Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Pinterest Projects: Colored Bath Ice and Shaving Cream Paint

It is a struggle to get Ava in the bath some nights, and with a newborn at home now, I have less time to deal with her lovely stall tactics. Bath toys don't entice her like they once did, so I scoured Pinterest for some fun bath activity ideas. These two were both huge hits!

First, we made colored ice cubes, which were so easy. You just have to put one or two drops of food coloring in each cube of water before freezing. I made a bunch and put the extras in a Ziploc bag in the freezer for future use. 

Ava loved chasing them around in the bathtub and watching them melt. They also made the bath water change color, which she thought was super cool. So simple and so fun!

As much as she loved the ice cubes, Ava enjoyed the shaving cream paint even more. And this activity was just as easy to prepare. 

I simply mixed the shaving cream and food coloring in silicone ice cube trays

And Ava used a paint brush we had on hand (the foam kind might work better)... 

She did a little hand painting as well :). 

Ava was a very happy (and clean) little girl.

We will definitely be repeating both of these fun activities! 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Rylan's Name and Birthdate

For posterity's sake, I wanted to write a quick note about how we decided upon Rylan's name as well as why his birthdate has a special meaning. 


Before Josh and I were even married, we decided that we loved the name Rylan for a little boy. This revelation occurred after watching a movie with a character whose name we thought was Rylan. Turns out, it was actually Riley (as we discovered when watching the credits), but the other actor pronounced it like Rylan. We both agreed that it would be a cool name and thought we had pretty much made it up :). 

But that is not the case. It is in fact a name of Old English origin that means "dweller of the rye lands."

While the name is still fairly unique, it is becoming more and more common. Check out #rylan on Instagram and you will see a plethora of pictures of cute little boys. I also came across this picture while perusing Pinterest the other day…

But I doubt Rylan will ever be able to find random things with his name on it for sale in amusement park gift shops. Sorry little dude. 

His middle name, however, is a bit more traditional...but equally as special. As with Ava, we wanted to use a family name as Rylan's middle name. My Dad's name is Louis, and Josh and I agreed that it would be perfect. Additionally, his full name is Robert Louis, named after both his grandfathers, so he and Rylan share the RL initials. I think this is the perfect tribute to a wonderful Dad who doesn't have any sons to carry on his last name...not to mention the fact that he has had to deal with five daughters :). 


Rylan's birthdate also has special meaning. Josh was born on November 5, I was born on June 4, and Ava was born on February 3, so I thought it would be so cool if our next child was born on the second of the month…but then of course we would have to have a third child born on the first of the month. 

When I found out that Rylan's due date was July 3, I was so excited because having him on July 2 was a distinct possibility. However, I then realized that repeat C-sections are generally scheduled a week before your due date. Womp, womp, womp.  

But Rylan evidently got the memo because he decided to arrive on June 21…thus finishing the birthdate countdown. Evidently he doesn't want us to have a third child :). 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

NuhNuh Intervention

It's no secret that Ava has been enamored with pacifiers pretty much from day one, and that love of pacis quickly evolved into a complete obsession with her WubbaNubs...or as she dubbed them, NuhNuhs. 

We ended up with five of the plush pacifiers, and they have comforted Ava through her first two+ years of life...

Over the last year, we tried to limit her use of the NuhNuhs to naptime and bedtime, which was mostly successful. However, I had been dreading the day when we took them away completely. 

The plan was to cut off the pacifier portions at some point this fall, leaving Ava with the little stuffed animals to keep as long as she wants. But this timeline was moved up when I noticed a tear in the tip of one of her pacifiers a few weeks ago. Upon inspection, I realized all of the NuhNuhs had suffered a similar fate, and since this posed a choking hazard, it was time for a little surgery. 

After showing Ava their "boo boos" and assuring her that they would still be able to snuggle with her in bed, she was surprisingly totally fine with us cutting off the pacifiers. So off they came!

