Monday, December 21, 2015

Ramona: 4 months!

Our sweet babe is 4 months old! How did this happen?!

Growth: 13.7 lbs & 26in.

35% for weight
97% for height (!)
Dr says she's healthy!


Hearing me say " Mama" & "Dada"
Watching the dogs fetch.
Gasping at toys or my hair while she nurses.
Laying on her changing table.


Tummy time after a few minutes.


She eats every three hours during the day when she wakes up from her naps.
She gets formula every few days but is
mostly breastfed


Still sleeping though the night!
Naps are hit & miss.
Sometimes they're 30 min sometimes 2 hours!


First time in a high chair!
First time rolling over from back to tummy!
First giggles. 
Dedicated @ church Sunday!
Meeting Emmett (my best friend's 3 week old!)
Falling off the couch.
(She is OK :-))


We bathe her every 4 days.
She had 3 shots @ her 4 month appointment.
We think she's teething (very slowly)
She has yet to catch a cold!
(Go breast milk!)


Loves toys with bells & loves rattles.
Is completely content playing on a quilt while watching me in the kitchen for up to a half hour without fussing.
Is getting the hang of her bouncer.
Puts everything in her mouth!
Loves laying under the tree & staring at any kind of lights.
Loves to hear me sing.

Looking forward to:

Baby lead feeding.
Sitting up. ( our next big milestone) she's getting so good @ holding herself up in that position.
Cooking for her & seeing her in a high chair in the kitchen.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

30 things i'm grateful for:

(Ramona will be 4 months on 12/20!!! Amazing how time flies.)


1: Ramon's Lovie

2: A healthy baby boy for Rachel & Seth Scott! Their son was born on 11/30!

3: Ramona's first giggles!!

4: A glass of red wine & a magazine to wind down the evening.

5: Friends (!) on netflix. Reunited & it feels so good. Ah, nostalgia. 

6: Finding motivation in a hot cup of coffee. 

7: Co-workers who truly make you feel loved.
8: Health insurance! Yay Kaiser.

9: Thanksgiving.

10: School ending this week for Christmas break! PTL!!!!!!!!!!(!!!!!!)

11: My down comforter <3

12: Rain.

13: KMJ Talk radio.

14: Music.

15: Hard Root beer.

16: Our dishwasher and washer and dryer.

17: Advent
18: Christmas shopping for Ramona's first Christmas!
19: New friends!

20: Gazebo Gardens.

21: NyQuil and DayQuil

22: Josh and Britney's wedding!!

23: Longer naps.

24: Sleeping in!

25: Visits from both my Mom and Dad!

26: Enjoying our daughter to our cores! <3

27: Laughing with my amazing, loving Husband Rory.

28: Handmade baby bonnets ( insert heart eyed emojis here x100000)

29: Old Navy. 

30: Jobs.

Monday, November 2, 2015

31 things I'm grateful for:

Our sweet baby will be 11 weeks Thursday!!

October grateful list:

1. Ladies Fall luncheon with our church!

2. Our local talk radio station KMJ 105.9. I listen every morning & love hearing news and local talk about our area! 

3. Winning TWICE on KMJ in two weeks: I won tickets to a craft beer festival & won a gift card to a local high end restaurant! total value of both: $200!

4. Rain!

5. Gazebo Gardens: a sweet little garden nursery that stay open late Thur-Sat nights & bring in local bands & food trucks. Its a fun weekend spot where we go to grab dinner & a beer, and enjoy the community of people that gather there with their families!

6. School: during the quiet of the mornings, before Ramona wakes up, I study & get assignments done and I love waking up slowly when it's quiet and the world is just waking up.

7. Health benefits. We love Kaiser!

8. Hard apple cider & pizza. yum

9. That first sip of coffee every morning.

10. Sunday night football at my in laws.

11. A very good 2 month check up for my tall girl!

12. Chipotle.

13. Random lunch dates with 3 very good friends.

14. Showering & celebrating my best friend & her baby!

15. Home made biscotti.

16. Chocolate.

17.Jimmy Fallon!!! He truly makes me giggle everyday.

