 18 we welcomed little Duke Forrest into our family. His first name is after his daddy's nickname and his middle name is after my grandfather Forrest Bland. He's four months now which is just crazy and shows how behind I am in blogging these days! I wanted to share his birth story here so that I can always have it to look back on.
Pregnancy is really rough for me. Morning sickness till at least 14 weeks. Then the ok second trimester followed by a very painful third trimester-sciatica, back pain, extreme tiredness. I honestly couldn't wait for it to be over with! For some reason on Wednesday (the day before he was born) I instinctually knew he was coming the next day. I don't know how, it was strange. I was also determined. I spent the whole day cleaning- rearranging under the stairs, vacuuming, moving things around. After dinner, I told Duke I wanted to go get a pedicure (thought maybe the foot massage would help get the baby out?) And he said, "can't you do that tomorrow?" and in my head I just thought, tomorrow will be too late.
Anyways,  at 2:30 am I woke up to what felt like a really hard kick from baby. I woke up and was like whoa. And got up to go to the bathroom, went to bathroom and as soon as I stood up water started GUSHING out. It was like the faucet was turned on high blast. It was kind of crazy. I did not have my water break with Lucy until i was pretty far into labor, so that was a new experience. I sat back down and it stopped. Then I yelled for Duke. And he's so funny, he started acting like it was an emergency. I was like, "it's ok, theres no rush!" I wasn't having active contractions (although I'd had small contractions on and off for weeks) But at the same time lets get things ready.
Also as a side note, Duke was having a grueling week of flying and getting certain qualifications passed off and everyday was wishing I'd go into labor so he could catch a break and finally I was like, look! I did it! hahaha. Anyways I laid back on the bed while he got everything ready and we got to the hospital at 4. Lucy was happy to be up and tagging along. Duke's older brother Roy drove an hour down from Corona to pick Lucy up which was SO NICE! As cute/fun as it would have been for her to be there, it was nice to have some peaceful moments and just bond with baby when he got there one-on-one. So anyways, get up to Labor and Delivery and they're like, are you sure your water broke? And i'm like...umm yeah pretty sure I've lost about a gallon or 5 of water if I was guessing. Went back to triage and now I cannot remember what I was measuring when they checked me. I know I was at least a 3 maybe a 4. That's why I shouldn't wait so long to write this stuff down! I was a little disappointed bc I had made it to a 5 with Lucy before being in active labor.

first meal post birth^^
They brought us back to the delivery room and it was fun to tell Lucy that the baby was finally coming! She was content to watch shows on her ipad and my contractions were pretty mild and I was excited I still pretty comfortable. This whole birth experience was SO SO SO different from Lucy's. In a good way haha. Although I am happy I did Lucy's birth all natural, I am equally happy how I did Duke's birth. I opted for the epidural and I remember the guy came in around 6:15am (the weird things I remember?) by that point I was just starting to get uncomfortable with the contractions and so the epidural was very welcome. For the next 3 hours I honestly felt like I was on a vacation. ZERO pain, I facetimed with my good friend Taylor, put on my makeup, I was having the time of my life! The baby heart rate was starting to drop so I had to lie with a pillow under one side, basically there was only one position that baby's heart rate was happy and the epidural works by gravity, so I started becoming more uncomfortable on the higher side. I complained about it to the nurses and they were like, you might be ready to push. I'm like ummm NO WAY! It's been like 5 minutes and I haven't had time to watch any shows or anything! PS Lucy's labor was 19 hours...basically a whole day.
They checked me and were like, yep, you're ready! And I was like, dang it, I was just enjoying myself! This is the only part things weren't as peachy as predicted. Most people barely have to push to get their second baby out. My DR predicted I'd have him out in 5 minutes. Well... it took 40. And got a little scary for me. I was pushing as hard as I FREAKING could and I'm like HOW is he not here. I even felt his head and it was like RIGHT THERE!! They had several doctors in there and were even starting talking about getting the vacuum and forceps ready. I was like NOOOOO (in my head). Baby's heart rate was dropping and he was getting really stressed so they gave me medicine to stop the contractions and let him chill out for about 10 mins to get his heart rate back to normal. I was praying so hard he'd come out on his own.
Well long story short, he came out on his own! Yay. But they gave me an episiotomy. Boo. Before that the midwife who did it said she's given an episiotomy once in 10 years. Glad I could be her number 2 (not!).
He was having a hard time breathing so they placed him on me and I cut the cord! (Duke is very not into that). Then they immediately whisked him away. So I just sat there in my hospital bed getting stitched up. But about an hour later they brought him back to me and man, he was just perfect. I was shocked at all his hair and how dark it was!

lucy meeting duke for the first time

There is something so incredibly special about a baby fresh from heaven. He weighed in at 6 lbs 15 oz and 19 inches.