She still has a couple regular pacifiers that were discovered while getting some out of storage for Rylan. However, we only give them to Ava at night if she asks for them...and she has actually gone pacifier free a couple nights. It's a miracle! 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Hola, Amigos!

Ava has been in a Spanish-immersion daycare for almost a year, and it is truly amazing how much she has learned. We don't speak much Spanish at home (as I want her to converse in English as much as possible as well), but every now and then she shows off her skills. 

I managed to capture one such performance on video recently, and it kills me!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

"Oh, the Places You'll Go!" | 2013-2014

Just like last year, I had Ava's daycare teachers sign her Oh, the Places You'll Go! book at the end of the 2013-2014 school year. Ava loved Paula, Nancy, and Ana so much, and I love these sweet notes from them!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Lauren's Bachelorette Party

In early June, we celebrated Lauren's pending nuptials with a bachelorette bash in Austin. At nine-months pregnant, it was not the most ideal time to head out of town or party it up, but I love this girl so much and wouldn't have missed it for the world. 

We started off the weekend with mani/pedis at a cute little place called Embellish

And then we headed to Lauren's parents house, who had graciously lent it to us for the weekend. Lauren's cousin Emily, the Matron of Honor, did a fabulous job decorating, stocking the house with delicious food and drinks, and organizing all the festivities. 

Friday night we hung out by the pool, ate a delicious dinner, and played a little Cards Against Humanity. It was a wonderful, low-key night. 

On Saturday, we spent most of the day at the pool.

Since I am not used to being able to lounge by the pool without chasing around a toddler, I developed quite the sunburn…which is not the best thing while already completely uncomfortable and pregnant. But it was worth it for such a wonderfully relaxing day!

After the pool time, we had a lingerie shower for the "Soon to be Mrs. Reach" :). 

After the shower, we headed downtown for a night out and started the fun with dinner at Coal Vines. 

We even saved a seat for Sunny, who couldn't make it down for the weekend.  

We finished the night with drinks on the patio bar at the W hotel. 

It was such a wonderful weekend celebrating the beautiful bride-to-be.

I can't wait for the wedding in September!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Rylan's Birthday

Our sweet baby boy, Rylan Louis Shepherd, was born at 8:59 a.m. on Saturday, June 21. This is his birth story…

Rylan was scheduled to arrive via a C-section on Thursday, June 26 (a week before his July 3 due date), but he decided to arrive on his own terms. 

On Friday morning, I woke up feeling really queasy and I felt really sick again that night around dinner time. I felt better before bed, but that was the first sign that something was up. Then I woke up at 5:30 to go to the bathroom...and my water broke. 

It was such a surreal moment because it wasn't supposed to happen this time around. I mean…I still had five days to go…food to cook, a house to finish cleaning, and a hair color appointment. But happen it did, and Rylan was on his way.

I woke Josh up to tell him that my water had broken, and he popped out of bed faster than I have ever seen. We called the doctor who said to come right in to the hospital, but consented to me taking a quick shower (I knew it would be the last one for a couple days). After calling our parents, we spent next few minutes frantically calling around to see who could come watch Ava until my Mom could get here. Luckily, Tori was able to come to the rescue!

Since I wasn't having any contractions yet, I drove myself to the hospital while Josh waited for Tori. He gave me explicit instructions to not have the baby without him :).

We managed to snap two final belly pics before I left. (Here are the pics of me at 40-weeks pregnant with Ava for comparison.)

Josh arrived at the hospital not long after I had been admitted. They checked to make sure my water had broken, and confirmed that it was go-time. 

I was prepped for surgery and given a combo epidural-spinal block, which hurt way less than I thought it would (with Ava, I was in so much pain from the contractions that I barely noticed the epidural). Shortly thereafter, we heard Rylan's sweet little cry.

The nurses checked him out, and I was shocked to hear how small he was…6 pounds, 4 ounces, and 20 inches long. He also had a full head of hair just like his sister. 

After what felt like an eternity, I got to see the little peanut. 

And I finally got to hold him. 

After a couple hours in recovery, we settled into our room. 