18. My husband. He chooses to bless me so often.

20. Daily contact with my Mom & sister.

21. Singing to Ramona & seeing the joy she gets from it!!

22. My bed & pillows.

23. Rory & I's 30th birthdays!

24. A lovely, relaxing massage (my birthday gift from Rory) at The Spa at Fig Garden.

25. Ramona consistently sleeping through the night since 7 wks. old!

26. A warm pan of roasted veggies.

27. Candles! Woodwick candles are the coziest! 

28. All things pumpkins!

29. My co-workers & customers! Excited to be going back to work part time starting tomorrow.

30. Finding a bottle Mona LOVES, and getting it for FREE!

31. Laughter.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Chicken carrot and wild rice casserole:

I must have a little bit of a crush on creamy, chicken, wild rice dishes... my favorite soup is creamy chicken and wild rice :)

Chicken, carrot, and wild rice casserole:

Is there anything more homey and fall than a casserole?! All the warm and cozy feels 

Adapted from T.D. Willey's recipe:

3 c. stock of your choice ( i use chicken stock)
1.5 tsp. ground nutmeg
1.5 c. chopped carrots
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 c. cooked, chopped chicken
3/4 heavy cream ( whatever milk you prefer)
1 c. wild rice uncooked
3/4 c milk
2 tbls. butter
3 tbls. flour ( i use whole wheat)
1 c. sliced green onion
salt & pep 

Preheat oven to 375*. Lightly coat 2 qt baking dish with spray. bring stock to a boil in a med soup pot, add carrots, reduce to simmer. Cook, uncovered until carrots very tender ( 10-12 min). Drain carrots, reserving stock. Allow carrots to cool at least 5 min, transfer to blender or food processor, add cream and process until smooth. 

Scald Milk* in a small pan (do not boil).
Melt butter in a med pot over low heat, stir in flour, cook for 2 min, gradually whisk in milk, then reserved stock. Add carrot puree, nutmeg and cayenne to taste. Increase heat, bring mixture to a boil add rice. 

Cover, reduce heat to low and cook for 12 min.  
Remove pot from heat. Stir in scallions & cooked chicken, season with salt and pep.

Pour into prepared baking dish

Bake 30+ min

Casserole will be finished when solid and browned.

ENJOY!!!!! Get ready for warm cozy comfort. Don't feel bad if this doesn't last long or you don't have leftovers... ( heart eyed emoji)

*How to scald milk:
 To scald milk, you use a heavy bottomed pan or double boiler and bring the temperature of the milk to 85-100°C (185-212°F). At sea level, the milk should just start showing small bubbles and releasing steam at the lower end of this temperature range.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Ramona's Birth story:Photos, final thoughts and our hospital stay!

Walking the halls with my love.

My sweetheart, such an amazing support.

 My favorite nurse: Kim.

Rory was able to cut the long length off of Mona's cord after the nurse made sure she was o.k. I loved how focused He was when cutting Ramona's cord.

" It's a girl!" 

My mother in law, meeting her first grand baby <3 

Skin to skin with her Papa. My heart in one tiny frame.

Our amaaaazing doula, Rebecca, such a strong support, encouraging me so much. hearing her say she was proud of me, and how well I was doing, spoke so highly to me!

After her birth:

After delivering Ramona, we had an hour of skin to skin, and I nursed her for the very first time. She latched on almost immediately, once I got the hang of it! And nursed almost the entire hour! What a joy it is to supply everything your baby needs with God-given nutrients and antibodies, and sustenance, designed just for her... it doesn't get much more amazing then that! During that time I was being stitched up, I had a two degree tear. That was a pretty painful process. But nothing trumps the feeling of your baby on your chest. I was relishing in our baby girl. 

Her name:

Since we didn't know what gender our little one was, by choice, we decided to wait to name our baby, until we saw her. We had a top three-ish list of each gender names, and Ramona was #1 on the girl list! It was the only name I had written down twice. I have no idea why, but I loved it that much :) 

We knew when we saw her, we knew that she our Ramona.
She wan't a Ruby, Rilo, or Reece: Other contenders. And we still agree, her name fits her so well.