Duke Forrest McCrory was finally here! Although looking back now it seems like we just found out we were pregnant with him. And now he is here! And 4 months old! TIME STOP!!!

It's so fun being a family of 4 and I feel just a little more complete in life.


Strawberry Fields Forever

Wednesday we headed to the strawberry fields in Fallbrook for some strawberry pickin! I let Lucy do all the picking. She did pretty good, but I had to chuck a couple white ones out before we left haha. Such a perfect toddler activity. We went with my friend Annie and her two boys and my friend Erin and her cute baby. Lucy loved running through the rows and gathering up the strawberries. I ate all of them all by myself in less than 2 days! Here's our pictures and here is to hoping I can hop back on this blogging train!


Lucy turns THREE!

Lucy turned three years old in October!! I can't believe how the time has flown. It has been the most amazing thing to watch her grow and learn. Two was a big year for her! She learned her colors, the alphabet, numbers, counting, talking and developing her little sense of humor. We also moved to back to the states and she's going to preschool a couple times a day. She's happy to go to preschool which makes it so easy for me. Lucy is a super passionate little girl and she feels her feelings HARD. When she's happy shes the happiest, when she's mad she is MAD. 

We celebrated a couple weeks early bc October has turned into a very busy month for us with her birthday, my birthday and now little Duke's birthday! She is obsessed with paw patrol so I had to do a paw patrol party. She loved it. Especially the cake! She still asks for it lol. We mostly just had family come, which was so awesome! We're not used to living by family!

Lucy Joy, I freaking love you and your little crazy personality. You make me smile everyday and sometimes make me mad, but you are totally worth it.

 forgot the candles, but luckily she didn't seem to mind :)
 Duke's 2 brothers, their families and Duke's mom were able to come out! 
 This was the first time she really got into opening presents. It was so fun to watch her.

she can't get enough paw patrol!
That's a wrap!


A Day in the Sequoias

We made a last minute decision to visit Sequoia National Park over Labor Day weekend. The sequoias were beautiful and incredible, but man it was a doozy of a trip!! You just can never predict what a trip will be like with a toddler. The drive up is about 5 hours and Lucy just was not having it the day we drove up. It was pretty rough and I was honestly about to lose my mind by the time we got to the hotel. It ended up being a very very very hard day. I was emotionally taxed from all of Lucy's crying and when we made it to the hotel our dog sitter texted me to let me know Winston wasn't behaving well at her house and I needed to find him another place to stay. 
It was so strange because Winston is normally a very well behaved dog! She said he was marking her house and had bit her puppy. I believed her but it didn't sound like Winston at all! Trying to find a dog sitter from 5 hours away ASAP is incredibly stressful. I was honestly ready to just turn around and forget the whole trip! But we had driven up with Duke's brother and mom and I didn't want to ruin the whole trip over my emotional mess. After a few hours I found a very very kind lady who loved English Bulldogs and told me she'd watch him for free.
I'll write about how that story with Winston ends in another post since this one is supposed to be about the sequoias. We spent just one day driving through the park and drove a smidge into King's Canyon as well. I'm so grateful we have the national parks that preserve these gorgeous pieces of land! America is awesome. There is so much diversity in land in just our country. Our goal is to hit up all or at least as many of the national parks in California as we can while we are here. So Lucy had better start learning to enjoy the car a little more!
Lucy and her cousin Jack running full speed ahead
Lucy looking at the biggest tree in the world-General Sherman
General Sherman, pictures do not do it justice!
favorite picture of the trip^
Lucy looking out at the "big trees" and she spilt water on her shirt which is why it's off (typical)
cool, hallowed out tree on it's side you ^could walk through
Quick stop in King's Canyon National Park
I love visiting national parks! The earth is amazing.