Once we were in our room, they took Rylan to the nursery for a more thorough check-up. And he was down there forever! We finally got an update from the nurse, who informed us that they were keeping an eye on his oxygen levels due to the fact that he was having some respiratory issues. Josh went down to stay with him in the nursery, and reported back on a regular basis as I was very concerned.  

Around this time, my Dad and sisters arrived. Unfortunately, they could only get a glimpse of Rylan through the nursery window. 

A few hours later, the doctor told us that Rylan would need to stay in the NICU at least overnight for observation. Since he was born early and via C-section, he hadn't got all the fluid out of his lungs. They assured us that it was most likely nothing serious (aka just the "Wimpy White Boy Syndrome"), but we were obviously worried nonetheless. 

In addition to the worry involved with Rylan being in the NICU, it also presented logistical problems. Instead of being able to snuggle and feed him in our room, we had to go down to the NICU throughout the day to see him. So every three hours Josh would wheel me down the hall where we would have to sign out in one location, wait for them to open the door, sign in on the other side, and then wait for another door to be opened. 

Once we were in his NICU nursery, I would try to get Rylan to latch on and breastfeed, which was most often unsuccessful, before feeding him what I had been able to pump plus some formula. Then we would cuddle for a while and talk to the nurse about his progress before heading back to our room so I could pump and then try to get a little sleep before repeating the whole process. 

It was exhausting. But totally worth it. 

It was so tough to see Rylan hooked up to all those monitors, and even harder to watch his oxygen levels drop when he would get upset. However, we felt very lucky considering the state of most of the other babies in the NICU. 

On Sunday, my Dad and sisters came back up to the hospital before heading back to Austin, and they were able to see Rylan one at a time in the NICU. 

After two nights in the NICU, they finally released Rylan to our room on Monday afternoon (but the NICU nurses continued his care "in room" for the duration of our stay). I can't tell you how happy I was to be able to snuggle with this little guy as much as possible. 

With Rylan back on our room, Ava was finally able to come up to the hospital to meet her little brother.  She came in the door and wanted to hold him immediately. And seeing him in her arms was one of the sweetest things I have ever seen. Talk about heart melting. 

Bunny finally got to hold the little man as well. 

Baby Brother also gave Ava a gift (a Frozen water bottle and pajamas). 

We had a few other visitors on Monday, including Jill (sorry I didn't get a picture of Jill…she was busy videotaping Ava meeting Rylan), Rachel, Sarah, and Erin. 

Unfortunately, Josh's parents couldn't make it up to Dallas because his Dad also had a hospital stay that weekend (he's doing great now).

And after enjoying our last night in the hospital...

It was time to head home... 

And with that, it was time to officially begin our life as a family of four. 

I can already tell that it is going to be quite the adventure. 

About Me

My name is Catherine, but most of my friends call me Cat. I was born and raised in Austin, went to TCU, and ended up in Dallas for law school (where Josh and I met). I decided that being an attorney was not my cup of tea and pursued a career in legal marketing. I am now a mother of two attempting to balance family with a full-time job, which is always an adventure. I love: my sweet babies, handsome husband, very large family, and fabulous friends; trying new restaurants; wine; TCU football; holidays; cooking; The Bar Method; pajamas; Topo Chico; reading; coffee; Central Market; carbs; the beach; mani/pedis; Anthropologie; binge-worthy TV shows and podcasts; trivia; French 75s; Pinterest; cheese boards; The Ticket; dancing; Sprinkles cupcakes; The Texas Rangers; fresh flowers; thunderstorms; naps; Tex-Mex; the Texas Hill Country; porch-sitting; ranch dressing; throwing parties; and my job. I hate: working-mom guilt; snakes; heights; waking up early; ignorant people; stomach bugs; paper cuts; green fruit; snoring; bad hair days; the sound of people eating (Misophonia); scary movies; bad drivers; pulpy OJ; trimming baby fingernails; and Miracle Whip. That pretty much sums it up.


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