Our stay:
In our Post-labor room:
At first, when I got pregnant, I considered a home birth. MAN can I tell you how glad I am I didn't have a home birth! Hospitals are around for a good reason! And the fact that someone is bringing you food every few hours, that cannot be beat! More importantly, the monitoring on Mona during labor, to make sure she was handling the stress adequately, and keeping an eye on me, knowing the nurses truly had me and Mona's best interest in mind. I also loved the hospital bed! I know that sounds silly, but man I appreciated the mobility of the up/ down capabilities of the bed and the  back of the bed. Lots of buttons on the bed too, lights for the room, tv controls, ( as if we ever even turned that thing on. comical) Funny fact that I just remembered, during labor, since all the controls for the bed are in the inside of the arm rest, I kept pushing them as I was pushing and turning the T.V. on! It was on some Mexican soap opera channel an it upset me every time, I'd say, " someone please turn that off!" Sometimes I think I was the only one who realized it was on. LOL. This happened at least 4-5 times...-_- hahah.
 I loved all the " goodies" you get during your stay too! MEDS :) After labor I was ALLL about those extra strength Ibuprofen. Also those goofy mesh undies, the topical sprays,  the largest feminine pads you'll ever see in your life, nurses checking on you and your baby, and teaching you how to care for the little one you're now responsible to feed, bathe, clothe and care for. They showed me lots of helpful nursing techniques, how to bathe her, and other helpful tips. We also got lots of diapers, onsies, and other goodies. And may I mention the fact that someone comes in most hours to clean up after you?! Replace things you've used, change and make your sheets, etc. Guys, have your babies in hospitals. All good things.  Even though we had a fantastic experience at Kaiser, we were so ready to head home!!

Overall the experience we had was one I will always cherish. The nursing staff at Kaiser Fresno, is beyond kind, capable, and go above and beyond! I had so many positive experiences with many of the nurses there. We also were blown away, with the cost of everything. After our insurance covered it's portion, we paid a total of $150!
I am still shocked to write that. Thank you Starbucks for your great coverage!! ALLLL those years of ALLL those customers, yeah you know the ones, finally paid off ;)

Saturday, October 3, 2015

30 things I'm grateful for:

I've been inspired by one of my favorite bloggers to start a grateful list each month reflecting on the previous month. You can view hers here


1. Dr. Brown's bottles.

2. Bible study: what we're reading.

3. Gorgeous sunrises and sunsets.

4. Funny texts with my sister.

5. Family dinners every Sunday.

6. Starbucks.

7. Getting back to the gym.

8. Surviving and celebrating month one with a newborn!!!

9. Gazebo gardens.

10. Sleep training success: seeing all of my hard work pay off!

11. Packages from family members from afar with gifts for Ramona.

12. Our church nursery and the lovely women that volunteer there. 

13. Quality, sturdy, adorable cloth diapers!

14. My dogs, Lily and Luca.

15. Sweets.

16. Cooler weather!

17. Birthday countdowns.

18. Mona taking a bottle!

19. Cheap lunch dates at Costco.

20. My husband getting home early multiple days this month!

21. My bed.

22. Coffee in the morning, already ready for me when I get up, thanks to Rory.

23. A good 6-week postpartum Doctors appointment.

24. Adorable baby clothes.

25. Last full month of my twenties!

26. Friends from church who we connect with and enjoy so very much.

27. Watching Ramona work on and conquer so much this past month: Taking her pacifier, taking a bottle, working on holding her head up, recognizing my voice from across the room, smiling at us (!), learning to fall asleep on her own, handling new situations like a champ, and becoming her own little person.

28. Remembering the gift my husband has said He's wanted for years, right before His birthday!

29. Smiles every morning from my sweet baby girl! She's such a morning person.

30. Dependable friends who text back. 

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Ramona's birth story: Hours 10:00 pm - 10:31am

Part one here

My water breaking was the mental edge I needed! I asked the nurse, " Does this mean
I won't have to get Pitocin?" She said she thought that might be the case but they wanted to see how my body progressed. Well thankfully my body did just that! I went from 2 or 3 cm to 7 cm in a matter of hours! 

11:00 pm-2:00 am 

I walked the halls with Becca and Rory, swayed back and forth during contractions and took a hot shower. Every hour or so I had to return to the room for the nurse to get a good read on Mona's heart rate. During that time, while I had to stay close to the monitor, I swayed and used the meal table on wheels to help stabilize myself. Rebecca made me a wash cloth with lavender oil on it so I could breathe it in during contractions, that helped me so much! She also massaged my lower back a lot! I apparently had Pandora on. haha! I couldn't even tell you what station it was on, or what music was playing. Rebecca also had small battery operated tea lights around the room, and the lights turned down low. It helped the room feel relaxing and calm. 

2:30 am:

Had a dilatation check from my nurse Kim. I had requested on my birth plan, not to get updates on how much or how little I had dilated, only because I've heard how discouraging it can be. But my nurse asked me anyways... do you want to know what you're dilated to? I couldn't decide so she told me anyways... I'll never forget hearing those words come out of her mouth! " You're at a seven." 
!!!!!! What. That was so encouraging!! So we called my family back to the hospital. They couldn't believe I had progressed so quickly! 

3:00 am to 8:00 am

I stayed in bed the rest of the morning, trying to find a comfortable position to lay and labor in. Unfortunately at some point in the early morning my nurse had me start pushing, and after a half hour realized part of my cervix was still too thick. So i stopped pushing and we waited. 

I love this photo... Its my sister and Mother in law outside of my hospital room, my Mother in law's ear, pressed to the door... (insert heart eyessss)

Ps: THANK YOU DAD for these photos!!

8:00 am- 10:31 am   

I pushed for about 2.5 hours plus the half hour prior. It was unbelievably intense. I asked for something about an hour in, to help me with pain. The nurse gave me fentanyl. It is a muscle relaxer. It didn't relieve any pain but did help me relax between contractions. Since Ramona wasn't in the right position the nurse Kristy had me pushing in all sorts of positions to try and flip her. None of them felt good expect using the birthing bar. They connected a sheet to the birthing bar and during the contractions I pulled on the sheet and sent all of my energy downward. It was the exact same birthing position my sister labored and delivered her son, in as well! :-D

Ramona's Birth:
At the very end of pushing, my Doctor called in extra nurses, and so at one point we had a total of 6-8 nurses 4 of which were standing by. I had no idea what was going on, and it worried me a bit. It also gave me the encouragement to get her out! I gave the last push, so anxious to meet my baby and know what we had!!! The cord was between her legs, so Rory couldn't see the gender! They removed the cord, and He looked at me and said with such light and joy in his eyes, " Babe, we have a girl!" It was the sweetest look in his eyes, it just melted my heart. Brings tears to my eyes as I type.
The nurse had to cut the cord, which is something I didn't want them to do, I wanted the cord to drain fully and we had also planned for Rory to cut the cord. But they were concerned because her shoulder was stuck coming out, so they were worried about her little body. They showed her to me ( I couldn't believe that head of hair!) She was so gorgeous.
I was blown away that I had a daughter!! They took her to a table to inspect her and make sure her little shoulder was ok. 

Birth and labor are so unbelievably intense, having a few moments to simply gaze at my little girl from a few feet away, was such a good time for me to process and for it to hit me! 
And then they laid her on my chest.
The moment they laid her on my chest, it was the most natural feeling I've ever felt. It was like, "Oh yes. You. You who have been part of me for almost a year. You are mine." It was like my heart was outside of my body. I finally got it. Being a Momma is one of the greatest gifts God will ever give me.

More to come!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Ramon's Birth Story! Hours 4:00- 10:00pm

As you would come to expect, " free" time is limited over here in the Simmons nest, but I knew I wanted to write this out before I forget too many details! God given amnesia is starting to set in, THANK GOD, or else I might never have wanted to give birth to another child. Back labor is NO joke.

4:00 pm August 19th:

My Mom, Rory and I met my Dad (who drove down from the bay area) at Kaiser, here in Fresno. MANY hours and prayers lead up to this day. I was almost a week late, and we were there for my induction. Something I dreaded and was so against, but for many reasons, we decided it was time, and left it in the Lord's strong hands, trusting that everything was in His timing and Will, even with the supposed help of meds.

4:30 pm:

Getting settled into our room, at this time it was only Rory and I in the room. My Mom, Dad and later my Mother in law, were in the cafeteria, waiting on a word from us. Right when we arrived two women gave birth, so we waited a long time to  be seen. The staff at Kaiser is amazing, and made sure we were informed as to what was going on, and made us laugh and helped me to relax a lot! Eric & Jen were our nurses who got us checked in. At this time we still had our doula hold off on coming to the hospital, since there was obviously no reason to need her at this point. And my family was in and out visiting, my mother in law left after picking up Karie, to return at a later time, once we called her.

6:30 pm 

My sister Karie arrived in Fresno!!! My mother in law and Dad went to pick her up at the airport and she quickly joined us in the room! We visited and enjoyed catching up with her. I was so glad to have her there! *Fun fact!!*: She also was 6 days late with her first born, Jonah, and I flew in the day before He was born, just like she did, and was able to be there at his birth! It was God's plan for us to be there at such significant events in each others lives!! We couldn't be more thankful for our Jonah and Ramona! hehe I swear I didn't plan that! :-)


My first 1/2 dose of Cytotech (cervix softening med) The plan was that the nurses would administer two doses, three hours apart. The first dose didn't feel like it did anything, at this point I was laying in bed, visiting with family members. 

9:00 pm

First full dose, second dose altogether, of the meds. administered orally, we called Becca to come in, figuring things would pick up soon. This worked out well for her since she is married with two small children. Once she arrived we visited and got her acquainted with my sister. We all enjoyed some quality time together while things were still calm. 

10:00 pm

Rory and Rebecca went to the car to get some of her supplies. I had the sudden urge to use the restroom, and as I got up, liquid spilled all over the room as I made it to the bathroom. I was thinking to myself, " Wow Rach, you made it this entire pregnancy without peeing on yourself and all of a sudden you can't hold it in anymore?!" hehe silly first time Momma! I'm trying to clean up and take care of myself in the restroom alone, and I realize I should call someone. Thankfully there's a nurse call button in the restroom, so I alarm the nurses and let them know what was going on. I figure this might be my water breaking, but there wasn't a ton of fluid. They did a neat little test with a strip of paper, and confirm it was in fact my water breaking! 

Now is an exciting time to stop. Will continue when I have a few free moments! Thanks for reading. And now a bunch of cute photos of my gorgeous daughter! 
first dinner date: Cattlemans

 one of our favorite nurses! Jen

One week old! Hello World!

our sweet little hippie chick

 my favorite outfit!

She already has such great feed, wake, sleep stretches!

Monday, August 10, 2015

40 weeks!

Here we are folks! Full term! Any day now Baby ;)

How far along: 
40 weeks
( my technical due date is still friday, but I go by today because of how baby was measuring, we're praying baby comes Aug 12th, Wed, because Rory's Dad's birthday was on Aug 12th and He passed away 10 years ago, so it would such an honor to have baby then!)

How far to go:
any day now!!!!

Slept great last night! Didn't even get up to pee! Most nights I get up about once to pee, and sometimes my legs get sore, but otherwise I'm sleeping great. Can't wait to sleep on my stomach again so soon!

How do I feel:
I feel good for the most part, told my Mom today that I feel like a over stuffed Thanksgiving Turkey! I was feeling a bit off earlier in the day, lethargic and overstuffed. I'm feeling more balanced now. I feel a lot of pressure in my lower areas, I can feel baby's head in my birth canal, so there's a lot of pressure and sitting on anything too firm will leave me sore after awhile. My lower back has also been hurting and sore, quite often recently.

Dr. Updates: 
Dr. Burgo's checked me at my apt. Thursday and I'm 2 cm dilated!! No effacement. My Bp was perfect and I shared with Him that I don't not want to be induced unless medically necessary and He fully agreed with me. :-)!  

Mama thoughts: 
I'm so ready to get this show on the road!! So anxious to see what we're having and meet our baby! I'm also so excited to see how my birth story plays out! I hear so many stories and am to the point with learning about pregnancy/labor and hearing stories, that I don't want to hear or learn anymore, I'm just ready to do it!

Additional Information: 
Our baby is the size of a watermelon. It's the official end of your pregnancy — though your baby might not have gotten that memo. Hang in there. His skull bones are not yet fused, which allows them to overlap a bit if it's a snug fit through the birth canal during labor. This so-called "molding" is the reason your baby's noggin may look a little conehead-ish after birth. Rest assured — it's normal and temporary.

25 lbs